Grace Notes (pre-school through Grade 1)
Junior Choir (Grades 2 through 5)
Children’s Choir at United Church is a tiered program of two ensembles, the Grace Notes and the Junior Choir.
Grace Notes serves as a training ground for our youngest singers. They learn the basics of rhythm and pitch, find their in-tune singing voices, and experience the joy of singing together. Grace Notes 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, has the responsibility of anchoring the service once a month (when we are worshiping in person). They are trained in anthems, hymns, service music, prayers, and spoken responses. As an affiliate member of the Royal School of Church Music, the Junior Choir works on the basics of music theory through the Voice for Life curriculum, which helps the choristers develop their musical understanding, and 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.
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 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 below).
The choir sings repertoire of many genres, from music of the early church through 21st century.
The Youth Choir leads Festival Worship approximately two times per month, sometimes in combination with the Junior or Adult Choirs. They rehearse on Sunday afternoons and receive tutoring in the Voice for Life program following rehearsal. They are invited and encouraged to assist the Junior Choir members as singer-mentors and Voice for Life tutors.
Each year the Youth Choir offers opportunities to sing in other venues outside the church, and also hosts a number of social events.
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 five levels, a preparatory level (white), and four standard levels (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.
The Chancel Choir leads Festival Worship most Sundays during the academic year, 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 five 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), under the leadership of pianist Charles Bradshaw, provides the opportunity to sing traditional African-American gospel music and develop strong bonds of friendship and understanding. Ability to read music is not required and new members are welcome at any time. In addition to leading the music in Festival Worship the choir also sings for events in the community.
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, when we are worshiping in person, our own Karen choir shares acappella music from their worship tradition several times a year. 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.
Online Worship Selections
During lockdown members of the Junior, Youth and Chancel Choir recorded hymns and anthems for our online worship. A selection of these is below.