About the Choirs of St. John’s
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 spans music from the classical Western tradition, primarily that which is written for the Anglican Church but also music from the Lutheran and Latin Catholic traditions. The choir is composed of many volunteers and supplemented by a small core of professional singers, all who commit to the regular rehearsals and services. Rehearsals are held on Wednesday evenings from 7:00 to 9:00pm and on Sunday mornings at 9:30am. Choir members are often encouraged to study with our Staff Singers to improve needed skills.
Meet the Choirmaster
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 recently taught a course on Understanding the Organ for the local Senior Citizens Center in Savannah.
JOYFUL NOISE is for ages Pre-K through Kindergarten. Children in Joyful Noise explore songs and games that let them explore their faith in a fun, relaxed setting. This ensemble rehearses from 10:35 to 10:55 in Cranmer Hall. The ensemble is under the direction of Ms. Kristen Pair.
THE PSALM PSINGERS is for 1st – 5th grades. Children in this ensemble have an introduction to the rudiments of music and begin learning hymns and service music of the Church. Children are helped to find their singing voice and are taught sight-singing skills. The Psalm Psingers sing during the first part of service every few months and during the summer season, as well as at the annual Christmas Pageant. This ensemble meets during the second half of the morning worship service. Students process out behind the cross during the Sermon Hymn and are escorted to the 2nd floor Children’s Chapel in Cranmer Hall. The choir is under the direction of Ms. Kristen Pair.
EVENSONG SERVICES are scheduled to be sung by any of the above choirs or all choirs combined. 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.
RSCM (Royal School of Church Music) is a world-wide 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. A tour to Lincoln Cathedral is in the planning stages.
RECORDINGS have been made for the Sonare label . The choirs first recording was commissioned by the Prayer Book Society and 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. More recent recordings can be found on YouTube by searching “St. John’s Church Savannah”