Yesterday, the American Boy Choir came to our school for a performance. They were magnificent, a small group of boys between the ages of 10 and 14 in perfect vocal symbiosis. They attend a 4th-8th grade boarding school in Princeton NJ, where one has to audition in order to get in. Only 50 boys attend the school.
One song the boys sang, “Past Life Melodies” by Sarah Hopkins, was unbelievable. It included nasal and overtone singing, and a replication of the didgeridoo using the human voice. Impressively musical and inspiring, it demonstrated how many ways the human voice can be provocatively stretched, manipulated and transforming.
Listening to the boys sing, I was poignantly reminded of my work at the Choir Academy of the Chicago Children’s Choir nearly a decade ago, a charter school with a big dream and few resources, a school with a clear vision on paper, but the actualizing of that vision in the real world at cross-purposes. Music is an amazing discipline that can structure and order one’s life and ability to work with others in constructive ways. It is a rigor which can ultimately impact belief, an external etiquette that can indeed create and integrate intrinsic motivation.
Yesterday, it was wonderful to hear and see the manifestation of this philosophy in so palpable and visceral a way.
Below is a video of a South African medley they performed.