The Choir School Builds on a Vibrant History

Established in 1883 at the Cathedral Church of St. John, the Choir is one of the finest examples of the English choral tradition in the United States. The choir has toured extensively throughout the United States and overseas. In 2003 the choir toured England where it sang services at Exeter Cathedral, Truro Cathedral, and Buckfast Abbey; in 2008 the choir toured New York City where it sang at St. Thomas’ Church Fifth Avenue, Trinity Church Wall Street, The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and St. Bartholomew Church; and in 2011 the choir was in residence at the National Cathedral and St. Paul’s Church K-Street in Washington, DC.

Celebrating a long tradition excellence, the Choir School of Delaware, historically known as the Cathedral Choir School of Delaware, has trained and inspired young artist for over 130 years of training young choristers to harmonize their voices while enriching their lives. Throughout the years, young members of the choir have learned far more than how to read musical notation, apply dynamics and blend voices. They have created a welcoming community where they build on their interests in music, singing together and providing support for each other.

archives_choir1930At the beginning, the Choir School trained only boys, as was the tradition in Anglican Churches. Many choristers grew to provide leadership in our city and state. Over time, the choir was happy to welcome women and girls its ranks.

In the 1990s, neighborhood children found the green and open Cathedral Keep a refuge from the increasingly crowded streets surrounding it. With their after school exuberance came noise and the occasional broken window when their play grew too boisterous. The Cathedral Dean, Dr. Margaret Patterson, and Director of Music, Dr. Darryl Roland, began to explore ways to resolve the negatives. Their idea: offering to the youngsters hospitality in the broadest sense.

Drs. Patterson and Roland invited the students to come in and form a choir that met after school. They added vocal lessons to choir practice and piano lessons for interested students. Soon, the Cathedral Choir School joined the adult choir to sing at Sunday services.  In 2007, volunteer mentors began to work with individual children to broaden their horizons and provide new opportunities through a newly designated Mentoring Academy. Homework helpers offered to help students with math, reading and study skills.

Members of the choir join a community based on trust and high expectations. Choristers all successfully complete high school and go on to further education or service to our country. They indeed harmonize in music and life.