In 2009, St. Mary’s Cathedral entered into a partnership with St. Brigid Elementary School to establish a choir school there. A five stage development was proposed, starting with building up of the existing school choir program into a vibrant ensemble, then enhancing music education for all children in the classroom, with more time for music class and a curriculum inspired by the Kodaly and Ward Methods, which stress vocal music, music reading, and artistic expression.
The choir has daily rehearsals, and the repertoire includes Gregorian chant, Renaissance polyphony, Classical, Romantic, and Contemporary music, and their selections of Spirituals are a special delight of audiences.
In the Classroom
St. Brigid School provides an extensive musical education for its students. All students, not just choir members, are beneficiaries of this unique program. The Kodaly and Ward methods are used exclusively in K-8. All grades have music instruction several times a week. Students learn to read and experience music through listening, singing, writing, and moving.
To enhance the Kodaly and Ward Methods, classroom instrument instruction is integrated into the curriculum. Recorders are taught in grades 3 and 4, strings in grades 5 and 6, and handbells in grades 7 and 8. The lower grades will have some percussion instruments integrated into their music study.
The choir school project is partially funded by St. Mary’s Cathedral.