The California Boys' Choir

A Brief History of the California Boys' Choir

The California Boys' Choir

The California Boys' Choir was formed in 1968 by Douglas Neslund as a Masters Thesis project in conjunction with his studies in choral music at the University of Southern California. The Choir quickly became a mainstay in the musical life of Southern California. Since then, Mr. Neslund has refined and developed his vocal instruction techniques for boys' voices to the point where his approach is truly "world class", the standard for America. His methods enable a boy to continue singing through the period of voice change into manhood's tenor or bass.

Robert Rogers joined the organization in 1972, expanding the Choir's range of educational instruction to include stage dynamics, body control and dramatic involvement in performance, as well as costuming, lighting, and staging the Choir's varied repertoire.

In 1975, Training classes were added to the Choir schedule, to enable instruction in basic music theory to begin at an earlier age, prior to Concert Choir membership. The Training classes concentrate on music theory and sight-singing, employing the Kodaly method, and vocal technique, which concentrates on breath control and freedom of the vocal mechanism. Graduation from the Training classes (a non-performing group) is mandatory for membership in the Concert Choir, the performing and touring element of the California Boys' Choir. Musically talented boys are invited to audition at any time throughout the year for entrance into the Training    classes. New classes are formed in September and February each year. Previous music training may be helpful, but is not required.

A ten-week residential Summer Training Program is the foundation to the Concert Choir's musical and dramatic preparations for each concert season. Regularly-scheduled rehearsals totaling ten hours per week are held throughout the school year.

George Bragg with the California Boys' Choir choirboys.

Columbia Artists Management of New York contracted the California Boys' Choir in 1979 for a series of concerts to be given in conjunction with the Community Concert Associations throughout the United  States and Canada. Since then, the Choir has performed in over 200 cities, and before and estimated total audience of more than 400,000 persons, thus greatly expanding the reputation of the Choir among professional musicians and the general public.

More important to the Choir's Founder-Director, though, is the continuing growth and personal development of the Choirboys themselves. The old-fashioned ideals of taking responsibility for one's own actions, of having respect for others and for other's property, and of love for country are vital in the formation of first-rate citizens and leaders of the future. The beauty and the discipline of studying and performing music refine and ennoble the character. Through professional performance of the music, the Choirboy learns to respect others, because he has learned to respect himself.

California has a throughly-respected, and highly-praised choral ensemble in the California Boys' Choir.

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This page was last modified on 28 August 2015