A choir member's vocation


#1

Shalom,

I am in the choir at church, and am actively assisting the Choir Master. But I noticed that some of the choir members do not understand their purpose besides “just singing” the notes and words. How do I make them understand their bigger role in leading the congregation to sing to the Lord during the Eucharistic celebrations?

In other words, how do I encourage them to give their best at every Mass and at every song they sing? Also for the members who are losing motivation, how best to get them all pumped up and excited to serve the Lord through music again?

In other words, what is the simplest way to give “catechism” to choir members? I know St Augustine once said: “Those who sing, pray twice.” But what is really the role of the choir member? And how do I explain to them the benefits of serving the Lord through the Music Ministry?

Thanks for taking time to read this, and I hope it hasn’t been asked before (did a quick search for similar questions).

God bless!


#2

Hi

It can be really tough to inspire your choir to sing emotively, for want of a better word. I know you assist the choir leader, how do they talk about the pieces you sing? Ours talks about dynamics, and links it directly to the words sung. I know that this sounds harsh and don’t take this the wrong way, but why are the choir members in the choir? Is it to sing, or to sing and worship? There’s a world of difference between singing a song, and singing whilst worshipping. In the latter, you will see the choir be involved emotively in what they sing, rather than just singing without feeling. I can sing three blind mice with no expression at all, or I could put emphasis in, by altering volume, and feeling the words.

Sorry if the reply is too long, but I hope it can help


#3

I’m a 56 year-old woman who has been involved in some way, usually as an accompanist, with church choirs and secular choirs since I was a small child.

I agree with you that being in the church choir is a calling to lead the congregation in worship of God. (I’m not so sure about vocation, but that’s probably just semantics.) I certainly agree with your enthusiasm and desire to encourage your fellow singers.

But…one thing that I have learned over the years is that the DIRECTOR is totally and absolutely in charge of the choir. He/she is the one who should be imparting to the choir the purpose and vision of the choir. He/she is the one who “catechizes.”

It is not your job.

If and only if the director has asked you to teach (“give catechism”), then certainly, prepare pithy meditations and short talks that will hopefully inspire the choir to sing with all their hearts to the Lord.

But if the director has NOT asked you to teach, then don’t.

Here’s what you CAN do: always be an example of enthusiasm and concentration during the rehearsals.

During the breaks, and in the conversations before and after the choir, use your enthusiasm to try to impart a larger vision of “choir” to your fellow singers. However, I fear that some of the choir might ignore you, or even get irritated with you, because many people come to choir for social reasons, and wish to use that time before and after practice to talk with their friends about “non-choir” topics like family, work, school, sports, entertainment, politics, etc. You should respect this and not try to turn the non-practice times into “catechesis times.”

Again, you must follow the director’s lead and not try to be a “mini-director.” You might be OK with your current director and the two of you work well together, but I can absolutely guarantee that many choir directors will not tolerate a “second voice” and will censure you. And that is their right as director.

Have you considered starting your own choir in the parish? A smaller ensemble of the regular choir perhaps? Or perhaps a chant choir, a contemporary choir, or a “traditional praise” choir? We have several choirs in our parish that are not conducted by the Music Director, but by another parishioner. If you were directing a choir of your own, YOU would be able to catechize and impart to your singers the mindset that you already have. Of course, starting another choir in the parish must be done with the director’s permission and blessing. I’m not talking about starting a rogue choir!

I hope this is helpful to you. I’m not saying all this to discourage you.


#4

Have these people ASKED you to educate them? Frankly, this sounds very presumptuous of you-- like they are so ignorant they need you to show them the light. Perhaps they are perfectly fine with how THEY approach their music and their stewardship of time, talent, and treasure and are not interested in being lectured by you about how they “should” go about things.

Leave them be. Do your thing and let the rest go.


#5

Like it or not, for some that is all it is - and that’s OK

How do I make them understand their bigger role in leading the congregation to sing to the Lord during the Eucharistic celebrations?

I do not think that’s your role as part of the choir. Also, that is not the role of the choir - the role of the choir is to sing. What you want to do is an evangelical role, and if you want to do that, fine, but it’s part of being a Catholic - not part of the choir.

In other words, how do I encourage them to give their best at every Mass and at every song they sing?

I don’t think that is your role. The Choir Master has that responsibility and you need to tread lightly if you assume that role - both as to the Choir Master and the member

Also for the members who are losing motivation, how best to get them all pumped up and excited to serve the Lord through music again?

Motivation, contrary to popular myth, is a door locked from the inside. No one can motivate another - though conditions can be created that allow them to motivate themselves. Again, however, I can’t see that as your role.

In other words, what is the simplest way to give “catechism” to choir members?

Just as you would to any other person.

I know St Augustine once said: “Those who sing, pray twice.”

And, given the state of Catholic liturgical music in the vast majority of parishes, he must be spinning in his grave.

But what is really the role of the choir member?

To sing - on key; with proper intonation according to the beat.

And how do I explain to them the benefits of serving the Lord through the Music Ministry?

I’m not sure, again, that this is your role. If you are simply evangelizing - then as you would anyone else.

Thanks for taking time to read this, and I hope it hasn’t been asked before (did a quick search for similar questions).

God bless!


#6

???

I’m new; bear with me.


#7

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