William Allred is the second director in the choir's history and has been with the choir for twenty five years. He holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting from UNCG, a Masters in Orchestral Conducting from the North Carolina School of the Arts, and a Bachelors of Music from Westmister Choir College in Princeton, NJ. Dr. Allred also serves as the Music Director/Organist at Guilford Park Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, NC and volunteers as director of the resident handbell choir at Friends Homes Guilford.
Woodson E. Faulkner, II is a graduate of Greensboro College with a Bachelor of Music degree and attended UNCG for post-graduate study in choral conducting, voice training and music education. He has been with the choir since 1999. Mr. Faulkner serves as Music Director/Organist at First Christian Disciples of Christ Church, Greensboro, NC. Mr. Faulkner has performed professionally and is on the voice faculty of the Music Academy of North Carolina.
The Burlington Boys Choir, est. 1959, is the oldest organization of its kind in North Carolina to have been continuously sustained in training and performance. Members of the choir range from the third grade through High School. Boys are auditioned and membership is attained based on recommendations, singing abilities, high academic achievement and review of effort and improvement while a member of the training choir. Continued participation in the choir is contingent upon maintaining high grades and following high standards of conduct.
Miss Eva Wiseman, Head of Music for the Burlington City School System, was inspired to create the choir after attending a performance of the Vienna Boys Choir. In 1958, with cooperation from Dr. L.E. Spikes, Burlington City Schools Superintendent, George Colclough of the Burlington Rotary Club, and Thomasine Sparks and Wynn Riley, music majors from Elon College, Miss Eva Wiseman began holding audition for the Burlington Rotary Choir Boys. The choir received financial support from the Rotary Club until 1975, then becoming The Burlington Boys Choir. Miss. Wiseman lead the choir until her retirement in 1993. William Allred, her Assistant Director at the time began conducting the choir in 1994.
The choir has performed at the White House on four occasions with the latest trip in December 1997. President Nixon said, “This choir was among the best groups whom had ever performed at the White House”. The choir has performed at many famous churches and cathedrals in the United States, including the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. We have performed many times over the years at the Christmas Eve Communion Service at Duke University Chapel.
The choir has performed every year since 1991 at the Biltmore House in Asheville for their Christmas Candlelight Evening Tour. At one time we were the only children’s group to be allowed to perform at the Biltmore House. The employees at Biltmore have told us “This is one of the best entertaining attractions at the Biltmore House during the Christmas season. We draw straws to see who will have the opportunity to work and hear the choir perform.”
The choir has performed in several operas and oratorios with the Greensboro Symphony under the direction of Peter Paul Fuchs and Stuart Malina. We worked with the North Carolina Symphony three times under the direction of Skitch Henderson. The choir has performed with the Winston Salem Symphony under the direction of Peter Perret, Mr. Perret saying, “The boys were a pleasure to work with." More recently the choir has performed with the Eastern Music Festival Orchestra and Maestro Gerard Schwarz, singing the east cost premier of a work by Mr. Schwarz and appearing a second time as a featured artist group.
The choir has performed on five different continents with many performances in Europe. David Bruce-Payne, a director for the Westminster Boys Choir said, “This was the only American Boys Choir that I have heard that sounded like Americans. All the others wanted to sound like Europeans, you are obviously well-trained.” In 2005 they performed at Our Lady of Soledad Church in Burlington’s newly adopted sister city, Soledad de Graciano Sanchez, in the state of San Luis Potosi, Mexico. In Mexico City they sang a Mass for a congregation of 10,000 worshipers at the Guadalupe Shrine, the largest church in North America.
The choir has been featured on the cover of Jack and Jill Magazine, in the North Carolina magazine, the City-County Magazine, the Alamance Magazine, and Greensboro's O'Henry. We have been on the local Fox 8 News, Channel 2 Evening News and were filmed by ABC National News for a Christmas Special at the Biltmore in 1994.
Although Ms. Wiseman passed away in 2005, she will always be a part of this choir. Even though she hasn’t “taught the world to sing” she has taught about 500 Alamance County boys to sing throughout the world, and that number continues to grow. She has given us a gift from God, she created a choir… a Choir of Angels…
The mission of the Burlington Boys Choir is to maintain a living choral tradition in Alamance County and to promote self-esteem, discipline, persistence, and confidence among its choir members.
Sunday, May 22 at 4pm
Macedonia Lutheran Church
421 West Front Street