By Wayne Harada
You’ve seen and heard them before: cherubic youths with high-pitched voices and animated faces, projecting enthusiasm and aloha to spare when they sing “We Are Young Men of This Country,” a trademark song.
Cute and charismatic, this is The Honolulu Boy Choir, a world-renowned organization of Island youths who serve as musical ambassadors of Hawai‘i.
And now’s the time to join as prospects are being recruited to join a time-honored tradition of sharing the songs and dances of the Islands to audiences here and abroad.
The season’s final auditions will be held this Saturday, so it’s prudent to acquire a time slot to try out. To secure an audition time, call 596-7464.
If you have a young son, or know a member of your family or a neighbor down the street who might be a fit for this incomparable experience, take action now.
It’s a privilege to join and not all may qualify.
Boys between 7 through 12, who have a sunny disposition, the smarts to match pitch and the willingness and enthusiasm to learn the wonders of Island song and dance to perform as an ensemble, are eligible.
A positive attitude is a plus; discipline and commitment are also welcome attributes.
Experience is not necessary; if your child has talent, this will become obvious as he learns the craft of choir singing.
Aside from a $50 processing fee each year to cover the cost of a music lyric book, rehearsal CDs and an official Honolulu Boy Choir, there is no cost to join. Subsequent fees will be assessed to cover uniforms, once a new member is deemed ready for prime time.
A few scholarships may be available for those needed support.
If selected, the youth will be expected to attend rehearsals from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays at Makiki Christian Church, 829 Pensacola St. Attendance and participation will be mandatory; occasionally, additional practice sessions will be scheduled, notably when performances are coming up. Three unexcused absences will lead to termination.
The Honolulu Boy Choir operates on a 10-month program, from January through December, with vacation time pegged for July and August. An infrequent call for convention work may be in store during the summer months.
The late Roy Hallman founded the choir in 1973 with his wife, Nyle, as accompanist, with members from as many as 40 Island schools; the Hallmans had a 20-year association with the boy choir.
Membership usually is 60 boys whose ethnicities represent the diverse Island cultures and socio-economic backgrounds, reflecting a distinguished rainbow of happy faces and adorable voices.
The Choir’s repertoire, similarly, represents a United Nations-like roster of music, tapping contemporary, ethnic, folk, traditional and religious music, with hula adding a unique dimension and charm.
The choir’s signature song is Keola Beamer’s “We Are Young Men of This Country,” as well as the seasonal “Twelve Days of Christmas,” with added Island-specific lyrics.
The choir has been called Hawai‘i’s Ambassadors of Music and Culture.
Anyone with a memory to share, about an offspring or ‘ohana member who previously performed wth The Honolulu Boy Choir?