Saint Paul’s Choir School, a Cambridge, Massachusetts private school for boys in the 4th through 8th grades, was founded in 1963 by Dr. Theodore Marier. Now under the leadership of the pastor, Fr. William Kelly, Headmaster Dr. Michael Lescault and Choirmaster Mr. John Robinson, the school, located adjacent to St. Paul’s Church, Harvard Square, has recently celebrated its 50th anniversary year as a full-time day school for boys.
Dedicated to providing rigorous academic training and an extensive and unique education in music and liturgy, the Choir School accepts musically talented and academically qualified boys ages nine through fourteen for full-time study in grades four through eight. Students hail from several communities in the greater Boston area.
The area’s best secondary schools aggressively recruit Choir School students. Choir School graduates have attended Milton Academy, Roxbury Latin School, Beaver Country Day School, Portsmouth Abbey School, Boston University Academy, Middlesex School, Belmont Hill School, Deerfield Academy, Noble and Greenough, Boston Latin School, Boston College High School, St. Sebastians’s Country Day School, Arlington Catholic, Matignon High School, Malden Catholic and Catholic Memorial. Almost every year, several eighth graders are named “Scholar of the School” at Boston College High School, an honor conferred only on those scoring in the top five percent of all candidates taking the entrance examination. In the past, Choir School students have also won “Ignatian Scholarships,” four-year, full tuition scholarships at Boston College High.
The famous choir of boys and men is right at the heart of the Choir School. Through singing daily liturgical music, the boys learn how to read music fluently, and how to sing skillfully and confidently. They learn about where the music has come from historically, and how it was made. They sing music ranging from Gregorian chant (which is a key feature in any sung Mass) to contemporary commissions for the choir. A demanding and thorough music theory course is taught using the internationally acclaimed materials of the ABRSM. Each boy takes individual piano lessons, also using the ABRSM syllabus, which is very good at drawing together the various elements of the music program. As the boys continue through the school and their voices change, a ‘Choral Studies’ course teaches the boys about Conducting, Composition, and choir training. The study of the organ is also available to qualified students.
Uniquely integrated with music study, the school’s diverse academic offerings aspire to give each student a strong foundation in basic skills and to provide multiple opportunities for enrichment. The positive influence of the study of music on other academic areas is clearly evident. Classes are small and motivation is high among both students and teachers, making for a lively, energetic and creative classroom environment.