St. Mark’s provides numerous opportunities for people of all ages and ability levels to sing in the choir, ring handbells, perform vocal solos or duets, or play an instrument for Sunday services.
The St. Mark’s Chancel Choir is composed of approximately 48 adults. Rehearsals are held on Thursdays from 7:30-9:30 pm from September through early June. Members choose to sing at either the 9:00 or 11:15 am service on Sundays.
The choir sings as a combined group at the 11:15 am service the second Sunday of every month as well as for special services – some with instrumentalists – including an annual Advent Lessons & Carols service, 1-2 Evensong services, a sung mass during Lent, and Christmas Eve and Easter Sunday. The group occasionally sings other large choral works (most recently Paul Winter’s Missa Gaia/Earth Mass and Ike Sturm’s Jazz Mass) about once a year.
The types of music the Chancel Choir sings are rather diverse: 16th and 17th century Latin motets, mass settings by composers such as Mozart and Haydn, a variety of 19th century works, a wide range of English anthems, works by 20th century and many living composers, African-American spirituals, and other contemporary music that incorporates elements of jazz and gospel styles. The music’s level of difficulty varies quite a bit but is always manageable.
Singers vary widely in age and experience. Although the ability to read music is helpful, it is not required. The group regularly works on developing fluency in reading music notation and improving musicianship in general. If needed, the director will work with choir members individually to help them catch up and learn the music adequately.
Please note that new members may join at any time! If consistent attendance at a weekly evening rehearsal is too big of a commitment but you are still interested in singing, please let us know. It is possible for us to make special arrangements.
Boys & Girls Choir
The Boys & Girls Choir includes children in grades 1 through 8 and sings for most Family Services (9:00 am every second Sunday of the month) from September through early June as well as for other special services throughout the year. No prior musical experience is required, but children do need to be able to read. Choir members have the opportunity to prepare for and attend the annual Royal School of Church Music summer camp. The group rehearses approximately every other week from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm downstairs in the Elders’ Room is led by Libbi Nixon. Note that children whose families do not formally belong to St. Mark’s are entirely welcome to participate.
Through Spring 2017 this ensemble was a trio of teens that rehearsed with Nadine Hathaway on a weekly basis. For a variety of reasons the group shall rehearse and sing less frequently beginning Fall 2017. A limited number of rehearsals and Sunday morning appearance will take place in November and December.
The Teen Choir is open to children ages 13 and up as well as boys with changed voices. All are invited to participate, including teens with no formal ties to the church, as long as there is a willingness to sing sacred music.
St. Mark’s has a 3-octave Handbell Choir that rehearses in the Elders’ Room every other Wednesday from 6:45-8:00 pm. No prior experience is necessary, although the ability to read rhythm is helpful. This group is self-directed by parishioners Sarah Headley and Katherine Anderson. The Handbell Choir thinks of itself more as a club and a way for people to come together and have fun ringing handbells than as a performing ensemble, though it does play at the the morning and 5 o’clock services a few times each year. There are additional opportunities for small groups of 2-4 to ring with the Chancel Choir. New members are always welcome!
Concerts & Events
The beauty and favorable acoustics of the nave make St. Mark’s a much sought-after performance venue for musicians throughout the Washington, D.C., metro area.
Wednesday, September 13, 2017 at 6:30-9:30 pm
Hymns & Hoopla
Join us for our fall hymn sing and get the opportunity to request your favorite hymns! We’ll have some tasty snacks and a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages available. Please bring a beverage, food item, or $5.
Saturday, September 16, 2017 at 4 pm
Chiarina Chamber Players Concert: Scenes and Fantasies
Chiarina Chamber Players presents Scenes and Fantasies: A solo piano recital featuring pianist Efi Hackmey. The program includes Beethoven’s “Moonlight” Sonata, Schumann’s “Scenes from Childhood”, and music by Debussy and Albeniz. Those connected with the St. Mark’s community may receive a $5 discount on online tickets using promo code STMARKS5 (regular price is $15 online, $20 at the door, and $10 for students). More info and tickets at chiarina.org.
Sunday, October 15, 2017 at 7:30 pm
Chiarina Chamber Players Concert: Genius Under Constraints
Chiarina Chamber Players presents Genius under Constraints, featuring the Shostakovich Piano Quintet and Mozart G Minor Piano Quartet. With Domenic Salerni and Ko Sugiyama, violins; Mahoko Eguchi, viola; Carrie Bean Stute, cello; and Efi Hackmey, piano. More info and tickets at chiarina.org.
Saturday, November 18, 2017 at 4 pm
Chiarina Chamber Players Concert: Epic Journeys
The Chiarina Chamber Players presents Epic Journeys, featuring piano trios by Beethoven and Dvorak. With Lilit Gampel, violin; Robert La Rue, cello; and Efi Hackmey, piano. More info and tickets at chiarina.org.
E-mail Director of Music Jeff Kempskie if you would you like more information or if you wish to be added to our mailing list so that you can find out about future music-related events at St. Marks.
The St. Mark’s Music Studio currently offers voice and piano lessons to students of all ages and levels of experience. We are excited to have two new teachers with us as of Fall 2017!
Adam Caughey, tenor, originally from San Diego, CA, completed his Master of Music degree at the Peabody Conservatory as a student of Dr. Stanley Cornett. He has sung numerous operatic roles and also performed several times with the Kennedy Center Opera Chorus. He is currently the tenor section leader at St. Mark’s and has taught in the Music Studio sing 2015.
Soprano Annie Simon, a native of Washington, DC, started her career as a professional chorister in the Washington National Cathedral Choir of Men and Girls and actress in musical theater productions. Along with an M.M. in voice, Annie has extensive experience as a professional singer and particularly excels at early music. Annie started teaching at St. Mark’s Fall 2017. Learn more about Annie on her website.
Stephanie Ng has been top solo prize winner in half a dozen piano competitions in addition having experience playing with orchestras and at several music festivals. Stephanie is from San Francisco, she earned her Artist Diploma from the Colburn School Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles, and she received her Master’s degree at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. Learn more about Stephanie and hear her play here.
Jeff Kempskie, St. Mark’s Director of Music, has played piano professionally for 22 years in a variety of contexts – churches, jazz ensembles, musical theater productions, a rock band, and as an accompanist for choirs from elementary school through the college level. He enjoys working with people of all ages and ability levels in his small studio. Read Jeff’s bio here.
The Music Studio has room for other music professionals to offer lessons through St. Mark’s. Contact Jeff Kempskie for more information.