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The Escolania is a group of 43 youths with an age between 9 and 18 who sing in the Basilica of El Escorial. Many of them are interns and study in El Escorial under the tutorage of the Augustinian Fathers, who are in charge of the Basilica of El Escorial. The youths are taught how to sing and perform musical instruments. They perform in the Basilica of El Escorial during the most important religious days of the year, namely Christmas, Holy Week, the Fiesta of El Escorial, San Lorenzo and San Agustin. They also sing for the Kings of Spain. Recently in June, 2012, they sang at the Sistine Chapel for the Pope.
They sing every Saturday at 19H during the Mass at the Basilica of El Escorial. They also sing on Sundays at 13H.
The school for boys started in 1567 by King Felipe II, four years after construction of El Escorial was started. The boys learned grammar, Latin and music, and they were supposed to sing every day in the Basilica. They also did the duties of the acolytes during Mass. This was stopped in 1835 when the Minister Mendizabal passed a law to expropriate all Church property. In 1885 the Augstinian Fathers were allowed to take care of the Monastery and in 1974 they restarted the Escolania. Since then they have given more than 300 scholarships to boys to study in the school and sing in there.