Music and Choirs at St. John’s
July 2020 Update
Meet the Choir
CHOIR MASTER & ORGANIST
Steven Branyon is a native of York, SC and a graduate of North Greenville University, Winthrop University, and Westminster Choir College. Mr. Branyon has served churches and synagogues in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Mr. Branyon has performed in Great Britain at Briston, Salisbury, Litchfield, Truro, and Wells Cathedrals. He has professionally recorded with the choirs of St. Peter’s and Morristown, NJ. At various times, Mr. Branyon teaches Music Appreciation for the Elderhostel classes for Mercer University at Jekyll Island. He also enjoys sharing his extensive musical knowledge through courses such as, “Understanding the Organ” for the local Senior Citizens Center in Savannah. In January 2020, he published Balm in Gilead, which is available for purchase at https://paracletesheetmusic.com/product/balm-in-gilead/
THE PARISH CHOIR
The Parish Choir is an auditioned mixed-voice ensemble of adults and youth that sings Sunday mornings, Choral Evensongs, concerts, special events, and all holy day services. The repertoire is drawn from the Anglican, Lutheran and Latin Catholic traditions. The choir is composed of many volunteers and supplemented by a small number of Staff Singers, Rehearsals are held on Wednesday evenings from 7 to 9 p.m. and on Sunday mornings at 9:30 a.m. The Choir season runs from Labor Day through Trinity Sunday. In the summer, weekday rehearsals are suspended, though members of the Choir sing at the 11 a.m. service. We welcome all who may be interested in this ministry, and invite them to schedule an audition with the Organist/Choirmaster: firstname.lastname@example.org
St. John’s Church offers stipends to college students and young adults who have the capability of singing in the Parish Choir. The purpose of this program is to:
- Ensure that the choirs have an adequate number of voices to sing the repertoire,
- Expose college students and young adults to the Anglican musical tradition, and
- Help support young adults in their educational pursuits.
If you are interested in auditioning for a staff singer position, click HERE.
Choral Evensong is sung on several occasions throughout the year. A special concession of rehearsals is made to accommodate those who wish to join us from other churches. Rehearsals for these auditioned guest singers are held on the three Thursday nights preceding a scheduled Evensong.
BOYS’ & GIRLS’ CHOIRS
In 2016, we embarked on establishing two twelve-person choirs, one for boys and one for girls, beginning at age 8, to train in the English choral tradition in an environment of fun, fellowship, and friendship.
The St. John’s Boys Choir currently meets on Tuesdays from 5 to 6:30 p.m. during the school year. Boys (from age 7 are encouraged to audition for this choir. Modest stipends are paid and music lessons are offered as a part of this ministry.
Prior musical experience not required; however, auditions are required and candidates must demonstrate musicality, the ability to focus, and willingness to be a part of a team. The primary requirement to join is an interest in music.
Regular attendance is required. Good attendance is the primary commitment of every chorister and their parents.
Families not of an Anglican background are welcome to participate in the Boys and Girls Choir.
The church, in addition to its regular commitment to music & worship, offers several concerts annually as a continued ministry and outreach to our community. These concerts are modest in cost and are supported by both members of St. John’s Church and supporters outside of our membership. We invite you to learn how you can become a sponsor of this ministry by contacting Steven Branyon at email@example.com
CHOIR, MUSIC & MORE
RSCM (Royal School of Church Music) is a worldwide organization whose mission is to make each chorister a healthy singer for life. St. John’s has been a member of this organization for many years. This systematic approach to church music is offered to all singers. Progress is marked by graded ribbons with an RSCM medal worn with vestments. Parish Choir members currently wear the St. Nicholas Medal, patron saint of the RSCM. This medal is not a recognition of the level of individual achievement, but rather a reminder of the standards the choir seeks to attain.
WORKSHOPS with a guest conductor will often be scheduled one or two times annually. These conductors are often considered the best in the church music field. These are scheduled well in advance and give all choristers an optimum chance for vocal growth, and they should be considered an obligation rather than an option.
TOURS are often arranged for the choirs of St. John’s to sing at other venues both nationally and internationally. St. John’s have made three trips to England to sing at Truro, Lichfield, & Wells Cathedrals.
RECORDINGS have been made for the Sonare label. The choir’s first recording was commissioned by the Prayer Book Society but is no longer available.
Two recordings and a DVD are currently available for purchase.
- LIKE STARS APPEARING has music for the Feast of All Saints, recorded at St. Peter’s Church, Savannah.
- MY SPIRIT HATH REJOICED contains a variety of anthems by Stanford, Tallis, Attwood, Smart, Morley & Wood.
- A DVD highlighting the choir’s tour of Lichfield is also available. Each of these can be purchased for a donation of $10 plus postage.
- We record our services weekly so you may listen to our lovely choir music from any particular week. Visit https://sj1928.podbean.com/
- We also have a YouTube Channel for select recordings of our St. John’s Church Choir. Visit: