Singing is an integral and vibrant part of the life of Germantown Friends School. All students have an opportunity to sing under the guidance of choral directors Taia Harlos, Anne Hess, Teri-Gemberling-Johnson and Steve Kushner.
Lower School students participate in class choral events, as well as combined choral ensembles. In 1st through 4th grade, students regularly join with other classes to present choral music as part of class plays or Lower school Assemblies.
A formal choral structure begins in 5th Grade where the students prepare music for a Thanksgiving concert and a May Day celebration.
In Middle School, choral singing is an essential component of the music curriculum. Sixth and 7th graders work together to learn a variety of repertoire and perform twice a year during special assemblies. In 8th grade, students may elect to participate in the 8th grade chorus. This elective ensemble meets twice a week and performs several times a year. Finally, all 8th graders collaborate to prepare and present the "8th grade musical" as a part of the winter term project-time curriculum. The 8th grade musical is often a shortened version of a Broadway show or a musical revue that combines music from a variety of shows. Students continue to cultivate their singing voices and grow both as performers and in their unity as a class.
As students enter the Upper School, all 9th graders participate in the ninth grade Chorus. The Chorus meets once a week through the fall semester, with a performance in December for the Middle and Upper school. Fall rehearsals build singing technique and a sense of ensemble, while cultivating a safe atmosphere for changing and emerging voices. The spring semester is devoted to the 9th Grade Musical, with participation from every class member. All students are involved in large choral numbers in the musical in addition to lead and supporting roles.
Open to all 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students who wish to learn about choral singing, the Upper School Chorus rehearses and performs the great works of choral literature. Performances are often accompanied by a professional orchestra. Recent concerts have featured performances of Orff’s Carmina Burana, Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem, and Babatunde Olatunji’s Betelehemu, and Beethoven’s Mass in C.
MadriGals is a small ensemble of 10th, 11th, and 12th grade girls who sing a range of repertoire from Renaissance to contemporary. Through rehearsal and performance, students develop their vocal and aural skills and a sense of both independent and ensemble singing.