Boys choir enchants audience

Grade A-

Though audience members may have arrived at Emens Auditorium feeling the effects of a chilly winter's eve, few left without their hearts warmed by the world-famous Vienna Boys Choir.

The 24-member ensemble, consisting of boys ages 11 to 14, sounded much like a women's chorus at first listen, due to the similar vocal ranges, but had a noticeably different tone in the lower range.

The opening portion of the concert consisted of classical works including pieces by Mozart, Schubert (who had been a member of the boys' choir when he was young) and Mendelssohn. Two strong soloists were featured, supported by Schebesta's furious piano playing.

The second part of the evening was somewhat of a departure for the choir boys, including pop music. One of the pop songs the Boys Choir tried was an a cappella version of "Somewhere Out There," which sounded a bit hurried. A true surprise was the choir's performance of "La Bamba," in which three boys doubled on percussion instruments. In a delightful dash of showmanship, one boy tossed his maraca up in the air and caught it just as the last note sounded.

A few of the songs, particularly their take on Elvis Presley's "Can't Help Falling in Love," seemed stiff and a bit awkward for the group, although it added to the group's charm.

After an intermission, the boys choir sang folk songs from around the globe, including a version of "America the Beautiful" that drew the most applause of any tune. They ended their "musical journey" with a folk song from South Africa that involved the boys rhythmically clapping their hands and ended with them loudly stomping their feet.

Once they were finished, the choir drew a standing ovation from the audience, humbly bowing as Schebesta presented them, outstretching his arm.


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