Rehearsal Techniques and Repertoire for Choirs of Boys and Girls
Children’s choir directors must take their singers seriously, honor their intelligence, offer a bold challenge, and expect the children’s best. Avoid “children’s music.” Simplistic music with banal lyrics insults kids’ intelligence and emerging spirituality. Children crave quality and love a challenge. They relish singing music of profundity and complexity.
Begin and end rehearsals on time. Fast-paced is good. Talk less. Sing more. Engage the imagination. Use imagery: “Is your breath a fire hose or a leaky garden hose?” Organize choir festivals. Observe other directors. Send your kids to RSCM training courses. “Nothing you do for children is ever wasted.”
Richard Webster, FRSCM, is director of music and organist at Trinity Church, Boston, and music director of Chicago’s Bach Week Festival. In 2003, he was named organist and choirmaster emeritus of St. Luke’s Church in Evanston, Illinois, where, for thirty-one years, he led a distinguished music program. The acclaimed restoration of the church’s 1922 E. M. Skinner organ was completed under his leadership. As a composer, he is published by six publishing houses, including Advent Press, which features his music exclusively. Active as a choral clinician, recitalist, and hymn festival director, he has performed and recorded with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. His teachers include Peter Fyfe, Karel Paukert, and Wolfgang Rübsam. As a Fulbright scholar, he was organ scholar at Chichester Cathedral. He loves running and has completed twenty-five marathons, dressed variously as J.S. Bach, Abraham Lincoln, Paul Revere, Robin, the Easter Bunny, the Cat in the Hat, and Prince William.