RSCM America sponsors a number of summer training courses throughout the United States. Each course is as unique as its setting. All courses provide the opportunity for choral training and exploring wonderful choral music in liturgical and/or concert settings. Some courses offer master classes in organ performance, choral conducting and composition. Several courses offer adult seminars, activities, and opportunities for networking and fellowship.
The courses take place in cathedrals and other large churches in major cities with choristers residing in hotels, university settings, small private schools or rustic, lakefront facilities. All course locations are chosen for the safety and comfort of the participants. Each course includes additional activities. These activities can include sports, recreation, crafts, field trips and boat races. There are customs unique to each course that generate fun and enthusiasm.
The music directors are renowned in their field and offer excellent leadership for youths and adults to learn new techniques and skills. In addition, significant opportunities for spiritual and theological enrichment are also offered.
Two scholarships are available from RSCM America each year. Click here for scholarship application guidelines and procedures.
The Training Courses provide programs for:
RSCM America 2013 Training Courses
Course veterans and new participants alike enjoy the University of Tulsa campus, offering large open fields and diverse twentieth-century architecture. Boys are given the opportunity to excel in daily rehearsals and services. Adult participants rehearse daily with the boys and participate in educational seminars. Final choral services are held at beautiful Trinity Episcopal Church.
- Participants: 40 boys, age 10-18; 15 adults
- Dates: July 8-14, 2013
- Music Director: Malcolm Archer, Winchester College, England
- Organist: Bruce Neswick, Indiana University
- Residential Venue: University of Tulsa, Okla.
- Concerts/Services Venue: Trinity Episcopal Church, Tulsa
- Course Fees: $550 for registrations received by April 1, 2013; $575 for registrations received after April 1, 2013; $375 for commuting adults by April 1, 2013; $400 for commuting adults after April 1, 2013. RSCM members receive a $25 discount
- Contact: Sara Arnold, Course Manager: (918) 640-4274 or firstname.lastname@example.org; Casey Cantwell, Course Manager: (918) 359-9029 or email@example.com
- Course Website: www.rscmtulsa.com
MONTREAL COURSE at PRINCETON – New Location for 2013!
This course offers a broad range of challenging choral repertoire as well as plenty of time for fun. The beautiful setting and excellent facilities of The Lawrenceville School, located in the countryside just outside of Princeton, N.J., and weekend services at the Chapel of the Princeton Theological Seminary combine to make this a week to remember. In addition to our daily singing activities and voice coaching, the course now offers boys and teens musicianship training at various levels, further strengthening music-reading and vocal ability.
- Participants: 42 boys; 40 teens and adults
- Dates: July 28-August 4, 2013
- Music Director: Simon Lole
- Organist: Patrick Wedd
- Residential Venue: The Lawrenceville School, Lawrenceville, N.J.
- Concerts/Services Venues: Princeton Theological Seminary Chapel, Princeton, N.J.
- Course Fees: $770
- Contact: Larry Tremsky, Executive Director, 516.746.2956 ext. 18 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Course Website: www.mbccusa.com
GULF COAST COURSE
The intimate feel of an all-girls course provides a safe environment with a focus on musical development and fellowship. This year the course is moving to prestigious Rice University, which provides a perfect setting and award-winning dining facilities. All participants are offered individual and group vocal instruction and theory classes. They will be provided with a week-long rail pass and will sing services all along the Main Street Corridor, with time set aside to enjoy Hermann Park and the Houston Zoo. Afternoon activities include a trip to Rice Village for a shopping extravaganza and jumping at Sky High trampoline center. Sunday services will be held at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church. Additionally, this year the Gulf Coast Course will initiate two organ scholar positions to work alongside Mr. Brewer. Adults wishing to audit the course may request to do so.
- Participants: 40 girls, age 10-18
- Dates: June 24-30, 2013
- Music Directors: Joseph Causby, St. Mark's Episcopal Church, San Antonio, Tex. and Courtney Daniell-Knapp, Presbyterian School, Houston, Tex.
- Organist: Robert Brewer, St. David's Episcopal Church, San Antonio
- Residential Venue: Rice University, Houston, Tex.
- Concerts/Services Venues: Rice Memorial Chapel, Christ Church Cathedral, Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church, and St. Paul's United Methodist Church, Houston
- Course Fees: $525 for all registered by March 15, 2013; $535 for RSCM members/$560 for non-members registered after March 15, 2013.
