Tuesday night is rehearsal night for the Mississippi Boychoir at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Jackson. Lelon Thompson is the artistic director.
"The boy choir tradition is a choral tradition that goes back centuries," said Thompson. "And when you listen to the sound of like, the Vienna Boy Choir, even the Mississippi Boychoir, there is a quality that you don't hear in other types of choirs. Just something unique to the young male voice before it's changed. It's angelic. It's pure."
The Mississippi Boychoir was organized about 14 years ago. Ages range from 1st grade through early college. And as the older young men leave the choir, new recruits are always coming in.
"We have about 50 boys this year," said choir manager Betty Jacobs. "And it's grown from, just doubled in about two years."
Adonai Mahoungou and Jay Warnock say they've learned more than just music in the choir.
"We learn self discipline, how to react to each other, how to treat each other nice in behavior," said Mahoungou.
"We work as a team," said Warnock. "That's one of our strengths as a choir. It's not an individual solo. We have to learn to work with each other."
Laniece Altman is one of the parents. The Boychoir represents an outlet for her youngster.
"It's given my son the opportunity to be in a choir," said Altman. "He's a homeschooled student. So he doesn't have a school choir."
Rita Carter says there is a bonding between the parents of the choir members like there is among the boys in the choir, people who may have otherwise never met.
"Not only do the boys join the Mississippi Boychoir but the parents join because all the parents are very active and very supportive of the boys in everything that the choir does," said Carter.
The choir represents various racial groups, the whole economic strata, home school, private school, and public school. And when they come together they make, as director Thompson says, "an angelic sound" as often happens on the common ground in the midst our diversity.
And on that common ground, we find out we really weren't all that diverse in the first place.
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