Singing has been integral to the life of The Walden School since its founding. Each student and each member of the staff, faculty and administration participates in several choral groups in addition to the all-school chorus. The Musicianship Course, which is the core course of the curriculum, incorporates singing as an activity underpinning each student’s fluency with music as a language. As we gather for each meal we continue the tradition started in the 1950s of singing one of a rich library of in-house-composed blessings reflecting the diveristy of our community throughout the years. Each day is brought to a close by singing rounds and Goodnight Music. We break forth in song on our mountain hikes, celebrating our conquest of the summit and the inspiration we receive from each other and from nature.
Over the years The Walden School Choral Program has evolved from a single, all-school chorus to include smaller choirs providing age-specific training across seven choral groupings. In order to accomplish this, a mentoring program is in place, providing opportunities for faculty conductors, student section leaders and support for multiple choral groups. Rehearsals are observed and feedback is exchanged in collegial one-on-one coaching sessions between the conductors and the program director. Topics encountered include: rehearsal tone and pacing, the role of the conductor as musical facilitator and effective sequencing of musical goals.
Each choral rehearsal of The Walden School Choruses includes activities to develop natural body alignment, freedom of breath, confidence of intonation, diction, character, intention and ease of vocal production.