What We Do
The St. John’s Youth Choir is a group of singers that has fun while learning all about music reading, theory, vocal training, and the great sacred choral repertoire, old and new. With the worship of God at our core, we prepare anthems and larger works of music to be presented twice monthly at the 10:30 a.m. service of worship at St. John’s Church (which allows continued participation at your own parish). We also sing for Evensong and concerts at St. John’s, and for a number of special events at other venues.
St. John’s Youth Choir is affiliated with the Royal School of Church Music, an international organization of choirs that sing in the English choir school tradition. Alongside professional and amateur adult singers, we learn adult-level choral music, and we look beyond the words and music to communicate a message.
The music we sing is primarily Anglican traditional choral music, and classic repertoire written from the Middles Ages through the present day. Occasionally we sing music that is Gospel or other styles, but you’ll not find a praise band or song leader in this tradition.
Levels of achievement are granted to our singers as they progress in their singing ability and spiritual/musical connection. An increase in stipend accompanies these levels, and older children who have been part of the program for many years are granted leadership roles within the choir.
Wednesdays, every week, alternating between:
5:00-7:30 p.m., with dinner (three times/month)
5:00-6:30 p.m., no dinner, with music theory classes
Sundays, every other week (roughly):
9:00-9:45 a.m. rehearsal
10:30 a.m. service
Special Events 2017-2018
Candlelight Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols
The St. John’s Adult and Youth Choirs
Scott Lamlein, choirmaster; Floyd Higgins, organ
In the tradition of King’s College, Cambridge, prepare your soul for the Christmas miracle with carols for choir and organ.
Sunday, December 10, 2017, 3:00 p.m.
Choral Music for the Soul: Fauré Requiem
Combined Choirs of St. John’s and St. Paul’s-on-the-Green, Norwalk
Scott Lamlein and Jacob Street, choirmasters
with organ and chamber orchestra
Saturday, March 10, 2018, 4:00 p.m.
followed by repeat concert at St. Paul’s Norwalk, Sunday, March 11, 4:00 p.m.
Experience the beautiful, ancient custom of closing the day with graceful readings, prayer and music
Sunday, October 29, 2017, 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, April 29, 2018, 5:00 p.m.
Choir Camp, Ivoryton, CT, August 5-10, 2018
Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival Choral Eucharist, with St. James’s Choir at Trinity College, October 1, 2017, 12:30 p.m.
Christmas at St. John’s!
– Annual Christmas Festival caroling, Saturday, December 2, 2017, 10-11:30 a.m.
– Christmas Pageant, Sunday, December 17, 2017
– Christmas Eve Service, December 24, 2017, 4:00 p.m. service
Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Services, March 25 – April 1, 2018
Click here for the full, always-updated, choir calendar. Scroll down for info on how to subscribe to the calendar on your phone or Google account.
Choir Policies and Attendance
A warm welcome to all new and returning choir singers and choir families! These policies are intended to help acquaint all with the operations of the music ministry at St. John’s, and to be a useful source of information for anyone involved in the choir program. It is both an honor and a privilege for us to participate in this vibrant music ministry. Please read all of these policies carefully.
The St. John’s Youth and Adult Choirs together form the main worship choir of St. John’s, providing music for all major worship services and special events. The choristers are trained to the high standards and are treated as professional musicians.
The Youth Choir is made up of boys and girls ages 7 1/2 – 18, with unchanged voices for the boys. The choristers are trained to the high standards and are treated as professional musicians, and paid a modest stipend for their services to the church as part of the Royal School of Music tradition. Changed voice boys become part of the Adult Choir, and transitioning voice boys can participate in both.
The Adult Choir is an experienced and dedicated group of professional singers and volunteers who travel from a wide area, and who rejoice in their fellowship and ministry. They include some more advanced members of the Youth Choir. Both choirs sing as individual groups and together, as needed by the program and schedule.
The Junior Choir exists to instill a love and excitement for singing sacred music in the hearts and minds of young children, and to prepare them to eventually join the ranks of the Youth Choir. It is made up of children ages 4-7, and rehearses briefly after the main Sunday service for a few weeks before singing a simple song in church. This group is led by our Head Choristers and is the perfect way to prepare for full participation in the Youth Choir.
Technology-free program: Choir rehearsals and services/performances are all part of a technology-free program. Thus, in order to maintain focus and attention, use of phones and other devices is not allowed. Choristers are encouraged to leave phones at home, or in their cubbies; the director will confiscate devices as needed and/or take away choir privileges. Adults: A reminder that the church service and rehearsals are non-electronic zones, and your role-modeling as choir singers extends into coffee hour, dinners, and down time in between. Bottom line – leave ’em home, or don’t let me see ’em or hear ’em. Use these times to really connect with people, face to face. You’ll be glad you did!
A music program such as that at St. John’s cannot function without the goodwill of volunteers and the support of families. The Rector and Director of Music are grateful for all that members of the program offer in supporting the rehearsal and performance schedule, without which the maintenance of high standards of music would be difficult. We could not continue to stretch and motivate each other otherwise.
Due to the enormous amount of music covered each week, it is hard for a singer not to fall behind even after missing only one rehearsal. It is understood that required job or academic obligations may require the singer to be absent from a rehearsal or an event. However, please understand that in making the commitment to the choir program the singer must choose to place their commitment to the choir above other extracurricular activities.
