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American Boychoir To Hit A High Note In Westport Performance

Fernando Malvar-Ruiz and the American Boychoir
Fernando Malvar-Ruiz and the American Boychoir Photo Credit: Contributed photo
American Boychoir
American Boychoir Photo Credit: Contributed photo

WESTPORT, Conn. — Music lovers are in for a treat Saturday, Jan. 30, when the world-renowned American Boychoir makes its only Connecticut appearance this season at Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church.

The Princeton, N.J.-based professional ensemble, which collectively boast a five-octave range, will present “How Can I Keep from Singing?” It will be an evening of music inspired by the uplifting text of the 19th-century hymn of the same name.

“The most human cultural act is singing. Every culture in the world sings,” said Fernando Malvar-Ruiz, who has been the boychoir’s artistic director for 16 years. “So we will have music from all over the world.”

The boys will offer selections by Mendelssohn and Barber as well as a song in which the choristers sound like rainforest animals.

Heralded as one of the nation’s premiere musical ensembles, the American Boychoir performs regularly with world-class orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and is often featured with such illustrious conductors as James Levine, Charles Dutoit and Alan Gilbert.

But the choir is not just a musical act. All 24 boys also attend the American Boychoir School, an elite institution serving 35 boys in grades 4 to 8 from around the country, Malvar-Ruiz said. Boys with a passion for singing audition for the choir and then visit the school for a few days with their parents to see if it’s a good match for them.

The school pairs rigorous academics with two hours of vocal training each day.

“The result is they are a choir with extraordinary musicianship,” Malvar-Ruiz said. “We make them able to accomplish amazing things.

"But the boys are all very normal.”

The school is at the center of the recent Dustin Hoffman-Kathy Bates film "Boychoir," which was released internationally but will make a television debut in the United States, Malvar-Ruiz said. Much of the film was shot at Fairfield University.

The American Boychoir aims to showcase the European boychoir tradition of the British Isles, Vienna and beyond. Local boys interested in the school will have an opportunity to audition for Malvar-Ruiz directly after the Westport performance. No appointment is necessary.

The concert begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $45 for preferred seating, $35 for adults and $15 for children. Visit www.chtwestport.org for more information.

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