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Famed choir playing Boro
American Boychoir features local member
W Metrejean choir
The American Boychoir will perform in concert Thursday at 7:30 p.m. inside First United Methodist Church on South Main Street in Statesboro. - photo by Special

Statesboro stop in 27-day tour
When: Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
Where: First United Methodist Church
Tickets: $30 for adults; $15 for students and children under 18 years old; only cash and checks will be accepted
Contact: Call 912-764-7464 or 912-536-1784

       Steven Metrejean of Statesboro was in Chicago and Memphis last week. Sunday he was in Knoxville, Tenn., and Monday and today he's in Atlanta before finally coming home on Wednesday. But he'll be back on the road and in Florence, S.C., by Friday.
       The 12-year-old Metrejean is a member of the world-renowned American Boychoir and he attends the Boychoir School in Princeton, N.J. A sixth grader at Bulloch Academy last year, Metrejean was accepted into the prestigious school during the summer and he now is in the midst of a 27-day tour with the Boychoir.
       "It's a lot of fun, a lot of hard work and something I've never experienced before," Metrejean said while riding the tour bus Thursday afternoon to Memphis. "I am excited about getting home to see my family and sing for everybody at home."
       Metrejean and the 30-member American Boychoir will be in concert Thursday at Statesboro's First United Methodist Church. The concert gets underway at 7:30 p.m. and the Statesboro Youth Chorale will join the Boychior for two pieces and sing three on their own. Tickets are $30 for adults and $15 for students and children under 18 years old. Only cash or checks will be accepted. Call 764-7464 or 536-1784 for more information.
      The American Boychoir is widely considered the top concert boys choir in the United States. It was founded in Columbus, Ohio, in 1937 and moved to Princeton in 1950. The boarding school is for fourth through eight graders and is the only non-sectarian boys' choir school in the country.
      During the summer, Metrejean was attending the Boychoir Experience Camp when school officials suggested he apply for admission to the school. So, he applied and was accepted. Then, he said, came the hard part.
      "I did a lot of thinking about what I wanted to do," Metrejean said. "Did I want to be away from my home and family for a long time?"
      He said his parents, Eddie and Cheryl Metrejean, who both are accounting professors at Georgia Southern, said the decision ultimately was up to him.
      Metrejean eventually decided he couldn't pass up the opportunity and he departed Statesboro for New Jersey in August.
      He said he was homesick for the first few weeks, but that wore off once he made some friends and got into the routine of school and choir practice.
      "It took getting used to, but now everything is great," he said.
      Metrejean said he enjoys the rigorous academics at the school, but he really loves the musical challenges he faces regularly in choir practice.
      "All the different styles of the pieces we sing are amazing," Metrejean said. "I really found out how much I like being pushed musically to do something different, to always improve on the piece."
      The director of music at the Boychoir School, Armando Malvar-Ruiz, is pleased with Metrejean's progress at the school.
      "It is not typical for boys to come to us in the seventh grade; usually they start here earlier," Malvar-Ruiz said. "Steven is doing remarkably well with the choir. He has a vocal gift he takes seriously and he complements the choir with his voice."
      Metrejean and the Boychoir are nearing the end of the school's fall tour that began Oct. 13 in Shrewsbury, N.J., and ends Saturday in Raleigh, N.C.
      Ryan Dalton, tour director for the American Boychoir and an alum of the school, said the seventh and eighth grade choir typically goes on three longer tours per year - fall, winter and spring, with a shorter one for Christmas holiday shows thrown in.
      "We are on the bus a lot during the tours and that can be a difficult adjustment for the boys," Dalton said.
      He said teachers give learning packets to each student and they do have "class on the bus. But it is more like an online course."
      Metrejean said he enjoys the travel and performing in so many different cities and venues. He even likes "school on the bus."
      When he arrives in Statesboro, Metrejean will spend time with his family, but he said the concert at First United Church is his priority.
      Malvar-Ruiz said the Statesboro audience "will be treated to a concert of diverse styles and arrangements that will be both beautiful and provocative. It is a tour of music from around the world. We start with pieces from Europe, move onto North and South America and end up in Africa."
      Sarah Hancock, a voice instructor at Georgia Southern who also assists with the Statesboro Youth Chorale, urged lovers of music to attend Thursday's concert.
      "It will be an experience you won't forget and we have a local boy in the choir, as well," she said.
      James Healy can be reached at (912) 489-9402.

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