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Cherubic Choir

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A group of children singing in a pure, virtuous way, giving an encouraging and positive feel to the scene. The choir is usually dominated by the clear, ringing voices of boy sopranos. A Cherubic Choir normally means that the good guys are in the middle of triumphing, though sometimes it just indicates we're done with the tense part. It can also imply a sort of divine endorsement of what's happening. Often a Theme Music Power-Up.

Sometimes it's Ominous Latin Chanting without the Ominous part; just put it in a major key instead of a minor. Cherubic Choirs tend to be in something other than the native language, possible as a kind of musical lorem ipsum (i.e. deliberately unintelligible to keep your focus on the sound, not on the words) and of course in keeping with the Rule of Cool.

Compare Ethereal Choir and Saved by the Church Bell. Contrast Creepy Children Singing, where creepy songs and nursery rhymes are played in the background to add tension and fear to a scene. See also Innocent Soprano and Tenor Boy, who are heroic characters with high singing voices (that may even be childlike in the case of the former). For individual members of the choir, see Putto. See also Children Voicing Children.


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    Anime & Manga 

Venus is accompanied by a choir of winged putti (more famously called cherubs) playing music with conch-shells.
  • In addition to the Sistine Chapel's famous paintings, the church is blessed with a six-hundred-year-old Latin choir that performs during compositions from the likes of the polyphonic master Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina and other artists of the Counter-reformation during the Pontifical masses; stream their hottest album on iTunes!

    Films — Animation 
  • Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame: The scene where Esmeralda frees Quasimodo from the torture wheel.
  • James Horner employs this in The Land Before Time. This was used in almost all of Don Bluth's films.
  • The song "Once Upon a Time with Me" by Florence Warner Jones on the Once Upon a Forest soundtrack.
  • Played wonderfully in The Prince of Egypt, when the Exodus is occurring and the Israelites are leaving Egypt. In the musical background, groups of children are singing a song of praise to God in Hebrew. The music and animation in this scene work well in sync. At the beginning of the children's choir, the Israelites are unsure, as though they cannot believe that they are indeed being delivered from their bondage. Slowly, as the tempo picks up and more voices join in, we start seeing children playing in the road. A girl offers an elderly woman a hand. Moses ends up carrying two kids who are hanging from his staff as he balances it on his shoulders. People start laughing. Some people break out drum-heads and other musical instruments. Young women start dancing. By the end of the chorus we've gone from uncertainty to jubilation.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Used heavily in The Lord of the Rings movies: for instance, when Gandalf escapes Orthanc.
  • The Chorus is a movie about a Cherubic Choir formed by Clément Mathieu in order to Save Our Students; the choir also doubles as a way to highlight his resistantly cheerful attitude.
  • At the end of Star Wars Episode I, children sing a major-key version of the ominous Emperor's theme.
  • The "ice dance" theme from Edward Scissorhands.
  • In Batman Returns children are singing right as baby Penguin's parents are about to dump him in the sewer.
  • Used in Blood Diamond in the song "London", which features a children's choir doing a call-and-response section with the main singer. The group singing is the Kenya Boys Choir.
  • Hannibal: The choir Libera contributes to at least five out of twelve of the movie's soundtrack tracks.
  • The London Oratory School Schola has contributed to at least seven movies.
  • Empire of the Sun opens with one singing, the main character played by Christian Bale being a member of a church choir. The vocals were dubbed by an actual boy soprano.
  • Sparse but dramatic examples as the astronauts of Apollo 13 re-enter the Earth's atmosphere while the whole world watches on. More prominent after they safely splash down.
  • In the trailer for The Social Network, a Belgian young girl's choir by the name of "Scala and the Kolacny Brothers" performed a piano and choir only cover of "Creep" by Radiohead. Atmospheric, melancholic, and somewhat creepy are terms to describe it that come to mind.
  • Sing is a 2016 short film that's all about a Cherubic Choir. One of the students who applies to participate in the choir is told that she isn't good enough and will have to pretend to sing while actually just mouthing the words.
  • The Good Shepherd from Angels with Dirty Faces is introduced as an adult leading a choir of boys the same age he was when he was a delinquent. It shows he's changed a lot and is doing his best to make sure these kids don't make the mistakes that nearly ruined his life.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Wire's theme song (Tom Waits' "Down in the Hole") was sung by a different artist each season. Season 4 used a Boy's Choir, since the season's theme is the decrepit west Baltimore school system and the young men it fails to help.
  • The theme music for Mr. Bean - "Ecce homo qui est faba" or "Behold the man who is a bean."
  • Parodied on Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide. Ned believes that when he sees the girl who is The One, she'll have light glowing behind her, and angels will sing. Ned does see that with Moze, but it's really the kids from the music room who are waiting for Gordy to fix the lights in there. At the end, light and angelic singing appear with Moze again, but this time it's not just the kids in the music room, or lights being moved by Gordy.
  • In Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, the soundtrack has this in the background when introducing Giordano Bruno and during the Dream Sequence where he imagines an infinite universe (which was one of the beliefs that would get him killed by the Inquisition). It's reused variously, often when introducing an important character at birth or childhood (like Michael Faraday) or when a religious institution comes into the picture (like the Benedictine abbey where Josef von Fraunhofer conducted his research).
  • In the Doctor Who episode "The Snowmen," a cherubic choir performs the dreamlike "Clara's Theme" as the titular character is shown climbing into the clouds above London in a fairy-tale-like sequence.

