The Choir School

Choir School, the nuts & bolts:

(updated January 2020)

  • We are an after school music program that meets Tuesdays & Thursdays at St. John’s Church in Downtown Portsmouth
  • Co-Directors are Jennifer McPherson (organ extraordinaire, church music director, cat lover) and Ashley Wade (singer, teacher, mother of two boys)
  • Winter/Spring 2020 Semester is January 21-April 26
  • Program is tuition-free. Families are asked to contribute in ways that work for them. Sometimes this means financial contributions, sometimes it means simply sending your child to the program. We want to create an even bar for all students to try singing and studying music. We are funded through the support of donations.
  • Children from Dondero Elementary and Portsmouth Middle Schools may take the choir school van to the program after school
  • Children from other schools and towns also participate, but we do not offer van transportation outside of the parameters listed above at the current time.
  • Kids arrive to Thaxter Hall after school where they are served a hearty snack by our team of volunteers.
  • Students focus on building basic musical knowledge and applying it through vocal performance in a choral setting.
  • We are a choral-focused program, but also branch out to perform pop, folk, rock, and musical theater.
  • Students collaborate with the St. John’s adult parish choir to sing important choral works.
  • Program ends at 5PM, when the choir school van is available to drop 13 students in Portsmouth at home.
  • There are usually 15 students enrolled in the program throughout the year. Students range from grades 3 through 8. (Treble voices only)
  • We will host two big events this semester, that we hope all families will be part of: community dinner “Fire & Ice” on Tuesday, January 21 from 5-7PM and a collaborative concert with the high school singers from Phillips Andover Academy in MA on Sunday, April 26 at 4:00PM
  • Collaboration is a key ingredient in music-making and in the Choir School program. In 2020 we look forward to working with the parish choir & youth choirs of St. John’s and other guest teachers and musicians. Additionally, the students will have the exciting opportunity to visit the Phillips Andover campus and participate in a rehearsal & share a meal with the Andover high school singers. We will host the Andover chorus at St. John’s for our final concert on 4/26.
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Choir School students Fall 2019