Auditions planned for boychoir

Published 9:28 am Friday, July 28, 2017

Centuries ago, boychoirs began singing in the grand cathedrals of Western Europe. The sound of these pubescent voices is still revered today, and for those between the ages of 6 and 18, auditions will be held next week for the Mississippi Boychoir.

Auditions, which are scheduled for Friday, Aug. 4 and Monday, Aug. 7,  will be by appointment.

Artistic director for the choir, Nancy Robertson, who has taught music and choir for nearly 40 years, including 22 years with the Vicksburg Warren School District as the Warren Central High School choir director and the District Fine Arts Coordinator, will preside over the auditions.

There is no preparation required for the audition, Robertson said, adding auditions are “simple.”

“We ask the boys to sing a five-note scale, check their vocal range to see if they would sing soprano, alto, tenor or bass, then we check to see if they have good tonal memory and that is just about it,” she said.

As a nonprofit organization, the Mississippi Boychoir strives to enhance the lives of school-aged boys, Robertson said, by using music as a tool to teach them about teamwork and discipline, as well as musical skills.

Practice for the group is held in Vicksburg weekly on Mondays from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the Church of the Holy Trinity Conservatory of Fine Arts, and on one Saturday a month from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“The Jackson branch meets on Tuesdays from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Ascension Lutheran Church and joins the Vicksburg group for rehearsals for the monthly Saturday rehearsal,” Robertson said.

In the past few seasons, performances by the Mississippi Boychoir have included singing at Gov. Phil Bryant’s inauguration ceremony and singing for five performances of the opera Carmen with the Mississippi Opera.

“They have also performed with the Warren Central High School Madrigals in the Madrigal Dinner and Singe Feaste, they have performed at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Vicksburg with the Metro Male Chorus of Mississippi, and most recently they were featured in an episode of Mississippi Roads with Walt Grayson,” Robertson said.

The Mississippi Boychoir has also had the opportunity to work with composers and other musicians.

“Last August, the MBC Board brought in a world renown composer, Jim Papoulis, who was from New York, to work with the boys, and to collaborate together with them and write a song. It was a remarkable experience,” Robertson said. “Also, each summer the boys may participate in a festival such as the one we recently attended, called the Crescent City Choral Festival in New Orleans. The artist they brought in to work with the boys was Bob Chilcott from London.”

Chilcott, Roberston said, is a composer whose works are performed all over the world.

For those interested in the Mississippi Boychoir, Robertson said, the possible costs involved with being selected should not be an obstacle.

“We have generous income-based discounts available to help many of our students afford the annual tuition and if you like it, but still can’t afford it, let’s talk,” she said. “We will do everything we can to work with you.”

For more information on the Mississippi Boychoir or to schedule an audition, call 601-529-7171 or visit mississippiboychoir.org.

“Over the years, many have found music and choir to verify the place they can excel. In the Mississippi Boychoir, there are no stigmas attached and no judgments from others,” Robertson said. “Boychoir changes lives through character development, teamwork, friendship, and sharing a common love for music. There is nothing like a Boychoir.”

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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