The └zuoliukas Boys' Choir was established by prof. Hermanas Perelsteinas in 1959. It follows the traditional structure of European Boys' Choirs. Singers are admitted to the choir at the age of 6 or 7. They attend the choir's state music school. All adult singers have been members of the choir since childhood. The boys are first trained to sing in the children's choirs. At the age 10 or 11 they join the main choir, that is composed of boys and men.
└zuoliukas means "a small oak tree" in Lithuanian. To many people, however, this word is associated with a choir. └zuoliukas is the name of a well-known Boys' Choir (teenagers' and male choirs, too) which has delighted the public for more than 35 years and won a lot of awards at Lithuanian and International contests. All its achievements have been reached through long hours of hard work and skill of the teachers. These found the way to the children's hearts and taught them to pursue a charming goal.
└zuoliukas, however, did not give music lessons alone. Until 1990, while Lithuania was incorporated in the Soviet Union, the choir repeatedly experienced the pressure of the Soviet system when culture and art were fitted into one frame. The achievements of small nations won recognition only with great difficulties. Nevertheless, the choir continued to sing louder and bolder. It proved to the world that Lithuania existed and that people were alive and talented.
The year 1959 witnessed the establishment of a boys' choir by Perel[dhatch]teinas at a small club in Vilnius. The number of children in the choir constantly grew, and five years later there was nor enough room for 40 boys in the small hall. Then the Vilnius Teachers' House took in └zuoliukas (they hold rehearsals there even today). The small choir of little boys began to expand and gain fame. The repertoire featured not only children's songs, but also complicated pieces.
Today, └zuoliukas is eight separate choirs -- from little boys' to a male-voice choir. The youngest singers are six years old, while the oldest ones will shortly turn 40. The choir served as a basis for setting up the Vilnius └zuoliukas Music School where children acquire full musical education. They are taught by 50 teachers, eight of whom once sang in the choir themselves.
However, there is one important feature about it. └zuoliukas is a special attraction for Vilnius' young boys. It is like an oasis or one large family who knows the secret joy of being together. The choir's founder Perelsteinas was primarily an educator and secondly a conductor. The mutual understanding and trust between him and the choir developed in them a need to sing and feel the joy of singing, it enabled them to perform the most complicated musical pieces to perfection.
During the years more than 6,000 singers have been members of the choir. Its principles of socializing and learning taught them to be independent, responsible and active, which was very useful in life. You can find former └zuoliukas singers in every sphere of life.
Jonas Gricius, └zuoliukas Boys' Choir