After decades at its secluded Lambert Drive campus, the American Boychoir School is considering a change of scenery. School spokeswoman D.J. Downing has confirmed that American Boychoir is “exploring the option” of moving into the vacant St. Joseph’s Seminary, shown above, on Mapleton Road near Princeton Forrestal Village in Plainsboro. Downing added, however, that the school has not entered into any formal agreements.
“One of the main reasons is to provide more facilities for our school,” said Downing. The current facility, which the American Boychoir owns, has a maximum capacity of 80, but the school would like to able to take as many as 120 students, Downing said.
Better facility space is even more important, she said. “We have a very constricted enrollment opportunity here at the campus,” said Downing. “But more than that, it is facilities. We don’t have a performing space currently. We don’t have a gymnasium. The space really doesn’t allow for growth.”
“The seminary campus has facilities that we don’t currently have, including a performance space and gymnasium. These are important aspects. We’re definitely looking at it.”
American Boychoir was founded in 1937 as the Columbus Boys Choir and grew to legendary status with a series of high-profile concerts and recordings over the years, including recordings with such stars as Bing Crosby and a 2005 appearance at the Academy Awards. The school moved to Princeton in 1950 and was renamed in 1980.
The school remains among the most selective private boarding schools in the world. Even today, it only enrolls about 60 students in grades 4 through 8.
Despite its small size, the choir makes roughly 150 appearances annually at locations around the world.
Speculation about a move from Lambert Drive began circulating in July after the proposed Princeton International Academy Charter School, which would offer an immersion program in Mandarin Chinese, failed to get a certificate of occupancy at the seminary.
PIACS had planned to open this month, but due to a denial of a zoning variance PIACS needed sought to use the seminary for educational purposes, it postponed its opening for at least a year.
Despite the speculation, Downing says it is too soon to say whether American Boychoir will relocate. But a formal announcement is expected soon.
#b#American Boychoir School#/b#, 19 Lambert Drive, Princeton 08540; 609-924-5858; fax, 609-924-5812. Charles G. Bickford, president. www.americanboychoir.org