The Choir School is an award winning after-school program that trains boys and girls to sing professionally with adult singers. The program incorporates the style of training that began nearly one thousand years ago and still continues today in the great cathedrals and collegiate chapels of England. The Choir School takes pride in its diverse student body and is open to children and youth of all faith traditions.
Professional Choral Training
- receive classical singing instruction
- learn to read music
- perform a variety of choral music that spans five centuries
- sing in English, Latin, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Swahili, and Zulu.
Piano instruction is encouraged but not required. Students enrolled in piano lessons are required to practice regularly in our piano lab during afterschool hours and at home. In addition to the enjoyment one receives when playing a musical instrument, piano study also:
- increases overall musicianship
- enhances abstract reasoning skills that help children in academic studies, including math and science
- promotes healthy discipline that is transferable to other areas of interest
Whenever possible, the Choir School will provide a high-quality digital piano to families who do not have an acoustic piano or adequate keyboard in their home. Students can keep these practice pianos in their home until they complete their piano studies in the Choir School. Once a student graduates, the piano is placed in another student’s home.
Voice Lessons will help singers with intonation, expressiveness, musicality, repertoire development and performance skills. Students also gain:
- improved communication skills
- greater clarity of speech
- greater appreciation of music and other art
- understanding of the vocal mechanism
- sensitivity to emotion and speech
The study of music theory helps students to read music and better understand the building blocks of music. Specifically, students learn about pitch notation, rhythmic notation, intervals, scales, key signatures, time signatures, chords, and harmony. Understanding music theory helps students become better musicians.
Leadership skills are introduced and reinforced in the context of every rehearsal and performance. Citizenship and social skills are fostered as choristers learn how to interact in an intergenerational community and relate to a wide range of personalities and backgrounds.
A healthy work ethic is instilled as choristers work and grow together, developing good habits that sustain them throughout their adulthood. Specifically, choristers learn to:
- derive satisfaction from hard work
- compete in a healthy fashion
- focus on the task at hand
- develop individual standards and leadership skills
- become a team player.
Choristers who consistently demonstrate leadership by example are invited to receive Head Chorister Training and become student ambassadors serving as a role models for their peers. Head Choristers provide support for the Choir School staff and take on many additional responsibilities.
One-on-one Mentoring and Academic Support
The Choir School is a partner program with Creative Mentoring and The Delaware Mentoring Council. All students can benefit from interactions with caring adults other than family members. Studies show that students with mentors are more likely to complete school and are less likely to engage in unhealthy behavior. The Choir School supports mentoring for all students in our program and strongly encourages all choristers to participate. Our volunteers are carefully screened before working with our students. One-on-one mentors receive training from Creative Mentoring, and all volunteers receive safety and child abuse training.
One-on-one mentors and tutors are scheduled to meet weekly with our students at the Choir School. Homework helpers are available after school Monday-Thursday. Activities can include: working on homework and projects, developing new skills (cooking, knitting, chess, etc.), shared interests (piano, reading, board games, etc.), and just talking.
The Choir School participates in choir trips and has opportunities to sing in a variety of venues. In addition to singing for liturgies, the choir is featured in concerts and civic events throughout Delaware and surrounding states.
Summer Choir Camp
The Choir School presents a week-long intensive summer choir camp experience for choristers enrolled in our program. Students participate in a variety of activities including: learning new repertoire, studying music theory, leadership training, and recreation. In addition, we also offer a five-week summer camp that is open to choristers as well as neighborhood children not enrolled in our after-school music program. This more traditional summer camp experience includes math, reading and music enrichment as a bridge from one school year to the next.
Chorister Stipend (pay)
Choristers receive a stipend for each rehearsal, service, and concert in which they participate. Base pay is $0.50 per call (i.e. each rehearsal, service, concert, etc.) with an additional $0.25 added each consecutive year of service with promotion. Chorister pay provides educational opportunities for a sense of accountability, money management, and work ethic.
In additional to rehearsals, lessons and performances, recreational events with chaperones are planned throughout the year for relaxation and fun!