Music Education By Immersion: Cincinnati Boychoir Launches New Cultural Curriculum

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Innovative music education and performance group provides personal growth, community impact, and travel curriculum for boys and young men in greater Cincinnati.

Cincinnati, OH, March 5, 2018—The Cincinnati Boychoir is thrilled to announce a bold new direction for the future. Building on its distinguished 53-year history as one of America’s premiere boychoir programs, the Cincinnati Boychoir will transform lives by focusing on personal growth, community impact, and travel.

Artistic Director and CEO Dr. Chris Eanes says, “We view the world as a classroom, with music as both a lens and vehicle for experiencing that world. I’ve seen boys move through this program and mature into empathetic, strong leaders and good citizens. They carry those traits into their communities, and positive change ripples throughout the world.”

Building on its core values (see attached), the Boychoir has redesigned its educational and musical programs around a Cultural Curriculum. This Cultural Curriculum guides boys through the study of the music and culture of a particular ethnic group, region, or historical event over a three-year cycle.

During the 2016–2017 and 2017–2018 seasons, the Cincinnati Boychoir has been exploring the Civil Rights movements in the United States and South Africa. The boys have worked with guest artists on gospel and spiritual music, and in 2016, the touring choir visited historic sites including the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Selma, Preservation Hall in New Orleans, and 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham on their Blues and BBQ Tour.

In 2017, a clinician from University of Chicago who is an expert on the music of South Africa taught the Boychoir and participants in the All-City Boychoir Festival about the unique elements of this country’s music. They learned elements of the Zulu language from a native speaker and were taught elements of isicathamiya performance during a workshop with the GRAMMY-winning South African group Ladysmith Black Mambazo. The Boychoir program has also offered readings and special resources for families to learn about the struggle of Apartheid in South Africa. All of this work culminates in a trip to South Africa for the Ambassadors, the Boychoir’s elite touring ensemble, in June 2018.

Many boys stay in the choir from elementary grades through high school. Beth Waye, mother of one long-time member, said, “Through Boychoir tours, my son gained so much confidence. It was a huge leap in his social skills and it’s been cool to watch his progression from a ‘little’ brother to a ‘big’ brother and mentor.”

From 2018 to 2021, the Boychoir will undertake a deep study of the Hispanic world, with special focus on Hispanic life in the United States in the 21st century. They will also explore the Spanish-language cultures of South, Central, and North America, as well as Europe. The Boychoir will welcome conversations about immigration, the changing demographic of the United States, colonialism, and more.

Dr. Eanes said, “We intend to engage Cincinnati’s Hispanic community in the conversation. We have already assembled the beginnings of a Hispanic Cultural Curriculum task force to help guide this process, and we joined the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to broaden our base of knowledge and support.”

The three-year cycle will feature Spanish and English materials throughout. Tours will expand and enhance the boys’ discovery and understanding of Latin music by including destinations where Hispanic culture is strong, both in and out of the United States.

As an expression of this new direction, the Boychoir has also launched a vibrant, contemporary, and beautiful new brand. Samples of the new brand identity are attached. The Cincinnati Boychoir works with boys starting as young as six all the way through high school graduation. This life stage is one marked by transformation: voice, body, and being. Through discipline, training, community, and travel opportunities, the Boychoir guides its members through this transformation.

The Boychoir’s new brand represents the transformation and growth that the program strives to impart to each participant and by extension, to the Greater Cincinnati area and the world.

The Cincinnati Boychoir will continue to serve as a safe place for every boy to learn and grow, regardless of race, religion, socioeconomic background, sexual orientation, education, politics, or musical experience.

 

The Cincinnati Boychoir is one of the premiere professional boychoirs in the United States, maintaining a world-class performance level and the highest quality music education. Since 1965, the Boychoir has worked to create opportunities for every boy in the greater Cincinnati area to sing, regardless of musical background, age, race, socioeconomic status, etc., and to ensure that it is a safe space for every boy. Located in the urban arts core of Cincinnati at the Aronoff Center for the Arts, the Boychoir reaches more than 300 young men each year from more than 100 schools in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. Each year, the Cincinnati Boychoir presents approximately 30 annual performances in Greater Cincinnati and has performed concerts and completed residencies both at home and abroad, including on stages in the United Kingdom and Australia. In June 2018, the Ambassadors, the Boychoir’s elite touring ensemble, will embark on a two-week tour of South Africa and Swaziland.

 

Core Values

We believe in transformation.

We believe boys have tremendous potential to lead their communities.

We believe boys can accomplish great things when they collaborate.

We believe in the power of one from many.

We believe in being responsible to and for one another.

We believe in the power of music from all cultures and religions to teach us about each other and about vocal and choral performance.

We believe in the power of travel to help boys shift their focus from self to community.

We believe in the power of community to connect us and encourage each boy to contribute his own unique abilities for the greater good.

We believe in the growth potential of every single boy—growth in stature, in musical skill, and especially in citizenship.

We believe in pursuing knowledge, empathy, and understanding as we explore ideas, the world, and our place in it.

We believe in being a safe place for boys to learn and grow regardless of their race, religion, socioeconomic background, education, sexual orientation, politics, or walk of life.

We are the Cincinnati Boychoir.

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General Inquiries: christopher.eanes@cincyboychoir.org

Press Inquiries: joy.bennett@cincyboychoir.org