The St. Mark’s Chancel Choir is composed of adults and high school students who sing from September through June at either the 9 or 11:15 a.m. Sunday services. The choir typically presents one or two anthems and leads the congregation in hymns and service music. In addition, the full choir – usually 40 voices strong – sings at the 11:15am service on the second Sunday of each month. The group offers several choral evensong services annually and special choral offerings for feast days and Lenten services. In recent years, the group has participated in the annual Diocesan Convention, the 100th anniversary of the Cathedral cornerstone event, a Verdi concert connected with Washington’s Early Music Festival, and an ecumenical gathering of religious institutions on Capitol Hill.
Choir membership is open to all who like to sing. The ability to read music and some experience in choral singing is helpful but not required. New members are always welcome. While the general commitment is for a “semester,” i.e., September-December or January-June, many choir members have been active for a decade or more! Short-term commitments, such as singing only during Advent or Lent, are also a possibility. Rehearsals take place in the Nave on Thursday evenings from 7:30 to 9:30pm. If you would like to join the choir or get more information, please contact Director of Music Jeff Kempskie (202.543.0053 x303) or Choir President John Doyon.
The newly-formed Teen Choir is open to children ages 13 and up as well as boys with changed voices. Directed by Nadine Hathaway, this group rehearses approximately every other Sunday from 11-11:30am in the Music Studio room in the undercroft. All are invited, including teens with no formal ties to the church, as long as there is a willingness to sing sacred music.
In addition to the teen choir, high school students also have the opportunity to sing with the Chancel Choir, which rehearses in the Nave on Thursdays from 7:30-9:30pm. Members sing during either the 9:00 or 11:15am service each week. Please e-mail Director of Music Jeff Kempskie for more information.
Boys & Girls Choir
The Boys & Girls Choir, directed by Libbi Rivera, provides musical leadership for most Family Services (9am every second Sunday of the month) as well as special services during the year. The choir is open to all children in grades 1 through 8. No prior musical experience is required; children do need to be able to read.
Besides rehearsing and preparing choir anthems (often many weeks in-advance), the children receive instruction in vocal production and in the basics of music theory. The choir usually sings alone, but it occasionally combines with the Chancel Choir, particularly for the annual Advent Lessons & Carols service as well as Evensong services. Choir members have the opportunity to prepare for and attend the annual Royal School of Church Music summer camp.
The Boys & Girls Choir rehearsals start shortly after the conclusion of Sunday School – Sundays from 11-11:45am – in the Elders’ Room in the undercroft. When the group sings at the 9:00 service, warm up generally begins at 8:30am. Note that children whose families do not formally belong to St. Mark’s are entirely welcome to participate.
Please e-mail Director of Music Jeff Kempskie for more information.
The Handbell Choir, directed by Director of Music Jeff Kempskie, performs occasionally at Sunday services.
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.
Would you like more information or do you wish to be added to our mailing list so that you can find out about future music-related events at St. Marks? E-mail Director of Music Jeff Kempskie.
The St. Mark’s Music Studio is currently offering voice and piano lessons to students of all ages and levels of experience.
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 regularly sings with the Kennedy Center Opera Chorus.
Jeff Kempskie, St. Mark’s Director of Music, has played piano professionally for 20 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. Please note that Jeff is not accepting new piano students at this time. If you would like to be added to his waiting list, feel free to contact him.
The Music Studio still has room for other music professionals to offer lessons through St. Mark’s. Contact Jeff Kempskie for more information.