The Choir Parents' Handbook

We have seen, time and again, boys who consistently made "C's" and "D's" change within a two-year period to the new thrill of a "straight A report card. We believe that when you give people high standards by which to live, you always get results. The only time we question what the results will be is when the standards are too low.

Interested persons have asked us through the years just what we did to get certain results in order to put a non-professional group of boys on a professional basis. We investigated and found that, actually, it is quite elementary in its basic understanding. We have learned in working with the varying group in years past that we must always see clearly these aspects of the choir's being.

First, we must prepare the choir boys physically. We teach them correct posture, proper breathing, and introduce the exercises to be used from time to time in the course of their development.

Secondly, there is the intellectual preparation which must be accomplished, theory of music, history of music, as well as the preparation for the singing of music in a foreign language. Our boys commonly sing in at least three languages: Latin, German ,and English. At present, they are also prepared to sing in Old English. This is something not quickly accomplished with 8 and 9 year old boys, but patience and clear thinking will always prove the child capable.

Lastly, after the first two phases of work have been accomplished, the remaining aspect which brings the choir into its fullness may be completed. This is the spiritual element which is actually in existence before the rest, and is at work when the choir first begins. This spiritual side of boy choir work is accomplished through the boys' oneness of purpose, their association with one another, through their understanding of their director and choir mates, and through their enthusiasm for the choir's work. All totaled, these qualities bring about a unity which gives a wonderful happiness to an already enjoyable work.

We also have found it most important to surround ourselves with persons who think clearly and positively. We feel the choir has been particularly blessed in having a choir mother who has worked continuously with us since the beginning of our days, Mrs. 0. L. Haughton, affectionately known to all members of the boy choir as "Mama" Haughton. When on tour she is not only wardrobe mistress whose job it is backstage to manage the vesting of the boys, but she is also, as her name implies, a mother to them all. In the

 

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