Members of the Golden Gate Boys Choir and Bellringers pose with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background last year.
Golden Gate Boys Choir and Bellringers
at Washington Choral Congress
Members of the Golden Gate Boys Choir & Bellringers, the Bay Area Catholic Boys Choir, will be featured at the opening ceremony for the 38th International Congress of Pueri Cantores in Washington, D.C., during the Independence Day festivities.
"We are honored to open the Congress of over 45 international choirs and 5,000 choristers, especially because this is the first time that the Pueri Cantores International has met in the United States," said Steven Meyer, artistic director for the choir.
Established in 1907 as a response to Pope Pius X's request for a renewal in church music, Pueri Cantores, "young choristers," is an international Catholic choral organization that provides opportunities for school-age youth choirs from all backgrounds to participate in liturgical music.
"As members of Pueri Cantores, the Golden Gate Boys Choir & Bellringers creates an opportunity for Bay Area boys from varied ethnic, financial and religious backgrounds to come together as a team through music education and performance," Meyer said.
Catholic youth choirs from around the world will participate for one week during the July 4 festivities, which will conclude with Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, presided over by Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C. Also on July 4, Golden Gate Boys Choir & Bellringers will be the lead singers at the United States' official Independence Day Parade opening ceremony on Constitution Avenue.
"This is really exciting for GGBC," stated Anthony Ford, 16-year old mastersinger and bellringer from San Francisco. "Our choir was in D.C. in 2008 for the national convention, but this is the first year that the International Pueri Cantores convention will be in the United States." The majority of past congresses have been in Europe.
The 40-member choir, with boys and young men ranging in age from 7 to 20 years old, typically attends the Pueri Cantores convention every two years. Its last trip was in 2011 when the members sang for Pope Benedict's New Year's Day Mass at the Vatican, then spent a week performing in Rome, Lucca and Perugia, Italy. "Touring is an important aspect of our choir," Meyer said.
Fatafehi Tuitavake, mastersinger and bellringer, 19, will be one of the group's chaperones and assistant director for the bellringers. His tall stature also helps him as the lead bass bellringer. While all ringers are trained to play the entire six-octave bell range, Fatafehi usually plays the bass bells, which can weigh up to 20 pounds.
It takes a lot for the boys to make the trip and the choir to transport their eight cases of bells and equipment. Each boy is responsible for his own travel expenses. To help cover some of the costs, the boys have been busy selling raffle tickets. An anonymous donor is helping with lodging and breakfast expenses while the group stays in Washington.
For more information: www.ggbc.org or 510-887-4311.
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