Jonathan Ledger is Artistic Director for the Texas Boys Choir

Posted by Monica Hoel
And just to prove that he’s no ordinary conductor, he started the job in 2020 – at the height of a pandemic where people were highly discouraged from singing.

COVID has pretty much affected all aspects of this plum position for Jonathan. He says he “stumbled into it” during the pandemic and had to do all his job interviewing online. He started the job without first meeting his new colleagues in person, and then there was the challenge of following health protocols for rehearsals.

“We had to be masked, we could only sing for 30 minutes, and the HVAC system had to run through a full cycle before we could rehearse another group.”

He also had to be creative about how he filled the class time. Sessions were arranged as 100-minute blocks, but they could only sing for 30 minutes. “Fortunately, I have a strong background in music theory, so I was able to add a lot of that to my teaching day. And we added a lot of community building events. It was a tough year!”

The choir has a long history, founded by George Bragg in 1946 as the Denton Civic Boys Choir, and winning two Grammy awards in the 1960s. The program eventually became a boarding school that evolved into The Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts (FWAFA), and that’s where the Boys Choir is located today. “There aren’t many boys choirs in the world these days…much less in the United States…so it’s unique that the program has lasted such a long time.”

The program is open to anyone – you just have to audition. Boys audition and gain admission to FWAFA, and then audition for the choirs. The school is a public charter school and is committed to making sure that anyone with the talent to be there can attend.

The boys sing for weddings, garden parties, and community events, and they are always greeted warmly because the choir has such a long and treasured tradition.

Jonathan moved to Texas from a job as an assistant professor of music at the University of the Ozarks, and the Pennington Gap, Virginia, native says he loves the size of the city of Fort Worth. You can hear a full conversation with Jonathan that also discusses how he made a last minute undergrad decision not to go to medical school. And, it also includes some beautiful music by the Texas Boys Choir. Listen to the Duck Pond Wall podcast wherever you listen to podcasts.

  • Jonathan Ledger
    Emory & Henry Class of 2004
    Artistic Director of the Texas Boys Choir

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