Boys choir backs up Bocelli

The Salvation Army Boys Choir sings with Andrea Bocelli.

Members of the Tabernacle Children’s Chorus perform with Andrea Bocelli during the taping of an upcoming Christmas special. [Photo by Gavin Schofield-Smith]

Steve Allen, development director for Southern California Division, recently received a call from music industry great David Foster requesting a Salvation Army boys’ choir to accompany world-renowned singer Andrea Bocelli on his latest Christmas album.

Foster, an arranger and producer for singers like Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, and Natalie Cole, needed the group in four days.

Barbara Allen, director of the 75-member Tabernacle Children’s Chorus, auditioned a number of the boys and chose 12 to form The Salvation Army Boys Choir. The next day they went to the East West Studios, in Hollywood, Calif., to record two songs—“Silent Night” and “O, Tannenbaum”—with Bocelli.

Foster produced and Allen directed the choir for three and a half hours.

“Recording the tracks was an amazing experience for the boys. David Foster was very nurturing and complimentary to them. We were all very happy with the end result,” Allen said.

Based on the success of the session, Foster asked the boys, plus a small Army brass ensemble, to appear with Bocelli the following week at the Kodak Theater, before a live audience, to record his television special, My Christmas.

No stranger to the stage or television, the Tabernacle Children’s Chorus appeared previously at the Kodak with Stevie Wonder and Quincy Jones and are regulars on the Holiday Celebration, broadcast live every Christmas Eve from the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles. This year they will be featured in a nationally broadcast highlights version of the show.

Both of these events—Holiday Celebration and The Salvation Army Boys Choir in Andrea Bocelli and David Foster’s My Christmas—will be aired on PBS during the month of December. Check your local listings for details.

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