All-boys choir ready to perform
Fifth grader Bryce Broadbelt has performed in choirs, in dance performances and in school and church plays.
Fifth grade Jacob Mastromonico has appeared with Aiken Community Playhouse’s Young Wing, as well as has played piano and guitar and appeared in boy’s and show choirs.
Sixth grader Caleb Fairchild has appeared in his church’s choir, where his dad is the preacher, and was a part in a school play.
These and 12 other boys make up the new Bound to Sing all-boys choir.
And on Sunday at 3 p.m. at Aiken’s First Baptist Church, the choir will come together with the Chukker Creek Elementary’s Boundary Boys, East Aiken School of the Art’s No Boundaries and South Boundary men’s choir to sing in its premiere concert “For the First Time.”
The concert will feature Christmas carols, of course, but some non-holiday tunes will be in the mix as well.
“The goals of the (South Boundary) group include exposure to quality and varied literature, so, spirituals, folk songs, sacred pieces, sea shanties and even a little German tune make up this first set of material,” Bill Riehl, South Boundary co-founder and musical director said. “Our expectations are to grow beyond these basic genres and expose our guys and their audiences to a broad array of material, classical, pop and folk.”
The Bound to Sing choir is one of South Boundary’s latest musical projects.
“Early in the (South Boundary’s) life in 2008, it became obvious that we weren’t getting any younger and that we could quite easily commit ourselves to a vision of supporting more singing, specifically more singing by men. And boys come first,” Riehl said.
The Boundary Boys, No Boundaries and even Scott Chappell’s group at Mossy Creek Elementary in North Augusta were started under South Boundary’s guidance, said Riehl.
“Boundary Boys were the first all male boy’s group in Aiken County, assisted and funded by South Boundary,” Joyce English, Chukker Creek music teacher, said. “Riehl comes to the school for our rehearsal every Monday morning at 7 a.m. and assists. South Boundary invites us to perform with them, and, now that we are becoming known, we are invited to perform in the community.”
All of the 25 fourth and fifth grade Boundary Boys will perform in concert.
No Boundaries were South Boundary’s second group, according to Megan Jensen, East Aiken School of the Arts’ music teacher.
The group of 20 has made public appearances, such as when it went caroling downtown last year. They were asked to come audition for the show and have done Christmas shows before. Thomas Calhoun is the Boundary Boys’ director.
South Boundary did not target just these two groups when they chose to do a massive, auditioned show, Riehl said.
Back in August, in addition to the East Aiken and Chukker Creek students, boys from Lloyd Kennedy Charter, Millbrook Elementary, Midland Valley Christian, Kennedy Middle and Schofield Middle schools and even some home-school boys appeared to audition. Fairchild is from Kennedy, Broadbelt from Warrenville Elementary and Mastromonico from Chukker Creek.
“The audition process was relatively simple,” said James Bennett, concert conductor and Aiken’s First Baptist Church music minister. “We took each boy through a progressively difficult vocal exercise and then asked him to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ in several keys. We were looking for pitch-matching skills and good vocal production.”
Fifteen of the 20 boys were picked.
The concert is free, but an offering will be taken.
Anyone interested in becoming a part of the choir, can contact Riehl at email@example.com or come to the concert.
“These boys have been a real joy to work with, and I can’t wait for them to share their music with Aiken for the first time,” Bennett said.
And Mastromonico, Fairchild and Broadbelt are pumped to be a part of the experience. “Honestly I didn’t want to join the group at first,” Mastromonico said. “My parents made me, but I’m glad I did.”
Broadbelt confesses, though he is happy to be with Bound to Sing, he gets a bit of stage fright.
“I was excited, (but) I get nervous before a performance,” he said. “But once I’m actually onstage, or doing whatever I’m doing, I’m not nervous before.”
This is Fairchild’s first real public choir performance.
“I have never performed to the public like this,” he said. “I was really excited (to keep accepted) because I never got to practice my singing skills and musical skills like this before.”