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Redeemer offers a musical opportunity for children -- Nigel Potts, Director of Music

May 16, 2023 8:55 AM | Barbara MacDonald (Administrator)

Being able to read music and to learn to sing is a gift of a universal language and an art form that a person will have and enjoy for the rest of their life. Our parish church offers this gift to children today! The music program at the Redeemer may have been one of the important aspects of this parish to attract you or your family to becoming members. But why might music be considered strong here? One reason with certainty is because so many members of our adult choir (including myself) sang in a church choir as a child. Today, music and the arts are too often marginalized in the education system, in society, and we learn of more churches who are disbanding their choir - and Covid has not helped! It is therefore all the more reason to give children the opportunity to learn and love music. But learning music is more than just another language and art form. It also has many intellectual, personal and emotional benefits too. Last year I enjoyed reading some quotes by Vaughan Fleischfresser, an internationally respected music educator, consultant and speaker. He is Associate Consultant (Scottish Curriculum) for Music Education Solutions.

Here is one quote that may resonate with you:

Want young people to work together? Put them in a music ensemble.
Want them to listen to each other? Put them in a music ensemble.
Want them to learn the importance of personal responsibility? Put them in a music ensemble.
Want them to connect? Put them in a music ensemble.

Vaughan Fleischfresser goes on to say, (which can also apply equally to singing): Many people regret not learning an instrument. Many people regret giving up learning an instrument. Very few people regret learning an instrument. Learning an instrument changes you for the better, and it changes you for life. I have been fortunate to have given organ recitals in over 30 US states and in three other continents, and one common comment I receive when greeting audience members after is: I wish I had learnt an instrument when I was young or I wish I didn’t quit!

I have often spoken to our choristers that singing in a choir is like a team sport. Just as every player in a sports team matters for the overall success of the team, so the same applies to choir - each voice matters for the mutual support and complete full sound of the team. However, since the return of our choristers from Covid, we are running on very low numbers and it is rather like playing a sport with only half a team. If you or somebody you know (they need not be member/s of the Redeemer) has a child/ren that may have some interest in singing, please have them contact me or let me know. The Redeemer choristers are a group of children ages approximately 8 through high school, who rehearse every Tuesday afternoon (4:30pm-5:30pm) and sing in church with the adult choir most months during the school year. The choir is affiliated with The Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) which hosts various annual summer schools around the country. I enjoyed being a music housemaster for the week-long RSCM course at Duke University Chapel in 2019 – a course which 8-year-old chorister, Nigel Potts my former choristers from Grace Church Cathedral in Charleston, SC loved returning to annually.

It is my hope that in years to come, our choristers too may thrive in attending these wonderful courses. While music is not for every child, no experience is necessary for those that show an inclination for music. The Redeemer choristers receive (free) professional vocal tutelage and music theory from former Redeemer staff singer, Janet Ross and myself. They learn to read, sing and love music in a relaxed, safe and encouraging environment. We do not teach by rote. While the ‘work’ may be more demanding, their understanding, ability and appreciation of music will give them a greater reward.

What we ask for in return is commitment, focus and the choristers’ best effort. As you know, we are blessed at the Redeemer with its beautiful setting in which to worship God through music. Please feel free to email me music@redeemerchestnuthill or set up a time to talk/meet, if you would like to know more about our chorister program.

The one who sings, prays twice - attributed to St. Augustine

Nigel Potts

Organist & Director of Music

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379 Hammond Street
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
PHONE:  617-566-7679
FAX:  617-566-6678
OFFICE: 8:30-4:30 pm M-F | SUMMER:  9:00-3:00 pm M-Th

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