Professional Choristers for ages 7 1/2 and up
To register for Professional Choristers, an in-person interview with an adult family member and a brief musical audition are required, both parts together taking usually fifteen minutes by appointment. To register a young person for Professional Choristers, or for more information, please contact Peter Berton at or call (401) 848-2562.
A program of the Church of St. John the Evangelist, Professional Choristers are singers ages 7 1/2 and up (unchanged voices for boys), who make a larger commitment of time and training and sing frequently. Classes are ongoing through the summer and new singers can be admitted at any time. They receive a modest stipend based on their attendance, training and achievement according to the curriculum of The Choir School, which uses the standards of the Royal School of Church Music. The descriptions of these standards and the stipend amounts are below. Rehearsals are held Tuesdays 4:00 to 5:30 (girls), Wednesdays 4:00 to 5:30 (boys), and Thursdays 5:00 to 7:30 (dinner included; boys or girls on a rotating schedule).
The Royal School of Church Music is a world-wide organization devoted to the principle that children are capable of singing the finest sacred choral literature. The motto of the RSCM is “I will sing with the spirit and the understanding also,” acknowledging the need to look beyond the notes and words of music to communicate a message, and to learn about music and about life in the process of doing so.
Achievement promotions are decided by the Choir Director based on: 1) demonstrated progress in regular services and rehearsals, including tests of musical skills and terms; 2) punctual and consistent attendance, and 3) consistent behavior. Upon promotion from one rank to another, a singer passes his or her medal of former rank to a singer newly promoted to that rank, and receives his or her new medal from a singer who is being likewise promoted, unless this process generates an insufficient number of free medals. Stipends increase with rank. Upon graduation from the choir, a singer may keep the medal and ribbon of the rank held at that time. Two award ceremonies annually are held, normally during Sunday worship in September and in February. These medals may be seen in the pictures with the red robes on this website.
NOVICE — A novice is a singer who is in training, who has passed the musical audition and whose family has decided to support the singer in meeting choir responsibilities to see if the commitment will make sense long-term. During this time the singer wears only the red robe part of the uniform. Once at least a month of experience has passed, if the singer decides to join the choir for good, a stipend will commence. Novices sometimes are asked not to sing, but just to observe, and may be assigned a coach (an older singer). Depending on the age when joining the choir, a singer may remain a Novice for one to two years, while learning the musical and behavioral skills required. (stipend $1.50 per rehearsal)
SINGER –– Fully-robed Singers in the St. John’s Choirs receive a white surplice worn over the choir robe, and a white ruff (collar) symbolic of their status as a leader of worship through the choir. Singers are expected to know basic musical terms, work hard in rehearsal, follow the order of service programs on Sundays, develop consistent clear vocal projection, and demonstrate good behavior in and out of uniform. During this time, usually at least one year unless the singer is experienced before joining, work is done learning the musical skills required for the rank of Junior, and it is expected that all Singers have made a commitment to remain in the choir until voice change. (stipend $2.50 per rehearsal) A Singer may eventually be promoted to…
JUNIOR — A Junior singer wears a light blue ribbon with his or her medal, and usually will be a Junior for at least a year or so. Advanced musical skills and vocal contribution are expected and further developed during this rank. (stipend $3.00 per rehearsal)
SENIOR — A Senior singer wears a dark blue ribbon with his or her medal. Every singer, giving her or his best efforts, should be able to become a Senior. As with the other ranks, the work necessary for promotion is done in regular rehearsals and services. Senior singers are characterized by mature behavior, leadership ability and willingness to help others, strong vocal projection and diction, and solid knowledge of what it takes to be a good musician. (stipend $3.50 per rehearsal)Every Senior singer is eligible for promotion to the rank of…
CHORISTER — A Chorister wears a red ribbon with her or his medal. Singers who are promoted to Chorister status have consistently given their very best effort and have proven themselves to be self-motivated in the work of the choir. They have gone beyond just doing what is asked. Not all singers attain this rank during their career in the choir, but it is hoped that all will aspire to it. (stipend $4.00 per rehearsal)
LEAD SINGERS — Up to two Lead Singers may be appointed at any one time. Lead Singers wear green ribbons and are singers who have attained the rank of Senior, have demonstrated excellent leadership ability and discipline, and who assist the Choir Director in the ordinary business of running the choir. Lead Singers are usually appointed in September for a term of one year, after which they are restored to the rank held at the time of appointment. They do not keep their medals because this distinction is a rotating assignment. (stipend $4.50 per rehearsal) Deputy Lead Singers may be appointed if requisite leadership talent and dedication are demonstrated after attaining the rank of Junior. (stipend $4.00 per rehearsal)
The HEAD CHORISTER wears a gold ribbon with a special medal. A Head Chorister is a singer who has attained the rank of Chorister, demonstrates exceptional solo talent or other musical skills, and has the occasional responsibility to oversee the choir in the absence of adult leaders. A Head Chorister is usually appointed each September for a term of one year. There may be years in which no Head Chorister is appointed. (stipend $5.00 per rehearsal)
The Professional Choristers sing three services a month on average at the Church of St. John the Evangelist (one Sunday morning, and two Sunday afternoons), allowing children who are part of other parish music programs to participate in their home programs most of the time. The training, experience and repertoire gained will accelerate their progress in said other programs. The Professional Choristers also sing twice per year at Trinity Church, Emmanuel Church and St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church; as the program grows it is envisioned that additional teams of singers may sing at other churches around Newport County on a regular basis.
Preparatory Division (Angel Choir) for ages 4-7
A program of Emmanuel Church and the former Emmanuel Day School, the Preparatory Division of The Choir School bridges the gap between earliest childhood music experiences (up to age 3) and the beginning of Professional Choristers.
Rehearsals are 40 minutes; location and schedule in Fall 2021 to be announced. We are keeping a waiting list for this ensemble pending confirmation of a new director. Please contact (401) 848-2562 or to be placed on this list.
$80 per semester per singer ($60 for each additional child in a family).
Before Angel Choir
Prior to Preparatory Choir, from ages 8 months through three years it is the recommendation of The Choir School to enroll a child in Music Together, a national curriculum with satellite locations in Portsmouth and Newport. For more information, please visit www.musictogethernewport.com or call (401) 846-9014.
The Zabriskie Memorial Church of St. John the Evangelist: