The heritage of music in the Anglican tradition is one of its great gifts to the evangelistic and spiritual life of the Christian faith. For centuries, choirs of children and adults have led worship throughout the Anglican Communion, a living tradition which we celebrate at St. Paul’s.
The music ministry of St. Paul’s is an opportunity for service, musical education andChristian formation, and spiritual enrichment for all ages, grounded in the Anglican choral tradition. The primary purpose and mission of our music ministry is to praiseGod, and to lead others to prayer and praise through our worship leadership. At St.Paul’s, choirs and instrumentalists provide musical leadership for hundreds of services and events each year. Their service is a vital part of the worship and spiritual life of the parish, and a significant mode of outreach to the wider community.
Both of our primary choirs sing at services every Sunday during the program year(September through May), as well as at services for Principal Feast Days. Special services with choirs include regular Choral Evensong, the Advent Service of Lessons &Music, the Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols for Christmas, the Feast of LightsEpiphany pageant, and Holy Week.
St. Paul’s is an affiliate member of the Royal School of Church Music, an international ecumenical organization committed to promoting the study, practice, and improvement of music in Christian worship. Members of our choirs receive music and worship education through training based in the RSCM’s Voice for Life curriculum.
Concerts and other special musical events are offered periodically by Friends of Music at St. Paul’s, an independently-funded concert series that exists separate from the annual budget of the parish. Its mission is to be a unique niche in the vibrant arts scene of Winston-Salem with a particular, but exclusive, focus onEarly Music(that is, music from before the year 1800).
All are welcome to serve and participate in the music ministries at St. Paul’s. Singers of all ages are needed for our choirs, and guest instrumentalists are also often featured. We always welcome volunteers to help with publicity, choir vestment upkeep, and maintenance of theMusic Library.
The St. Paul's Choir
The St. Paul’s Choir, an adult choir of up to fifty voices, sings for the 11:15AMSunday services during the program year, and also for Holy Days such as ChristmasEve, Ash Wednesday, and Good Friday, and other special events from time to time, including the annual Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols in December. The repertoire is ambitious; a minimum weekly commitment of two hours of rehearsal time(plusSunday mornings) is asked.The most important requirement isa strong desire to sing and a commitment to the program.
• Wednesdays 7:15 to 9:15 p.m.
• Sundays 10:15-11:00 a.m.
• Sundays 11:15am - 12:30 p.m.
• Other special services through the liturgical year
The St. Paul’s Choristers and Schola
This choir of children and adults (collectively known as the Schola Cantorum) honors and fosters the historic role that both girls and boys have in leading musical worship alongside adult singers. This choir sings for the 9:00AMSunday services during the program year, and also for Holy Days such as Christmas Eve, Maundy Thursday, and the Easter Vigil, and periodic Choral Evensongs through the year. Choristers are children and youth from 3rd Grade through High School, while the Scholais comprised of adult voices (Alto, Tenor, and Bass) and high school boys with changed voices. As affiliates of the Royal School of Church Music, Choristers also participate in the St.Paul’s Choir School (see below).
Tuesdays (treble voices only)
• 5:00 – 5:15 (Snack)
• 5:15 – 5:45 (Choir School/Voice for Life Training)
• 5:45 – 6:45 (Rehearsal)
Wednesdays (trebles & adults)
• 5:00 – 5:30 (Dinner)
• 5:30 – 6:00 (Choir School/Voice for Life Training)
• 6:00 – 7:10 (Rehearsal, ending with Compline or Evensong)
• Sundays, 9:00-10:05am
• Other special services through the liturgical year
The Novice Choir
The Novice Choir serves as a training choir in which younger-elementary aged children learn the fundamentals of music-making, singing, and worship leadership. It is open to Kindergarteners who have mastered basic reading skills, and are capable of participating in small-group activities that last for 30 minutes or more; otherwiseFirst Grade is the standard entry age. Novices participate in the 9:00AM Sunday services each week through observation and hymn singing; they also sing special anthems two or three times during the year and also are featured at the 11:00AM Christmas Eve pageant.
