The Choirs of St. Paul’s School
Maintaining an important School tradition of excellence for nearly 150 years, the choral program at St. Paul’s School provides a collaborative training ground for 50 young singers to develop vocal and choral technique, and to nurture individual and group musicianship. Membership in the choir program at SPS provides an opportunity for the novice singer, alongside the experienced chorister, to take part in a centuries old tradition of singing in a chapel driven music program. The educational experiences range from basic musical training, group dynamic, team building, singing with a wider purpose, working on high quality musical repertoire, thoughtful expression, personal responsibility, common sense, physical and mental discipline, healthy singing habits, and much more. In short, a choir member at SPS is contributing to something where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and we are fortunate to be able to offer this unique choral experience at our school.
There are two main choral ensembles, each enjoying an active performance schedule throughout the school year. Regular run out concerts, services and occasional tours make up an important part of the choir's activity. Recent engagements have taken groups to Boston, New York City, South Africa, Cuba, and twice to England. The repertoire of the choir encompasses a broad range of styles, holding the Western classical canon and other global and contemporary musical expressions in equal esteem. The choirs have worked with guest conductors including Edward Jones, Gary Davison, Gabriel Löfvall, Peter Stoltzfus Berton, Mike McCarthy and Anne Azema, and have hosted workshops with groups such as Coralina (Cuban Chamber Choir), Clare College Choir, Cathedra, Stile Antico, Quink and The Raven Consort. Recently, the Chapel Choir has collaborated with The Boston Camerata, The Boston Cecilia, Chorus Angelicus & Gaudeamus, and The Harvard University Choir.
The annual Festival of Lessons and Carols takes place each December, both at SPS and in Boston, and choral evensong is offered on the first Sunday of the month during the academic year. Many services and concerts are open to the public, and the choir’s rehearsals are geared toward preparation for this rich musical material.
The Chapel Choir
The primary responsibility of the Chapel Choir is to provide music for services in the School’s historic Chapels. Rehearsals take place two or three times each week, and there are regular events for which there is special music to prepare. These can range from choral evensong, convocations, school evensongs, compline services, concerts, and collaborations with other choirs either on or off campus. The Chapel Choir members work regularly with vocal coaches and section leaders, and are encouraged to take voice lessons.
The Madrigal Singers
The Madrigal Singers are a subsection of The Chapel Choir. With 16-20 members, the ensemble performs a broader spectrum of challenging repertoire, both for services and concerts. The Madrigal Singers rehearse on one additional night of the week, and they also sing the weekly service of compline which is held in the Old Chapel on Thursday evenings.
When the schedule allows, a Women’s Voice Ensemble, a Men’s Voice Ensemble, and other small vocal ensembles are assembled. These opportunities allow the exploration of a broader range of repertoire, and can encourage collaboration on a different level. In January 2017, the Women’s Ensemble collaborated with The Boston Camerata for a special performance of The Play of Daniel at the School. These ensembles also give the opportunity for student conductors to pursue individual projects.