About the Saint John's Choristers
An afterschool program on Mondays for Girls and Boys
Youth accepted as Choristers receive free professional music and voice training in exchange for their service in the St. John's Choir. The children also receive a small stipend.
What training will my child receive?
We offer practical professional training to create excellent singers. Your child will be performing, while learning how to read and interpret music with artistic sensitivity.
What if my child already takes lessons on a musical instrument?
Choir training is an excellent enhancement to piano and other instrumental lessons, because we train the "inner musician," focusing on ear training, mental and interpretive skills.
What kind of music do they sing?
Choristers experience some of the world's finest music, in a wide range of classic styles and periods. We do not teach "children's songs," pop or show tunes. We offer music of artistic depth and integrity, contemporary and historic. We know your child is as capable of learning and loving this music as any adult, as any of our students will attest.
How much do the classes cost?
There is no charge to participate. The Choir School is our gift to the community. The children receive a small stipend for their efforts.
What is required of us?
If your child is accepted as Chorister, she or he must commit to the full schedule of rehearsals and performances.
Why do you offer this program?
Our musical roots are found in the ancient tradition of the English Cathedrals, where for centuries children have been trained in the pursuit of musical excellence. Much of the classical choral repertoire was composed for the sound of young treble voices. We hope to carry on this tradition of excellence, and to share it with the community.
What is the curriculum?
• Music Reading
• Sight Singing
• Ear Training - Music Theory
• Voice - Ensemble musicianship
We also stress concentration, self-disipline, teamwork and responsibility.
How does it work?
The Chorister Training Scheme is a unique achievement program that appeals to kids. There are six "ranks" or levels in the choir, signified by medallions worn with different colored ribbons. To progress from one rank to the next, choristers pass a series of small tests, reflecting their growth in knowledge, ability and experience. The rate of progress depends on the individual; the entire program typically takes four years to complete. Girls and boys normally begin training in 2nd, 3rd, or 4th grade. We welcome all children with basic reading skills. We also encourage and invite older children to audition.
When are the practices? How often are the performances?
Students attend one weekly one hour practice on Wednesday afternoons, in Greenwish Village (224 Waverly Place, near Seventh Avenue). The choir performs about once a month, usually on a Sunday morning.
Do we have to join St. John's Church?
No. Musicians have a long history of crossing religious boundaries. Our choristers have come from many different religious backgrounds, Christian, Jewish and others. We offer an opportunity to perform some of the world's greatest music in the context for which it was written. Many parents wish their children to have this experience for cultural reasons. Since "performances" are often in the context of a church service, the children receive practical training so they can function, but we respect and support each child's religious background.
How do I enrol my child?
We ask each new student to attend one 15-minute interview/audition. To schedule an apppointment, call St. John's at 212 243-6192. At the interview, you will meet the instructor, Mr. Gordon King, who will evaluate your child's musical potential and assign her or him to a group. The instructor will happily answer questions and discuss any concerns at that time. Children need not have any previous musical training. Those who most enjoy the program have good reading skills, are eager to learn and willing to work.
A Choir School ...What's that?
The first English Choir School was established in the 6th Century (597 AD), when the missionary Augustine arrived in England with singing masters from the Papal Chapel.
Through Choir Schools the English cathedrals developed, over 1400 years, some of the world's finest choirs: Kings's College Cambridge, Winchester Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and more.
The Royal School of Church Music was founded in 1927 to bring this renowned training system to choirs all over the world. The Choir School at St. John's was founded in 1990 as an affiliate of the RSCM. Our students embraced the experience with unrivaled enthusiasm. In 1999, the Choristers recorded the CD "Bread of Angels" (available for $12).
If you would like to introduce your child to the St. John's Choristers, please call the parish office, 212 243-6192, and leave a message for Choristers Director Gordon King or send him an email: Gordon@stjvny.org