Grace Notes (pre-school through Grade 1)
Junior Choir (Grades 2 through 5)
Children’s Choir at United Church is a tiered program made up of two ensembles, the Grace Notes and the Junior Choir.
Grace Notes serves as a training ground for our youngest singers. They will learn the basics of rhythm and pitch, will find their in-tune singing voices and will experience the joy of singing together. Grace Notes will join the Junior Choir as leaders in worship once or twice each semester.
The Junior Choir, with the assistance of a core of adult and older youth singers, have the responsibility of anchoring the 8:45 service one Sunday per month. To prepare for this they will be trained in anthems, hymns, service music, prayers and spoken responses. As an affiliate member of the Royal School of Church Music, the Junior Choir will also work on the basics of music theory through the Voice for Life curriculum, which helps the choristers to develop their musical understanding, and will work toward earning their RSCM white ribbon. They will be trained to serve as mentors for the Grace Notes choristers when the two groups sing together.
Rehearsal and music training programs for Grace Notes and Junior Choir take place on Wednesdays from 5:00 to 6:30 pm. The evening includes singing, games and activities that develop musical skill, and dinner. The program relies on adult participation in all aspects, so families are encouraged to consider this a full family night out. Child care is provided for those not yet ready for choir. The evening for Grace Notes will finish with an optional story time in the library from 6:20-6:30 to help our youngest transition to home and bedtime!
Grade 6 through post-high school
United Church offers a strong Youth Choir program for all in middle and high school and beyond who wish to participate in church leadership through music. Through carefully selected choral works of a high standard and a rigorous training program, Youth Choir offers a rich curriculum that develops vocal and musical skills and helps young people to form their faith. In addition to instruction in vocal technique and diction, members are offered the opportunity to develop their musical understanding through the Royal School of Church Music’s Voice for Life Curriculum (see section below).
The choir sings repertoire of many genres, from music of the early church through 21st century. They collaborate often with the United Voices of Praise Gospel Choir for an authentic Gospel experience.
The Youth Choir leads worship at the 8:45 service every other week, typically on first and third Sundays. This service is followed by Youth Discipleship programming, which begins at 10am with Youth Group, and continues at 11 am with the informal Youth Café. Youth Café, which provides a bridge between Youth Group and Youth Choir rehearsals, offers a chance to hang out with friends, connect with adult volunteers, do homework or work with a mentor on music skills through the Voice for Life program, and to eat lunch. The morning finishes with Youth Choir rehearsal at 12:15-1:30.
Each year the Youth Choir offers opportunities to sing in other venues outside the church, and also hosts a number of social events. In June 2020 the Youth Choir will travel to Germany for a music and study trip. They will be hosted by churches that United Church has partnered with in the past in Cologne and Weinheim, and will also visit Munich.All who join the choir in the fall are eligible for this special trip.
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.
The Chancel Choir leads worship on Sundays during the academic year 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. 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.
United Voices of Praise – Directed by Charles Bradshaw
United Voices of Praise (UVoP) draws its membership from both United Church and Fisher Memorial United Holy Church in Durham. The choir provides opportunities to sing traditional African-American gospel music and develop strong bonds of friendship. Ability to read music is not required and new members are welcome at any time. The Choir rehearses once or twice a month on Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. alternating between United Church and Fisher Memorial. United Voices of Praise sings at the 8:45 service at United Church on the third Sunday of the month and at the 10:00 service at Fisher Memorial on the first Sunday. The Choir also sings at events in the community.
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.