Atlanta Boy Choir
Atlanta, Georgia has been home to a performing boy choir since the Atlanta Boys Choir was founded as part of the music program in the Atlanta City School System in 1946. That early boy choir gave annual Christmas and Spring concerts at the Atlanta Municipal Auditorium and was composed of boys with unchanged voices. In 1953, another boy choir, known as the Atlanta Boy Choir was founded by George Crawford. That choir met at the Peachtree Road Christian Church. When Mr. Crawford relocated to Alabama, parents of the members of that early choir formed a new choir and chose Fletcher Wolfe as the founding director. That choir was incorporated as the Atlanta Boy Choir, Inc., in November 1959. Fletcher Wolfe continued to conduct the choir until the fall of 2001 when he retired and David White was hired to replace him. In the summer of 2009 Fletcher Wolfe then returned from retirement to conduct the choir on a temporary basis for one year. Under his direction, the choir added a new men's group to the choir made up largely of former boy choir alumni who had sung under Fletcher Wolfe's direction as young boys.
Over more than 50 years, the Atlanta Boy Choir had established a reputation for being one of the world's finest boy choirs, known for its diversity of members and broad repertoire which includes choral masterworks of such early composers as Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina and Claudio Monteverdi, the contemporary masterworks of such composers as Benjamin Britten and Krzysztof Penderecki, and original works. The choir has performed across North America, and Europe.
According to the Boy Choir & Soloist Directory, the choir has served both Atlanta and the United States as a cultural ambassador throughout Europe, Russia, Canada, and Mexico, appearing before presidents, popes, foreign dignitaries, crowned heads of state, and U.S. soldiers. In 2004, the Atlanta Boy Choir toured Greece as part of the 2004 Cultural Olympiad and performed at the Opening Ceremonies for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. Some of the venues where the choir has performed are the White House in Washington, DC, St. Paul's Cathedral in London, Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, the Duomo di Milano in Milan, the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington DC, St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, the Musikverein in Vienna, Carnegie Hall in New York City, and the Helsinki Cathedral in Helsinki.
In 1989, the choir won a Grammy Award for its performance of Britten’s War Requiem with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. The choir has been featured on television, radio, and participated in solos and backups on various recordings such as The Power & The Majesty: Essential Choral Classics (1995) with conductor Robert Shaw and Classics for All Seasons (1994) with various composers/conductors. The choir has also released albums under their own name including There Will Be Joy (2007), Dancing Day (2006), Garden of Beauty (2005) and In Excelsis (2004), all made when the choir was under the direction of David White.
Rift in the Choir
In the summer of 2009 there was a division in the choir when the board of directors dismissed Mr. White. While the board mentioned artistic differences, David White wanted to audition the choir for the reality TV talent show, "America's Got Talent." the majority of the reasons given were financial. Mr. White and a large group of parents who supported him formed a new organization called the Georgia Boy Choir.
The Founding Director, Fletcher Wolfe, returned from retirement to lead the choir on a temporary basis for one year. Reverend Neil Cardwell, an ordained Baptist minister and a boy choir alumnus took over interim responsibilities as a volunteer Executive Director of the Choir and Atlanta Boy Choir Alumnus Enrique Victrum provided volunteer support to help establish the Alumni Choir.
The Atlanta Boy Choir and the Alumni Choir completed a successful tour of Italy this summer (2010) that included performances at the Vatican, St, Francis of Assisi and Sulmona. The choir is currently preparing for the upcoming season and tour of Alaska (2011). Fletcher Wolfe has agreed to remain as temporary artistic director for the foreseeable future.