We note several different boy choirs in Belgium. As in Frrance theredoes not seem to be any continum between the medieval and modern choirs as is the case in Britain. And the Belgian chirs seem more modern than the French choirs which began forming in the early-20th century. The Belgian choirs seem to mostly date to well after Word War II in the 1960s and 70s.
Several of the individual Belgian are connected with Catholic schools, ibcluding boarding schools. This alows for a very high level of performance. Some are well known choirs and travel aboroad to give cocerts, often singing arange of musical pieces, including popular secular music. Oter choirs have amore Catholic foundation, singling exclusively religious music and sing in churches as pt of relogious ceremonies. We have begun to collect information on Beklgian choirs and have found some basic information. Severl have been influenced by the boy choir tradition which deveooped in France, ecen adopting similar names and uniforms. This has proven a little complicated because un several cases we note different names used for the same choir.
The Belgian boys'choir. A Belgian reader reports that
"le choeur d'enfants de Belgique" and "les petits chanteurs de Lessines" are two names for the same choir, the second being the initial name. The choir has reportedly stopped its activities about 1995.
Choir costumes and school uniforms in Belgium are quite similar to French styles. Most Belgian choir schools are attached to private Catholic colleges. These private schools are high schools, although many also have programs for elmentary age children. The choir school provides intensive mucic instruction, but the boys can take advantage of the facilities and educational opportunities of the school at large. The choir is apparently called "The Hummingbirds" and make concert tours to Canada and other countries.
This is a modern choir group. They wear red long pants, but have some destinctive costumes for their performance. They include a Tyrolian outfit (leather shorts) and shorts worn with a blue bow and white knee socks. Choir with the boys wear scout scarves, blue sweaters, blue cord shorts, white knee socks, and black leather shoes. A Beklgian reader tells that he has never heard of this choir.
One of the modst accomplished Belgian choirs is the Lessines choir. The choir boys at Lessines for many year wore blue sweaters and short pants with white kneesocks. The choir now wears long pants. This is a style of school uniform that was once worn at some Belgian and French private Catholic schools. The choir stopped functioning for a few years, but is now operating again
Les Pastoureaux is a very well known choir in Belgium. They seem to be named after the medieval popular movements, Shepherds' Crusade. Les Pastoureaux mens the The Shepherd Boys. They are aklso known as the Petits Chanteurs de Waterloo et de Louvain-la-Neuve, mening the Waterloo and Louvain-la-Neuve Boys' Choir. It is a Belgian choir of both boys and adult men ingers based in Waterloo. It was founded in 1974. The Choir is currently conducted by Philippe Favette. Their performance repertoire includes works of religious music as well as popular secular music. The boys wear destictive yellow sweaters with blue shirts and black pants. They are a verry competent choir producing beautiful music. They also exhibit reasonable stage craft, although many of the boys sway a little during performances. When their conductor begins to conduct, the boys put their hands behind their backs. The soloists have beautiful voices, including some quite young boys..
Les Petits Chanteurs de Belgique is one of the most famous boy choirs in Belgium. They perform concerts and make foreign trips. The Choir ws founded in 1965. The name adopted was similar to that of many French choirs. It continues the tradition of French manécanteries, composed solely of boy voices. The Petits Chanteurs perform thriougout Belgium and abroad. They give concerts and also participte in estivals, weddings and youth congresses. They are members of the National Federation and International Pueri Cantores. The Choir is based in Lesines. They have founded some related choirs in Brussels, Namur and Mouscron, which allows boys living in other regions to participate. The Choir is open to any boy who loves to sing. The Choir provides through the musical approach, a creative education to every member. The boys learn the meaning of the beautiful, listening, concentration, discipline and collective. They also provide the boys interesting trips abroad, serving as little ambassadors for Belgium. A Belgian reader tells us that has not heard a lot about them recently.
The Schola Cantorum Cantate Domino was founded in 1959 by its current conductor, Father Michaël Ghijs. Its members are all pupils or former pupils of the St. Martin's Institute, a regular secundary school in Aalst, a town approximately 25 km from Brussels, the center of Europe. The aim of the choir, as its name expresses, is to sing to the Lord. The choir consists of 90 persons, boys and men, aged between 10 and 40. Didvided into the four traditional voicegroups; Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass.
We have found several other boy choirs in Belgium, but we do not yet have much information about them. In Zele, Belgium, there is a Catholic boys choir "In vehementi spiritu". They sing in the church, but they also travel. In Beveren, Belgium, there is the Knapenkoor St. Martinus Since 1931 "In Dulci Jubilo" Knapenkoor in St. Niklaas (near Antwerp) In Antwerp the Cathedral Boys Choir. There is also a choir in the German-speaking region of Belgium the Eupener Knabenchor (Choeur des
Garçons d'Eupen), a boys choir that sings in German.
Many Belgian uniforms are very similar. In addition, choir costumes and school uniforms in Belgium are quite similar to French styles. Most Belgian choir schools are attached to Catholic colleges as are the choir boys pictured here. As is the case at many French and Belgian catholic schools, the boys wwear: blue sweaters, shirts worn without ties, blue short pants, white kneesocks, and black leather shoes. These boys wear light blue shirts rather than white shirts. Their distinctive shield will help to identify.
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