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Diocesan Choir School and St. Michael’s Youth Conference are both planning for a busy season this summer. The two camps operated last year after two years of sitting it out due to the pandemic.

Last year, the leaders opted for an intensive one-day workshop, as opposed the usual weeklong event. They plan to stick with the one-day workshop this year. 

“For a number of years now the number of choristers at Diocesan Choir School has been declining,” said administrator the Rev. Paul Rideout. “COVID-19 certainly has not helped.”

With expenses rising, the team decided it needed to take a serious look at what choir school could or should look like in the future.

“While that bigger conversation happens, we still want to provide an opportunity for those passionate about choral music to come together to sing,” said Paul. “We feel that this day-long workshop, which was very successful last year, also provides a good opportunity to stay in touch with the choir school community.” 

This year’s event will take place Saturday, July 8 at Trinity Church in Saint John for a full day and evening program. 

“We hope to have a guest adult clinician join us for the day, but as of right now we have not confirmed this,” said Paul. 

Children, teenagers and adults are welcome to register at

Last year, SMYC underwent two major changes: a new location in Camp Medley, and new leadership. This year, they’re looking forward to a week of learning and fun for conferees Aug. 21-26.

“Now that we’ve been in the new location once, we have a better idea of how to use the space,” said director the Rev. Nicholas Saulnier. “Conferees have experienced the space and we hope the word will spread.”

SMYC found some positives in moving locations: a dedicated chapel and a well-functioning meal hall.

“And John [Galbraith] and the staff were very accommodating and wanted us to be there,” he said.

SMYC is geared to teenagers 13-19, “but we’ll accept 12-year-olds who come with a recommendation,” said Nicholas.

Nicholas describes SMYC this way: “It’s a week of learning how to live the Christian faith in everyday life in a group of peers. It’s in a different setting than just church on Sunday. It’s growing in faith in an intentional community that comes together to pray and learn.

“That’s not something we can get very easily in the world. It feels like a family. We know each other and feel comfortable together.”

Just in case you think it’s all study and prayer, there’s a liberal dose of fun thrown each day. 

The SMYC website ( and Facebook page ( will be updated as information becomes available, including registration information.


1.  Samuel Landry, the Rev. Terence Chandra and the Rev. Nicholas Saulnier during a service at Camp
Medley at last year’s St. Michael’s Youth Conference.  Sue Careless photo

2.  Diocesan Choir School during last year’s one-day workshop led by Spencer Belyea, where both adults and children are enthusiastic choristers.   McKnight photo

3.  Fun is always built into the SMYC schedule. In this case, it's on the St. John River at Upper Gagetown.  Sue Careless photo

4.  The Rev. Paul Rideout, administrator of Diocesan Choir School.   McKnight photo

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