The largest church music organisation in Britain, the Royal School of Church Music
was founded in 1927 by Sir Sydney Nicholson
Sir Sydney Hugo Nicholson was an English choir director, organist and composer, now chiefly remembered as the founder of the Royal School of Church Music . He was born in London and educated at Rugby School, New College, Oxford and the Royal College of Music...
and has 11,000 members worldwide; it was originally named the School of English Church Music. It seeks to enable church music in the present and invest in its future, largely through publications, courses and an award scheme. The organisation, originally only open to members of the Anglican Communion
The Anglican Communion is an international association of national and regional Anglican churches in full communion with the Church of England and specifically with its principal primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury...
, is interdenominational, but is still overseen by the Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...
- The Director is Lindsay Gray (succeeding John Harper in mid-2008)
- President of the Royal School of Church Music in America is Cindy DeDakis.
- President of RSCM Australia is Dr Ralph Morton.
- President of RSCM South Africa is Colonel Kevin Williams
- President of RSCM New Zealand is Paul Ellis.
- The patron is Her Majesty the Queen
Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize,...
US choirs affiliated with the Royal School of Church Music often wear the RSCM medallion, which features a picture of Saint Nicolas
Saint-Nicolas may refer to the following places:-In Belgium:*Saint-Nicolas, Belgium, in the Province of Liège*The French name for Sint-Niklaas, in Province of East Flanders-In France:*Saint-Nicolas, Pas-de-Calais...
, its patron saint
A patron saint is a saint who is regarded as the intercessor and advocate in heaven of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, clan, family, or person...
Awards and medals
The RSCM provides a series of grades and awards to signify varying levels of musical achievement. There are four basic merit awards - the light blue ribbon, the dark blue ribbon, the red ribbon and the yellow ribbon. These awards share the same medal.
Beyond these are several medals awarded after successful coursework and examination:
- The Bronze award
- The Silver award
- The Gold award
The prerequisites of the Silver award are to hold either the Bronze award (or its predecessor the Dean’s/Provost’s award), to have attended an RSCM event as a member of the choir and it is suggested that the candidate have a Grade 3 Theory (RSM) level of understanding.
The prerequisites of the Gold award are once again, to hold the level below, to have completed an RSCM course (preferably residential) and it is suggested that a Grade 5 Theory (RSM) level of understanding. The Royal School of Music Grade 8 Singing is of an approximate level but the Gold award has a larger syllabus and does not require the candidate to commit pieces to memory. Unlike the grade 8, a candidate must also create an order of service for any event he or she wishes, with an appropriate music list.
The new awards are now available to choristers of any age and have been brought in to standardize the awarding process. There are many area based rules for the old medals, which will all disappear as the old award candidates decide not to wear their medals due to age.
- in some areas a chorister may wear all medals at the same time while in others there is a limit of one.
- a red ribbon (S. Cecilia/Nicholas) may only be worn by those over 18 years in some areas, while other areas the highest medal always has a red ribbon.
The former medals are as follows…
For choristers up to the age of 16
- The Dean's/Provost's award
- The Bishop's Award
- The Junior S. Nicolas / S. Cecilia Awards
For Choristers up to the age of 21
- The Senior S. Nicolas / S. Cecilia Awards
Head Chorister and Deputy Head Chorister medals are also used by some choirs.
A choirboy is a boy member of a choir, also known as a treble.As a derisive slang term, it refers to a do-gooder or someone who is morally upright, in the same sense that "Boy Scout" refers to someone who is considered honorable or conscientious.- History :The use of choirboys in Christian...
- Christian music
Christian music is music that has been written to express either personal or a communal belief regarding Christian life and faith. Common themes of Christian music include praise, worship, penitence, and lament, and its forms vary widely across the world....
- Anglican church music
Anglican church music is music that is written for liturgical performance in Anglican church services.Almost all of it is written for choir with or without organ accompaniment...
- List of Anglican church composers
- RSCM Millennium Youth Choir
The RSCM Millennium Youth Choir is a British choir for singers aged between 16 and 23. It is the RSCM's leading national choir.In 1999 the Archbishop of Canterbury at the time, George Carey, suggested its formation and it gave its first performance in the Millennium Dome in London.The choir has...