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One of the Port City's valuable cultural institutions is the Wilmington Boys Choir. It was started all the way back in 1984, and after an extended hiatus was reconstituted in the past few years at St. Paul's Episcopal Church. It is directed by Ronnie Wise
The program actually consisted of performances by two choirs. Wise directed the concert choir, and Catherine Charles led the junior choir. The junior choir includes boys up to nine years old.
The two choirs had different characters. The concert choir had a smooth and relaxed quality. "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" was particularly enjoyable for its gentle character. "O Holy City, Seen of John" was the ending of the program and brought it to a close with attractive harmony and some grandeur.
The junior choir had a more rhythmic quality. Their lead-off piece was "Colonel Bogey's Grand Old Flag!" This was sung with noticeable gusto. There was humor interjected when the boys played the tune on kazoos.
The two groups led off the third segment with "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'" from Oklahoma. The combined voices produced added sound and the piece was sung with attractive verve.
The Wilmington Boys Choir is more than a musical presenter. It is a social presence and a positive force in young people's lives. Its website says that the Choir "strives to instill principles of integrity, character, achievement, and a strong work ethic." Even more so in the age of texting and video games, bringing boys to focus on music, and group identity through music, can be life-enhancing. The fact that everything was sung from memory added to the sense of achievement.
The Choir is also social. Weekly rehearsals are followed by dinner, prepared for everyone by one of the parents. This gives an additional group experience, which every week enhances connection. This helps make the choir's regular concert performances part of something bigger.
The printed program for the event could benefit from the formality of listing the date and location of the performance. And even more, the names of the two choir directors who contributed their talents to the music enjoyed by a very appreciative audience.