The Choir of Men and Boys of Trinity Church, New Haven, is the oldest extant Choir of Men and Boys in Connecticut, and one of the oldest in the United States. Founded in 1885, and one of the few such choirs in continuous service since, the Choir recently celebrated its 125th Anniversary during the 2010-2011 season. As heir to a musical tradition begun in the Middle Ages and carried to this country in the nineteenth century, it has distinguished itself by continuously providing high quality choral music at Trinity worship services, at the annual Christmas and Spring concerts, and in the wider community. On the occasion of its 100th anniversary in 1985, Governor William O’Neill stated that the Choir of Men and Boys has “represented our state proudly in our own country and overseas, and has established a long and proud tradition of excellence and fellowship.”
The boys have a separate identity as the Trinity Boys Choir, singing services and concerts throughout Connecticut and the eastern United States. Their frequent community outreach activities have included benefit performances for the Children’s Center, Ronald McDonald House, Sage Services, Newington Children’s Hospital, the Fair Haven Parents’ Ministry, the Smilow Cancer Hospital, and most recently, for the annual Channel 3 Joy for Kids Holiday Show at the Hartford Stage.
The Trinity Boys Choir has traveled to the British Isles to sing with cathedral choirs in Canterbury, Norwich, Coventry, Southwark, Wells, Lichfield, Llandaff (Wales), Southwell, Ely, Bury-St. Edmunds, Liverpool, Hereford, and Guildford. They have made five Christmas time appearances at the White House over the years.
Both the Boys Choir and the full Choir of Men and Boys regularly appear with other area musical organizations. In 1973, the Boys participated in a performance of Leonard Bernstein’s Mass with the composer in attendance. In 1985, the Boys were the treble group in a performance of Benjamin Britten’s monumental War Requiem, under the baton of renowned conductor Robert Shaw. In December 1988, the Men and Boys, the Orchestra of the Old Fairfield Academy and members of the Choir of Christ Church, Greenwich, presented the first New England performance of Handel’s complete Messiah, sung by a choir of men and boys accompanied by period instruments. The Boys appeared as the treble choir, with the Julliard Orchestra, in a 1996 performance of Mahler’s Third Symphony at Lincoln Center.
To ring in the new millennium, the Boys Choir’s first public appearance was to serve, along with the Elm City Girls Choir (founded and conducted by Boys Choir Alum Thomas Brand), as the children’s chorus in Gustav Mahler’s Eighth Symphony with the Boston Philharmonic, performing in January 2000 at both Boston’s Symphony Hall and New York’s Carnegie Hall. Christmas later that year saw the full Choir of Men and Boys joining the American Classical Orchestra (ACO) in a performance of historic early nineteenth-century music at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The Boys Choir made its national television debut on NBC’s Today Show in December 2002. In April 2007, the Boys joined with their sister Trinity Girls Choir and members of the Elm City/United Girls Choirs as the treble choir for a performance of Britten’s War Requiem with the Yale Philharmonia and choruses, performing in both Boston’s Symphony Hall and Yale’s Woolsey Hall. The Men and Boys again joined with the ACO in February 2009, singing Haydn’s Mass in Time of War in New York City, and then again in April 2010 for a performance of Handel’s Coronation Anthems and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at the Cathedral of St. the John Divine in New York.
During 2011, members of the Boys Choir have appeared with the New Haven Chorale, the Yale Camerata, and the ACO. This past summer they traveled to England where they sang with the Men and Boys of Tewkesbury Abbey, and at Bristol Cathedral and St. Mary’s Church, Redcliffe (Bristol) under the direction of Dr. Barry Rose.
Director of Music Walden Moore is joined by Associate Director of Music Andrew Kotylo and Organ Scholar Wesley Hall in training the choir and in all musical matters, and is assisted by an active parent organization in the many activities in the life of the choir. Anyone wishing audition information should contact Mr. Moore at (203) 776-2616 or by email.
To see and hear choir performances, please visit YouTube at Trinity Church on the Green, New Haven
The Trinity Choir of Men and Boys, 2017 (Isabel Chenowith Photography)