Front or back


#1

I think the choir should be in the back. They are very distracting from the mass and usually they are up there for themselves.


#2

[quote=alterserver_07]I think the choir should be in the back. They are very distracting from the mass and usually they are up there for themselves.
[/quote]

How do you know the choir is usually up there for themselves? that’s an awfully stereotypical statement. I’m in the choir, and while it is nice to get recognized, that has nothing to do with why I do it. I do it because I love singing to and about God. And we’re kinda in the front but on the side. I think it works well that way.


#3

I think our choir is pretty good but they are very distracting. They sing way too much and the organist/pianist plays way too long. There is no reverent silence during the mass. I think the choir tends to get bored with the same old songs so they try to spice it up a bit and the congregation can’t follow along to the new songs with syncopation.

Another pet peeve is when they don’t use the Responsorial Psalm in the hymnal. Many times they use another one that isn’t even close and isn’t even suggested as a replacement just because they want to play a psalm they like or that they practiced.


#4

[quote=DeniseR]…Another pet peeve is when they don’t use the Responsorial Psalm in the hymnal. Many times they use another one that isn’t even close and isn’t even suggested as a replacement just because they want to play a psalm they like or that they practiced.
[/quote]

Wordy McWord on that.


#5

[quote=alterserver_07]I think the choir should be in the back. They are very distracting from the mass and usually they are up there for themselves.
[/quote]

The Choir up front was a feature of OLD EUROPEAN Church design before the COUNCIL OF TRENT. What’s happened is that Choirs are being placed up front win churches that aren’t designed for that.

Here are two examples of old churches that were designed for placing the choir in front - You’ll see the architecture contributes to a sort of solemnity:

bathabbey.org/tour/

dur.ac.uk/~dla0www/c_tour/cathedral.html

I tried to find something appropriate from Advent church in Boston, but they’re too worried about the damage to their church from some recent incident.

I think Choirs should be placed up front WHEN THE CHURCHES ARE DESIGNED FOR IT, and that they should be placed in the Choir loft otherwise.

I also believe that they should do the responsorial psalm that’s printed, and not muck around with the liturgy. I actually heard one substitution where something that had absolutely nothing to do with the readings replaced a responsorial psalm that perfectly supported and transitioned the Prophetic lesson and the Epistle (NT Lesson).

I thought it was absolutely criminal and complained! They didn’t do that again - At least whenever they knew I’d be visiting! LOL

If you don’t like the substitutions, esp. when they trade something in such a way as to detract from the Liturgy of the Word, let them know how you feel, and don’t just complain here! Please! Do it politely, BUT DO IT!

BTW, most people in choirs aren’t there for self-glorification! They’re there for the same reason we are, to worship God - Speaking of which, if you want some quiet time during Mass, ASK FOR IT! Just be respectful and have a reason (Increased reverence is a good reason) and a time (during the Communion is a good time).

Blessings and Peace, Michael


#6

What’s a choir? :slight_smile:

Byzantine Catholics don’t have one. The entire Liturgy is sung (chanted) by all the people, under the guidance of a cantor.


#7

The Missals allow for certain substitutions/alternatives to the set psalm. There are “seasonal psalms” that can be played during any week of the season.


#8

I think the Choir should be in the back of the church. The choir is there to sing the beautiful songs that they do so well. they are not there to be a distraction or something. I know some people who just get up to be seen and thats really kinda depressing. if they are in the back you can still hear them and they are no distracting from mass.


#9

They are not up there for themselves. A previous pastor almost discouraged our choir out of existence by making them sit up front, which they did not want to do. Several members refused and dropped from the choir. Some very old cathedrals (not that I’ve seen in the USA, but in Europe, etc.) are constructed to hold the choir up on the sides in the front, and it is not distracting at all, but my church is from the 1800’s and is not designed for it.

Furthermore, the choir does not get to chose its own music, necessarily! Ours sang in Latin and did other formal music in English. OUR PASTOR wanted more (sappy) contemporary music. Don’t forget who has the ultimate say in a Catholic parish, even over psalms.

