In a Season of Boys’ Choirs, a Question: Why No Girls?
Christmas is like, well, Christmas for the boys’ choirs of the world.
For many in Britain, Christmas Eve this year meant tuning in to a broadcast of a lone boy chorister singing “Once in Royal David’s City” in a piercing voice, before being joined by the other boys and men of the choir of King’s College, Cambridge, which traces its history to 1441.
In Austria, the Vienna Boys Choir, which is nearly as old, sang Haydn on Christmas morning in the Imperial Chapel. Also on Tuesday morning, in Germany, the St. Thomas Boys Choir of Leipzig, which dates back to 1212, sang the music of Bach, its former leader. And at a younger St. Thomas Church, on Fifth Avenue in New York, an esteemed choir of men and boys sang a Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols to a jam-packed service on Christmas Eve.
Which leads to a question: Where were the girls?
That has reverberated more than usual this year, ever since a British soprano, Lesley Garrett, wrote an article this month calling on King’s College to include girls in its choir.
The answer? “Because they sing just as well. And they’re committed; they come. And there are many more that want to sing. So why should I keep closing the doors on someone that wants to sing?”
Mr. Núñez said that he had had problems finding boys to join “since the beginning of time.” But by recruiting many at young ages, the chorus has been able to retain more, and is now around 45 percent boys.