The Raleigh Boychoir's spring concert was a choral extravaganza that featured all of the ensembles of RBC as well as the Heritage Middle School Honors Chorus. This concert ended a great 2015-2016 season for the RBC, at least in the United States – the RBC Touring Choir will be performing in Ireland this summer. The resonant chapel of Hayes Barton United Methodist Church provided ambience for the more formal side of the Boychoir tradition. The effectively varied program ranged from sacred Latin to spirituals to secular choral repertoire.
After the choir members entered with a sacred processional, the Performing Choir began the program. This ensemble is led by Jeremy Tucker, the RBC's Artistic Director and conductor of the selective Young Men's Ensemble and Touring Choir. "Sing with Joy," a canonic hymn written by Handel, continued the reflective mood of the processional and showcased the ensemble's pure, clear sound. Copeland's "At the River" brought representation for American folk music to the program, along with beautiful vowels.
Towards the beginning of the program, guest speaker Sally Albrecht, an internationally known composer from the Triangle area, emphasized the importance of choir directors, and how they unify their students to create a team. The presence of Albrecht as well as fellow composer Jay Althouse, represented the lively arts education foundation that is growing in Raleigh and the Triangle. In addition, works by both of these composers were featured later on in the program.
After the Young Men's Ensemble performed a well-blended a capella arrangement of "The Longest Time," lightly accompanied by Tucker, the adorable Training Choir took the stage to perform "Come Closer" by Daniel and Christine Kallman. The Training Choir is the youngest of the ensembles, and demonstrates the system of stepping stones that allows young men to advance and grow through the different choirs. Vicki Oehling was the conductor of this ensemble. The level of musical and personal professionalism that is required of these singers, even at a very young age, is unprecedented. The Training Choir performed with an impressive amount of unified sound, and their phrase cutoffs were well executed.
The Resident Choir, conducted by Danny Yancey, sang the beautiful classic "Ave Verum Corpus" with pure Latin vowels and moving harmonies. The harmony and texture of this piece can be a challenge for younger singers, but the Resident Choir mastered the choral blend needed for the performance.
The Heritage Middle School Choir performed a set of uplifting songs including "Domine Deus" by Albrecht and "Side by Side" by Althouse. The latter was performed with charming "choralography" taught by Albrecht herself.
The Touring Choir performed next, showcasing their repertoire that they will be performing abroad in Ireland. "Yo le Canto Todo el Dia" included percussionist Benjamin Russell, and bassist Dave Wilson joined for "Praise His Holy Name." In between these more upbeat songs was the hymn "My Shepherd Will Supply My Need," which was an especially well-blended and beautiful performance. To close the concert, all of the RBC ensemble members joined together to sing "What a Wonderful World," uniting the different textures of growing voices to produce a full, rich sound.