The Turku Cathedral Boys´ Choir
In European music history, the boys’ choir tradition is one of the oldest choral forms of the Christian Church. It dates back for nearly a thousand years. In fact, many choirs in England and in continental Europe have been operating continuously for centuries.
As a vocal instrument, boys’ choirs are unique. Clean, clear boy sopranos singing without vibrato, represent ”angelic voices”, just borrowed for a short while. With and after the breaking of a boy’s voice, a new task must be found for him in the choral community. This constant shift in the boys’ voices makes a boys’ choir by far the most difficult choral form, which places great demands on the conductor.
CCI, in other words Chorus Cathedralis Iuniorum, the Turku Cathedral Boys’ Choir, was established in 1987 at the initiative of the joint music commitee of the Turku Lutheran Parishes, to follow the example of European boys’ choirs. The choir makes a significant contribution to the music life of Turku Cathedral and takes part in the church services of both the Cathedral and other Turku congregations.
The main choir consists of about 40 to 50 singers aged from eight to twenty, who practise twice a week. In one of the rehearsals, tenors and basses practise together, and sopranos and altos together. In addition, the choir’s rehearsal programme includes weekend camps and a summer and a winter camp.
About 10 to 15 newcomers, aged 7 or 8 years, are annually selected through an audition process to sing in the training choir. In this choir, the boys learn the basics of voice control, reading music, and other abilities that the choir singers will need.
The Turku Cathedral Boys’ Choir gives concerts regularly in the home country. In addition, it has made concert tours to Sweden, England, Germany, Estonia, the United States and Canada. Besides a capella numbers, the repertoire of the choir consists of large orchestral compositions, such as W.A.Mozart’s Requiem and various masses; F.Schubert’s Missa in B; J.S.Bach’s St.John and St.Matthew Passions, and Christmas Oratorio; and M.-A. Charpentier’s Messe de Minuit.
The choir’s latest recording, a CD entitled Personet Hodie!, features Christmas music, made together with the Finnish organist Kalevi Kiviniemi. The CD was very well received by the critics and the audience alike, and was adopted by the city of Turku – the Christmas City – to serve as the official Christmas CD in 1998.
The Artistic Director of the choir is Mr Heikki Rainio, Director Cantus. He holds a Sibelius Academy Master’s Degree with a Diploma in Singing.
In English by Hilkka Yli-Jokipii /Turku University
© The Turku Cathedral Boys´ Choir