The Canterbury Choir is the children’s chorus at Saint Mark’s. Open to boys and girls between the ages of 7 and 14, the group aims to instill a lifelong passion for singing and for traditional choral music while inspiring young people to service in the church and in the community. The choir is open to all members of the community, regardless of religious affiliation, and there is no cost to participate. No musical background is required.
The Canterbury Choir season runs from September to May. Throughout the season the group rehearses weekly on Wednesday afternoons and sings monthly for the 10:30 a.m. service of Holy Eucharist on the first Sunday of every month. Choristers are asked to make a commitment of regular attendance at rehearsals and services.
New choristers who have a limited background in music may begin in the Saint Nicholas Choristers, a training program that orients new singers in preparation for the Canterbury Choir. Novice choristers learn about correct breathing and use of the vocal mechanism; how to match pitch and read a musical score; how to process and recess; and how to participate fully in the liturgy.
An Education in Music, Teamwork, and Leadership
Participation in the Canterbury Choir is an excellent opportunity for children to receive a free musical education. Choristers learn how to sing, how to read music, and the basics of music theory. The benefits of studying music are myriad, and numerous studies have shown that children who participate in musical ensembles develop greater self-confidence and perform better academically. Those who demonstrate the ability also may have the opportunity to sing as a soloist at various times throughout the year.
At the same time, choristers learn the importance of working well together as a group. As worship leaders, choristers discover the value of service and develop valuable leadership skills, lessons that serve them well in the church and in the community. Choristers who demonstrate strong musical ability and leadership skills may achieve the position of Head Chorister within the group, giving them the opportunity to develop peer leadership skills.
Royal School of Church Music Affiliate
Saint Mark’s is an affiliate member of the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) in America. The RSCM promotes musical education and a love of choral music through acclaimed instructional programs and materials. Saint Mark’s follows the RSCM’s Voice for Life curriculum, which allows choristers to progress in their musical education at their own pace. Choristers earn variously colored ribbons, which they wear over their choir robes, as they advance within the curriculum. Saint Mark’s also maintains a scholarship fund to assist choristers who would like to attend one of the RSCM’s outstanding summer camp programs.
Special Events and Activities
In addition to singing for regular monthly services, the Canterbury Choir sings for several special events throughout the choir year. Each December the group joins the adults of the Saint Mark’s Choir for the parish’s annual Festival of Advent Lessons and Carols, a perennial favorite. The choir also plays a featured role in the parish’s beloved pageant service on Christmas Eve. In the spring the group leads the music for one of the principal services on Easter morning. The choir concludes each season by leading a special service of Choral Evensong in May.
The Canterbury Choir also participates in several activities beyond the walls of the parish. Each December the group sings Christmas carols for the annual Christmas by the Clock celebration at Tremont Center in Upper Arlington. In the spring, the choristers enjoy a group outing to an artistic or educational destination in Ohio. Every two or three years, the choir undertakes a major trip to Washington, D.C., to visit Washington National Cathedral and the National Gallery of Art. The trip offers a unique opportunity for children to experience our nation’s capital from both a cultural and a faith-based perspective.
Fun and Fellowship
One of the great joys of participating in a choir is the camaraderie that develops as choristers work together toward a common goal. The sense of accomplishment that comes from a job well done is infectious and empowering, and choir friendships frequently endure long after choristers conclude their tenure with the group. Parents also have the opportunity to socialize on a regular basis.
Rehearsals: Wednesdays, 4:30–5:30 p.m.
The Music Program is led by Dr. Matthew Bester, Director of Music. The Organist-Choirmaster Emeritus is Gary L. Garber. The Organist Emeritus is Dr. Michael Murray. Persons interested in participating should contact the music office at 614-486-9452, ext. 309.
Upcoming Special Events
Most special events at Saint Mark’s are currently on hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please check back for updates as conditions evolve.
For more information regarding the typical calendar of special services and concerts at Saint Mark’s, please see the complete schedule for the 2019–2020 season of the Saint Mark’s Music Series. If you are interested in receiving periodic communications regarding the musical offerings at Saint Mark’s, we invite you to become one of our Friends of Music at Saint Mark’s.
Give to the Canterbury Choir
Saint Mark’s maintains two separate funds that benefit the Canterbury Choir:
Contributions to the Canterbury Choir Fund benefit the training and enrichment of the choristers, including the group’s periodic pilgrimages to Washington National Cathedral.
Contributions to the Gary L. Garber Scholarship Fund help send choristers to the RSCM Camp program. Give online.
Recordings of the choirs at Saint Mark’s, including our recent virtual choir videos, can be accessed on our Music Recordings page. A sample of the Canterbury Choir is below.
A Virtual Christmas Pageant, premiered 24 December 2020. Matthew Bester, conductor, and Robert Wisniewski, organist.