The Probationer Program
New students, generally entering Grades Three and Four, begin their Chorister experience at the Choir School as a Probationer. During their first academic year, Probationers learn the necessary musical, vocal, and disciplinary skills needed to attain full Choristership. Probationers who demonstrate achievement, leadership, and responsibility in these areas are then admitted entry into the Choir in October of the following year. Probationers who board on weekends also participate in the Junior Choir, which sings the early Eucharist every Sunday during term at 9:00 a.m. The Probationer program is led jointly by Frederick Teardo, Associate Organist, and Kevin Kwan, Assistant Organist.
Third Grade Choir Timetable
The Probationers rehearse Tuesday through Friday mornings from 8:00-9:15 am, and on Saturday mornings from 9:00-10:30 am. Since Third Grade boys do not board on weekends, they only rehearse from Tuesday through Friday. Twice a term, the Third Grade boys stay on through the weekend and attend the Sunday 9:00 am Sung Eucharist as well as the Saturday morning rehearsal. As part of their training, boys in the Third Grade receive weekly voice lessons with voice teacher, Stephanie Tennill, as well as classes in music theory with Scott Eyerly.
Probationers’ Responsibilities during Choral Services
Though the Probationers do not sing with the Choir during choral services, their first year is an opportunity to observe the Choir within the context of the services. Third Graders attend Weekday Choral Evensong, Tuesday through Thursday at 5:30 pm. Probationers stand behind the Choir, and follow the same music the Choir uses, reading along as if they were singing. The experience of attending the choral services enables them to learn all aspects of each service, memorize the prayers, and actively participate in the services. By the time a Probationer is admitted into the Choir, he not only has a full understanding of what goes on during the services, but also has the tools to help lead the congregation in worship.
All boys receive thirty-minute weekly instrumental lessons by one of our visiting instrumental faculty. These take place during Study hall on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday evenings. Each boy is scheduled time to practice during the school day. There are numerous Student Recitals during the school year and it is expected that all boys will participate in these performances.
As well as a weekly music theory class, the third grade boys receive a weekly Music Appreciation class in which they learn about the instruments of the orchestra, musical form, history of music and popular music. There are opportunities in class for discussion, group listening, composition and performance.