About the Calvary Choir School
Calvary Church is very pleased to offer a choral program which embraces the tradition of children’s voices. Children form the soprano section of an inter-generational choir, while the alto, tenor, and bass parts are sung by adults.
The chorister program offers a musical education which includes music theory, music history, and vocal training. In addition, choristers learn about the liturgy and history of the church. While all choristers and their families are welcomed and encouraged to participate fully in the life of Calvary Church, church membership is not required, nor do you have to be Episcopalian.
The choral program at Calvary is based on the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) curriculum entitled “Voice for Life.” Calvary has a history of affiliation with the RSCM dating back to 1987 and earlier. Within the guidelines of the RSCM (www.rscm.com). The choristers sing compositions by the greatest composers of sacred music, such as Palestrina, Bach, Handel, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Bruckner, and Howells.
The History of Treble Choirs
For nearly one thousand years, children (primarily boys until the last fifty years!) have sung daily services in the great cathedrals and collegiate chapels of England. The boy sopranos, or trebles, provided the “top line” of the choir while the lower parts (alto, tenor, and bass) were sung by lay clerks, or grown men from the college or community. While these choral programs are taken somewhat for granted in England, similar choirs for children and youth are few and far-between in our own country.
About the Choir
The choir is open to boys and girls in grades 3 through 12 as well as adults. Choristers are divided into four skill levels: Probationer (beginner – 2nd and 3rd Grade), Novice, Junior Chorister, and Senior Chorister.
To progress, appropriate skill levels must be achieved. Earned ribbons and medals are awarded to and worn by choristers over their vestments (choir robes) to show current standing. Standings include: Probationer, cassock only; Novice, cassock, surplice, and light blue ribbon with medal; Junior Chorister, cassock, surplice, and dark blue ribbon with medal; Senior Chorister, cassock, surplice, and red ribbon with medal. In addition, a Head Chorister and Deputy Head Chorister are chosen each year to assist the Director with choir leadership.
Chorister rehearsals occur on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings and on Sunday mornings when the choir is leading worship.