About the Ward Centre of Richmond

The Ward Centre of Richmond began in 2011 under the guidance and vision of Fr. James Kauffmann (1950-2017), former Pastor of St. Benedict Catholic Church.  

The Ward Method is a comprehensive choral music education method that teaches proper vocal technique, intonation, rhythm, sight singing, music theory, music history, composition, improvisation, and conducting. This method was founded by Justine Bayard Ward for the purpose of teaching children the extensive music literature of the Roman Catholic Church, especially Gregorian chant. 

Today the Ward Centre of Richmond is an independent center open to  students from all over the Richmond, VA area.  Choristers come from both Novus Ordo and Extraordinary Form parishes.  

The Schola, our most advanced ensemble, was featured at Catholic University of America in Washington, DC in 2013, the Church Music Association of America Colloquium in Saint Louis in 2016, and the conference, “Gregorian Chant in Pastoral Ministry and Religious Education,” in 2017.   In October, 2017, the Schola traveled to Fatima, Portugal for a choral pilgrimage to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Marian apparitions and the Miracle of the Sun.   

About the Director

Director     Colleen Crafton is the Director of the Ward Centre of Richmond. As an organist, pianist, and choral director, Mrs. Crafton has served church programs in Virginia, Maryland, Washington, DC, and New York.  She has been a featured concerto soloist with the Eastman Wind Ensemble and The Army Field Band.  She has taught music at Ithaca College, Colgate University, Hamilton College, as well as public and private schools in Maryland, New York, and Virginia. Mrs. Crafton holds music degrees from The Catholic University of America (BM) and The Eastman School of Music (MM), with post-graduate accreditation in the Ward Method Level I, Ward Method Level II, III, and Gregorian Chant Practicum I at The Catholic University of America.  She is the co-author of “A Brief History of the Ward Method and the Importance of Revitalizing Gregorian Chant and the Ward Method in the Music Classrooms of Parochial Schools,” published in the Winter, 2015 Sacred Music Journal. Mrs. Crafton currently assists her musical husband, Don, with his business, SightReadingFactory.com, and enjoys spending time with both him and their six children.