The highly-reputed Ragazzi Boys Chorus, comprising approximately 200 boys ages 5 – 19 from over 100 schools in 30+ Bay Area communities, presents its spring concert Cantate Domino at Mission Santa Clara on the campus of Santa Clara University on March 18 at 4 p.m.
The Ragazzi Boys Chorus Concert Group, Choral Scholars and Young Men’s Ensemble joined by Ragazzi Continuo, an ensemble of Bay Area Ragazzi alumni, are performing more than a dozen impressive choral pieces. Featured are Lithuanian composer Vytautas Miškinis and Canadian composer Rupert Lang’s modern settings of Cantate Domino, a sacred Latin text.
“Choral music is an amazing catalyst for a deeply meaningful and emotional group experience,” said Ragazzi Artistic and Executive Director Kent Jue. “With Ragazzi, I just love inspiring boys to learn about themselves as artists and performers. They inspire me with their energy, openness and zest for learning. It is such a privilege to be a part of their musical journey.”
Ragazzi Continuo member Jesse Buddington’s friendships through Ragazzi, which means “guys” or “friends” in Italian, have spanned three decades.
“[In Ragazzi], I learned a language and a way of thinking about the magic of art, transforming it into a science that became capable of being measured, talked about and reasoned with—while retaining its magic!” said Buddington.
He is moved by “the sensation of the full choir locking into chords and moving as one organism. It’s something that no single person can do on their own, and it makes me feel part of something grand and ultimately meaningful every time it happens.”
Ragazzi Boys Chorus Director Jue, who grew up in Bakersfield in a family that prioritized music in his life, spoke of the unique bond created when people sing together, especially boys and young men going through voice change.
“As the boys grow with Ragazzi,” Jue said, “they become increasingly independent and travel the world, experiencing other cultures, learning firsthand that music really is an international language, and sharing their artistic endeavors at a young age. The older boys serve as mentors and leaders to the younger boys.”
Continuo Director Daniel Crowley said that his relationships from Ragazzi are the longest and most enduring of his life.
“What makes these relationships so distinct in my life is the breadth of life experiences we shared—rehearsals, concerts, operas, sleep-away camps, international tours,” said Crowley. “These men were by my side in every step of my life as I discovered what I loved and was passionate about.”
As a boy of seven or eight, Continuo member and Avanti Chorus Director Thomas Wade attended a Ragazzi concert that launched his career in music.
“[Singing with Ragazzi] gives boys a chance to explore a fleeting and precious register of their voice, the treble register,” said Wade. “At the same time, they make deep friendships with their peers, learn discipline and study skills. It is a life changing experience to be part of a quality boys chorus.”
“Ragazzi was the single most formative experience of my childhood,” said Crowley.
The Ragazzi Boys Chorus, founded in 1987, is based in Redwood City. Visit www.Ragazzi.org or call (650) 362-4425 for tickets to a concert that promises to be magic at the Mission.