Don’t forget Diocesan Choir School, St. Michael’s Youth Conference
By Gisele McKnight
It’s still winter but no one would blame you for dreaming of summer vacation. While parents are starting to think about summer activities and camps for their kids, the organizers of Diocesan Choir School and St. Michael’s Youth Conference hope they will keep a spot open for them.
St. Michael’s takes place this year Aug. 20-25 at Camp Wildwood near Bouctouche, N.B. for kids 13-19 years old.
“We’re talking about it early so parents can start planning,” said Janice Stockall, site manager. “We want them to be thinking about us. It’s a positive experience and families can be looking ahead as part of their summer plans. Parishes can be looking ahead and planning too.”
St. Mike’s is an admittedly odd combination of Anglican worship, study, history, discussion, recreation and relaxation. It’s a fun week of learning, eating and playing, and most who go once keep going back year after year — both conferees, as they are called, and staff.
One of the staff members in recent years has been Bishop David Edwards, who teaches various topics. His career before becoming a priest was teaching.
“Having the bishop come to St. Michael’s is just such a huge blessing,” said the Rev. Canon Kevin Stockall, adding the bishop’s approachable personality and love of teaching make him a popular staff member.
“You can be in the pool with the bishop [playing water basketball] and the next morning in class he’s teaching you about the New Testament. It creates a receptiveness to learning. We’ve noticed it over the years and the bishop is a very good example of that.”
St. Mike’s is not just for Anglicans. All denominations are welcome, and kids come from many corners of the Maritimes and beyond to spend the week. This summer is the 31st year for the conference, and the 20th at Camp Wildwood.
Contact Kevin if you are interested: kevin.stockall at bellaliant.net and visit smyc.ca for more information.
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Diocesan Choir School is already in the planning stages for its 61st year, which will take place at Rothesay Netherwood School in Rothesay July 8-15.
“Parents plan a lot of summer activities and we want to try to get the word out early,” said administrative director the Rev. Chris Hayes. “The aim is to make choir school known in the diocese. It also gives people a chance to ask questions early.”
Diocesan Choir School is for children ages 8 -18 who love to sing.
“Music is vital to Christian worship,” said Chris. “It’s the one thing every church does, no matter what kind — making music for God.”
The week consists of learning a few pieces of music, learning about music, having fun, and joining with the adult choristers later in the week to present a final concert at Trinity Anglican Church in uptown Saint John. That will take place July 15 at 3:30 p.m.
Like St. Mike’s, the choristers come back year after year to renew friendships and continue the tradition. Many child choristers become adult choristers, building a long-term commitment to choir school and life-long relationships with fellow singers.
To reach Chris and find out more: revchrishayes at gmail.com
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If you live in the Saint John-Hampton area, you’re a high school or post-secondary student and singing is your passion, this is for you. St. Paul’s Anglican Church has just begun a new program of choral scholarships to help increase its choir ranks and nurture the talent and interest of local students. Such a scholarship could be put towards tuition at Diocesan Choir School.
Father Paul Rideout, new to St. Paul’s, brought the concept with him from Newfoundland.
“It’s part of a new initiative,” he said. “It’s a tradition common in a lot of larger churches but new here. It was done in my previous parish. I was assistant priest at St. John the Baptist in St. John’s.”
St. Paul’s choir is accomplished and the organist is very skilled, he said. But it’s still important to recruit new members, which they hope the scholarships will do.
There are four scholarships and two categories. The junior scholarship, valued at $1,000, is for two students in grades 9-12. The senior scholarship, valued at $2,000, is for two post-secondary students. Recipients can use the money for music lessons, school or camp tuition or anything.
What they must commit to is attendance at weekly choir rehearsal and church on Sunday.
The parish is looking for mature and respectful students with a willingness to learn. He hopes the program will be a win-win, for the church and the students.
“This is a great way for us as a church to form connections with parents and children, and provide space for the community,” said Paul.
“The hope for us is they would build relationships that go beyond the year or two they might spend here. It’s an outreach as much as a music program.”
Contact St. Paul’s for more information: 506-847-1812. There is no set deadline and applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis, first come, first served.