Life as a member of the Atlantic Boy Choir is already quite busy and exciting.
For nine members from the Corner Brook area, the experience is soon going to get even more adventurous.
The local boys were recently selected to be part of the newly formed National Boy Choir of Canada, a group of 40 singers from across the country that will be travelling to Italy in July as a guest choir at the Zelioli Festival.
Auditions for the choir were recently conducted in Corner Brook and in St. John’s.
Waiting his turn was far more nerve-wracking than the actual audition performance, said National Boy Choir member Max Pittman.
“It’s just the wait for it that makes it so stressful because you think about all the things that could go wrong,” said the 12 year old who auditioned in St. John’s. “But, once you get up there, it’s so much easier because it’s not about the competition. It’s about seeing where you’re at since you started in the boy choir.”
Pittman, who moved to Corner Brook from Brampton, Ont., in January 2017, has been singing with the Atlantic Boy Choir since last August.
Ryder Bussey, 11, has been singing with the Atlantic Boy Choir since it was formed in August 2016. He shared the same experience of being eagerly anxious while awaiting his chance to prove he should be in the national choir.
“In my mind, I was like ‘Oh. My. God,” he said, briefly pausing and pounding his fist on the table for emphasis after each word. “I was shaking, but once I got up there I was fine.”
While the boys can’t wait to perform in Italy with other choirs from the host country, Germany, Ukraine, France, Czech Republic and Poland, they said they are also eager to check out the Italian cuisine and culture.
Pittman enjoys travelling to unfamiliar places and seeing how the audiences at different venues show their appreciation for performances.
“In some places, they clap at the end of every song, but in other places they wait until the end,” he said.
Prior to the overseas trip, the Atlantic Boy Choir will be hosting a retreat with the entire National Boy Choir at Killdevil Camp in Gros Morne in late June. They will then perform concerts in Corner Brook on June 29, Grand Falls-Windsor on June 30 and in St. John’s July 2.
Before all of that, the local lads will be hosting the entire Atlantic Boy Choir — made up of boys from across Newfoundland and Labrador — in Corner Brook this weekend. They will be singing at the opening ceremonies of the Corner Brook Winter Carnival at both city hall and Margaret Bowater Park this evening and also have concerts planned for the Cathedral of the Most Holy Redeemer at 7:30 p.m. Sunday evening and at First United Church at 2 p.m. Monday.
On Monday morning, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., there will be an open rehearsal and auditions for the choir at First United Church. The auditions would be private, so boys wanting to be part of the choir won’t have to sing in front of an audience to try out.
Bussey encouraged anyone who is interested in singing, travelling and making new friends to audition.
“It’s so much fun and there are a bunch of opportunities most kids our age won’t get anywhere else,” he said.
The choir is currently conducting a major fund-raiser to help defray the costs incurred by the busy travel schedule. The prize for the Mother’s Day draw is a trip for four to Toronto in June, which includes tickets to see the “Come From Away” musical production and a Toronto Blue Jays baseball game.
The nine Atlantic Boy Choir singers from the Corner Brook area who successfully auditioned for the National Boy Choir:
Weblink for the Zelioli Festival: http://www.festivalzelioli.it/en/home
How to buy tickets for the Atlantic Boy Choir’s Mother’s day draw:
by phone at 709-660-1031
by email at firstname.lastname@example.org