Choristers are made up of young people grades two through eight.
+Grades Two and Three
For the first year of the choir program all choristers are generally novices, which includes rehearsing one day after school and singing at School Chapels.
+Grades Four and Five
The next step is the junior chorister program, which requires attending a morning rehearsal and Tuesday evensongs.
+Grades Six through Eight
Finally, those choristers who desire to do so progress to the senior chorister level, which involves singing Sunday services and all other public
Benefits for the Choristers
Choristers and their families find choir extremely rewarding.
Choir offers the obvious advantages of rigorous musical training in a storied tradition of liturgical repertoire.
Less apparent, though, choir also offers linguistic training in multiple languages, the mental and physical discipline of frequent performance, the team work and camaraderie of working with other choristers and the excitement of international travel.
Finally, choir offers opportunities for developing leadership and self-reliance, enhancing self-esteem and expanding social skills. Often the lives of choristers’ families are also enriched as there are opportunities for family participation in many choir activities.
Background of the Choirs
The choirs are affiliated with the Royal School of Church Music. Our style of training is based on their model that evolved in England over a thousand year tradition. The Choir of Men and Boys is the oldest resident boy choir in continuous service in New York City. Since the founding of our program in 1894, it has been made up of children from many faith traditions. While there is never any pressure for choristers or their families to participate actively in Grace Church outside the choirs, we do work to communicate the text we offer in song respectfully remembering that the church is a house of prayer for all people.
How to join…
Choir is open to everyone, whether or not a child is a student at Grace Church School. Schedule a meeting with the choirmaster, it’s fun and requires no advance preparation, lasts about half an hour and includes both the chorister and one or both parents.
Frequently Asked Questions…
We have heard that choir is a significant time commitment. Can we manage it in our busy schedule?
Most families discover that the time commitment grows as the chorister’s enthusiasm grows. Thus choir is not a burden, but something to look forward.
Does choir involve non-church performance and international travel, and, if so, is there financial assistance?
In 2022 the choirs sang a concert tour to Ireland. In recent seasons they have sang at Carnegie Hall and conducted concert tours that included Paris, Prague, Vienna and Salzburg, Italy, The Netherlands and Spain. The choir also records each season and has acted as choir-in-residence at Bristol Cathedral in the U.K. Fund raising events each season help provide scholarships and support for these special musical opportunities.
My child’s grades need to improve before we add more activities. Is that appropriate?
Many families find that musical training enhances academic performance, and a number of studies have supported this finding.
Do choristers actually get paid?
Each chorister receives an honorarium that increases over time. The professionalism implicit in compensation creates positive lessons for choristers as they make a commitment to attendance and preparation and then take pride in managing their finances in discussion with their parents.
We are not Episcopalian. Will we feel welcome?
Absolutely! Currently membership includes choristers from a variety of faith traditions, and Grace Church respects the dignity of every person’s choice of belief.
My child is tone deaf and/or has a bad voice. Is that a bar to participation?
The ability to listen, good reading skills and the desire to work hard and learn are the primary determinants to success in choir.
What if my child is afraid to make public appearances?
Shy children generally feel comfortable in choir because there is “safety in numbers” as they participate with the rest of the choir.
Do the choirs perform only traditional, liturgical repertoire?
While the principal focus is traditional, liturgical repertoire, the choirs also perform popular and contemporary music for concerts.
Opportunities for You to Learn More About Us!
Attend the Annual Spring Choir Concert
Friday 28 April at 7:00 p.m. sung by the Combined Choirs including works by Britten, Guest, Mendelssohn, Vaughan Williams and others.
The program will last about an hour and be followed by a beautiful and fun reception. Come enjoy the music and meet the community. It’s free.
Discuss Further or Request the Choir Handbook
Contact Patrick Allen to discuss further.
Visit the music area of the Grace Church Websitefor more information
and to listen to recordings of the Choirs.
Schedule a meeting with the choirmaster
Contact Patrick Allen