The Royal School of Church Music, Charlotte Training Course

Click here for 2019 Course Details and Registration Forms!

The Royal School of Church Music in America Charlotte Training Course for Boys, Girls, Teens, and Adults, sponsored by St. John's Episcopal Church, is open to young singers ages 10-18 and to adults, especially directors.  Singers of all levels of ability are welcome, but all must match pitch and enjoy singing.  Formal choir experience is usually expected.  The course offers training for Treble Choristers, a complete program for Teen Altos, Tenors, and Basses, as well as Adults.  The 2019 course begins on Monday, July 15 at Queens University of Charlotte and Myers Park Baptist Church, and concludes with Evensong at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 21, A.D. 2019.

Our director for 2019 will be George Richford, a composer and choral conductor who serves as Organist and Master of the Choirs at Romsey Abbey in England.  He was for seven years the Director of Music at St John’s College in Durham University, and broadcast seven times with them, recorded CD’s and toured every year.  He founded the Girls Choir at Newcastle Cathedral and worked there for five years.  

He is composer and is published by Novello, Universal Editions and Shorter House. He is the winner of 4 composing awards, including for the 300th Anniversary of the Three Choirs Festival. He combines this work with that of a music teacher, teaching individual students singing, piano, organ, and composing. George has directed choirs to wide critical acclaim, with a particular focus on musicality and thorough interpretation. He has recorded and broadcast widely and has earned a reputation for transforming choirs into high-achieving ensembles. We look forward to his joining us as music director for the Charlotte RSCM course.


The 2019 course organist will be Edie Johnson, Organist and Music Associate at Church Street United Methodist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee.  She is also an adjunct faculty member in the School of Music at University of Tennessee, Knoxville where she teaches private organ and courses in organ literature and church music.  Ms. Johnson previously served as Assistant Organist/Choir Director at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and Seminary Organist and Affiliate Professor of Church Music at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, Indiana.

At age 13, Ms. Johnson began organ study with Johnny Bradburn at Christ United Methodist Church in Greensboro, North Carolina.  She completed the B. Mus. in organ, Magna cum laude, at Furman University, as a student of Charles Tompkins.  She then earned both the Master and Doctor of Music degrees at Indiana University, studying with Larry Smith.  Ms. Johnson has also studied organ with Marilyn Keiser and harpsichord with Elizabeth Wright.  Her piano study has been with Derek Parsons, David Gibson, George Kiorpes and Alice Ann Johnson.

Ms. Johnson has won prizes in many organ performance competitions including first place in the John Rodland organ and church music scholarship competition.  She has performed for national conventions of the American Guild of Organists (AGO), the Association of Anglican Musicians, the Organ Historical Society, and the National General Assembly of the Disciples of Christ Church.  Several of her performances have been broadcast on American Public Media’s Pipedreams.  In the summer of 2011, Ms. Johnson premiered Pamela Decker’s first concerto for organ, El Tigre, at the Region IV AGO convention. She was featured performer and presenter at the 2015 Region V AGO Convention in Indianapolis, IN.

For Ms. Johnson is also actively involved in the work of RSCM America.  She has served on its Board of Directors and as chairperson of the Interdenominational Committee.  At the Charlotte Summer Course, she has been both Housemaster and Course Organist.  In 2019 she will serve again as primary organist, accompanying services and rehearsals and teaching our two organ scholars.

The beautiful campus of Queens University of Charlotte provides excellent facilities including a gymnasium, tennis courts, swimming pool, dormitories, a dining hall, and a student center.

Rehearsal and worship space will be provided by Myers Park Baptist Church, where the course will have daily services of evening worship.  Public services will include the 10:00 a.m. Sunday Eucharist at St. John's Episcopal Church and the closing 4:00 p.m. Evensong at Myers Park Baptist church on Sunday, July 21.  The Course Managers are especially pleased that Myers Park Baptist Church has invited the RSCM to use its extensive musical facilities and beautiful worship space.  

Treble, teen, and adult participants rehearse daily with Mr. Richford  and with distinguished housemasters who provide individual attention in small groups.  Dormitory supervision and recreational activities are provided by experienced, attentive proctors.  Rehearsals, worship, learning, recreation, and fun are a part of every day for the choristers.

A Saturday outing to Sports Connection is planned for all youth participants for laser tag, bowling, and arcade games.  Pizza and other snacks will be available for sale.  Adults may prefer to rest, visit a museum, or shop. 

Adult participants rehearse and sing with the trebles at Evensong daily.  In addition, adults will have opportunities to observe rehearsals and participate in daily adult seminars.  At least one seminar will include information and materials for implementing the RSCM training scheme, Voice for Life.  Others will include opportunities to discuss how to address the challenges that arise in music programs and a time to share repertoire ideas with others.

Positions for two organ scholars are included in the course.  Two high school or college students interested in learning to play the organ for liturgical services will be chosen to attend the course and study accompanying and service playing with the course organist at no charge.  Cornel Zimmer Organ Builders is providing scholarship funds for the organ scholar again this year.  Contact Alan Reed to apply before April 1.

A certified examiner will be available for those who would like to test for an RSCM award.  Please complete the forms for the awards found on the RSCM America web site and register with Linda Buzard by June 1, if you would like to be examined for the RSCM Bronze, Silver, or Gold Awards.

The RSCMA Charlotte Course will provide an opportunity for fellowship, worship, learning and fun for boys, girls, teens, and adults.  Because the week culminates in the celebration of the Sunday services, all youth participants are asked to commit to the entire week's activities.  No registrations for a portion of the week will be accepted, except from adults.  Participants are asked to purchase and study the music before the course begins.

The Royal School of Church Music is an international, ecumenical, professional organization which promotes high standards of church music throughout the English-speaking world.  It seeks to provide for its 11,000 member choirs, in church, school, and community settings, quality publications and helpful programs to assist in the offering of the worthiest praises to God.  The RSCM is not affiliated with any denomination; participants from every creed are welcome to participate in our courses.

Alan Reed and Tracy Reed bring many years of experience working on other RSCM courses.  They are offering this course to bring the RSCM experience to even more choristers and choral directors in the Carolinas and across the U.S. Please contact them with any questions.

For information about other courses offered by the RSCM in the U.S., click here.  An information brochure on all of the U.S. courses is available also, click here.

Watch these informational YouTube videos about all the courses offered by the Royal School of Church Music in America.