The Saint Mark's Choir of Boys & Girls
The Saint Mark’s Choir of Boys & Girls provides children and youth ages 7 and up with outstanding professional choral training, music theory, leadership development, choir camps and trips, and a stipend for each chorister. No previous musical experience is required, only an eagerness to learn, age-appropriate reading proficiency, and the ability to match pitch. We have a diverse array of choristers from all walks of life and varied backgrounds. In addition, we strive to maintain a balanced enrollment between boys and girls, encouraging boys who are interested in music to apply.
As primarily an after-school program, the Saint Mark’s Boys’ and Girls’ Choir is one of the best ways in the Philadelphia area to offer your child a world-class musical education at no cost financially.
- One of Philadelphia’s most highly respected choral music programs.
- Professional training in music for children ages seven and above, at no expense to parents.
- Equal emphasis on training of the voice and music-reading skills.
- Children learn and sing a wide array of the finest sacred music, from the 16th century to the present day.
- Our choir is modeled on famous English choirs, such as that of Westminster Abbey.
- Most Sundays the choir sings for Mass at 9 a.m., and approximately once monthly for the transcendent service of Evensong & Benediction at 4 p.m., continuing a centuries-old tradition.
- For one week each summer, Saint Mark’s hosts a popular Summer Music Camp.
All choir alumni leave with a broad understanding of musicianship and music-making. We strive to maintain a balance between boys and girls, and since few children, particularly boys, can envision the enjoyment and rewards of a choir experience, parental initiative and involvement is critical when considering membership. Parents will find a network of support awaiting them. Saint Mark’s, centrally located near Rittenhouse Square, is easily reachable by public transportation.
Saint Mark's choirmaster Robert McCormick is an internationally known trainer of children's voices. Young choristers he has trained have performed as soloists with the Washington National Opera, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and other noted organizations.
Teamwork, Leadership, and Skills for Life
- We teach more than just music skills; our training can be an essential part of the whole formation of a child.
- Each boy and girl receives significant individual attention in a stimulating, challenging, yet fun environment.
- Leadership skills are an important part of our program.
- The wide range of ages (7-14 for boys, 7-18 for girls) encourages teamwork — the younger children learn from older choristers.
- Field trips, choir parties, community meals, and choir tours foster bonding and strong friendships.
- Saint Mark’s is affiliated with the Royal School of Church Music in America, part of a worldwide network that fosters excellence in church music.
Becoming a Chorister
- Children may join at any time, space permitting.
- Visit us for a rehearsal or service; contact Robert McCormick, Organist and Choirmaster, to arrange an informal audition and interview.
- No prior training or experience is required.
- There are no required tuition fees, unlike many comparable programs; the strong commitment parents and children make is all that is required.
- A small stipend, based on leadership and performance, is paid each chorister, underscoring the seriousness of the commitment to the choir.
Children of any religious affiliation, or no affiliation, are warmly welcomed. As choristers participate in the parish’s worship, they learn about Christian faith and the Episcopal tradition in an environment that teaches God’s love for everyone and respects other faith traditions. (Additional opportunities for Christian Education include Saint Mark’s Schola on Sunday mornings at 10 a.m. immediately following the 9 a.m. Family Mass. Through singing, art, bible stories and prayer, Schola guides children and youth ages 3 and up to explore their faith more deeply and in creative ways.)
Rehearsal and Performance Schedule
- Choose two of three: Wednesdays, Thursdays, or Fridays, 4:25 p.m. to 5:55 p.m. (New choristers may attend once weekly)
After-school supervision available from 3:15 p.m.; occasional dinner following rehearsal as announced
- 8 a.m. Rehearsal
- 9 a.m. Family Mass
Approximately once monthly, the Choir will sing Evensong & Benediction at 4 p.m. instead of the 9 a.m. Mass. A detailed calendar of rehearsals and performances is given to each family at the beginning of the choir season, subject to slight alteration.