Children’s Choir – Directed by Jenny Anderson
The Children’s Choir (September through May) is open to all children in grades 1-5. Younger children are welcome participate if they can manage the hour rehearsal. The emphasis is on vocal music of various styles with the incorporation of movement, Orff tonal and rhythm instruments, and hand chimes. As choir members, the children learn the importance of their role as worship leaders; in addition to vocal training they receive instruction in hymn-singing and becoming active and engaged participants in the service. Rehearsals are held in the Music Room following the children’s message at the 8:45 a.m. service. Children are escorted from the service to the Music Room. They are met by their parents after rehearsal at 9:55 a.m. to proceed to their Sunday School classes. Regular attendance is strongly encouraged. Adult volunteer choir “corrallers” are always welcome! The Children’s Choir provides worship music for the 8:45 a.m. service once a month and also join the Chancel and Youth Choirs for the annual service of Lessons and Carols during Advent.
Youth Choir – Directed by Jenny Anderson
The Youth Choir welcomes 5th through 12th graders to participate in the music program at United Church! Youth Choir rehearsals take place on Sunday afternoons (September through May) at 12:45 p.m. Lunch is provided by choir parents at 12:15, to create a seamless transition for the Middle and High School students to take part in all morning activities (worship, Sunday School and Youth Group).
The Youth Choir provides the music for the 8:45 service approximately one Sunday per month during the school year, as well as at all special Youth Services. They also join with the Chancel and Children’s Choirs for the annual service of Lessons and Carols during Advent.
The Youth Choir has an active program of social events, workshops, retreats and concerts spread over the course of the year. In the past they have had pool parties, attended retreats at Don Lee and Camp Caraway. Summer trips have included Montreat Music and Worship Conference (2016), Royal School of Church Music Summer Training Courses (2014 and 2015), and Nation’s Capital Festival of Youth Choirs (2013 and 2015). Plans for 2017 include Festival By the Sea, Myrtle Beach in March and a return to Montreat in June.
Other music groups open to youth are: Chancel Choir, Chancel Bells, Iglesia Band, UCCH Brass and Strings Ensembles, and the Ambassadors Jazz Band. All Youth Choir members are encouraged to attend Voice for Life training sessions, which are at 3 pm each Sunday. Please see next section for more information.
United Church of Chapel Hill is an affiliate of the Royal School of Church Music. Among the resources provided by RSCM is a graded curriculum, Voice for Life, that trains choristers to be well-rounded and knowledgeable church musicians. Through participation in choir and music theory classes and completion of practical and written assignments, these choristers learn good vocal technique and diction, music skills and understanding, musical and historical context of the choral repertoire, the singer’s role in the choir, and the choir’s role in Christian worship.The Voice for Life curriculum is divided into 4 levels, identified by the colors light blue, dark blue, red and yellow. Completion of a level is marked by the awarding of a ribbon of the corresponding color on which the chorister wears the RSCM medallion.Children’s Choir members from 3rd grade up and all Youth Choir members are welcome (but not required) to attend a one-hour session on Sundays at 2pm to receive instruction in the Voice for Life curriculum and piano. This session takes place immediately after Youth Choir rehearsals.
Chancel Choir – Directed by Jenny Anderson
The Chancel Choir leads the music in worship during the academic year, primarily at the 11:00 am service, and also sings for several special services in the church year, including the annual service of Lessons and Carols during Advent. At least once a year the choir performs a major work with orchestra. Its repertoire includes sacred choral music spanning more than 5 centuries and drawing on various traditions and cultures. During the summer, the Chancel Choir provides the backbone of the Summer Drop-In Choir, which is open to all.
Membership in the Chancel Choir is open to anyone of high school age or older; the only requirements are a love of singing and a willingness to commit the necessary time. The ability to read music is helpful, but not required. The choir rehearses from 7:30 to 9:00 pm on Wednesdays from late August through early June in the Music Room and meets for a warm-up rehearsal before the Sunday service.
The Chancel Choir loves to travel together, to meet and perform with fellow singers from other places and cultures. The choir’s travels have taken them to Scotland and England in 2002, Hawaii in 2004, Charleston in 2009, Scotland in 2012 and Germany in 2014.
In June of 2017 they combined with members of United Voices of Praise and the Youth Choir to visit German partner churches in Cologne-Pesch and Burgscheidungen. They plan to host visits from partner churches in the near future and to return to Germany in 2020.
United Voices of Praise – Directed by Charles Bradshaw
Chamber Singers – Directed by Larry Triplett
The Chamber Singers form a small a cappella ensemble. About once a month at Sunday services they sing pieces that range from 16th century polyphony to contemporary and original compositions. They also sing for special services such as Christmas Eve and Ash Wednesday. The group rehearses every Thursday at 7:30 pm. Membership is by audition.
Karen Choir – Led by Paw Yeh
United Church is fortunate to have a large community of ethnic Karen, who were resettled here from Thailand and Burma, as part of our congregation. Singing is very important in their community and several times a year our own Karen choir shares acappella music from their worship tradition with the 8:45 congregation. The melodies are often familiar to us, as many of them are adaptations of hymns taught to the community by missionaries in the last century.