PRINCETON – The legacy of The American Boychoir School may continue to reverberate through the Central New Jersey region, as the Princeton Girlchoir readies plans to launch a boychoir division of its own.
“There’s always been a natural fit between our two groups,” said Hilary Butler, Executive Director of the Princeton Girlchoir. “And so when the Boychoir ended up closing, we really felt like, first off, from a staff perspective, we have these wonderful people who are now available to keep doing more in our community, and we didn’t want to lose that. And also we wanted to make sure we were providing a rich and vibrant place for the boys in this area to sing and to continue that high level of performance and music education that they’ve been blessed with singing at the American Boychoir School.”
The American Boychoir abruptly closed down in August after it failed to recruit and retain enough students to support its Fall semester. The 80-year-old program had been struggling to stabilize its finances after exiting Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year.
The Girlchoir plans to hold auditions later this month for boys from fourth to 12th grade interested in singing in the afterschool program. Initially the Girlchoir plans to offer two groups for boys – an intermediate ensemble for unchanged voices, and a more advanced group that includes both boys with unchanged voices and those whose voices have begun to change. The ensembles will be led by Fred Meads, who formerly served as Director of Vocal Studies at The American Boychoir School.
The addition of the boys’ ensembles will also enable the Princeton Girlchoir to expand its overall music education programs, said Artistic Director Lynnel Joy Jenkins. “We currently have voice classes and musicianship training classes – the aural training and sightsinging,” she said. “So we’re looking to expand those under the direction of Fred to be able to assist both the Princeton Girlchoir and our choral program for the boys.”
The Princeton Girlchoir was founded in 1989 and has grown to about 300 girls singing in seven choirs. It is moving into a new rehearsal space this Fall located on Clarksville Road in Princeton Junction.
This week on A Tempo (Saturday at 7 pm), host Rachel Katz will speak with Butler, Jenkins and Meads about the new boychoir division of the Princeton Girlchoir. She will also provide an overview of how Houston’s performing arts sector has been affected by Hurricane Harvey, and the road to recovery.