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San Francisco Boys Chorus History

San Francisco Boys Chorus

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Based in: San Francisco, United States.

The Grammy award winning San Francisco Boys Chorus (SFBC) was founded by Gaetano Merola and Madi Bacon in 1948 to provide trained boy singers for the San Francisco Opera, and is today led by Artistic Director, Ian Robertson.

Maestro Robertson, who also serves as Chorus Director for the San Francisco Opera, has since 1996 built SFBC to over 220 singers from 50 Bay Area cities and more than 120 schools at campuses in San Francisco, Oakland, and San Rafael in California.

The SFBC recently performed at the inauguration of President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C., and has performed for His Majesty King Gustav of Sweden; HRH Queen Elizabeth II of England; HRH Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall; Mikhail Gorbachev, President of the former Soviet Union; the late Pope John Paul II; General Colin Powell; Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi; Senator Dianne Feinstein; Senator Barbara Boxer; Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger; and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

Members of SFBC's Concert Chorus have recently appeared in the San Francisco Opera's productions of Massenet's Werther, Verdi's Otello, Puccini's Suor Angelica, Puccini's Tosca, Puccini's La Boheme, Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov, Portman's The Little Prince, Wagner's Tannhauser, Mozart's The Magic Flute, and Verdi's Macbeth. The San Francisco Opera regularly uses SFBC boy soloists in their productions.

Concert and Intermediate Chorus members have appeared in the San Francisco Symphony's Deck the Hall concerts for the last three years, and soloists from the SFBC have been featured in the SF Symphony's performances of The Lord of the Rings Symphony and Bernstein's Chichester Psalms. In recent years, the Chorus has also participated in the SF Symphony's performances of Liszt's Dante Symphony and Mahler's Third Symphony.

The Chorus has for more than thirty years toured internationally to countries including England, France, Italy, Hungary, Austria, Romania, Israel, Scotland, Wales, China, Japan, the Czech Republic and the former Soviet Union.

The Chorus has performed in St George's Chapel, Windsor, Ely Cathedral and St Margaret's, Westminster in England; Chartres Cathedral, Notre Dame Cathedral (Paris) and La Madeleine Church (Paris) in France; Mathias Cathedral in Budapest, Hungary; St Stephens Church in Prague, Czech Republic; St Stephens in Vienna and Seckau Monastery in Austria; Lucca Cathedral, St Mark's Basilica (Venice) and St. Peter's Basilica (Rome) in Italy; St John's Cathedral (Hong Kong), Shanghai Concert Hall, and Tokyo City Hall in Asia.

Recently, the Concert and Men's Choruses toured to southern France where they sang in Monaco and Marseille Cathedrals, and the Concert Chorus appeared twice as guest artists in Mahler's 3rd Symphony and Carmina Burana with the Grand Teton Music Festival, Wyoming, under Music Director, Donald Runnicles.

Other domestic performances have included the Pacific International Children's Choir Festival, Eugene, Oregon; the Heritage Music Festival, Anaheim, California; and the SFBC debut at Carnegie Hall, New York.

SFBC enjoys close ties to the San Francisco Bay Area, appearing at numerous civic and private engagements including San Francisco Giants games, Oakland Athletics games, Oakland Raiders games, the Macy's Union Square Tree Lighting, the PGA President's Cup 2009 Opening Ceremonies, and Mayor Gavin Newsom's 2008 inauguration.

For the last five years, PBS station KQED-TV has broadcast SFBC's holiday concert, which was also aired in four other California television markets.

SFBC has released several recordings over the years including We're On Our Way (2000), Moving On (2003), and It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (2009). 2010 saw the release of two more CDs, San Francisco Boys Chorus sings Vivaldi: Gloria and Magnificat and San Francisco Boys Chorus sings Faure and Messager, which includes the Faure Requiem.

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