Boys' choir

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Domspatzen at the Regensburg Cathedral

A boys' choir, boy choir or boychoir, is a choir made up of boys. The members of a boy's choir are referred to choirboys or choristers. The unchanged voices pf pre-pubescent boys' have a high pitch, similar to that of adult women, but a unique tone which has contributed to the popularity of boy choirs.

Boys' choir and discipline[edit]

Because boys' choirs can perform music at something similar to an adult professional ensemble, choirboys may be subject to greater discipline than other children. While that level of discipline may be achieved based on the intrinsic joy children get from music, it also may require stricter rules and greater application of punishment than other settings.

Especially in the past, that often meant subjecting choirboys to spanking.

Over the years a number of cases of excess corporal punishment in boy choirs have received media attention.

For instance, decades of abuse at the Regensburger Domspatzen (the boy choir of the Catholic cathedral in the Bavarian city of Regensburg) and its associated boarding school has been a source of scandal in Germany. Boys in the Domspatzen preparatory school were subject to severe canings and birchings for such offenses as bedwetting and scoring in the bottom of their class for the week at piano tests.[1] In addition to turning a "blind eye" towards the treatment of younger children, former director Georg Ratzinger (brother of Pope Benedict XVI) admitted that "at the start, I also slapped people in the face, but I always had a bad conscience" while also claiming to have experienced relief when Bavaria forbid corporal punishment in schools.[2]

One of what was the most famous boys' choirs in the United States, the Boys Choir of Harlem, was alleged to have used (illicit) corporal punishment pervasively.[3]

Boys' choirs have also been the target of many allegations of sexual abuse. In some cases, choirmasters have been charged with spanking choirboys for sexual gratification.[4]

Boys' choirs in culture[edit]

The reputation of choir boys for obedience has had an effect on the English language. Idiomatically, "choir boy" refers to a compliant and obedient individual, unlikely to get involved in naughtiness, similar to the term boy scout.

Many of the boys in the Lord of the Flies are members of a choir.

See also[edit]

References[edit]