Saturday, September 16, 2006

Choristers at St. Pete's

We received a mailing from Barbara Verdile, Music Director at St. Peter's. It's a really nice description of the Choristers program that Eddie has embarked upon. We're very excited about this program, and when you read the following, you can see that it is a very serious program that will teach reading of music, singing in different languages, and many other things. Once Luke is old enough, he will be doing it too. And the best thing? It's FREE! Some people pay very good money for a program like this!

In March 2006 St. Peter's Church expanded its music ministry for children with an additional choral program for young people. Choristers, children aged 8 and up, pursue a professional level course of musical training and play an important role in the life of St. Peter's, which is building a tradition of wonderful music making. Becoming a member of the Chorister's Choir is as serious a commitment as it is a beneficial experience. No audition is necessary, just a commitment to attend rehearsals, learn the music and sing for services. Choristers learn the valuable place of high quality music and the good discipline needed for musical performance in a sacred setting and in their own lives. The Choristers also develop a strong collegial sense of team spirit in a non-competitive environment, which often leads to long-lasting friendships and experiences that they carry with them beyond their lives at St. Peter's. The development of time management, leadership, and cooperative skills are priceless and cannot be learned as a course of study. The choir follows the training scheme of the Voice for Life program developed by The Royal School of Church Music, in which boys and girls learn good vocal production, sight-singing, musical understanding, knowledge of choral repertoire (which includes singing in different languages), and Christian education. This structured program follows a levels system through which singers are promoted once they achieve set targets.

  • Novice Chorister: Novice Choristers wear a red cassock symbolizing they are in training. They are committed to learning the rudiments of music, the expectations of choir membership, acquiring basic vocal techniques for singing, and becoming familiar with various parts of our Anglican liturgy through participation in worship.

  • Chorister (divided into Junior Chorister and Senior Chorister): Boys and Girls who have completed their beginning training are commissioned into the choir as Junior members symbolized by receiving the white surplice to wear over their red cassock. Senior Choristers also wear RSCM medals with colored ribbons that correspond to their rank attained through the Voice for Life curriculum. Choristers are expected to serve as mature, competent members of the choir, providing role models and assisting the Director of Music and Head Choristers with the younger, less experienced choir personnel.

Choir camp and trips are also important parts of the Chorister experience. Choristers rehearse twice a week on Thursdays from 6:15- 7:15 PM. and on Sundays from 12:15 to 1:15 PM. Beginning this September, Choristers are expected to attend both Thursday and Sunday rehearsals. The Choristers sing monthly for the 10:30 AM service September through Trinity Sunday in June. No prior training or experience is expected of prospective choristers, nor need their families be affiliated with St. Peter's or any particular religious tradition. Boys and girls who are at least 8 years old are accepted. Apart from incidentals relating to travel or social events, there is no tuition cost expected of parents. Instead, the commitment of time and energy balances St. Peter's investment in the hundreds of teaching hours needed to make our Choristers' choir thrive. Please give consideration to joining the Choristers to experience the joy of becoming a part of a long tradition of church musicianship! Contact the Director of Music ( 540-338-7307) for further information or to arrange an interview.

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