‘Mother of the children’s choir movement’ has died

‘Mother of the children’s choir movement’ has died


norman lebrecht

August 25, 2015

Helen Kemp worked for almost 80 years as a singer, teacher, choir director and composer.

In 1949 she founded the Choristers Guild, which turned into a nationwide movement. Hundreds of US professionals owed her their first musical experience.

Helen, who was 97 at the time of her death, had been professor of voice and church music at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, where her late husband, John, headed the church music department. She was still conducting into her 90s.

Here’s the family announcement:

helen kemp



The Kemp family is profoundly saddened to tell you of the passing of our beloved Mother, Grandmother, Great-Grandmother, Helen Kemp. She passed peacefully in her home on this beautiful Sunday morning, August 23, 2015. Mamma Helen was active and healthy, creative and fulfilled at her wonderful age of 97. Throughout her life, she shared the joy of music with countless choristers, students, singers and teachers around the world… Helen Kemp’s life is a life to be celebrated. She blest us on her way with countless gifts of love. Sing a joyful song today with her in mind. She would love that. (Service plans will be announced soon.)



  • sharon says:

    I was so fortunate to study with her at wcc. ( we even brought her and had a picnic luncheon with her and john one day). Her lessons stayed with us so easily, and she sent us all out so well prepared to get the most from our students. her beautiful and gentle spirit live on in countless lives.