Our choir was very skilled. The music that we were required to sing became boring, bland, and did not require as much skill. As you can tell, I regret the death of our choir. (We still have one, but it is a different choir).

Our choir was there because they loved to praise God in song, with skill and beauty. That was the sole reason for being in the choir. I assume other choirs are similar.

:crying:


#10

[quote=Mickey]What’s a choir? :slight_smile:

Byzantine Catholics don’t have one. The entire Liturgy is sung (chanted) by all the people, under the guidance of a cantor.
[/quote]

Not necessarily – we’re a new community, with only a few who really know the Byzantine tones. Those that know the tones are in choir and we’re attempting to lead in such a way that we’re teaching the responses, the troparia and the kontakia. We also have a few choristers planted in the midst of the congregations.


#11

Up Front!

Our choir is great. Their smiles when they sing of our Lord is contagious and beautiful. They sing with enthusiasm and love.

I went to a later Mass one time that did not have a choir, it was like the congregation was in a “coma”, even Father seemed to have a hard time focusing.

I know the reason to be at Mass is for the worship of our Lord, but singing is another form of prayer that helps draw us deeper into the mysteries.


#12

[quote=kaygee]Not necessarily – we’re a new community, with only a few who really know the Byzantine tones. Those that know the tones are in choir and we’re attempting to lead in such a way that we’re teaching the responses, the troparia and the kontakia. We also have a few choristers planted in the midst of the congregations.
[/quote]

Exellent! That’s sounds like a great way to educate the communtity. All those tones and melodies can be overwhelming. :o


#13

Our choir is up front and to the side. This is because that is where our pastor wants us. Half of the choir wanted to be back in the balcony and the other half preferred to be up in the front, closer to the sacrament.

Sometimes when the choir is in the balcony, they forget that they’re supposed to be quiet and they end up talking. The distance separates them too much from the mass.

Nobody is singing for their own glory in my church. Believe me, it is all for the glory of God.

I know. I’m the organist.


#14

The idea is to add to the mass rather than distract from it. I have heard some beautiful choir music and singers, sometimes these have become a focal point rather than the great event that is going on on the alter. The choir should be heard and facilitate song and praise for the main event. The back is thus the best place. If their hearts are really into serving God rather than themselves, they should be happy there.


#15

In back, our choir is more of a social group and get very disgruntled with any constructive criticism. Even from the choir director.

And, they make alot of noise before mass talking when they come into church.


#16

Anyplace they are not distracting.

They should enhance the service not be the center of it. Jesus should be the center.


#17

My parish has a very good and highly dedicated choir, I toured with them last year but frankly I don’t have the energy, so I bowed out this year.

Normally they stand in back (no choir loft) and that’s fine, it gives one the impression that all of that fine singing is coming from the congregation. Sometimes we have had them come to the center of the nave and sing/chant in a circle. It’s awesome! We all symbolically become one as we all sing together.

We always have a cantor too, and he still leads the congregation in responses between the selections the choir will do, it is a highly effective combination.

On alternate weekends and through most of the summer the choir doesn’t sing, as a Byzantine-Ruthenian parish we have a tradition of congregational chanting and almost every prayer and response is chanted in the old-world style (except that it is in English). The score is written as a monophonic line, but the congregation breaks out into a natural harmony, this is interesting to observe. It always works although most (or at least very many) people cannot read music!

What I appreciate most about this style of worship is the high degree of involvement of the congregation with the liturgy, it is very compelling. So much so that when the choir is singing a selection many persons of the congregation will sing along, and that is the goal. We want everyone to involve themselves and most people will do so with gusto.

This is in contrast to some Orthodox temples I have been to because in the Russian tradition (as far as I can tell) they seem to prefer choirs exclusively, and therefore do not encourage congregational chanting, I don’t think that they use cantors the way we do.

Similarly in some Latin parishes I have attended worshippers expect to “hear” the choir, but decline to sing along with them. If that’s the way it’s going to be, I suppose the choir might as well be in front toward the altar, they are doing the “work” of the liturgy.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.