St. Mark’s provides numerous opportunities for people of all ages and abilities 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 once every month or two as well as at special services throughout the year. Special services – some with instrumentalists – include 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 is 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 also 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 shortly after the conclusion of Sunday School from 11-11:45 am downstairs in the Elders’ Room and is led by Libbi Rivera. Note that children whose families do not formally belong to St. Mark’s are entirely welcome to participate.
This recently formed group of about half a dozen teenagers 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. The group rehearses two to three Sundays per month from 11:00-11:45 am in the Music Studio with director Nadine Hathaway. They sing for the 9:00 am service approximately once every 6 weeks and work mostly on contemporary 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, though the ability to read rhythm is helpful. This group is self-directed by parishioners Sarah Headley and Martha Connor Donnelly and is organized by 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 every couple of months. 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.
Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016 at 4 :00 pm
Jewish Composers: From the Classical Tradition to the Cafe: Music for Violin, Cello and Piano by Mendelssohn, Bloch and Shoenfield
Join the Chiarina Chamber Players for a beautiful journey through music by three very different Jewish composers. We’ll explore their contrasting styles, from Mendelssohn’s classical-romantic masterpiece, through Ernest Bloch’s intimate and colorful Nocturnes, to Paul Schoenfield’s bubbly Café Music. Chiarina’s artistic directors, pianist Efi Hackmey and cellist Carrie Bean Stute will be joined by violinist Alexandra Osborne, Acting Assistant Concertmaster of the National Symphony Orchestra.
Tickets: $20 at the door, $15 at www.chiarina.org, $10 for students. A reception will take place after the concert.
Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016 at 5:00 pm
Advent Lessons & Carols Service
This beautiful service will featuring readings, hymns, and seasonal selections sung by the St. Mark’s Chancel Choir and Boys & Girls Choir. Free-will offering. A reception will immediately follow the service in Baxter Hall.
Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016 at 6:30 pm
Carols & Cheer – Hymn Sing
Have fun singing your favorite Christmas carols while enjoying a variety of delicious snacks and beverages (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic). Social time starts at 6:30 and the singing will go from about 7:00 to 9:30 pm. Drop in anytime! Please bring a beverage or snack to share or $5.
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.
Kellie McHugh has taught at St. Mark’s since February 2012. She has a B.M. and M.M. in vocal performance and has extensive experience as a performer.
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 is currently the tenor section leader at St. Mark’s and previously sung with the Kennedy Center Opera Chorus.
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. Read Jeff’s bio here.
The Music Studio still has room for other music professionals to offer lessons through St. Mark’s. Contact Jeff Kempskie for more information.