The Voices, They Are A-Changin’

November 29, 2010 § Leave a comment

Ever wonder what happens to a choirboy when his voice starts changing? In most cases, these poor little singers are kicked out of their choirs, left to navigate the tumultuous sea that is the changing voice. That’s exactly what an already confused and awkward preteen boy needs — social isolation. Fortunately the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus recognizes this practice is unfair. As a result they created the Young Men’s Ensemble in the fall of 2009. This ensemble provides a safe and nurturing environment for transitioning young male singers. The current conductor, Steven Kronauer, chooses repertoire that is appropriate for these young voices. Additionally, the boys have opportunities to participate in master classes with professional choral groups like Chanticleer, countertenor, David Daniels, and tenor, Ben Heppner. Groups like YME are very rare. This article in the The Los Angeles Times sites only three other ensembles in the nation.

I would like to raise a glass to these choral groups. So often pubescent boys are left out of the equation. They are ignored because no one knows what to do with them. That sends the all the wrong signals. Boys are turned away from their choirs, support groups and communities they have come to rely on, because of something they can neither escape nor control. One boy in the article states, “I could still sing well, but it made me nervous and scared because I thought I might lose that connection to everyone and everything I had done.” While adolescence and puberty is embarrassingly awkward for everyone, it isn’t fair for someone to be punished for it. Here’s to you Young Men’s Ensemble!

–Carolyne Hall

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