Everything you want to know about Keystone State Boychoir… but were afraid to ask!

How will my son benefit by being a member of Keystone State Boychoir?

Your son will be a part of a diverse community of boys and young men who all share something in common – a mutual talent for – and love of – music. Rehearsals will be fun and challenging at the same time,  and the results will be rewarding! He will evolve from someone who likes to sing into a singer-musician – a rare animal indeed.

Does my son have to have prior singing experience to be accepted into KSB?

No!  Luckily, everyone can learn to sing. The older a boy is without prior singing experience, the more challenging it is to accept him into KSB.  That’s why it’s important to start singing at a young age?

How old does my son have to be to start singing?

The best grade to start singing in KSB is the 3rd grade. For younger boys, we recommend they start in our early childhood music program Good Mornin’ Music! 

My son’s voice has already started changing. Is it too late to join KSB?  

No! We accept boys through the high school years.

What is expected of KSB members?

Members are expected to both sing and behave professionally whenever they are representing KSB. They are expected to arrive for all rehearsals, performances and KSB events promptly. They are expected to treat all members of the KSB family with respect. Finally, KSB members are expected to have fun! Leonard Bernstein said that music-making should “be fun all the time.” This is a philosophy we live by at KSB. Although we work very hard, we always have fun making the music, both in rehearsal and performance.

What are the different groups of KSB? 

There are different singing groups within KSB based on level of singer musicianship. Your son will placed in a group once we assess his level of singer musicianship.  We also take into account age, grade, singing experience, and social/emotional maturity. For more information about the different groups, click here.

Is there a fee for participating in KSB?

There is a tuition fee for participating in KSB.  Limited scholarship is available based on need. For more information about tuition and scholarship, click here.

What will my son wear in performance?

White socks, black shoes and white sneakers can be purchased locally. We also have an attire “bank” where “deposits” of outgrown attire items are made. Members may “withdraw” attire elements on a one-for-one basis. The attire bank is free of charge to members.

Do all the choir members participate in concert tours?

No. Participation in KSB local, regional, national and international concert tours is a privilege and is reserved for members in good standing.

Do concert tours cost money?

Yes, tours are underwritten by the parents. We do try to substantially reduce the cost of tour through various means, including group airfare rate and homestays.

Are there fundraising opportunities to defray the cost of tuition and tours?

Yes. Several fundraising opportunities are offered throughout the year to help individual members offset the cost of their tuition and tours. Deposits to a member’s ITA (Individual Tour Account) may be made at any time throughout the year and is a good way to save for the tour a little at a time.

Why don’t you let girls sing in the choir?

We appreciate this sensitive issue. Studies show that when girls sing in a mixed children’s choir, boys with unchanged voices don’t want to participate. (Graduates are another story!) In fact, most “children’s choirs” are comprised mainly of female members. Research has also proven that a boychoir has a distinct sound that is very different from a choir that includes girls. It’s not necessarily a better sound, but it is a unique sound, for which composers have written music throughout the ages. Also, in our society we don’t do as good a job as we ought to teaching young men that they can be “men” AND be emotionally expressive. The camaraderie of a boychoir does exactly that. It’s interesting to note that in other countries – South Africa for example – a male is not truly a man unless he sings. Imagine that! However, Commonwealth Youthchoirs does offer an opportunity for girls to also participate in a professional girlchoir. If you know of a young woman who would like to sing in a professional girlchoir, our sister choir is the Pennsylvania Girlchoir. Keystone State Boychoir and Pennsylvania Girlchoir occasionally appear together in concert. These performances enhance the educational aspect of choral music-making and allow each choir to experience the collaborative process. Visit Pennsylvania Girlchoir’s web site for more information.

How often does the KSB perform?

On average, the KSB performs about 25-30 times per year. Performances vary from full concerts to singing the National Anthem at a sporting event, to performing select repertoire with some of Philadelphia’s most elite arts organizations.

My son plays sports with a schedule that may conflict with the choir. Can he still be a member of KSB?

Yes. Most of our members participate in football, soccer, baseball, basketball, etc. We try to be as flexible as possible, but we do expect that a general commitment be made to the weekly Saturday rehearsal. We also require any missed rehearsals to be made up on certain Sundays nights during the season

Where does the Choir rehearse?

The Choir’s home is in the First Presbyterian Church in Germantown (FPCG) located at 35 West Chelten Avenue. However, we are a non-denominational professional choir. We rent space as “artists in residence” but do occasionally perform at FPCG services as a way to say “thank you” to our hosts. We are very lucky to have such an amazing place to call home.

What is Commonwealth Youthchoirs?

The Commonwealth Youthchoirs is the 501(c)(3) nonprofit umbrella organization which administers Keystone State Boychoir and Pennsylvania Girlchoir, as well as our outreach program Find Your Instrument! and an early childhood music program Good Mornin’ Music!

What if I have more questions?

Please feel free to get in touch! Call us at the Keystone State Boychoir office: 215.849.1762 or email us at info@keystonestateboychoir.org.