This fall marks the ten-year anniversary of the choral scholar program at St. John’s! Since the beginning of the program, students have been an integral part of our worship at St. John’s. These students have gone on to become leaders of their own choirs, singers in other churches and baptized, confirmed and married as members of St. John’s. This important ministry helps students gain experience in singing church music in a liturgical setting and helps support the singing ministry of our volunteer choir members.
Not only do the students benefit from receiving a small stipend for their work, but the church benefits from their musical contributions each week. Currently, the scholar program is supported through a portion of the music budget as well as through direct donations to the music fund at St. John’s. Due to the generosity of several donors, we have been able to increase the number of scholars to five: Claire Barckholtz, soprano I, Heather Seaton, soprano II, Emerald Joiner, alto, Jeremiah Kraniak, tenor and Tyler Morse, bass. We also have a number of student volunteers who regularly sing with the choir.
Two of our former scholars serve as great examples of the importance of this ministry. Rachelle Austin Fergin and Brad Fergin were both choral scholars while they were undergraduates at SVSU. They were confirmed as members of St. John’s and left Saginaw so that Rachelle could pursue a master’s degree in voice. They returned to be married at St. John’s and then moved back to Saginaw permanently so that Brad could take the position of choir director at the Saginaw Arts and Sciences Academy. Rachelle is running a very successful and growing voice studio out of their home. At St. John’s, Brad serves on the vestry and supervises the Voice for Life Program for our children; both Rachelle and Brad sing with the St. John’s choir.
On November 6, at 4:00, we will have a special Evensong to mark the 10th Anniversary of the choral scholar program. We are inviting former scholars to sing with the choir that day. I hope that you will plan to join us for a terrific afternoon to celebrate this ministry.
If you have questions about the choral scholar program or any aspect of our music program, please contact me.