The Music Program at St. Mark’s School serves a wide range of student interests and includes co-curricular vocal and instrumental performing groups; curricular classroom courses for beginning, intermediate, and advanced students; and a comprehensive private music lesson program.
Performance Venues and Events
We have a full schedule of music performances this year featuring our students and faculty as well as invitational festivals with guest student and professional musicians. Look in the events calendar for what’s planned for the school year.
Our Class of 1945 Hall is a popular recording venue for major artists and groups in the Boston area, including the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, soprano Maria Ferrante, cellist Sergey Antonov, the Lydian Quartet, the Muir Quartet, Anonymous Four, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the Boston Cello Quartet and the public radio show From the Top.
All performing groups are scheduled during the class day. Over one hundred St. Markers participate in our performance ensembles: Choir, Cats Meow, Octet, Chamber Players, Jazz Band and Rhythm. All St. Mark’s performing groups are scheduled during the academic class day.
The sixty-five members of the St. Mark’s School Choir rehearse twice each week and perform for major Chapel services and concerts during the year. The Choir, led by Music Director James Wallace, sings a wide range of music from traditional to harmonic singing to Sting. In recent years the Choir has joined with leading choral groups from Harvard, Dartmouth, Williams, University of Massachusetts and Boston University in festival concerts in our Class of 1945 Hall. The Choir has traveled to Japan (2000), England (2002), Italy (2005), Spain (2007), Germany (2009) and most recently France in March, 2011. Plans are beign made for a concert tour to italy in March, 2013. Auditions for new members are held in the fall.
The Cat’s Meow and the Octet are female and male a cappella pop groups whose members are auditioned from the Choir each fall. The Cat’s and Octet perform concerts for the school and community and host groups from ten schools and colleges at our annual Wick Festival each February.
St. Mark’s Chamber Players, led by Janet Underhill (winds) and Steven Laven (strings) rehearse twice each week. The thirty members of the Players rehearse and perform separately as Strings and Winds, and often collaborate with the School Choir. Our student players have benefited from regular workshops and masterclasses with members of the Boston Symphony and the Lydian and Muir quartets. Members of the Players have joined the Choir in travel to Japan (2000), England (2002), Italy (2005), Spain (2007), Germany (2009) and most recently in March, 2011. A concert tour to Italy is planned for March 2013. A highlight of the 2011-12 school year was the Chamber Players work and performance with New York based The Oracle Hysterical in April at our annual Cutler Festival.
We have a lively program for rhythm and jazz players at St. Mark’s. Directed by Steve Fell, the St. Mark’s Jazz Band rehearses twice each week and includes wind, brass, and rhythm players. Our students enjoy playing custom arrangements and benefit from guest professionals from the Boston jazz and popular music communities. The Jazz Band plays in three major concerts each year, including the Cutler Festival in the Spring when we welcome bands from other schools. Auditions for the Jazz Band are held in the Fall.
Twenty professional musicians teach and coach in the SM Music program. Typically, over eighty St. Mark’s students participate in our private music lesson program. Lessons are offered for a fee on a credit or non-credit basis. Students may also seek permission to take lessons as an independent study project or in lieu of sports.
Instruction is offered in these areas:
- Keyboard — pipe organ, jazz, blues, classical piano
- Strings — violin, viola, cello, bass
- Guitar — acoustic, electric, bass
- Winds — flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, bassoon
- Brass — trumpet, trombone, French horn
- Percussion — timpani, drum set, ethnic drumming
Music Department Profiles
See teachers and their related biographies for the teachers in our Private Lesson Program.