Choir practice before Mass

Today I came to mass 10 minutes early to prepare myself for the liturgy; however, upon arrival I found the choir up front banging away at different notes on the piano apparently trying to get ready. I found this very disturbing and certainly not conducive to preparing ones self for a solemn worship service.
Am I just too picky ?? Any suggestions on how to handle this?

In my experience in church choirs of all denominations, there’s usually a choir room where the singers warm up. In the case you described, they probably do not have a choir room, and with percussionists and others, probably have half an hour, at most, between masses to get ready.

It’s an occupational hazard. Offer it up.

From the GIRM #45:

  1. Sacred silence also, as part of the celebration, is to be observed at the designated times.54 Its purpose, however, depends on the time it occurs in each part of the celebration. Thus within the Act of Penitence and again after the invitation to pray, all recollect themselves; but at the conclusion of a reading or the homily, all meditate briefly on what they have heard; then after Communion, they praise and pray to God in their hearts.

**Even before the celebration itself, it is commendable that silence to be observed in the church, in the sacristy, in the vesting room, and in adjacent areas, so that all may dispose themselves to carry out the sacred action in a devout and fitting manner.


It seems to be an ever growing problem in our “mass as entertainment” state of mind nowadays, IMHO.


Our organist and cantor routinely do this before every Mass. I have been sorely tempted to mention it to the pastor.

This is one reason in favor of a separate Blessed Sacrament Chapel.

Nothing wrong with this. Often times there is not another place for a Choir to warm up. They are just regular church members doing their best.

I have seen this a few times, usually only before big masses where event the side rooms are set up for overflow (Christmas, Easter, Confirmation, etc…).

I’m so glad someone can always find the quote I’m thinking of! :smiley:
There’s another document, I believe, about this exact practice: that it should be separate from Mass.

I have found that while there will always be SOME degree of warming up in the church, it can be greatly minimized. Fortunately we have a basement with a (out of tune) piano, so we can warm up down there. If I have other intrumentalists, they will need to tune upstairs with the organ of course, but that takes less than a minute.

I’ve never been to a church that didn’t have a “downstairs” or “other room.” Perhaps, if there is no piano in one of those rooms, one could donate a cheapy keyboard. That way, there could be silence in the church proper AND the choir could warm-up with a piano-esque instrument.

Alas, we have such a church with no “other room.” We use folding chairs and the few Church dinners and such all take place right there in the church. We all dream of an assembly hall, school room and real pews with kneelers, but it won’t be anytime soon.

It is painful, considering the warmer-uppers are few and barely more gifted than the rest of the parish (4 women, an occasional man we can’t really hear, and sometimes a pianist if he is in town and feeling up to it). So those of us who arrive early for a few minutes of prayer are treated to some real caterwaling…

They believe they are providing a service, and take the time to review the hymns each week on their own time, so I just say God Bless and offer it up.

Our church is not open except for Mass, so there is no Eucharistic adoration available other than showing up a few minutes early.

Honestly, my own son is as much a distraction as the warmer-uppers, so who am I to complain?

Offer it up, offer it up, offer it up…


Could you give me the BB Code for inserting a picture in my signature? Thanks.

Oh, I almost forgot, in these circumstances, I often just pray, “dear Jesus, I’m sorry, but you blessed me with a good ear so you know I’m too distracted to remember for whom I wanted to ask intercession for, who I wanted to dedicate this Mass to, or keep track of my Aves, so if you don’t mind, I’ll just sit here and keep you company quietly…”

And when no one in the choir shows up at all, I have to ask for forgiveness for the blessed relief I feel…

Every week I deal with the choir preparing JUST BEFORE Mass and the rest of the congregation catching up with each other as if in an auditorium.

If the choir doesn’t have a separate place to practice, then where else are they going to do it? The problem is that I think it should be done well before Mass: not when most people are showing up, 10 - 15 minutes before Mass. Now, I try to get to the church 20 - 25 minutes early just so I can beat the choir and other parishoners, for quiet time.

Have you considered donating a large sum of money towards a choir room being renovated and outfitted in the rectory, parish center, or church?

Until you can do so, stop complaining, because they more than likely don’t have a place to warm up and get the logistics worked out for the mass.

I say this not out of arbitary harshness - but it’s amazing to me that people complain but never give the means to fix the perceived problem - which, admittedly, is usually money.

Actually I’m rather grateful for the times when the choir is practising for a few minutes before Mass, as it tends to both drown out and hush up the people who think that the time right up until Mass begins is a good time to stand in the middle of the church and loudly chatter.

Also sometimes the choir sings a “Gathering Hymn” starting a couple of minutes before the starting time of Mass, which is good for getting people “in the mood”.

I am green with envy. I have never been to a church where most of the congregation shows up 10-15 minutes before Mass.
The norm in my experience is that about 10% of the congregation arrives more than 5 minutes before Mass. You could count on your fingers the number of people there 10 minutes before Mass. And 10% or more arrive AFTER Mass has started.

Choir “warm ups”? :rotfl:

I used to go to a church that allowed that sort of thing.
Not anymore.

But then I’m kinda goofy like that,…as much as I love the sunshine, when it gets too hot I actually scoot over a few feet and stand in the shade.:slight_smile:

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