Choir School 2017 – Evensong not to be missed



A date to remember is July 9th, when the 60th Diocesan Choir School concludes with a triumphal service of Choral Evensong at 3:30 pm in Christ Church Cathedral, Fredericton.

Children from throughout the province will have spent a week at Rothesay Netherwood School, rehearsing for this occasion, and learning much about our church, its music, culture and rituals. Adult choristers swell the ranks on Thursday, and everyone can witness the result of their efforts at this magnificent celebration.

Opportunities like this should not be missed.

The Anglican Diocese of Fredericton’s first choir school took place in July of 1958 at Rothesay Collegiate School, the predecessor of Rothesay Netherwood. Gerald Wheeler, organist and choirmaster of Christ Church Cathedral in Montreal, served as clinician, and about 40 young people from various parishes throughout the Diocese participated in this exciting new opportunity for learning and fellowship. Mr. Wheeler continued as the Choir School’s musical director for fifteen years, and during those years the number of attendees increased substantially.

During the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s in the Anglican Church, the principal services of worship were Choral Matins and Evensong. As the decades have passed, these have been replaced by Holy Communion/Eucharist. Sung Matins is only offered at Fredericton’s Christ Church Cathedral, for example, four times a year; and Evensong is virtually a “thing of the past” in most parish churches. Musical selections are now more varied and contemporary in response to people’s preferences and to the requirements of communion services.

During the late 70’s and 80’s, Choir School became “Choir Camp,” taking place at Camp Medley at Upper Gagetown. At Medley, the atmosphere was less formal, and extra leisure activities were added to offer a more well-rounded program to the young participants. Music is the universal language, and its effect was everywhere in evidence in the lifelong friendships that were forged during those years. When adults joined the children for the week-end, entire families were able to enjoy a time of fun mixed with hard work, resulting in some splendid choral singing at the Sunday service.

In 1990, Rothesay Netherwood again became the venue for Choir School, and this year features Spencer Belyea, a music education specialist of note from Saint John, as the director for the younger choristers; and Dr. David Buley returns to teach the adults. Dr. Buley will be taking on a new position at Memorial University in St. John’s, NF, in the fall.

So, please mark July 9th on your calendar, and prepare yourselves for a dramatic commemorative service at Christ Church Cathedral, Fredericton, at 3:30 pm. These are the kinds of events that help bring parishes together through a common bond. Opportunities like this should not be missed.

Carolyn and Bill Turney

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