Saturday, November 30, 2013

Sometimes a Choir Boy is a Girl

We've all heard the bad jokes about castrati … that the man who has an unfortunate injury to his private parts will soon be singing soprano in the choir.  That story is for another day.

The Boys Club of the Choir, where all parts are sung only by the male species, can be traced back to that most famous misogenist of the Bronze Age, Saint Paul.  He claimed that "women should be silent in churches" (mulieres in ecclesiis taceant), and so they were. 

Since girls and women were not allowed to sing in church, neither were they allowed in any other patriarchal venue that developed … like opera.

Having said all this, I am forced to admit that hearing an all-male choir with boy sopranos in a towering medieval cathedral is a treat for the senses. 

Girls are allowed to do almost everything boys do now.  They can even be choirboys.  In the 21st Century, both genders are called choristers. 

Sing on!

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