A Message from Mo. Turner, Associate for Children and Families and School Chaplain

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Mo. Turner, Associate for Children and Families and School Chaplain

The Saint Thomas Girl Chorister Course is now well underway, having like many summer programs, been on hold since Summer 2020.

The course of 29 young women age 13-18 arrived at the Choir School last weekend, with an air of expectation and excitement. Notably half of the participants are established Alums and several participants have either Uncles or Fathers who too are Alums, or a brother who is current Chorister of Saint Thomas Choir School. They have certainly enjoyed finding their family Graduate photos on the wall of the Recreation Room!

It has also been a wonderful experience to hear the Choir growing from strength to strength as a musical community over the week, with several evenings concluding with Chorister led Compline in the Choir School Library by candlelight. Their music making has been both joyful and in plenty, with individual theory and vocal lessons being included in the program. Their Choral repertoire has built on the music of previous years, with an emphasis this year on contemporary female composers.

All Senior Choristers are encouraged to take a lead whether as Interns or Floor Leaders. They both serve as musical role models and a role which extends to each aspect of a rich residential life during their time at the Choir School including communal meals, a finale banquet and visits across the City. This year this has included a visit to MoMA, the High Line, Circle Line Tour and a Broadway show, which in line with many traditions of the course remains a surprise until the day of the show.

Their week began with a warm welcome from the Parish last Sunday at the 11 am Mass, and they went on to have an inspiring tour of the Video Village with Mr. Dalton Cheatham, and then of the church with Ms. Pamela Lewis. Dr. Jeremy Filsell also demonstrated how the Organs bring our worship alive, prior to spending daily rehearsals in preparation for leading Evensong, both on their own (Tuesday) and with the Gentleman of the Choir (Wednesday and Thursday) under his direction and also that of guest music Director, Mrs. Katherine Dienes-Williams.

The week will culminate in leading worship for Sunday, July 31, 11am Sunday Mass and 3pm Choral Evensong (note the revised time) to which we expect many parents, friends and families of the Choristers to intend in person and on line. On line viewing has been a welcome new feature for the course, as fellow choristers from the course choristers’ parish choirs and schools have enjoyed watching the music unfold over this week, from Ohio, Connecticut and Vermont to name but a few of the states they represent.

Mrs. Rebecca Kellerman Filsell and Ms. Margaret White, as current Saint Thomas’ staff have taken a great lead in preparing and overseeing the course, and are already talking about next year’s program. They have been ably assisted by the Choir School house mother Mrs. Wentling and other staff who have been invited to lead other aspects of the week, that ensures that they are safe and healthy, as well as enthused with the joy of making music as a choir.

The Choristers have been a great addition to the worshipping life of our church this past week, and we look forward to welcoming many of them to Saint Thomas once again next summer.

Mother Alison Turner