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Atlanta Boy Choir performs Christmas carols, spirituals, Latin hymns at monastery

The Atlanta Boy Choir will present its 30th annual Christmas Concert at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit on Dec. 15 at 7 p.m.

The Atlanta Boy Choir will present its 30th annual Christmas Concert at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit on Dec. 15 at 7 p.m.

CONYERS -- An international performance group, the Atlanta Boy Choir, will once again make its local appearance at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, filling the monastery chapel with its ethereal, soprano sound during its annual Christmas Concert.

"The Atlanta Boy Choir concert in the Abbey Church of the Monastery of the Holy Spirit is a tradition that many look forward to each year. Occurring during the height of the Season of Advent, the concert fits so well with the tone of anticipation and preparation for the coming of Christmas," said Brother Callistus Crichlow, a monk at the monastery.

"Since the setting is both festive and sacred, the words of the hymns and carols sung there seem more wondrous and often resonate in a way far deeper than is possible in another place."

The monks at the monastery encourage the public to purchase their tickets for the Atlanta Boy Choir Christmas Concert early, as the performance is typically a sellout.

The concert takes place Saturday, Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, 2625 Ga. 212 in Conyers. Tickets are $20, or $15 for students and seniors over 65 and can be purchased at www.trappist.net or at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit gift shop.

Fletcher Wolfe, conductor and founder of the 55-year-old choir, said the monastery performance will feature 42 boys, ages 5 through those in their teen years, along with a 40-member alumni men's choir.

"Each group will be doing their own thing, as well as singing together," said Wolfe, who added that the singers will be accompanied by harp, flute, oboe, violin, cello, piano and harpsichord.

Wolfe said the men's program includes "a couple of interesting spirituals written just for men," such as "Mary Had a Baby" and "Goin' to Bethlehem." Several classical pieces will also be on tap, including "O Tannenbaum."

Some highlights of the boys' songs include "Carol of the Drum"; the English carol "Dancing Day"; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's "Ave verum"; the J.S. Bach/Charles Gounod "Ave Maria"; and "Christmas Day," by Gustav Holst.

Together the men and boys will sing Antonio Vilvaldi's "Gloria," the German version of "Silent Night, Holy Night," and "Fanfare for Christmas."

Hanukkah songs will also be featured,

If You Go

• What: Atlanta Boy Choir Christmas Concert

• Where: Monastery of the Holy Spirit, 2625 Ga. 212 in Conyers

• When: 7 p.m. on Dec. 15

• Cost: Tickets are $20, or $15 for students and seniors over 65 and can be purchased at www.trappist.net or at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit gift shop.

including "Mi Yimalel" and a tenor performing the 150th Psalm in Hebrew.

Wolfe said the choir prides itself on bringing together young men from all different races, religions and financial backgrounds.

"That's all part of the experience of the value of being in this, they all become brothers," said Wolfe.

Wolfe said about 8,000 boys have been in the choir since it began.

"If you work with young boys, it's a wonderful spiritual experience. We're developing good boys into great men. The men in this group are wonderful people today," said Wolfe.

A number of notable performers got their start with the Atlanta Boy Choir, including Shuler Hensley, a Tony Award winning Broadway star; Morris Robinson, a Metropolitan Opera star; and Richard Clement, a Grammy Award-winning singer.

Wolfe said singing in the choir builds character in the boys.

"You're giving of yourself when you sing for people, you're giving of your time and talent," he said.