The Canterbury Choir School has been established to enhance the lives of children, ages 8-14, in our community. Through music instruction and performance, students develop skills in many areas— personal, social, academic, and spiritual— which will serve them and their community throughout their lives. The earlier they learn these skills, the more these are deeply ingrained, opening doors to further study, and to a life of greater richness and joy.
The students will learn to read music through singing in two rehearsals per week, plus services and an occasional concert. They will also learn by studying notation through book work and drills, following the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) method. This work is optional, but most students find it rewarding and enjoyable as they progress through various levels, receiving certificates and medals along the way. Students will also have an opportunity to learn to play the piano in a group setting. This practice reinforces reading skills and opens the door to more intensive private study, if the student is interested and willing.
All choristers will meet on Thursdays, 4:30-5:15PM, and Sundays, 2:00-2:45PM in the rehearsal room at the church. Optionally, students interested in piano instruction will also get that opportunity during the Sunday rehearsal time. The purpose of meeting frequently is to advance the choristers quickly in all skills needed to become good musicians. Practice at home is encouraged for vocalists, and especially piano students.
In addition to rehearsal and study, students will also participate in monthly church services at St. John’s, as well as occasional concerts, and other kinds of performances in the community (e.g., nursing homes, civic events, etc.). These dates will be given at the beginning of the season, so families can plan their activities. The choir season runs from the first Thursday after Labor Day until the middle of May, following the mid-year school breaks.
Transportation can be arranged for after school rehearsals on Wednesdays and Thursdays with other parents and also with Harbor Transit, which charges 75 cents per ride, to bring children directly to St. John’s. Students must be picked up promptly at the end of rehearsal.
Tuition is $100 per student per semester. Tuition is waived for St. John’s member families, and scholarships up to the full value of tuition are available. For those who wish to participate in group piano lessons, there is an additional cost for books. Donations are accepted from anyone who wishes to help cover the cost of students with financial need. No student will be refused for financial reasons.
A very friendly audition will be held to determine if a student can be trained to sing in the choir. In the first year, students will not be expected to perform while they are learning to master their voice. When they have demonstrated control over pitch, tone, and volume in rehearsal, they will be invited into the performing choir. Typically, all students will reach this level of skill within the first year.
To schedule an audition or more information, contact Nick Palmer via email or phone 616-842-6260 (ext. 27, to leave a message).