Boys’ voices undergo a change from about age 13 – it’s does not occur overnight but over time during puberty- in other words, it’s a process that coincides with becoming a teenager (gasp). Their singing voice may all the sudden dry up, there will be fits and starts… their voice may crack…fade as it progressively becomes… lower… like … men’s. If you do not sing, it’s subtle or gradual but if you sing… you are quite aware of the change that is inevitable. You may dread it; you may welcome it.
We don’t think about this but children’s voices, especially boys’ voices change so much, adults around them sometimes really miss that voice which represented that boy and his childhood… that of innocence, limitless exuberance… their voices were like angel’s. It is a form of “loss” as we realize how we were attached to that angelic voice and took it for granted. That voice is lost and it never comes back. It sounds dramatic but (nothing is dramatic in teen’s life) there’s a small “death” and then… “rebirth”. When they start losing that “voice” that hits those angelic high notes, the boys themselves FEEL the loss of that ability to hit those high notes and feels the diminished “range” … and realize they cannot audition for those solo parts that used to come so easily… Being boys, they may not be able to express how that feels. They may turn on the “Falsetto” whenever those now unattainable notes are demanded of them. Then their voices transform themselves into one of Bass, Baritone or Tenor…Until their new voices develop, there’s an adjustment period that may be awkward or stressful or neither… Some may even quit the choir, some may not care or be unaware (how’s that possible?); but with proper guidance, they go on to develop deeper, beautiful voices of men.
When it comes to boys’ choir, on an international level, Vienna Boys Choir (wonder if those angels are “retired” at age 13) comes to mind but in San Francisco Bay Area, there are many choirs in which Ragazzi Boys Choir, in particular stands out. Their UTube footages are minimal and not done with commercial purpose in mind so… not the best recorded sound quality (if only they had Libera’s sound/visual’s pros – and nothing like a Anglican cathedral acoustics!) so better catch them live or with their CDs… And speaking of boys choirs on UTube, here’s a group closest to Ragazzi I think…
Close your eyes and listen. The value of this singing is made even greater when you realize that none of these boys on this video is probably able to sing like this anymore as their voices surely changed. That’s the impermanent nature of life we talk about in Buddhist teachings. Nothing is permanent and we all experience “loss” in our lives. Loss of “that” voice, Loss of youth, loss of innocence, loss of health, loss of life – then we gain, gain wisdom, gain knowledge, gain perspectives, gain depth and …connections – there’s ageless timeless renewal and rebirth… That’s why we have to treasure the present and live in the present. As well said, “In the Moment”. Today, here and now is so precious…Blink an eye and boys have transformed, from boys to men. Poof, it’s like magic. Be Present.