The Pasadena Boys Choir
Where Excellence Begins With Boyhood
Originally founded in 1925 by Dr. John Henry Lyons as an adjunct of the Pasadena school system, The Pasadena Boys Choir survives today as one of the oldest civic boy choirs in the United States. In 1971, the Choir was reorganized by its current Director, John Barron, as a private, non-profit educational institution. Today the Choir is comprised of boys between the ages of 8 and 13 from all ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds who attend public, private and parochial schools throughout the greater San Gabriel and San Fernando Valleys. Since 1971, over 2,000 boys have benefited from membership in the Choir.
The majority of boys who enter the Choir have not had previous music training prior to admission. The organizations admission policy is strictly non-discriminatory and non-denominational and any boy who meets the 8-to-13 age requirement is welcome to apply. All members attend their own schools and the initial time commitment on a boys part is one class each week after school. All classes are held at Pasadena City College.
Over the years, the Choir has received numerous awards and commendations. Endorsements have come from the California Parent Teachers Association, the State Superintendent of Schools, and the California State Legislature in Sacramento.
In addition to an outstanding music education, boys receive important leadership training. Following high school, most PBC graduates go on to universities and colleges. We are proud of a number of boys over the years who have won congressional appointments to West Point, Annapolis and the United States Air Force Academy, attesting to the value of the Choirs leadership philosophy. Discipline through music is our method preparation for life is our goal.
When a boy enters the PBC program he is assigned to a Beginners Class for at least one semester. Here he will begin a comprehensive training program which will eventually prepare him for public performance. He will receive professional instruction in music theory, vocal production, ear training & solfege, stage deportment and public speaking. He will begin to learn simple unison and two-part songs covering various periods and styles of musical composition. Included in this initial introduction will be classical, patriotic, folk, songs from musicals and contemporary pop.
After completing a successful Beginners program, boys advance to the next level of training. It is at this point in the program that boys are expected to remain for a full term of training through their eighth grade school year.
During a typical season from September to June, the Choir may be called upon to perform in a number of varied concert and entertainment venues. Among these are weddings, banquets, conventions and seasonal programs. In addition, occasional calls are received from movie, television and other production companies.
Though many boys participate in other activities including sports, they are expected to make their PBC commitment their first priority. The Choir has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Pasadena Symphony, Los Angeles Master Chorale and New York City Opera.
At the close of the season in June, boys begin their summer vacation break. During the last week of July and first week of August all boys attend the annual two-week summer camp at San Domenico School in Northern California. San Domenico is a beautiful 500-acre campus located in the small town of San Anselmo, a thirty-minute drive north of San Francisco.
Music classes and rehearsals are conducted during the morning hours at camp. Following lunch and a brief rest period, boys enjoy the traditional camp activities such as arts and crafts, swimming, hiking, field activities, etc. Boys are under supervision at all times and all staff and counselors are trained and certified in first aid, CPR, and water safety. During the two-week period, at least three off-campus field trips are planned which expose the boys to some of the geographical and historical richness of Northern California. Following summer camp, boys return home for four more weeks of vacaion before school and the Choir season begins.
Concert tours provide a wonderful way for a boy to learn history firsthand and to explore the unique customs, traditions and culture of other people and other lands.
Major tours of two or three weeks duration occur every three to four years, while shorter mini tours are planned every two or three years. This affords every boy the opportunity to tour at least once during his Choir tenure.
As part of its commitment to concert tours and educational travel, The Pasadena Boys Choir has toured the eastern United States, the southwestern United States, the Pacific Northwest, Hawaii, England, France, Germany and Austria. Future plans call for a tour of Spain and Portugal.
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This page was last modified on 03 September 2004