Vienna Boys' choir stirs holiday spirit

Vienna Boys Choir
Charleston Post and Courier

Christmas angels have nothing on the Vienna Boys' Choir who sang true — ringingly true — to their musicianship and to a plethora of composers Thursday night at Gaillard Auditorium.

A sold-out crowd, including more than 550 students, barely took a breath as the 23 boys, none older than 14, exhibited a stunning level of discipline in every aspect of their inspiring performance, which was part of the Charleston Concert Association season.

The selections ranged from a traditional carol from the 15th century (when the Vienna Hofmusikkapelle was formed, to include six boys by order of Emperor Maximilian I) to Bizet and Schubert, Puccini and Paul Simon (yes, of Simon & Garfunkel fame).

Kerem Sezen, this choir's conductor and accompanist, agreed to reverse the two halves of the program to accommodate the large number of kids who presumably would prefer to hear holiday favorites such as "White Christmas" and "Jingle Bells." Great numbers of these Charleston County School District kids stayed for the entire presentation.

In sailor suits crisp as their diction, in front a snowy mountain backdrop and charming stage sets, the boys never lost focus, keeping their eyes on Sezen, singing everything from memory, and demonstrating an ideal of choral singing. Their tone is pristine, their dynamics perfectly rendered, but of course it is their youth and pure soprano voices that make them unique.

If a single soul in the audience went home without feelings of gratitude for the joys of the holiday season, then go back to Whoville, you nasty old Grinch