Originally founded on March 6, 1965 as the Cincinnati All-City Boys Choir, the choir made its debut with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and May Festival Chorus for a presentation of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem. At that time the Instructional Consultant of Music for the Cincinnati Public Schools, Robert McSpadden conducted the choir’s weekly rehearsals and organized its program and concerts with no budgetary support from the Cincinnati Public Schools other than the provision of rehearsal space and the use of copiers for duplication of music; the director and his assistant wrote all of the early arrangements for the boys to sing, pieces which remain in the Boychoir’s repertoire to this day. The choir program came to its demise at the end of the 1976-1977 season when the tax levy for the Cincinnati Public Schools failed and the choir lost both its rehearsal space and the use of the copiers.
Founded anew in 1978, the new Cincinnati “Boyschoir” (later “BoyChoir,” and finally “Boychoir” to be consistent with the formal term later adopted by the American Choral Directors Association) permitted singers from the newly developing surrounding school districts to participate. The choir rehearsed in churches, with the exception of the 1985-1986 school year when practices were held at the School for Creative and Performing Arts. The choir began its presentation of an annual tour outside the greater Cincinnati area in 1981.
Randall Wolfe, the choir’s assistant director and accompanist beginning in 1981, became director in 1986. In 1988 the choir saw its first development into a two-tiered structure which included a Preparatory Choir for first-year singers and a Concert Choir for the more skilled veteran boys. In 1993 the system became three-tiered, including the Training Choir and the Resident Choir. In 2011, the Boychoir restructured to place a high value on the older boys teaching the younger ones; while the Training Choir remains the initial experience for novice boys, the Concert Choir handles the bulk of in-town performances, and the Tour Choir boys (all of whom sing in the Concert Choir) perform nationally and internationally in special appearances.
Having rehearsed in fourteen different schools, churches, synagogues, and halls over a period of thirty-three years, the choir purchased in 1998 its first permanent rehearsal home, which includes a 900-square-foot rehearsal hall and space for offices, wardrobe, and music. In 2012, the space needs of the Boychoir outgrew the building, and rehearsals were partially shifted to Hamilton County Memorial Hall on Washington Park.
Directors of the Boychoir
Robert McSpadden, Founding Director 1965-1977
William Dickinson, Director 1978-1986; Assistant Director 1965-1977
Randall Wolfe, Director 1986-2008; Assistant Director 1981-1986
Bryan Mock, Interim Director 2008-2009
Christopher Eanes, Director 2009-present