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 45 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 Marcelo Martinez. Note that children whose families do not formally belong to St. Mark’s are entirely welcome to participate.
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. 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 is currently on hiatus. Please e-mail Jeff Kempskie if you are interested in singing with this ensemble when it starts up again.
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 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.
Sunday, November 11, 2018 at 3:00 p.m.
DC Chamber Musicians Concert
Featuring a performance of Paul Juon’s Miniatures, Op 181, 24a, Franz Schubert’s Piano Trio in B flat, D. 898, and Ludwig van Beethoven’s String Quartet, Op. 18, No. 4. More info here.
Saturday, November 17, 2018 at 7:30 pm
ArcoVoce performs music from the French baroque, including solo cantatas by Jacquet de la Guerre and Clearambault, solo harpsichord music of Francois Couperin, and several duos of Le Clair. Tickets are $25 at the door, and there will be no intermission.
Sunday, November 18, 2018 at 7:30 pm
Chiarina Chamber Players
Join us for Chiarina’s third concert of the season entitled Convergence. $5 discount available when purchasing tickets online using promo code STMARKS5
Sunday, December 2, 2018 at 5:00 pm
Advent Lessons & Carols
Start the Advent season by attending this contemplative service featuring special music offerings by the Chancel Choir and Boys & Girls Choir along with readings and seasonal hymns.
Friday, December 7, 2018 at 8:00 pm
Chancel Choir & DC Strings Concert
The St. Mark’s Chancel Choir collaborates with DC Strings to present Saint-Saens’ Christmas Oratorio as well as the first part of Handel’s Messiah.
Wednesday, December 12, 2018 from 6:30-9:30 pm
Carols & Cheer
Come sing your favorite Christmas Carols while enjoying light food, drinks, and the company of others. Drop in anytime. Please bring a snack or beverage to share or $5 to cover costs.
Music Studio Recital
Sunday, December 16, 2018 at 2:00 pm
Piano students from the St. Mark’s Music Studio will perform at this short recital. Free.
Interested in performing at St. Marks?
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 the church.
The St. Mark’s Music Studio currently offers voice, piano, and flute lessons to students of all ages and levels of experience. We are excited to have some new teachers with us as of Winter 2018!
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. Stephanie teaches on Tuesdays and Fridays. Learn more about her 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.
Julia Morris, a native of Northern Virginia, is a graduate of Vanderbilt University with a Bachelor of Music degree and a double major in Economics. Presently she is pursuing her M. M. degree in Flute Performance at George Mason University. Major venue performances include Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Meyerhoff Hall, George Mason University, Vanderbilt University and Aix en Provence, France. She is an active private flute teacher and clinician in high schools in the Washington Metropolitan area. Competition winnings include: Asian American Music Society, Virginia Music Teachers National Association and Tennessee Music Teachers National Association Young Artist competition. Private instructors include Angela Jones-Reus, UGA, Alice Weinreb, NSO, Philip Dikeman, Vanderbilt University and Jeff Coffin of the Dave Matthews Band.
The Music Studio has room for other music professionals to offer lessons through St. Mark’s. Contact Jeff Kempskie for more information.