The Royal School of Church Music

The Parish Choir maintains affiliation with the Royal School of Church Music. The RSCM was founded in England in 1927 by Sir Sydney Nicholson, organist of Westminster Abbey. Originally called the School of English Church Music, the organization consisted of a training college for church musicians and an association of churches committed to attaining high standards of musical performance.

It has since evolved into an international and ecumenical organization whose primary goal is to promote the use of music to enhance Christian worship. It does this by providing educational opportunities to church musicians and choristers as well as by developing and making available a practical training scheme which covers basic music reading skills, voice production, mentoring and team building, and equally importantly, Christian education.


Boys, girls, and adults from the parish choirs occasionally participate in summer training courses offered by the RSCM. These courses afford them the opportunity of working with and learning from highly esteemed choral directors from around the world. 

RSCM in America:

Our choirs at St. John’s are affiliated with the Royal School of Church Music, an international organization based in England, but with an American branch, that encourages excellence in church music. One of the main impacts of the RSCM has been through its encouragement of younger singers – through the training program administered on the parish level (like our Saturday sessions leading to the awarding of ribbons for reaching certain levels) and on the national level with summer training courses scattered around the country. These week-long sleep over courses take place in a variety of different settings – some rural, some urban – but all have in common superb musical leadership and the unique opportunity of sharing spiritual music making with peers from other churches around the region and country. I have always found that choristers return from a week at RSCM camp with renewed enthusiasm, fun stories, and further developed musicianship.


The most convenient for St. John’s is one of the newer courses to emerge – the Rhode Island Course at Newport. This course welcome both boys and girl aged 9-17 as well as adults. The music director this year is Dr. Dale Adelmann, the Canon for Music at Atlanta’s St. Philip’s Cathedral. I’ve known Dr. Adelmann for more than twenty years, and can vouch for his superb musicianship and also his gentle, intelligent personality. He was the first North American to be accepted as a singer in the world-famous Choir of St. John’s College, Cambridge (singing seven choral services every week), and I’m sure he’ll give the singers an inspiring experience. The course takes place primarily on the Oceanside campus of Salve Regina University.


The course will be held from August 3-9, and registrations will be through our parish. While the cost of the camp is considerable ($625 per chorister for the week), we are able to considerably reduce the cost for our families. We will get a $25 per singer discount for registrations before April 1, and an additional $25 per singer discount because St. John’s is affiliated with the RSCM. The church budget has a line item to help with camp scholarships, and we have also received a special designated donation to help our young singers participate in this valuable program. I can’t give an exact figure until I know how many of our choristers are interested in attending, but I can project that families would need to pay $200-300 instead of the full amount. If you’re interested, but that amount isn’t possible, please do be in touch with me so I can see if something can be worked out. One small clarification is that, while the site says that the minimum age for girls at the course is 10, I have confirmed with them that the correct age is 9, as stated in the RSCMAmerica brochure – so our 9 year-olds are eligible to go. The scholarship funding I have available for choristers is only for those aged 9-17, but if any adults are interested in attending the course, it can be a wonderful week of singing. The adult spots for this course are filling up fast.


Registrations are handled through the St. John’s Music Office. Please reply to this email as soon as possible to let me know of your interest in the Newport Course and to ask any questions. Here are some links to additional information –