In his new blog Fr. Lee Kenyon reports on the St. John the Evangelist Choir School, which began its second school year yesterday.
Just to remind you, the choir school is a two-days-a-week private supplementary school for children whose parents teach them at home. This is a really fascinating Project, and it is well worth reading the details on the parish Website.
Fr. Kenyon wrote on September 1:
The first day of the soon-to-be-renamed St John the Evangelist Choir School (currently known as Sacred Heart Choir School) begins in earnest tomorrow. The school is now into its second year, and if you want more information on this exciting endeavour, you can click on “Choir School” on the adjacent tab. What I will say, though, is that all of us at St John’s feel very blessed to call this our school, and to be involved in the formation and education of young Catholics according to a classical Catholic curriculum that places sacred choral music and chant at its very core.
Two rooms in our Lower Hall have been created out of one large room, and will be dedicated to St Augustine (school library/small classroom) and St Gregory (which will be a room for the Choir School and the Parish Choir). A further classroom, the old choir room, will soon be dedicated to Pope Benedict XVI, in thanksgiving for the gift of full communion which he gave us. We still need to finish some painting, and shelve some books, but we’re almost ready for the new year. As I write the principal and staff are meeting, and tomorrow we will gather in church for an assembly, and then at 11.30 a.m. for Mass. As a rule, the school gathers only twice a week, but once a month it gathers thrice, for First Fridays, when we offer a Solemn Mass (usually a Votive of the Sacred Heart, if able) and the children from the Choir School sing the Mass.
This year, under the musical direction of Troy Lamoureux who, with his family (all Ordinariate members) has made the move from Edmonton to join the parish and share in the work of the school, the children will be learning Fauré’s Messe Basse, but it will take some time before it will form part of the regular repertoire. In the meantime, Merbecke will suffice… Still, given the infrequency of Merbecke these days, that’s certainly no bad thing!
For four of the past five years I was without the regular interaction with children in the context of education, which felt very odd indeed. As a curate in a united benefice in the Diocese of Blackburn the clergy ministered in our two parish schools, and much of my life in those days was taken up with assemblies, school visits, worship, and assisting in classes. I look back on that time with considerable fondness and counted it a blessing to be able to share in the creativity, humour and faith of so many young people. And now to be able to do the same with a school “under the shop”, so to speak, is a dream fulfilled. So it should be no surprise that St John’s Choir School is something that I desire to see grow from strength to strength.
… and on February 2:
Alas, with all the busyness of today, I am without photos of the first day of the St Gregory Term at St John the Evangelist Choir School (as it has now officially been renamed). Photographic proof aside, I can assure you that it did happen! The day began with an Assembly at 8.15 a.m. which consisted of the Principal’s Welcome, the National Anthem, a Scripture reading, a reflection, and then to morning prayers, which concluded with the Prayer of St Ignatius and The Grace. Last year the school had some 24 pupils, this year they number 38. Classes began at 8.30 a.m. sharp, and Fr Gibson and I said Mattins at 9.30 a.m. and then had our regular staff meeting, before heading over to church for the first School Mass of the new year at 11.30 a.m. It was quite the adjustment from the regular half dozen or so Tuesday Mass regulars we got over the summer to the 50+ we had today. The children sit in Quire, collegiate style, and Mass is celebrated at the High Altar. The rest of the day was full of paperwork catch-up after the summer holidays and then, shortly after school concluded at 3.30 p.m., it was time for Evensong. And so the day ended as it was begun, offered up to God in prayer.