• 4:30 – 5:00 (Rehearsal)
• 5:00 – 5:15 (Snack with Choristers)
• 4:30 – 5:00 (Rehearsal)
• 5:00 – 5:30 (Dinner with Choristers)
Sundays, call time is 8:45am
The Chamber Choir
TheChamber Choir is a small ensemble of invited singers from the Choir and Schola. The Chamber Choir sings Choral Evensong (usually in the Chapel) several times during the season, and also contribute additional repertoire to Sunday 11:15AM services. Rehearsals typically occur on Wednesday evenings following the St. Paul’s Choir rehearsals.
The Summer Choir
The Summer Choir sings for the 10:00AMSunday services between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Rehearsals take place prior to services each Sunday (9:00AM) for the music to be sung that day. The Summer Choir is open to singers of all ages, children and adults.
The Compline Choir
The Compline Choir, our newest musical group, is a small ensemble of invited singers, youth and adults, from the Choir and Schola. This choir sings the short service of Compline (Night Prayers), on Sunday evenings following the 5:00PM Eucharist during the season of Lent.
Joining the Choirs
For the St. Paul’s Choir, Chamber Choir, and Summer Choir, contact Dr. John E. Cummins at (336) 723-4391, ext. 1401. For the Choristers+Schola, Novice Choir, and Compline Choir, contact Dr. Mark Ardrey-Graves at (336) 723-4391, ext. 1403.
St. Paul’s Choir School, a component element of the Chorister program, gives young singers an outstanding musical education through regular study and performance. Each week, members have opportunities for meeting challenges in a loving, team-oriented environment, and the privilege and responsibility of leading public worship. The ChoirSchool is built around the pedagogical system established by the RSCM.
The Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) was founded in England in 1927, and has grown since that time into an ecumenical and international organization with over 11,000 affiliate congregations, schools, and individuals around the globe. The RSCM is committed to promoting the study, practice, and improvement of music inChristian worship. RSCM America is a branch of this worldwide network, sharing the common goal of promoting effective and inspiring music-making in worship, and by extension the wider community, through education, mentorship, and performance.
Voice for Life is the RSCM’s acclaimed guide to training singers and choirs of all ages. Its graded scheme provides a framework for choral musicians to develop vocal skills, musical understanding, and knowledge of repertoire. It travels through five levels (White, Light Blue, Dark Blue, Red, and Yellow) of increasing complexity. At the completion of each level, Choristers are informally assessed, and awarded a ribbon corresponding to the color of the completed level. There is also an optional formal examination system, which awards the Bronze (green ribbon), Silver (purple ribbon), and Gold (bright red ribbon) medals. Examination for the formal awards is entirely at the option of the individual singer.
Choristers are also encouraged to participate in annual RSCM training courses and festivals. In recent years, our singers have participated in Treble festivals and special services in Columbia, SC, Myrtle Beach, SC, Duke University Chapel, and Winston-Salem. A particular highlight of the year is the weeklong RSCM summer course. We are very fortunate in Winston-Salem to be close to two of the nationally-renowned summer courses: the Carolina Course for Girls & Adults (Durham, NC), and the Charlotte Course for Boys, Girls, and Adults. Both are typically held in mid-July.
More information about RSCM courses, can be found on the RSCM America web site.
Evensong, the Anglican service of Evening Prayer and one of the jewels in the crown of our tradition’s worship, is offered throughout the year. During the program year (September through May), Choral Evensong is typically sung on the third Sunday of each month at 5:00PM, usually in the Chapel. Musical leadership for these services rotates between the Chamber Choir and the Schola Cantorum (Choristers).
Additionally, a shorter service of Evensong will periodically be offered by the Choristers on Wednesdays at 6:30PM in the Church when Feast Days fall on or near those days (such as St. Michael & All Angels in September and Candlemas in February). In December, the Advent Service of Lessons & Music (Second Sunday of Advent) and the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols (Fourth Sunday of Advent) replace Choral Evensong.
Special services of Choral Evensong are also occasionally offered during the summer months, particularly in conjunction with Feast Days.