RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — In the category of Best Youth Choir, the Richmond Boys Choir is taking top honors this year.
The choir has been belting out tunes since the mid-90s, and they’re doing more than making great music.
As 8News anchor Darrielle Snipes shows us, they’re also changing lives.
“What we are trying to do is offer them some options,” said Choir Director Craig Matthews. “You can’t save every boy that is out there, but you might be able to move them a few degrees and whatever issues they are facing they can avoid them. Plus it gives them an outlet.”
The outlet for these boys is singing, and to be a part of the Richmond Boys Choir is just one of many dreams that will come true for these 19 young men.
“When I was four my parents noticed I had a voice, it just came natural for me to use my talents like that and inspire people,” said one of the choir’s members, Aaron Reid.
At just 15 years old, Reid is making beautiful music, and for the past four years has been a part of some amazing moments.
“We have performed for John Lewis at the capitol, we have performed for the president … It was awesome. We performed for the president singing the national anthem in the rain. I did not expect that to happen. But we did.”
The Richmond Boys Choir practices two times a week during the school year. Not only are they learning to sing, but they are also learning valuable life lessons.
“Being in the boys choir has taught me to love yourself, love your talent and use it wisely because you will never have it again,” Reid said.
10-year-old Dayman Parrish has four sisters and loves being around the other young men, who range in age from 7-17.
“We get to experience our talents and feelings in ways that are just us and it is just amazing,” he said. “It’s just great.”
In the last year, the choir as performed more than 30 times, and it’s all thanks to director Matthews who calls himself a grandfather figure.
And this positive role model who grew up singing in his church now wants to give back to the community.
“It is my hope my life will positively impact their lives because if we keep working we won’t lose all these kids,” Matthews said. “Not everyone is a major star, but if he can do photo shop or some other media program he can eat.”
All their dedication, including the parents, is making the boys choir the best in Richmond.
“You can’t celebrate like it’s normal,” Matthews added. “It is amazing. It is a good feeling.”
It’s that time of year again when we team up with Richmond Magazine to feature some of the people, places and businesses that you voted “The Best of Richmond.”
For more of the Best of Richmond 2015 coverage click here.