On Sunday, November 21, eight students from Saint Paul's Choir School were invested into the choir. From now on, they will sing as Boy Choristers of Saint Paul's! Six of them are fifth graders, who have spent two years in training. Two of them are sixth graders, whose efforts have proven their potential as choristers in a very short time period.
Most boys join Saint Paul's Choir School in the third and fourth grades. This group of boys, known as the junior choristers, trains together for up to two years. They learn the basics of reading notation and music theory, rehearse songs, and develop foundational choral skills.
Most importantly, they learn to sing together. With daily rehearsal, they learn to sing, listen to, and respond to one another in a collective group effort. Like any team sport, junior choristers are learning not just the mechanics of singing, they are also learning to function in concert (pun intended) with one another.
Investment into the choir is a solemn and celebratory occasion. Students dedicate their voices to God in a formal investment ceremony. As an outward sign of this, a chorister wears a surplice over his cassock. Cassocks are the traditional robes the boys wear during the Mass; they can be either red or black. The surplice is the white vestment worn over a cassock.
Of course, when the investment ceremony is completed, the boys celebrate with their family and friends at a reception organized by our school community.
Wearing a surplice is an incredible achievement. It signifies full membership in the choir, a boy's role as a chorister, and - most importantly - it is the culmination of months of training. A chorister is truly a young man for others. His role is to support and sustain his team of fellow choristers, not to drown them out.
Before joining the school, an applicant will complete an audition with our Director of Music, Mr. James Kennerley. During the audition, a student will complete a warm-up exercise or two (usually something fun or silly), sing a song of his choice, then play a game to match the pitch of a note played on a piano.
Boys this age have the tremendous ability to sing treble or boy soprano. Only they can do this! Saint Paul's auditions are meant to identify this potential so our program can educate and elevate it. If you think your son has a beautiful voice, we want to hear it!