Singing across the country and around the world is hard enough, which is why boys of the Phoenix Boys Choir are asked to leave all distractions at home, including their families.

The boys are told while on tour they cannot use cell phones or laptops to contact family back home. For the top choir, which goes on a three-week tour during the summer, that means three weeks without hearing from their family.

Ahwatukee Foothills resident Julie Riley has had two older sons go through Phoenix Boys Choir. She said while it’s hard not hearing from them, there are exceptions at times.

“If they’re with a host family they’ll usually offer to let them email,” Julie said. “One time my son was in the Midwest and actually did call my husband on Father’s Day. It was a brief call…

“We’re a big family so we stay busy and it makes the time go faster. Of course we miss them and we feel like someone is missing, but we just focus on the fact that they’re singing and having fun and getting to do unique things. It makes the time go fast.”

This summer her third son to enter the program, Jacob, will go on tour to Europe with the group. They’ll be gone for three weeks in England and France. Jacob has been on tour with the group before, for just one week, and said he had so much fun he really didn’t mind.

“It wasn’t too hard,” he said. “We do a lot of cool stuff. We learn a lot of songs and different languages. It’s exciting.”

The no-calls-from-home rule is designed to keep boys focused on the tour and keep them from getting homesick.

Cate Hinkle, spokesperson for Phoenix Boys Choir, said there are usually only a few boys who get homesick at all because they’re so busy sight-seeing and singing. The organization always makes sure the boys going on tours outside the country have been to summer camp and a shorter stateside tour.

Parents aren’t left completely in the dark, either. The organization posts a daily report on a blog, with photos of the boys and a complete report of what they’ve been up to.

The boys are currently working on raising their own money to go on their European tour. Before they leave they’ll perform a farewell concert in May. That concert is scheduled for Sunday, May 19 at 5 p.m. at Steele Indian School Park Memorial Hall, 300 E. Indian School Road.

For more information on the choir, visit or call (602) 264-5328.


• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or

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