MERCED — The harmonies of Oaklands Pacific Boychoir were music to the ears of a thrilled audience at the Merced Theatre on Saturday.
The Grammy-winning group performed a special Christmas program featuring a number of classical and modern songs. Some of the highlights included Ralph Vaughn Williams Fantasia on a Christmas Carol, José Felicianos Feliz Navidadand God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen.
The choir, made up of boys from ages 10 to 18, won three Grammys for recordings with the San Francisco Symphony. The boys have performed in cathedrals and other venues in Russia, China, Argentina and Australia, among others.
The choir has a relationship with South Africa, where it has performed multiple times with the Drakensberg Boys Choir. The Pacific Boychoir was recently invited to perform in honor of Nelson Mandela at the South African embassy in Washington, D.C.
The group dates back to 1998, when Kevin Fox, its director, set out to assemble a choir with just six boys. The choir now numbers about 120, including more than 50 who attend the Oakland schools day program.
The school features choral music and academics for students in fourth through eighth grades. An after-school choir program provides choir opportunities and training for boys from preschool through high school.