Attendance: The success of this program and its individual members is contingent upon regular, on-time attendance. Please take it seriously. All singers are expected to strive for perfect attendance; however, an 80% attendance record over the year is considered the minimum. Should choristers (child or adult) fall below this, a meeting will be called to discuss their commitment to the program.
Two weeks notice is required for excused absences, except through illness. Tardiness counts as ½ an unexcused absence. Plan to arrive 10 minutes early so that you can begin on time (arrival at the appointed time = late).
Occasionally schools or other activities present last-minute conflicts with the choir schedule. It is expected that “choir comes first” in these cases.
Weekly Email: You’ll generally hear from me via email twice weekly – a schedule reminder email goes out every Friday with details of the service and rehearsal days ahead, and any other news and notes (as well as the meme of the week). On most Mondays I send out a link to recordings of the Sunday service with comments. Please take these messages seriously, and read in full. Every message contains important info.
Email Signature: My outgoing messages to you always end with an exhaustive list of links, so you can simply go back to any email from me to get the info needed. Learning links take you to YouTube playlists that I have prepared where you can listen to examples of each piece we will be learning. This is not only very helpful, but the music is beautiful! Hook it up in the car and enjoy. Calendar links take you to various versions of the church’s online calendar, which we keep up-to-date and live. Because our schedule is somewhat changeable, please refer back often. Parent Schedule link is included as well.
Weather Cancellation: In the event of inclement weather, severe weather decisions will be made by 12:00 noon of the rehearsal day, or by 8:00 a.m. of a Sunday. The Director of Music will have the most recent information concerning a decision, and will contact all choir members via email.
Camp Commitment: If camp is attended, a commitment to the choir of at least one year is expected. St. John’s investment in this camp experience encourages building of a serious, solid group, thus it is reserved for serious singers who truly want to be part of the Youth Choir.
Choir Stipends: Youth Choir members are paid a modest per-appearance stipend based on their level of achievement, as listed below. Checks are issued monthly and expire after 60 days. Please deposit/cash stipend checks immediately, as outstanding checks are a hardship on our financial staff. Any check that is outstanding after 60 days is absorbed back into the program budget.
Per appearance stipend amounts, based on choir rank:
- Novice: $1.50
- Singer (White level): $2.50
- Junior (Light blue): $3.00
- Senior (Dark blue): $3.50
- Full Chorister (Red): $4.00
- Head Chorister/Prefect: $5.00
Choir Parents: Parents are expected to serve as Full Rehearsal “Choir Parent” two to three times per year. This role is very simple, and involves helping to set up and clean up choir dinner, as well as making sure all choir members get picked up by a parent at the conclusion of rehearsal. When it’s your turn to be the choir parent for Wednesday evenings, your role is critical. So, if for some reason you cannot fulfill these duties on your assigned evening (or even must be late), you must find a parent to switch with you, in advance. We are also looking for parents who are willing to cook the dinner on occasion (optional).
Link to Choir Parent Schedule: Click here.
Choir Parent Schedule for Wednesdays:
- (5:00pm Rehearsal begins)
- 5:30pm: Set the tables for dinner (water glasses and pitchers of water), and the serving table (plates/utensils/napkins)
- 5:45pm: Receive the delivery of food or pizza and ready it with serving utensils
(if another parent is cooking instead, help out with the final preparations)
- 6:00pm: Help supervise dinner
- 6:30pm: Clean up tables, wash and put away dishes
- 7:30pm: Use the clipboard to sign out each child when their parent picks them up in the hallway. If a parent is late (this should not happen!), either wait with the child, or bring him/her to the choir room to wait there.
Observation: Parents are also encouraged to attend occasional rehearsals (after your child has become accustomed to being on their own), and as many services of worship and concerts as possible. Your support of your children in this effort teaches them far more than we can in rehearsal. Come, worship and enjoy. St. John’s will not ever pressure you to become a greater part of this community, but those options are always available to you.
General: Choir members are expected to use good sense and discretion with their “Sunday best”. Please wear dark shoes and socks, and not tennis shoes/sneakers. Vestments should be worn properly and buttoned to the top. Jewelry or ties should not be visible outside choir robes. Program members should always remember that they are the public face of worship, and attire must be appropriate to their duty as leaders. We also want visitors to take away a good report of our worship and disposition. For any outside events or choir tours/trips, smart clothing is required.
Use Sense, not Scents: We’re in a tight space with lots of people, especially on Sundays – please avoid perfume and cologne. It may smell good to you, but could easily overwhelm your seating partners.
BEHAVIOR IN CHURCH AND REHEARSAL
- No talking during rehearsal or service
- For important questions, raise your hand
- Do your absolute best at all times
- No food or drink (water excepted, although please be careful)
- Make sure you have the correct music before rehearsal begins
- Always have your music, hymnal, and pencil with you
- Arrive on time at the beginning of rehearsal, and after breaks
- Put music away after end of rehearsal; clean out your folder after all services
Choristers are strictly forbidden from going beyond the vicinity of the choir room unless under direct adult supervision.
ICAL Code for use in devices or Google:
IMPORTANT NOTE: The ICAL link only displays two months ahead at a time, so use the links above for any advance planning.
Instructions for Google Calendar (click “using a link”)
YOUTH CHOIR CODE (copy/paste the whole thing, with no extra spaces):
ADULT CHOIR CODE (copy/paste the whole thing, with no extra spaces):