The St. Thomas Boy’s Choir, the oldest cultural establishment of the city of Leipzig, Germany, performed at the First United Methodist Church in Manhattan last night.
Influenced by medieval Protestant church music, St. Thomas Church sent one of their groups, consisting of 39 singers and nine musicians, to visit various cities in Kansas, including Manhattan.
“Such extraordinary talent for such young boys,” Anna Winstel, Manhattan resident, said.
Georg Christoph Biller, the present St. Thomas Cantor, is the 36th Cantor of the St. Thomas Church. Following in the footsteps of his predecessors, Biller has continued the tradition of church music, but with an emphasis on the liturgical composition of motets and concerts.
“The talent of such youth never ceases to amaze me,” Jo Rodrigez, retired elementary school music teacher in Kansas City, Kan. said. “Their ability to change up the tempo and yet remain in harmony is true talent for such a young age of boys. Sheer beauty, the mix of high and low pitches.”
Many Manhattan residents came to see the performance, as well as other people from around Kansas. Internationally known, this group of young singers draws a crowd wherever they tour. Daniel Wilsbury from Junction City said this is the third time he and his wife have seen the boys’ choir.
“[They’re] absolutely marvelous,” Wilsbury said. “It’s such a joy to be able to come back and see the young boys perform. It adds beauty and culture to our church experience and lets us remember when we were younger and seeing the choir for the first time.”
There have been changes since back in the 1990’s.
“I have noticed the age of the boys are getting slightly younger each time we see them,” Wilsbury said. “Their hormones are beginning to kick in earlier and earlier, messing up and deepening their voices. And of course, this simply will not do.”
Not all were impressed with the boys choir, however.
“These boys are too young to understand what they are singing. They have not yet experienced the emotions one gets with age, they are innocent and pure, singing about the struggle of purity. Yet they do not know what temptation is,” Alissa Plummet, Kansas University graduate student in music theory, said. “The technical and musical side of their performances are stunning, they possess great skills. But one must have experience and memories if they are to convince the audience that their message is true.”