Richard C. Phillips, Choirmaster and Organist, has been associated with the school for more than thirty years. In addition to teaching first through eighth grade music classes, he is responsible for The Choral Ensemble, The Recorder Consort, Second grade musical, and all music for chapel services at the school. Outside of the school, Mr. Phillips is the Choirmaster and Organist of Highlands United Methodist Church, located in the historic side of Southside of Birmingham, Alabama. Also, he is the founder of the Birmingham Choral Guild, a civic choral group.
Suzanne M. Phillips, Kindergarten Music Educator, has been associated with the school for over twenty years and teaches all four - five - year - old kindergarten music classes. Also, she teaches “Keyboarding for Kids”, an after-school program designed for preschool children to experience basic piano skills in a small group, piano lab setting.
All students attend music classes at the Advent Episcopal School. Starting in prekindergarten and continuing through 4th grade, the student has one hour a week of music class. Beginning in 5th through 8th grades, the student has one and one - half hours of music class per week. The music program at the Advent is a spiral learning experience. Once a concept is taught, it is continually built upon, refined and mastered. Music Theory (the reading and writing language of music) is stressed from kindergarten through the 8th grade. By the time a student finishes kindergarten he or she has learned four pitches with hand signals, and four types of rhythm notes. Along with theory, students learn the basics of vocal production through a variety of repertoire. By the end of 3rd grade, students have mastered the note and rest family, the treble and bass clefs, and the families of the orchestra. Starting in the 4th grade, the recorder, a Baroque instrument, is added to the weekly experience in music. The recorder continues through the 8th grade. Upon finishing the 8th grade, students have written several music compositions. The Elements of Music and Harmony is introduced in the 5th grade and continues through the 8th grade. In the 6th grade, the Baroque Period is examined. The 7th grade discusses further in depth the Baroque Period and begins the Classical Period. In the 8th grade the Classical Period is continued and the orchestral forms are learned. Listening examples of major Concerto Grossi and symphonies are discussed in each of the periods of music history.
Students are given the opportunity to perform in several ways. Musicals are presented in the 2nd and 8th grades. Every child participates in the annual Service of Lessons and Carols held in December. In this traditional service, the children sing carols and anthems in response to biblical lessons that are read. Besides English, carols are sung in other foreign languages.
Two extra - curricular ensemble groups are offered to students of Advent Episcopal School. The Recorder Ensemble is an auditioned group of ten to twenty players that perform Renaissance and Baroque literature. The Choral Ensemble, a vocal choir, is comprised of twenty-five to thirty auditioned choristers from 4th through 8th grades. This choir sings each Wednesday for the weekly service of Morning Prayer in the Cathedral. Also, The Ensemble sings special services held in the Cathedral and in the community.
Carols for The Christ Child, Lift High the Cross, Emmanuel, and Hurry to Bethlehem are CD recordings the choir has professionally produced in the past.