Renowned boys’ choir group from Czech Republic to tour Western Maine

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BETHEL — A renowned boys choir from the Czech Republic will tour Western Maine from Feb. 25 to March 1, according to a news release by the Mahoosuc Arts Council in Bethel.

The visit is the result of a collaboration between the Mahoosuc Arts Council, the Arts Institute of Western Maine in Farmington and the Kingfield Pops in Kingfield.

Aranka Matolcsy, executive director of the Mahoosuc Arts Council, said the road to the Bonifantes Boys Choir performing in Maine began with “a chance meeting” between Bruce McInnies of the Arts Institute of Western Maine and Jan Misek, conductor of the Bonifantes Boys’ Choir.

The Mahoosuc Arts Council statement said McInnies and Misek met at the first International Festival of Men’s Voice in Barcelona, Spain, in 2005.

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“Bruce McInnies was conducting the Mastersingers USA at the festival where Jan Misek was conducting Bonifantes,” according to the release. “The two directors made fast friends and started corresponding around plans to bring the boys to Western Maine, where McInnies serves on the Board for the Arts Institute of Western Maine.”

Matolcsy said, “Bruce and Jan agreed that the next time the Bonifantes Boys’ Choir began their next significant U.S. tour, they would make a stop in Western Maine to perform. The AIWM later reached out to other arts organizations in Western Maine, seeking to collaborate on a program that would bring the boys’ choir to Western Maine.”

Matolcsy said the Mahoosuc Arts Council and the Kingfield Pops in Kingfield agreed to help organize the program with the Arts Institute of Western Maine.

“This program is important because it shows these different organizations’ ability to share resources, something that all arts organizations must learn to do, because resources are so limited,” Matolcsy said. “I really must commend the Arts Institute for their perseverance in the nebulous challenge of collaboration. We worked together to find a program to bring to the area and to find ways to share expenses.”

The appearance is partially funded by an $8,000 grant from the Davis Family Foundation of Yarmouth to the Mahoosuc Arts Council.

“I wrote the grant on behalf of the arts organizations that were involved,” Matolcsy said. “The Arts Institute of Western Maine was integral in providing me budget information that helped me write the grant.”

The boys choir, which consists of 30 boys ages 5 to 18, will perform in schools, churches and concert halls.

On Tuesday, Feb. 25, the choir will perform at 10 a.m. at Crescent Park Elementary School in Bethel and for the public at 7 p.m. at Telstar Regional High School in Bethel.

Other concerts scheduled are:

* Wednesday, Feb. 26, Kingfield and Strong schools for students, hosted by the Kingfield Pops.

* Thursday, Feb. 27, Old South Church, Farmington.

* Friday, Feb. 28, Mt. Blue middle and high schools.

* Friday, Feb. 28, Nordica Auditorium, Merrill Hall, University of Maine at Farmington, hosted by the Arts Institute of Western Maine.

The Bonifantes Boys Choir was founded in 1999 in Pardubice, Czech Republic.

Matolcsy said several families will act as hosts for the choir members, providing them “access to recreation facilities to the area. It’s a rich cross-cultural experience.”

For more information, call the Mahoosuc Arts Council 824-3575, or visit its website at www.mahoosucarts.org.

mdaigle@sunjournal.com

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