It’s a long way across space and time, but the Sistine Chapel Choir, one of the oldest liturgical musical groups in history still in existence, will perform at the Fox Theatre on July 3. Officially known as the Ca-pella Musicale Pontifica Sistina, this choir from the Vatican is making a coast-to-coast tour of the U.S. Performances include concerts in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami and—naturally—the ATL.
Leading the Sistine Chapel Choir is Maestro Monsignor Massimo Palombetta, the only person with full access to the musical archives in the Vatican. Manuscripts there date back to the sixth century, when sing-ers became part of the papal entourage. Maestro Palombetta was instrumental in bringing back beautiful Renaissance singing to the choir, most appropriate because its home is the historic papal Sistine Chapel, with marvelous walls and ceiling painted by Michelangelo, pictured in the backdrop in our headline photo. I’ll never forget seeing it in 1970.
Serving as the Pope’s personal choir through the centuries, this world-renowned chorus is comprised of 20 professional singers from around the world. The treble section consists of 35 boys, ages 9-13 and known as the Pueri Cantores, who are selected through rigorous auditions. They study in Rome in a usual curriculum that also features intense musical education. It nurtures their passion for music and the Pueri Cantores train to develop their talent as professional singers.
The Sistine Chapel Choir has been awarded the prestigious 2016 ECHO Klassick Award, the gold standard for Classical music. Atlanta is known for hosting fine concerts and this one on July 3 will truly be unique.
-Dr. Paul Hudson