Kantorei. The Singing Boys of Rockford, IL is a non-profit, non-sectarian organization, which serves boys ages 6-18 in the northern Illinois area. Hundreds of members have participated in this unique program which was founded in 1964 by Linden Lundstrom (1913-1996) and continues today to be dedicated to its original purpose: to provide a quality musical education, while instilling in each member the rewards of self-discipline, responsibility, and dedication towards common goals.
Since its inception, Kantorei’s mission has been to represent the finest tradition of boychoirs by offering an outstanding musical and cultural education while providing many opportunities for personal growth. Services are offered without regard to race, color, national origin, creed, or socio-economic status.
Kantorei members study many aspects of choral proficiency. Learning the mechanics of vocal production, the development of tone, and the physical elements of posture and breath support help members develop vocal technique. Visual aspect is reinforced through music theory, sight-reading, and the study of form and structure in music, while critical listening skills are developed with instruction in ear training, rhythm, and foreign language skills. All of this is coupled with the study of text and music in a social context.
Through the pursuit of excellence in the musical arts, the boys make the transition to becoming responsible, caring, disciplined young men. They come to know themselves and their world better, preparing their lives for the many challenges they will yet face. Through their willing and purposeful participation in the choir, they serve as models for what is “right” about today’s youth. Perhaps Thomas Jefferson said it best: “The boys of the rising generation are to be the men of the next…and the sole guardians of the principles we deliver to them.” This has been the measure of Kantorei’s success - one boy at a time.
Kantorei is a four-tiered organization. Uncommon among boychoirs in that the changed voices (tenors and basses) are retained, the Performing Choir interprets music from an extensive repertoire including music characteristic of the European boychoirs, as well as a vast array of sacred and secular music spanning several centuries including, folk and world music, spirituals, patriotic pieces, show tunes, gospel, and jazz. The choir's repertoire has broadened to include commissioned works and dozens of choral arrangements written specifically for Kantorei. This music is performed at a high level of polish and precision. Yet, the choir demonstrates far more than technical excellence. Those who hear the choir recognize the inherent beauty and artistry in a boy’s singing voice, and its impalpable power to move emotions.
The Lyric, Cadet, and Chorister Choirs are the preparatory levels of the program. The Choristers have little or no music training or singing experience. Cadet Choir members have usually participated as Choristers for a year or more, or come into the program with other prior training. The Lyric Choir provides a more challenging level to the preparatory program.
The boys are encouraged to give their best, recognizing that what they achieve as a group would be impossible to accomplish alone. Members of Kantorei are part of a special brotherhood, and they relish, along with making music together, the many friendships they make along the way. To them, singing in a choir is about learning life skills through music.