Grace Church in Salem

385 Essex Street Salem MA 01970 978-744-2796 [email protected] The Rev. Deborah Phillips, Rector Mark Engelhardt, Lay Associate

The Choir School

I will sing with the spirit and with the understanding also.
- 1 Corinthians 14:15 
Motto of the Royal School of Church Music


The motto of the Royal School of Church Music forms the basis of the philosophy of the Choir School at Grace Church in Salem. It is the belief that all children should have the opportunity to expand their horizons through music, and specifically through the finest music of the church.

For centuries, the church has provided quality education to young people in music and the arts. The Choir School at Grace Church in Salem was formed to provide this quality education, broad liturgical experience, and frequent performance opportunities to the young people on the North Shore. Membership in the Choir School is not limited to Episcopalians or members of Grace Church.

The Treble Choir of the Choir School includes girls and boys of unchanged voices. All children in grades 2 through 8 are invited to audition. No previous experience is necessary! The Choir rehearses once per week - on Wednesdays, from 4:00pm until 5:15pm.

Our Program

Our training program is "Voice for Life" of the Royal School of Church Music. This extensive program promotes a high level of musical instruction that forms a basis for understanding through a singer's entire lifetime. The program is divided into five levels that provide for specialized training for beginners to experienced singers. As choristers advance through levels, appropriate ribbons are awarded and worn during performances.

Musically, the choristers will:

  • Learn to read music, how to sightread, and proper singing technique
  • Perform a variety of choral music spanning five centuries
  • Study English, Latin, French, German, and African diction

Religious education includes learning about the church and all aspects of its liturgy, including:
  • Liturgical and ecclesiastical terms
  • Use of the Prayer Book and Hymnals
  • The Liturgical Year
  • Memorizing prayers and Creeds

Other learning goals:
  • Because membership is drawn from various ethnic groups and singers are of varying ages, members learn to work together for a common goal as we grow in musicianship, so citizenship and social skills are nurtured.
  • Choristers develop good work ethic habits to sustain throughout their lives.  Students learn to compete in a healthy fashion, focus on tasks, develop individual standards and leadership skills, and become a team player. 


Grace Church and the participating families share in a commitment to excellence in order for our choristers to achieve the highest standards possible.

Singers and their families must be able to commit to on-time attendance at rehearsals, services, and concerts, and to communicating limited but necessary absences in a timely manner to the director.

The Choir School Program has many built-in incentives and rewards, however, parental support and encouragement is very important.

A copy of the Choir School Handbook, which provides further information on the details of the program, including expectations, concert and rehearsal protocol, reward systems, and more will be given to each family at the first rehearsal. If you have misplaced your copy of the Choir School Handbook, please contact the Director, Ryan Patten.

Join us for Choir School!

The Treble Choir of the Choir School at Grace Church is open to children of all faiths and creeds, but specifically offers training in the finest traditions of liturgically based choirs found in Britain, Europe, and in several churches and schools in the United States. 

The Choir usually sings at five large events during the academic year, both by themselves and in combination with other choirs, at Grace Church and throughout the North Shore.

Tuition is $300 per academic year to cover the costs of RSCM materials, music, and vestments. Scholarships are available; please inquire. Pleae contact Grace Church if you are interested in supporting this wonderful opportunity for children in our community.

The director, Ryan Patten, has been a professional church musician since the age of 15 and is well known as an organist, choral conductor, published composer, and experienced piano teacher. In 2014, he redesigned the Choir School program to be more effective in covering a wide variety of topics in music and liturgics over the course of the academic year for choristers of all experience levels and skill sets. 

Grace Church’s Rector, The Reverend Debbie Phillips is the Chaplain of the Choir School. She has an extensive background and interest in music in the church.

Click HERE to download the Choir School brochure.


For more information, please contact:

Ryan Patten, Director of Music

at Grace Church

[email protected]

- or -

[email protected]


From one of our parents: “Choir School allowed our daughter to learn more of the technical aspects of reading music, but more importantly, we noticed an increase in her confidence.”