  • Gustav Mahler's Third and Eighth Symphonies.
  • Subverted by Rammstein in "Spieluhr".
  • The Rolling Stones song "You Can't Always Get What You Want" from Let It Bleed with The (London) Bach Choir.
  • The Pink Floyd song "Another Brick in the Wall" from The Wall with the Islington Green School choir.
    • Also, "Outside The Wall" from the same album, with Roger Waters speaking the lyrics over the choir.
  • The entire boychoir genre, with some of the best known examples including the Vienna Boys Choir, the Choir of Kings College Cambridge, and Libera.
  • Subverted with Yo La Tengo's cover of Sun Ra's "Nuclear War", which features a positively ecstatic choir of adorable little children yelling the chorus:
    It's a motherfucker, don't you know!
    When they push that button, yo' ass gotta go!
  • Savatage's Streets: A Rock Opera opens with a choir of children singing from Mozart's The Magic Flute.
  • Anberlin's song, "*Fin" has a boys choir helping out with the finale.
  • There are several Dutch songs that use a children choir with interesting lyrics.
    • Robert Long: "Het spijt me John Lennon" (I'm sorry, John Lennon). The children do the background with wonderful lyrics such as 'murder and manslaughter' 'still children are dying'. It's actual a sort of protest song about us still doing bad stuff to other humans and ignoring the suffering of other people.
    • Piet van Vliet: "Zwarte p, witte l (Black p, white l)". It's a reference to chocolate letters. It can also be understood as black pete, white dick which is completely intentional. The children come in somewhere after the middle to take over the chorus. 'He's a black pete, but has a white l, and if you don't like it, your mother sure does' (It's difficult to translate)
    • "Bolletjes in mijn hol (Little balls up my bum)". It's about rectal drug smuggling and they're not subtle. The children take the chorus over after the middle. It translates roughly as: 'Yes I have little balls up my bum, I'm completely stuffed, whistling past the the checkpoint with my fully loaded anus'
  • Garbage's "Not Your Kind of People", featuring the daughters of two bandmembers.
  • Ride's song "I Don't Know Where It Comes From" from Carnival of Light.
  • "All Things Dull And Ugly" on Monty Python's album Monty Python's Contractual Obligation Album is sang by a children's choir, but instead of positive things it's all about Crapsack World stuff, making the children a Creepy Children Singing.
  • Daniel Amos's "Memory Lane" (from Doppelgänger) has female singers during the outro.
  • Three Dog Night’s “Black And White” features a chorus of the band members’ children at the end.
  • "Sing" by the The Carpenters has a chorus of children singing throughout the second half of the song.




