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Memphis Boychoir and Memphis Chamber Choir

Founded in 1988, the MEMPHIS BOYCHOIR is a non-denominational, non-sectarian ­ensemble, whose purpose is to develop a variety of musical and leadership skills among boys in the greater Memphis community, and to provide a performing outlet for talented young singers. Rehearsals are twice weekly. The boys have been featured in performances with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, the Jackson (Tennessee) Symphony Orchestra, and Opera Memphis. The Memphis Boychoir, assisted by the Memphis Chamber Choir, sings monthly services of Choral Evensong at St. John’s Episcopal Church, where both choirs are based. Their musical repertoire embraces a broad range of styles from the sixteenth century to the present. Since 1991, recordings of the Memphis Boychoir and Memphis Chamber Choir on the Pro Organo label have received international acclaim. Critics have praised the choirs for their excellence in tone, blend, diction, musicality and unusual repertoire. Their recordings have been featured on many radio programs distributed by National Public Radio and Public Radio International. They are often heard on the weekly Pipedreams show. In addition to their numerous performances throughout the mid-South region, the Memphis Boychoir and Chamber Choir have toured in the following cities: Shreveport, San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, and Washington (D.C.). In April 2001, the choirs were invited to sing at the National Cathedral, where they premiered a new work by British composer Peter Aston with the Cathedral Choir. The MEMPHIS CHAMBER CHOIR was founded in 1989. It was established as a support group for the Memphis Boychoir, thus enabling the singing of SATB repertoire. The Chamber Choir, which is comprised of professional musicians and gifted amateurs, also has developed into a performance organization of its own. The ensemble has premiered numerous works in live performance and through recordings on the Pro Organo record label. Representative living composers which have received world premieres include Peter Aston, John Baur, Don Freund, James Peebles, Lloyd Pfautsch, Daniel Pinkham, and Ned Rorem. Both the Memphis Boychoir and Memphis Chamber Choir were founded by their first director, John Ayer, who ceased work with the choirs when he left Memphis for Princeton, New Jersey, in 2004. The choirs have continued under new directors based at their home church: St. John’s Episcopal Church, in Memphis.