Choir School Music
PBA choristers in the day school are in the ensemble Troubadors. As members of a Grammy Award-winning boychoir, our boys have access to unique travel and performance opportunities. Troubadors visit countries all around the world and learn about cultures very different from their own. They learn music, both sacred and secular, in foreign languages and from all historical periods. Most importantly, they learn to be good citizens of their community and their world. PBA students are the tenors, baritones, and basses of tomorrow. They will carry on the great tradition of choral music for audiences everywhere. A music education now leads to a commitment to the arts for a lifetime.
The Pacific Boychoir's proprietary music theory program has boys clamoring to work on music theory. The system is designed to break musical skills into manageable pieces, keeping the boys achieving and motivated to progress.
Based loosely on the RSCM training program, the PBA's theory program combines elements from piano teaching techniques, rhythmic teaching techniques from Karl Orff, pedagogical tools developed by Kodaly, vocal technique, ear training, and raw academic theory to develop complete, versatile, knowledgeable musicians and singers. The Pacific Boychoir's most accomplished singers can sightread as well as professional adult musicians, and know as much theory as second-year undergraduate music students.
Branded name vocal training
The PBA's vocal training mixes Bel Canto technique with intricate knowledge of boys voices, their registers and their needs. Ours is a "Continental" style boys choir, both in terms of voicing (boys, not adult men, sing alto), and tone (similar to choirs of Austria and Germany).
By design and necessity, Pacific Boychoir music staff are experts in boys' changing voices, how to use them without hurting them. As the proverb that goes, "if you can speak, you can sing," we believe that anybody who can speak has notes they can use to sing. Training changing boys' voices means having a willingness to monitor constantly shifting voices, changing voice parts as needed, and picking individual notes or phrases to modify. This kind of care allows teenagers in the Pacific Boychoir to continue to sing throughout their high school years.
Music genres performed
The Pacific Boychoir performs music from a variety of cultures, styles, and periods. The boys have sung in English, Hebrew, Spanish, Russian, Japanese, Chinese, Hawaiian, French, German, Hungarian, Czech, Italian, Swahili, Tagalog, Latin, Portugese, and Korean, to name a few.
Boys choirs have a great tradition in the history of music, and as part of this tradition the Pacific Boychoir often performs pieces written for boys voices by composers such as Mendelssohn, Bach, Mozart, Britten, and Rachmaninoff. To our knowledge, the Pacific Boychoir is the first boys choir (boy sopranos and boy altos) in America to perform works written for boys voices such as Bach's Cantata 150, Bach's Lutheran Masses, and Rachmaninoff's All-Night Vigil (Vespers). Since 2002 the Pacific Boychoir has performed often with the San Francisco Symphony. These concerts have included pieces by Mahler, Britten, Wagner, Orff, and Berlioz. In addition to these symphonic masterworks from different countries, the Pacific Boychoir learns dozens of folk songs every year from countries around the world.
As one of America's leading children's choirs, the Pacific Boychoir prides itself on performing American music and bringing it to other countries. In addition to regularly providing boys for pieces by Leonard Bernstein and Duke Ellington, the Pacific Boychoir has taken a leading role in the promotion and performance of American spirituals, which are the basis for gospel, rock, jazz, and hip hop. The Pacific Boychoir has at times also been asked to do background vocals and arrangements of pop tunes.
Boys are taught about hisorical music periods with boy-friendly terms and musical examples. They are encouraged to figure out musical periods and styles from their current repertoire. Contemporary music is broken down into various styles such as art music, jazz, pop, rock, hip-hop, and world music. Students are encouraged to see pieces of music in the context of what came before and after, as well as the context of social and political events of the time.