Chorknaben Choir St. Martin’s of Biberach

St. George’s Cathedral Choral Festival welcomes a choir of nearly 60 members, ranging in age from 9 to 29 years old, the Boys’ Choir of St. Martin’s church in Biberach was founded in 1962.   From its inception the choir has been a member of Pueri Cantores, an international organization of Roman Catholic choral groups. As well as singing many services in St. Martin’s church and other churches in the area, the choir presents an annual concert in Biberach.  Most of their repertoire is sung a capella.

Strikingly, the choir is totally self-governing; all major decisions are made by a vote among the older members, while the only non-member with a vote is the conductor, who has only a single vote.   An important feature of the choir’s life is an annual tour to another country; at first these tours were to nearby European countries, but they toured in California in 1999 and now make their first tour in Canada.  The two-week tours are totally organized by the older choir members, who not only plan and organize the trips, but also take responsibility for looking after the younger members.  At the end of each year’s singing tour the choristers enjoy a week of camping holiday.

Commitment to the St. Martin’s choir is a large undertaking, both musically and socially. When the youngest boys enter, they spend a time learning rudiments of music: sight singing, rhythm, ear training, and so forth.   At the end of that training, if they are successful in an examination, the boys are accepted into the choir in a formal ceremony in St. Martin’s church.  The boys sing the treble and alto lines until their voices break, at which time they have a pause from singing until their voices have settled.  Instead of leaving at this point, however, almost 100% of boys remain with the choir, taking on various non-singing responsibilities.  When ready, they return to the choir, singing the lower lines of music.  Much of the boys’ social life revolves around the choir, and they have a social centre where all may gather for recreation.  Senior choristers are committed to fostering and mentoring younger choristers.

The sacred program will include works in English, German, French and Latin and will range from Gregorian chant to works by 20C composers.  The secular program comprises works by composers from Germany, France, Italy, the U.S. and Canada, sung in the languages in which they are written.

Tickets for the evening concert are available at the Cathedral Office at 129 Wellington St., The Church Bookroom (165 Ontario St.), the Seniors’ Centre (56 Francis St.), and at Novel Idea (156 Princess St.). The cost is $20 if bought in advance or $25 at the door.

270 King St E, Kingston, ON K7L 3B1

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