The Monaco Boys Choir celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, and to mark the occasion, the award-winning ensemble has just embarked on a tour of the East Coast of the USA.
Formerly known as The Little Singers of Monaco (Les Petits Chanteurs de Monaco), this world-renowned choir, under the direction of Pierre Debat, opened its tour with two free concerts in New York City – in the Cathedral of St John the Divine on July 11th and at the Alliance Francaise’s annual Bastille Day Street Festival on July 13th.
The official choir of the Monaco Cathedral, and recognised as one of the Principality’s musical treasures, the Monaco Boys Choir was founded in 1974 by Prince Rainier III, to highlight the Principality’s historic association with culture and the performing arts. It is composed of over 30 singers aged between eight and 18 years, each of whom has had to undergo a series of rigorous examinations to gain admission.
Now under the patronage of H S H Prince Albert of Monaco, and with the support of the Monégasque government, the choir is able to donate its time and talents to the presentation of concerts for the benefit of many international humanitarian associations.
The choir’s repertoire includes sacred works by Charpentier, Bach, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Fauré and Franck, as well as French and Monégasque folk songs, traditional English songs and patriotic American songs. It is particularly popular for the unusual repertoire of works written for children.
Traditionally, the choir undertakes a European tour in spring, followed by a summer tour to more distant destinations. It performs an average of 30 to 40 concerts each year, and has visited more than 40 nations around the world.
Following a special concert for invited guests at the Embassy of France for their National Day celebrations on Bastille Day, July 14th, the choir presents two more concerts in Washington DC. Both free and open to the public, the first of these takes place at 11.30 am on July 15th in the main Atrium at the Children’s National Health Center for the patients, their families and guests. Later that day, at 5.00 pm, the choir will mark the 200th anniversary of writing of the poem by Francis Scott Key which provided the lyrics for the American national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner. This performances takes place in Flag Hall at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
“The Principality has attracted discerning visitors for centuries by offering unique cultural, sporting, and lifestyle experiences,” says Monaco’s Ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency Maguy Maccario Doyle, “and it is always very exciting when our cultural emissaries come to town.”
Following its appearances in Washington DC, the choir will visit Charlotte NC, Atlanta, Orlando (at Disneyworld), West Palm Beach, Port St Lucie and Miami. A final appearance will feature a special pre-game rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner at the Washington Nationals vs Miami Marlins game at Marlins Park in Miami at the end of July.
See a Fox Business video clip of the choir singing God Bless America and an interview with Karla Modolo, Senior Officer of the Consulate General of Monaco in New York, recorded shortly after the boys arrived in the city on July 9th: http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/3666766306001/monaco-boys-choir-sings-god-bless-america/#sp=show-clips.