The Choir of Men and Boys is the oldest such choir in the United States and the only one not affiliated with a school. It consists of 16 boys, ages 8-14, auditioned and selected from the New York metropolitan area, with diverse ethnic and economic backgrounds. The boys rehearse several times each week and not only are paid but also receive incremental scholarships through the Anthony J. Mercede Scholarship Fund, based on their years of participation.
The full Choir of Men and Boys sings every Sunday morning at the 11:00 A.M. Mass September through May. The style and sound of the choir began in the great cathedrals and collegiate choirs of England, where the uppermost musical line was written specifically for the timbre of boys’ treble voices. Eight professional adult men sing the alto (countertenor), tenor and bass parts with the boys. The music they sing is from the English and European choral tradition: Bach, Byrd, Stanford, Willan, Haydn, Rorem, among others. The Church of the Transfiguration now also has a Girls Choir, which is singing tonight with the Boys Choir and the Camerata.
Last year the Boys Choir and Girls Choir were hired by Macaulay Culkin (of “Home Alone” fame) to sing backup in his “Pizza Project,” a recording of songs parodying the Velvet Underground. This was a lot of fun and a learning experience to work in a professional sound studio. About a month later, in another excursion into popular culture, some of the boys sang in a widely viewed commercial for “The Big Bang Theory,” a highly rated TV show. Some of the boys and girls also were recorded professionally for a new cell phone app, “Animals Carols.”