- Contact: Anna Teagarden, Course Manager: email@example.com; Peggy Odam, Registrar: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Course Website: www.rscmgulfcoast.org
In residence on the beautiful and historic campus of Saint Mary’s School, the Carolina Course for girls, teen girls, and adults features outstanding choral repertoire, a marvelous music staff, and thrilling closing service venues, offering an unforgettable week of singing, worship, education, and fun. The 2013 Carolina Course will be the subject of a full-length documentary about RSCM America training courses, which will be filmed throughout the week. David Hill, Director of the London Bach Choir and BBC Singers, will offer superb music leadership.
- Participants: 40 girls, age 10-18; 25 adults; 1 organ scholar
- Dates: July 8-14, 2013
- Music Director: David Hill
- Organist: David Arcus
- Residential Venue: Saint Mary’s School, Raleigh, N.C.
- Closing Service Venues: Duke University Chapel and St. Michael's Episcopal Church, Raleigh
- Course Fees: $540 for registrations received by April 1, 2013; $565 for registrations received after April 1, 2013; $395 for commuting adults. RSCM members receive a $25 discount
- Contact: Marilyn Neely, Registrar: (910) 690-9236 or email@example.com; Kevin Kerstetter, Course Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Course Website: www.carolinarscm.org
Trebles and teens rehearse daily with Mr. Moore and with distinguished housemasters who provide individual attention in smaller groups. All youth singers are offered small group voice instruction and theory classes, and a complete program for teen young men singing alto, tenor, and bass is provided. Recreation, fun, and worship are part of each day. Adults may participate in and observe rehearsals, and attend daily seminars, including one about the RSCM’s acclaimed VOICE for LIFE training curriculum. Two organ scholars work daily with the course organist. We anticipate a full course this year; please register early!
- Participants: 60 young singers (boys, girls, teens) ages 10-18; 30 adults; 2 organ scholars
- Dates: July 15-21, 2013
- Music Director: R. Walden Moore, Trinity Church on the Green, New Haven, Conn.
- Organist: Jared Johnson, Trinity Cathedral, Columbia, S.C.
- Residential Venue: Queens University of Charlotte, N.C.
- Concerts/Services Venues: Myers Park Baptist Church and St. John’s Episcopal Church, Charlotte
- Course Fees: Deposit and forms received before April 1, 2013: $550 youth choristers; Adults: $550 residential, $395 commuting, $95 per day for adults registering for up to three days. After April 1, 2013: $575 youth choristers; Adults: $575 residential, $425 commuting, $100 per day for adults registering for up to three days. RSCM members receive a $25 discount on each registration
- Contact: Alan Reed, Course Manager: (704) 408-7489 or email@example.com; Tracy Reed, Course Manager: (704) 849-9791
- Course Website: www.saintjohns-charlotte.org/rscm
KING'S COLLEGE COURSE
In this, the largest of the summer courses, girls, boys, and adults sing both their own repertoire and as a combined chorus. There are unique opportunities for young adults and adults to include a separate Compline Choir. King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. offers a splendid location in the heart of the Pocono Mountains. The reverberant and versatile worship space of St. Stephen’s Church provides an ideal setting for inspiring music-making and liturgy.
- Participants: 60 girls, 40 boys, 20 young adults, 40 adults, 2 organ scholars
- Dates: July 22-28, 2013
- Music Director: Richard Tanner
- Organist: Mark Laubach
- Residential Venue: King’s College, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
- Concerts/Services Venue: St. Stephen’s Episcopal Pro-Cathedral, Wilkes-Barre
- Course Fees: $565 for registrations received by April 1, 2013; $605 for registrations received after April 1, 2013. RSCM members receive a $25 discount
- Contact: Steve Burk, Course Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Course Website: www.kingscollegecourse.com
ST. LOUIS COURSE
Truly for everyone, boys and girls in the beginning stages of choir singing to advanced teens and adults will enjoy the repertoire and inspirational music-making available at this course. Adult participants will rehearse daily with the trebles and also have the opportunity each afternoon to meet for educational discussions and to learn more about the VOICE for LIFE curriculum.
- Participants: 35 boys and girls (trebles); 25 adults and teen boys (altos, tenors, and basses)
- Dates: July 22-28, 2013
- Music Director: Michael Kleinschmidt, Trinity Cathedral, Portland, Ore.
- Organists: Br. Vincent Ignatius, CSJ, and Dr. Tamara Schmiege
- Residential Venue: Todd Hall Retreat Center, Columbia, Ill.
- Concerts/Services Venues: The Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis and Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo.
- Course Fees: $550; RSCM members receive a $25 discount
- Contact: Phillip Brunswick, Course Manager: email@example.com
- Course Website: www.rscmstl.org
WASHINGTON COURSE for EXPERIENCED TREBLES
This ultimate opportunity for experienced singing boys and girls takes place on the Close of Washington National Cathedral. Young people love returning to the course year after year for the opportunity to make music in this important place, to renew friendships, and to experience our nation’s capital. The Cathedral is but one of several Washington-area venues for services and exploration throughout the week.
