Confessions of a Chorister

Prompted by a recent documentary, a former boy singer reminisces.

By Jens F. Laurson

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A scene in Günter Atteln and Paul Smaczny’s film Die Thomaner: A Year in the Life of the St. Thomas Boys Choir Leipzig (DVD, Accentus) follows a cohort of nine-year-olds as they and their parents nervously climb the steps to Hillerstrasse 8 in Leipzig, Germany. This is the youngest crop of boys whose test-singing today will determine whether they will become Thomaner choristers. Soon they will present their (sometimes awfully raw) vocal material to Thomaskantor Georg Christoph Biller and his staff, who will listen and decide which kids can be incorporated into the choir’s eight-hundred-year-old tradition...

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