The Vienna Boys Choir will be in concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27 at Lee Hall’s Bettersworth Auditorium on the Mississippi State University campus. Photo by: Courtesy photo
October 14, 2017 10:06:03 PM
What is widely considered the most famous boys' choir in the world will be in the Golden Triangle Friday, Oct. 27. The Columbus Arts Council presents the Vienna Boys Choir in concert at 7:30 p.m. in Lee Hall's Bettersworth Auditorium on the Mississippi State University campus. The event originally scheduled to be held at Mississippi University for Women was relocated to Starkville due to maintenance at The W's Rent Auditorium.
The choir of boy sopranos and altos ranging in age from 9 to 14 is based in Vienna, Austria. Approximately 100 choristers are divided into four touring choirs of about 25 singers each. They annually perform approximately 300 concerts worldwide for almost half a million people.
"Wow. This is wow," said Roby Brock, who has purchased concert tickets for his family. "This is Columbus, Mississippi, and you're getting to hear an organization that's been doing music for more than 500 years." The choir is the descendant of the boys' choirs of the Viennese Court, dating back to the Middle Ages. "You have one opportunity to experience something beyond the radio, or even recorded music, of the most historic of organizations that keeps the classics alive -- why wouldn't you go?" continued Brock, a safety engineer with Steel Dynamics. He also majored in music at The W.
"This choir is world-renowned," remarked Alisa Toy, who directs the Columbus Choral Society. "I'm impressed that the arts council chases things like this, because I think there's a mentality that big names can't come here, or that we're too obscure to be able to bring big name folks in, but obviously, with persistence, you can -- and I'm thankful."
Verdi to Strauss
The choir conducted by Manolo Cagnin has announced an ambitious program for Oct. 27. From its opening with a Gregorian chant to a finishing flourish of works by Johan Strauss, it encompasses composers such as Carl Orff, Antonio Vivaldi, Giuseppe Verdi and Heinz Kratochwil, and classical works to several widely-known pieces including "Santa Lucia" and "O Sole Mio." The program, which is subject to change, is posted at columbus-arts.org.
Choirmaster Cagnin, who was born in Treviso, Italy, has said the music is selected to match the boys' voices and personalities.
"They possess character and spirit. This is reflected in the way they make music," he said on the choir's website.
Cherry Dunn directs the Columbus Girlchoir. She said, "You're getting to hear boys who really study music seriously; it's a very refined sound. The boys' soprano sound is distinct in the choral world. It's a very clear, flute-like sound ... It's a very angelic sound."
Bringing the choir to the Golden Triangle has been a longtime goal of the arts council.
"We've worked with their artists' agent for years to try to get them here," said Beverly Norris, CAC program manager.
CAC Board President Jerry Fortenberry said, "We are tremendously pleased to be able to bring this world class event to the Golden Triangle. Many thanks to all who made this possible -- our sponsors, patrons and the wonderful staff at the Columbus Arts Council. We hope for a full house!"
The concert is possible through sponsors that include, to date, Roger Burlingame, Trudy Gildea and Brian Gildea, Drs. Joshua and Meredith Griffin, Kathy and Jerry Hodson, Diane and Bruce Hufford, Jo Anne and Dick Leike, Visit Columbus, the Mississippi Arts Commission and an anonymous donor, in memory of Lilla Pratt Rosamond and John Brown.
"We sincerely appreciate these sponsors and welcome any others interested in helping bring this very special event," said Norris.
How to go
Concert tickets are $35, or $50 for premiere seating. Students 6 to 21 may attend for $15. Age will be verified at the door.
Tickets are available online at columbus-arts.org, or at the Rosenzweig Arts Center at 501 Main St., Columbus, or by calling 662-328-2787 (closed Mondays). They may also be purchased in person by credit card at the Starkville Area Arts Council office at 101 S. Lafayette St., Suite 118, in Starkville. Those tickets may be picked up at Will Call Oct. 27. If available, tickets will also be sold at the door.
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.