- Participants: 8 boys and 22 girls of experienced ability (red or yellow ribbon, or equivalent)
- Dates: July 29-August 4, 2013
- Music Director: Robert Ridgell, Christ Church, Charlotte, N.C.
- Organists: Organists from the Washington National Cathedral
- Residential Venue: St. Albans School, Washington, D.C.
- Concerts/Services Venues: Washington National Cathedral and the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, Washington, D.C., in conjunction with the National Association of Pastoral Musicians Convention
- Course Fees: $595 residental, $350 commuting; RSCM members receive a $25 discount
- Contact: Ben Keseley, Registrar: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Course Website: www.rscmwashingtondc.org
RHODE ISLAND COURSE at NEWPORT
Girls, boys, teens, and adults alike will find this course, in residence at Salve Regina University in beautiful and historic Newport by the Sea, a wonderful setting for a week of fine music-making, fun, and fellowship. Choristers will rehearse daily with Mr. Hutto and opportunities for small group and individual instruction will be provided. There is also a new organ scholar program for 6 young organists, age 16-25, who will study improvisation, service playing, accompanying, and concert repertoire under the direction of Mr. Neswick. Final choral services will be held at Emmanuel Church, Newport.
- Participants: Boys and girls, age 9-17; 20 adults; 6 organ scholars, age 16-25
- Dates: August 5-11, 2013
- Music Directors: Ben Hutto and Bruce Neswick
- Organist: Jason Roberts
- Residential Venue: Salve Regina University, Newport, R.I.
- Concerts/Services: Will include two Evensong services and a closing Festival Eucharist
- Course Fees: $575 for registrations received by April 1, 2013; $600 for registrations received after April 1, 2013. RSCM members receive a $25 discount
- Contact: Priscilla Rigg, Course Manager or Allen J. Hill, Registrar: email@example.com
- Course Website: http://www.emmanuelnewport.org/
The Rev. Edmund Pickup, Jr., ARSCM delivered this sermon at the 2012 Charlotte Course. Fr. Ed is the Charlotte Course Chaplain and Pastoral Advisor/Chaplain to the RSCM America Board of Directors.
It is my delight to begin by thanking God for all the people who make this course possible. For all the choirmasters, parents, clergy, singers, and supporters in our churches and those of you who have traveled great distances to be here.
Thank God for our musical director this year, Bruce Neswick. I first met Bruce when he directed an RSCM Carolina Boys’ Course in early the 1990s at Belmont Abbey. I remember that twenty years ago Bruce had endless energy and, as far as I could tell, was powered entirely by coffee and nutritional supplements. He is still the same. I have always known of his tremendous talent as a director, teacher, organist, improvisationalist, and composer. But his very best quality is his kind and generous heart. Bruce came to our rescue this year after the sudden death of Dr. Gerry Hancock, who had planned to be our director and who chose the music we are singing today. This Evensong, like every other, is sung to the glory of God, but it is also a tribute from a disciple in loving memory of his teacher.
Thank God for our course co-managers, Tracy and Alan Reed. These RSCM courses are glorious experiences, but they never would happen without hard work and brilliant organization behind the scenes. The summer training courses thrive or die, not because of the brilliant music directors or singers, but because of the remarkable dedication of the course managers year after year.
Thanks be to God for our organist this week, Aaron Goen, from St. Peter’s Episcopal Church here in Charlotte. Besides being a prodigious organist, last year Aaron was the adult housemaster and conducted our adult rehearsals. He has a kind and gentle and yet compelling musical leadership, which not only conveys a skillful technique but also a spirit-filled musicality.
And thanks be to God for the hospitality of all of the kind people of the Myers Park Baptist Church, to St. John’s Episcopal Church for making Alan and Tracy’s ministry to us possible, and of course, to Queens University of Charlotte for their hospitality all week.
And finally, thank God for all of the course staff members who work seamlessly together all week—especially our proctors, who are themselves young professional church musicians, who humbly mentor and nurture our singers all week.
This week, our theme has been “The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” Jesus is our Good Shepherd, but simultaneously he is also the sacrificial Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. So we have been looking at sheep and shepherds all week.
Monday, we looked at how Cain, the first farmer, slew Abel, the first shepherd. (Genesis 4:1-16). Then on Tuesday, we looked at the Sacrifice, or in Hebrew the Akedah (the Binding) of Isaac and how the God of Israel rejected the horrific child sacrifice practiced by other religions throughout the Middle East at the time (Genesis 22:1-18). We noted how God provided the sacrificial victim and saved us humans from that duty. We also noted that while God did not require us to sacrifice our children, through human sinfulness and bloodthirstiness, we humans demanded the sacrifice of God’s only begotten child.
