The Choir Parents' Handbook

total idea and usually begins with the more obvious and beautiful parts first. Gradually, as the choir boys learn the music, the director begins to get a whole-hearted response. Therefore, distractions, such as choir boys arriving late or parents entering the rehearsal room without appointment, is a decided detriment to the progress of the group as a whole. Repeated tardiness or absence of a choir boy will sometimes result in the boy's dismissal from the group, dependent, of course, upon the spirit with which the occurrences take place.

One of the great choral masters, Olaf Christiansen, said, "There can be only one great personality in a choir and that is the soul of the choir itself to which every member submits." The director must control the conditions in which this can take place. He must control the physical arrangement of the room, the psychological response of the boys, the concept of tone, the progress of learning. There are times when it is quite permissible and desirable that visitors be on hand, provided they have called ahead of time for an appointment, and there are definite times when visitors are not welcome, those times when the choir is being molded purposefully toward an ultimate goal when outside thoughts and persons tend to disrupt. To phone the choir secretary for an appointment to a rehearsal is to save possible embarrassment.

 

Chapter Six

VOCAL APPROACH

All Boy Choir Masters, like Gaul, are divided into three parts: those who believe in head-tone placement, those who believe in mask-tone placement, and those who attempt to walk the narrow fence between, using what probably are the best results of both.

This is my 24th year of having lived around boy choirs and choir boys. In this space of time I have learned to respect the two opposite schools of theory and I cannot say that we consistently train our choir boys in any one given technique. We are fencewalkers!!

Of the head-tone advocates, there is no question but that the English rule supreme and probably fill more vaulted country chapels and cavernous cathedrals than any other single group of musicianly choir masters. As a matter of fact, after a bit of study it becomes evident that the head-tone "oo" is about the only sound which successfully can travel a great distance

 

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