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Saint Paul's Choir School:

Presenting the acclaimed choral music curriculum of the Royal School of Church Music. The school was founded in 1927 and has been providing musical education to young people around the world ever since.

Scholarships are available. Click here to apply:


Program Overview

The young people of St. Paul ’s Choir School aspire to learn, to lead, and to inspire through their work as liturgical ministers. The curriculum emphasizes well -rounded musicianship along with lifelong growth in music and faith; music theory along with vocal and ear training; and ministry through liturgical leadership and community service.

Program Schedule

Tuesday Night s (early September through mid-June , following the school calendar) 4:00pm start 5:15pm dinner break 5:45 resume instruction 6:50pm wrap -up 7:00pm depart for home.

Vanessa Katz, Choir Director

Vanessa Katz, Choir Director

Wade Dingman, St. Paul's Music Director

Wade Dingman, St. Paul's Music Director

 

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER ONLINE

Tuition: $75/month (some scholarships are available)

Our Vision

The vision for a Choir School at St. Paul’s is to enable a systematic, long-term investment in young people, beginning at approximately the third grade level (when students are reading and writing proficiently), and continuing through high school. The Choir School will recruit from within the St. Paul’s membership (beginning with a minimum of 8 students), and then expand into the community (maximum 40 students) as we have capacity.

The Choir School will provide musical education and chorister workbooks with training in musical theory, music history, sight-singing, voice training, leading worship and choral performance. Children and youth from the Choir School will lead worship once per month, strengthening the worship, social and educational life of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Benefits to Children & Families Children and youth will emerge from this experience with greater knowledge of their spiritual depth, deep love for fine arts, enhanced self-confidence, enhanced overall intelligence and learning ability, enhanced ability to work collaboratively with others toward satisfying goals, all while having a great deal of fun.

According to a recent study, 71% of children and youth will become more self-confident; 70% will exhibit greater self-discipline; 69% will improve their memory skills; and most will receive significantly better grades in school and be better participants in group activities than children who do not sing in a choir (The Chorus Impact Study: How Children, Adults, and Communities Benefit from Choruses; ww.chorusamerica.org /publications/research-reports/chorus-impact-study).

Brief History

The Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) was founded in England in 1927 by Sir Sydney Nicholson, organist of Westminster Abbey. Originally called the School of English Church Music (SECM), the organization consisted of a training college for church musicians (called the College of St. Nicolas) and an association of affiliated churches committed to attaining high standards of musical performance. The operation of the college was suspended during World War II and reopened as the Royal School of Church Music in 1945 at Canterbury Cathedral. The College of St. Nicolas was closed in 1974. Thereafter, RSCM directed its focus to short courses and to developing “regional” affiliates worldwide run by voluntary committees. The RSCM has grown to become an international and ecumenical organization, with more than 11,000 affiliates in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Nigeria and throughout Europe.

To learn more, visit http://www.rscmamerica.org/


About Vanessa Katz, Director of St. Paul's Choir School

Raised near Mukilteo, Washington, Vanessa grew up in the Episcopal Church at St. Hilda St. Patrick and as a camper at Camp Huston. Music was an essential element at both locations and a large part of what kept her going back year after year.  She chose a warmer environment for her undergraduate degree, graduating Magna Cum Laude from the University of Redlands in 2005 with a
Bachelor of Music Education (with an emphasis on vocal ensembles).

Vanessa then taught choir and general music for two years at A.P. Giannini Middle School in San Francisco before coming to Bellingham in 2007 for graduate school.   She graduated in 2009 with a M.M. in Choral conducting from Western Washington University.  She has since taught elementary music at both public and private schools, and is currently on a one-year leave of
absence from the Bellingham School District to care for her daughter, Brooklyn, who was born this past October.

She has spent time in England on three occasions, and was fortunate to attend a Sung Eucharist at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford, Evensong at St. Paul's Cathedral in London, and hear Mozart's Coronation Mass, also at St. Paul's in London.  These experiences have provided a first-hand look at children creating incredible music in the church environment. 

In her free time Vanessa enjoys taking advantage of Bellingham's interurban trail system, taking up new hobbies like bouldering with her husband Matt, and inventing delicious ways to combine ingredients in the refrigerator, preferably with friends.


Dinner for the choristers.

Dinner for the choristers.

We have plenty of room for more students and four more scholarships available, so if you or your child is interested in the program, please visit this link for more information, to enroll, or to apply for a scholarship. You'll receive a confirmation via invoice or scholarship notification after enrollment.

Special thanks to Wade Dingman, Rocky Champagne, Lindsay Knight and Kate Brigham for all of their help preparing the classroom and meal space; and to the Contemplative Prayer Group for their patience during the reorganizing of the room.

Volunteers are needed to help prepare meals, organize choir robes, and more. If you're interested in supporting the program, please sign up to help with meals here, or speak with Vanessa or Wade.