The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Vienna Boys Choir to perform Tuesday night in Zorn Arena

Danielle Ryan

The Vienna Boys Choir, or Vienna Hofmusikkapelle, which has been in existence since 1498, is one of the world’s oldest and, arguably, most famous choirs.

Created by Emperor Maximilian I, the choir sang exclusively for the imperial court and the royal chapel until 1918, choir tutor and chaperone Andrea Zimmermann said. However, since its first visit to the United States in 1932, the choir has become one of the most popular to ever tour America, she said.

“The choir’s been in existence for more than 500 years,” company manager Tania Jastrebov said. “It started with a small group of children appointed by the emperor, and it evolved from there to become an actual choir about 100 years ago.”

The Vienna Boys Choir will be visiting Eau Claire for the second time, returning to the Artists Series after 15 seasons, and is set to perform at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Zorn Arena. The group’s musical repertoire is set to include a wide variety of music, including Austrian composers, sacred traditional music and even some modern and contemporary music, Zimmermann said.

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Today, the choir is comprised of approximately 100 choristers, aged only 10 to 14 years old, divided into four touring groups that, over two and a half months every year, give over 300 performances, she said.

“Some of (the choristers) have started as early as four years old with a musical education in preschool,” she said.

While most of the boys are from Vienna and Austria, some are from other countries, including two form America, she said.

The Austrian boys audition from a young age to get a chance to join the choir, while those from other countries audition while the group is on tour, she said.

“We invite them to Vienna for a trial period, then we offer the opportunity to sing with us,” she said. “The boys all live in a boarding school for training and in order to be prepared for their musical careers.”

Not all of the boys continue on to professional careers in music, she said. However, many of those in the men’s choirs and many conductors began with the Vienna Boys Choir, she said.

But touring isn’t all work, she said. Through their extensive touring of countries throughout Europe, Asia, and the Americas, they have a lot of chances to sightsee, she said.

“Letting the boys have fun is one of the most important parts of the tour,” she said.

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