Our choirs at St. John’s are affiliated with the Royal School of Church Music, an international organization based in England, but with an American branch, that encourages excellence in church music. The RSCM was founded in England in 1927 by Sir Sydney Nicholson, organist of Westminster Abbey. Originally called the School of English Church Music, the organization consisted of a training college for church musicians and an association of churches committed to attaining high standards of musical performance.
It has since evolved into an international and ecumenical organization whose primary goal is to promote the use of music to enhance Christian worship. It does this by providing educational opportunities to church musicians and choristers as well as by developing and making available a practical training scheme which covers basic music reading skills, voice production, mentoring and team building, and equally importantly, Christian education.
One of the main impacts of the RSCM has been through its encouragement of younger singers – through the training program administered on the parish level (like our regular training sessions leading to the awarding of ribbons for reaching certain levels) and on the national level with summer training courses scattered around the country. These week-long sleepover courses take place in a variety of different settings – some rural, some urban – but all have in common superb musical leadership and the unique opportunity of sharing spiritual music making with peers from other churches around the region and country. I have always found that choristers return from a week at RSCM camp with renewed enthusiasm, fun stories, and further developed musicianship. In recent years our St. John’s choristers have attended RSCM courses in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
RSCM in America: www.rscmamerica.org