I was wondering when and what time is the best to have choir rehearsals at? I am the choir director at my parish, and we have a small choir, mostly elderly women who have very nice voices. I would like to have choir practice once a week at the church but they would rather have it every two weeks or three. What do you think???
If this is a new position for you, and the choir members have been around (in the choir) for awhile, don’t be too quick to make changes. Respect their customs, but make rehearsals every two weeks (rather than three) for now. Maybe plan on using one or two of the same hymns two weeks in a row, which is especially good for the congregation if you are introducing a new hymn, because they get more practice
If this is new for everyone, you are more within your rights to set it up as you see fit right from the beginning. Still, you need to consider whether the request of these choir members is based on something like not wanting to drive at night (or at all), or other personal issues that could warrant “giving in” to less frequent rehearsals.
Our choir rehearses every Wednesday evening, except in summer when we cut back to once every two weeks and do easier hymns, nothing fancy. In Advent and the last few weeks of Lent we add a second rehearsal every Saturday morning to get ready for Christmas midnight mass, and for the Triduum and Easter Sunday.
God bless you in your ministry.
I might be inclined to meet 30 to 45 minutes before the Mass at which the choir is singing. The practice would include a quick run through of the day’s selection, including the Mass parts and Psalm, with a few minutes devoted to “new” music, by which I mean expanding repetoir. Broken into 5 minute sessions, one can easily cover 9 pieces of music and not even break a sweat.
Me dos centavos,
It also might work to meet for a half hour or so after the mass at which the choir sings to get started on anything new. There is a group of musicians who does this in my parish. They are already there so no extra driving.
Meeting before or after Mass can be quite restricted by Mass schedule. We sing at the 10:30, and there is a 9:15, and also a 12:00 noon Mass, so either before of after would not be possible. We also practice one evening a week, and add another for a few weeks before Easter and Cristmas, with summers off.
Maybe you could present the times you are available, and see which is most convenient for the majority of members.
Although this is a misinstry, and not a performance, there does need to be some dedication and practice. Certainly worship is the most important element, but you don’t want the music ministry to sound like a bunch of alley cats. I would also remind members to sing softly if there is a new piece, and they have not attended practice.
Practice makes perfect.
We practice weekly, then briefly just before mass to warm up practice the hymns for that day.
Around these parts it’s pretty standard for choirs to practice every week for around 90 minutes or so on Wednesday or Thursday evening and then for about half an hour before Mass. (Or so I’m told is the scuttlebutt from the choruses and chorales that the choir directors themselves sing in.) My choir practices every week from approximately September though June and sings every week at the 9:00am Mass. The youth/young adult choir (which sings at 11:00am) and the children’s choir( which sings around once a month or so) have similar practice schedules. During the summer we don’t hold midweek rehearsals but everyone is welcome to come and sing for the 11:00am Mass if they come to practice 45 minutes before Mass.
Every two or three weeks sounds strange to me unless your choir doesn’t sing every week or you have a very limited repertoire and/or sing mainly in unison. But if you are interested in keeping the SAME choir you may have to go with rehearsals every other week or so. I’m kind of surprised by the desire for less practice time. Most choir members I know LIVE for rehearsals. It’s one of the highlights of our week. And while we do enjoy the summer break we are usually very anxious to get started in the Fall.
If you need to learn new music, I think weekly rehearsals are essential. Plan on more than one rehearsal before introducing a new hymn that poses any difficulty/challenge.
If you’re just doing hymns that everyone already knows, you may be able to get away with every other week (to learn the responsorial psalm and quickly review hymns).
I can’t imagine doing justice to the importance of liturgical music with practice only once every three weeks.
Cathedral choir here. Two hours every Wednesday night and an hour before Mass on Sunday. Summers off.
No matter when you schedule choir practice, there will be people who can’t come.
And there will be people who WON’T come.