Then on Wednesday, we looked at how the hired-hand shepherds, the poorest of agricultural workers, were chosen to be the witnesses of the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 2:1-20). We marveled at how the downward mobility of Jesus (to use Henri Nouwen’s term) began not at his crucifixion but at his birth, when he moved from life in the highest of heavens to the poorest and most vulnerable life in a stable among shepherds in a subjugated country. That is where the great mystery of the Good Shepherd’s downward path of love began.
And on Thursday, we looked at how Jesus is not only the good shepherd, but also the door of the sheep (John 10:1-10). We considered how shepherds laid their bodies down in the gateway of the sheepfolds to keep the sheep safely gathered together and to keep the predators at bay. Analogously, we considered how the body of Christ protects us from spiritual predators and also keeps the church gathered together as one flock. And finally, on Friday, we looked at the restoration of Peter after the resurrection when three times Jesus asks: “Peter, do you love me?” Just like Peter denied Jesus three times, Jesus restores Peter three times and then invites him to assist Jesus in His work of being the good shepherd of his flock (John 21:1-17).
And that brings us to today, when we have the painful comparison of the horribly wicked shepherds from Ezekiel (34:1-10) who ate up their flocks, wasted their wool, failed to feed the sheep, failed to strengthen the weak, failed to heal the sick, failed to seek the lost, and allowed the flock to be scattered and unprotected, devoured by the wild animals.
To that, compare the good shepherd (John 10:11-18) who saves and preserves his flock, feeds them by green pastures, heals the sick, seeks out the lost, and protects the flock from the spiritual predators of wickedness and sin. And not only does Jesus do all of this, but he loves us sheep so much that he lays down his life for us.
To put it mildly, for Jesus to call us his sheep is no big compliment. In preparation for this course, I learned that sheep are not as stupid as their reputation would have us believe. Their encephalization quotient, the comparison of the size of their brains to the size of their bodies, is about the same as horses and cows. Each sheep can recognize up to fifty other sheep faces and recognize the face and voice of their shepherds. Like dogs, sheep can even learn their own names.
But sheep have several unfortunate characteristics. First, they are basically defenseless. With the exception of the rams’ horns, they don’t have much in the way of defensive weaponry at their disposal. Secondly, they are too sociable for their own good. They happily follow a leader who might just be leading them into a disaster. Third, when attacked, they scatter, so that at least one of them is pretty easily picked off. So because they are defenseless, readily led astray, and easy prey, sheep have gotten the unfortunate reputation of being stupid. And for exactly that same reason, they are a pretty good description of us humans as well.
But the good shepherd is our protection, the protection for all of his flock. We live under the self-delusion that there are many churches—Orthodox, Catholic, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Congregationalist, Pentecostal and my own flavor, Anglican or Episcopal—just to name a few. But that is a complete self-deception, and we are able to suffer this misunderstanding only because we see the church from the human viewpoint of brokenness and division. But seeing the church from the vantage point of God, there is only one flock, one shepherd. And all of us sheep follow the one voice, although because we’re helpless, easily misled, and not too bright, we hear that voice differently.
I suppose that I see Jesus as having the best qualities of a southerner who, when gob-smacked with our incredible stupidity and felonious ignorance, simply shakes His head and says, “Bless their hearts, they can’t help it.” And knowing exactly how helpless and easily misled we poor sheep are, he simply lays down his life out of love for us. That quiet acceptance and sacrificial love for us pitiful and helpless sheep, in the words of Bishop William How, “is a thing most wonderful, Almost too wonderful to be.” Or in a more ancient text, O magnum mysterium—what a huge mystery. And yet, amazingly enough, it simply is. The love of Jesus just is. Like God’s name is always “I am,” the love of the Good Shepherd always just is.
And so what do we poor sheep do? We do the only thing we can in response to that love. We sing our Good Shepherd’s praise. We each bleat as best as we are able. We offer heart and voice, spirit and mind, and we sing our poor songs. Some of us older pitiful sheep even have huge vibrato in our bleating. But nonetheless, we offer our musical equivalent of the widow’s mite to the ineffable glory of the one who is both our Good Shepherd and the sacrificial Lamb of God. And our pitiful songs, our childish best efforts, God not only accepts, but treasures, cherishes, and proudly hangs on his refrigerator door in heaven. God calls all the saints and angels of the heavenly choir to admire our paltry Evensong offering hanging on his refrigerator door and says “Just look at what my beloved children made for me! They love me too.” Amen.