    Video Games 
  • The theme of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night's Royal Chapel, "Requiem of the Gods," consists of this trope and organ music, appropriately enough, topped off with some church bells.
  • Medal of Honor: Frontline: The music in the "Rough Landing" and "Arnhem Knights" levels. In both cases, it induces Soundtrack Dissonance, and in the latter, the good guys are losing.
    • Though it has a fairly serene feel (contrasting the violence of the Battle of Arnhem), "Arnhem Knights" is mournful and tear-jerking. It plays over a level set in a devastated city, where isolated pockets of British paratroopers are cut off and surrounded by Waffen-SS stormtroopers. The British character models have torn and filthy uniforms with bloody bandages around their heads and limbs, with many of them missing helmets and other gear. If you know the real history behind the level, you know this is Truth in Television. It's been known to make grown men cry.
  • At the end of Ōkami, when Amaterasu regains her power.
  • The music that plays during the final battle against the Chandelier superweapon in Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation is performed by a boys' choir with Ominous English Chanting. Perhaps a rare twist on this trope, as the music (and gameplay) is clearly meant to paint the whole scenario as a tragedy. In other words, it's like a solemn lament to the necessity of one last, desperate battle to take out a superweapon raining death on a country that has already won the war, forcing the soldiers to fight one last battle to secure the peace they've been longing for all this time.
  • Nippon Ichi is really fond of this trope for their good endings. To whit:
  • The True Final Boss battle music in Mushihime Sama. Talk about Soundtrack Dissonance. The regular edition of Futari averts this, but Black Label plays it straight again.
  • At the best ending of Myst III: Exile, a boy soprano sings as the (redeemed) antagonist goes home to see his family after 20 years of separation. It is suggested that the singer is the villain as a young boy singing about his beloved Age, Narayan.
  • The intro music of Gran Turismo 4 is a choral version of the series theme, "Moon over the Castle".
  • The Opening Theme of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is a choral remake of the original NES opening theme.
  • Also subverted by the "Theme of Law" in Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, where the angels' heavenly choir (which later becomes Zelenin's Song) is disturbing and eerie.
  • "The Prophet's Ascension" from Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight. The music plays as Kane enters a portal that brings him and his followers to the stars, "ascending" like he promised.
  • "You Were There", the closing song of ICO, feature a song sung by Libera boy chorister Steven Geraghty.
  • EarthBound Beginnings: The game's Sound Stone, the Eight Melodies, is one of these in its OST interpretation. This song was used in the 1989 commercial for the game.
  • The Dark Mirror version of Syphon Filter's main theme.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Mario Kart 64 of all games employs this with Bowser's Castle and the end credits.
    • New Super Mario Bros. 2: The ground theme is literally the same as the previous version, only with the addition of this. The Athletic theme heard is also full of this.
  • Baten Kaitos Origins' main theme, 'Le Ali Del Principio', has a nine-year-old girl (the daughter of the composer, Motoi Sakuraba) singing lyrics in Italian. It's mostly used as a Theme Music Power-Up or for big reveals.
  • Bayonetta has a few of these, a joyful one sung during the Mook Debut Cutscenes, and two melancholic yet incredibly relaxing ones during the Paradiso levels.
  • The soothing theme of the benevolent Guardian Spirit, a powerful and almost godlike entity which helps the Miis throughout their journey in Miitopia, is one of these.
  • Used extensively in NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams to drive home the innocent-children theme of the game. It's most prominent in "When the Night Falls," the hub world. The same vocal sounds are later used in Sonic Lost World's Desert Ruins Zone 3, which has a candy motif.
  • In Xenoblade Chronicles 2, the day and night themes of the Indoline Praetorium are, fittingly, performed as choral pieces,note  with boy sopranos featuring more prominently in the former.

    Web Animation 
  • Helluva Boss: The C.H.E.R.U.B jingle is a fairly unorthodox example. It's not exactly the traditional style of music you hear from this trope, but the song is still a sweet if highly energetic tune about blessing people and spreading positivity sung by literal cherubs.

    Web Comics 
  • When Roy Greenhilt dies in The Order of the Stick, he gets to enter heaven through a gate surrounded by one of these. Lampshaded by the heavenly guide, who says it's customary to tip the cherubim.

    Western Animation 
  • Jimmy Two-Shoes has a Recurring Extra called The Awe Guy, whose sole purpose is to provide one of these at the appropriate moments.
  • Parodied in an episode of Johnny Bravo, when Johnny sees an ad for something he just happens to need at the moment. Cut to ad. choir starts singing, cut back to Johnny, with the choir standing behind him.


Video Example(s):



An organization run by Cherubs that serves as the opposite of I.M.P, in that it protects humans from dying.

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