In July 2017, the St. Mark’s Choir embarked on a 17-day tour of England, performing in some of the most famous cathedrals in Europe. Choirmaster Tinsley Silcox, Organist and Assistant Choirmaster Glenn Stroh, and five faculty chaperones led 40 choristers. The 16th biennial trip, once again, gave Marksmen the opportunity to revel in different cultures and share their talents with the world.
"Beyond growth as choristers, the tour of the United Kingdom has expanded the boys’ perspective on the world,” said chaperone and Assistant Head of Middle School Jason Lange. “It has provided them with the opportunity to not only learn about a different culture, but also to represent the values of St. Mark’s, Texas, and the United States. Whether they realize it or not, they’re doing their own small part to remind the world that people are more alike than different.”
The Choir’s first stop was Canterbury, home of the Anglican Church. From the high alter of the ancient cathedral, the boys sang an inspiring program of music well received by a sizable crowd of worshippers, visitors, friends, and family. This audience even included fellow Marksmen Talbot Penner ’53, who now lives in England, and Scott Cunningham ’98. Eugene McDermott Headmaster David Dini and wife Nancy also attended and spent several days touring with the boys.
On Friday, July 21, the Choir had the incredible opportunity to perform in Westminster Abbey. Steeped in more than a thousand years of history, the Abbey has been the coronation church of English monarchs since 1066. After pausing for some photos in front of Big Ben, the choristers entered the Abbey to perform Choral Evensong. The Choir spent the final weekend at Winchester Cathedral, singing Evensong on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and singing Matins and Eucharist on Sunday morning.
“We have spoken a lot with the choristers about taking our place in a musical tradition that has spanned centuries,” said Glenn Stroh. “Being the resident cathedral choir in Winchester for the week is such a unique cultural experience and the boys have enjoyed getting a feel for what their counterparts on this side of the pond do throughout the school term."
When they weren’t performing, the boys and chaperones enjoyed all the sights, sounds, and tastes that England had to offer. They toured Hampton Court Palace, Windsor Castle, the Tower of London, and Eton, soaking up centuries of history. They also enjoyed witnessing some more recent history at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter, where they got up close with actual sets and props from the Harry Potter films.
The Choir of St. Mark's School of Texas, affiliated with the Royal School of Church Music since 1951, is known as one of the pre-eminent boys choirs in the United States. During the academic year, the Choir performs at daily chapel services, monthly Evensong services, the annual Festival of Lessons and Carols, Baccalaureate, and various events in and outside of the St. Mark's community. The Choir is regularly invited to perform in residence at some of the oldest and most famous Cathedrals around the world as part of their biennial international tours. Most recently, the Choir toured South Africa, the East Coast, and Canada.
St. Mark’s School of Texas is a private, nonsectarian college-preparatory boys’ day school for students in grades 1 through 12, located in Dallas, Texas. St. Mark’s aims to prepare young men to assume leadership and responsibility in a competitive and changing world.