History of the Choir School
St. Paul's Choir School was founded by Dr. Theodore Marier and Monsignor Augustine F. Hickey as the result of the Vatican's 1958 Instruction on Sacred Music and Sacred Liturgy ("De musica sacra") which declared that every effort should be made that city centre Churches have their own boys' Choir School. St. Paul's Choir School therefore began in September 1963 with twenty-five students chosen from throughout the archdiocese of Boston. Under the direction of Dr. Marier, the young musicians sang, initially with members of the Harvard Catholic Club. Harvard students also helped out with the recreation program at the Choir School. The Choir School was designed as a four-year course for students of academic ability and musical talent, assigning two periods of each school day to music, as well as additional rehearsals with the men of the choir. The music program included sight reading, appreciation, theory and history, and instrumental studies.
The early years of St. Paul's Choir School were extraordinary. The choir made guest appearances with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall and at Tanglewood, with the Boston Philharmonic, and with the Handel and Haydn Society. They performed annually with the Boston Ballet in the Nutcracker Suite, with Arthur Fiedler conducting.
Following Dr. Marier's retirement from the School in 1986, Mr. John Dunn took over as Music Director at the School and Church, having been involved with the Church's music since 1960 when he was a student at Harvard. He combined the role of Director of Music of St. Paul's Church with the role of Headmaster of the Choir School, leading the Choir in recordings, concerts and tours throughout the final years of the 20th Century. Mr. Dunn maintained a consistent and increased enrollment at the Choir School, and oversaw the move to the new buildings in the 1991.
In 2010, after an international search, Mr. John Robinson, (then Assistant Organist at Canterbury Cathedral in England) was appointed Director of Music, whilst Mr. William McIvor was appointed Headmaster of the Choir School. He has worked to raise awareness of the Choir of St. Paul's as a primarily liturgical Choir, increasing the number of sung liturgies, as well as the repertoire of daily Mass music for boys voices, and for boys and men on Sundays. Mr. Robinson is himself a pupil from the great European Choir School tradition after which St. Paul's Choir School was founded. He is dedicated to working with the boys and men of St. Paul's Choir to achieve the highest musical standards in service to the liturgy at St. Paul's Church, Harvard Square.
In early 2012, the Pastor and Choir School Administration announced the establishment of a Fourth Grade level beginning in September 2012. This addition brings St. Paul's Choir School alongside the great Choir Schools both in the United States and Europe where choristers have, for many generations begun their formation and training at this earlier age.
Music Directors of the Choir School
Theodore Marier, 1963-1986
John Dunn, 1986-2008
Jennifer Lester 2008-2009
John Dunn, 2009-2010
John Robinson, 2010-present