The Vienna Choir Boys will present a program of sacred songs, secular and folk music and a costumed operetta at Beckman Auditorium at Caltech on Saturday at 8 p.m. The auditorium is on Michigan Avenue south of Del Mar Boulevard in Pasadena. Tickets range from $20 to $25.
The group was founded in 1498 by Emperor Maximilian I to fulfill his wish to have choristers in the Imperial Court. The most famous choirboy was Franz Schubert, who sang from 1808 to 1813.
The institution was disolved in 1918 after the collapse of the Hapsburg dynasty and the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It was revived in 1924 in a boarding school setting, and the boys began to embark on concert tours around the world. Generally, two choirs tour at the same time, each tour lasting an average of three months. On each tour, the 24 boys are accompanied by a choirmaster, a tutor and a nurse.
Boys who want to be considered for the choir attend a special preparatory school where they receive a thorough education with special attention paid to the theory and practice of singing, as well as instruction on one musical instrument. At age 9, they take the examination for musical ability.