Trips & Tours
At the end of May, the choristers leave the city to enjoy two weeks in residence at Camp Incarnation in Ivoryton, Connecticut. For generations, the camp has been a welcome retreat for the boys at the end of a busy year of singing. Choristers enjoy a summer camp experience while they learn lessons that can’t be taught in a classroom. Each faculty member runs an elective course throughout the two weeks of Camp.
While these change year to year, some of the recent favorites include baking cookies, tie dye, bocce, making rope bracelets, ultimate frisbee, and building a canoe. In the evenings, the boys take part in a variety of games and activities, including a competitive capture-the-flag match, a game of manhunt where they can practice their camouflage skills, and a camping trip complete with scary stories and s’mores around the campfire.
Ropes courses, boating, swimming, archery lessons, camping, and hiking throughout each day allow boys a well-deserved escape from the pavement and scaffolding of midtown Manhattan, and provide a chance to make memories that will last a lifetime.
We are lucky to be within driving distance of some of the best skiing in the northeast, and the boys look forward to our annual January or February mountain retreat. In addition to being a fun break from the weekly routine, it also provides the choristers a chance to learn a skill that they can enjoy throughout their lives.
Each day of the ski trip, the boys take a ski lesson in the morning and spend the afternoon showing off their skills in some free ski time. A day on the mountain ends with a chance to warm up by the fire with a mug of hot cocoa, to play in the pool with their friends, and to watch movies in their beds as they rest up for a new day on the slopes.
8th Grade Trip
Every spring, after Prize Day and the Leavers’ Service, the graduating 8th graders embark on a weeklong cultural excursion with members of the faculty. It may be to one of the world’s other choir schools, like London’s Westminster Abbey or Catalonia’s Montserrat, or maybe to Paris to practice their 5 years of ‘Français’.
Wherever they go, the boys spend their week engaging in local customs coupled with some good old-fashioned tourism. If being a chorister weren’t already the experience of a lifetime, this graduation tradition is a feather in the cap for boys saying farewell to the Choir School at the end of their 8th grade year. Read more about some of the recent 8th grade trips >.
In addition to singing for services and giving concerts at Saint Thomas Church, the boys regularly perform in other cities and towns across the United States, and even other countries. The longest of these tours is scheduled for the spring, while shorter trips take place throughout the year. This gives the boys an opportunity to share their music with a larger audience and to inspire other boys to consider applying to the school.
While touring demands a lot from the boys, room is built into the schedule for fun. Each tour is designed not only around concerts, but also around local attractions and educational opportunities for the boys to explore. These are as diverse as the places we go: visiting art museums or enjoying amusement parks, hiking mountains or relaxing on a beach, touring historical monuments or finding the best local ice cream.
While the majority of our trips are in the United States, occasionally we venture farther afield. Recently the choir was invited to perform as a part of the 800th anniversary of the St. Thomas School in Leipzig, at which Johann Sebastian Bach served as cantor. This tour took the boys to many German cities and concluded in Copenhagen. Other international tours in the recent past include performances in the United Kingdom, Mexico, and Italy, including at the Vatican.