Twenty boys from the Raleigh Boychoir returned from a “once-in-a-lifetime” trip Saturday.
The group performed in London for a pre-Olympic choral festival held by Kingsway International Concerts. The Raleigh Boychoir, along with five other American choirs from New Jersey, New York, California, Florida and Texas, was invited to be part of the event.
“It’ll be a life-changing event for them as they understand that our world in one sense, is accessible to them and they can make those connections with these wonderful places and see history,” said George Unger, the artistic director and a conductor who went on the tour.
The choir goes on international trips every three years.
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“It was pretty cool being able to go there and see all the places where the Olympics are going to be held,” said Bennett Otten, 12,who has been part of the choir for four years. “Some of the best athletes in the world are going to be there in a month.”
Michael Talbott, 12, of Raleigh said he was “psyched” to perform where the Olympics will take place this month.
“London is just a once-in-a-lifetime experience and you just got to take it in,” said Michael, who has been part of the choir for almost three years.
Tanner Ballance, 11, who has been part of the choir for three years, said he thought the trip was “really cool” and different from places he’s traveled before.
“There was a lot of really cool sites and churches that were beautiful and cathedrals,” said Tanner, who lives in Cary.
Tanner’s favorite venue was Canterbury Cathedral.
“The history and the mass of it were just so huge and beautiful that it’s like, you can’t even describe it,” Tanner said. “It is so amazing to hear yourself ring when you hit those high notes and the acoustics just go right through the whole church.”
Bennett, who lives in Cary and attends Resurrection Lutheran School in Cary, also said his favorite venue was Canterbury.
“Performing in the cathedrals was amazing because of the acoustics and just the history there,” Bennett said.
On June 25, they performed at a church in Windsor, on June 26, they performed at Canterbury Cathedral, on the 27th, they performed at St. George’s Church and on the 28th, they sang at Southwark Cathedral.
“The boys sang really well, we’re very proud of them,” Unger said.
The Raleigh Boychoir, which was founded in 1968, selects boys ages of 8 to 15 three times annually for their Training Choir, which is the beginning choir. The next two levels are the Resident Choir and the Performing Choir.
Boys get into the Performing Choir when they reach their “golden voice,” right before the end of puberty, Executive Director Angela Rivera said.
“When they sing, their voices ring like a bell,” she said. “It’s the most unbelievable sound. If you close your eyes and just listen, they sound like bells.”
The Performing Choir represents the choir at most functions.
“I really like giving the people the music and to realize you’re appreciated and your music is appreciated,” Bennett said.