Posted on September 13, 2009 by Michael
Church choirs are in many ways the foundation of choral singing in America. Certainly, there are few choruses that can claim a minimum of 52 performances a year, yet this is exactly what church choirs do. I am fortunate to be the director of an excellent church ensemble, the Roswell United Methodist Sanctuary Choir, and this morning especially the Choir was at the top of its form. As a large choir (125 members) we often sing big pieces for a big Sanctuary (seating of 2,000). Our anthem today was Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing, arranged by Mack Wilberg, Director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It is a beautiful setting of a fine early American folk hymn, and the Sanctuary Choir presented an impassioned performance, contributing immeasurably to the worship experience of the morning.
Just as I feel privileged to direct this committed and talented group of people, I am sure there are many of you out there, choir members and directors alike, who have similar feelings about your own church choir. I’d love for you to share some of your most meaningful church choir experiences. These might involve a particular piece of music, a service, a concert or a rehearsal. Our sharing will be a great way to honor the choirs that are making a difference in people’s lives on a weekly basis.
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Posted on September 1, 2009 by Michael
I have a goal. As a new choral season begins (I’ve recently resumed rehearsals with the Roswell UMC Sanctuary Choir and will soon start rehearsals with MOS), I am reminded of something I try to achieve at every rehearsal. I call it the Five L’s, which stand for Listen, Labor, Learn, Laugh and Love. At the conclusion of a rehearsal, it is my goal that all participants (including myself) will have experienced each of those five actions to some degree. We listen – to the music and to each other. We labor – working together for a shared purpose brings enormous satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. We learn – listening and working together will almost always lead to learning something new. We laugh – I believe a rehearsal without laughter is an opportunity lost. And finally, we love – of course, we should certainly make every effort to love the music we are rehearsing, but I think it is also important to love and care for each other.
I think if we keep the Five L’s at the forefront of our minds when we enter the rehearsal, and recognize that each of these words are action verbs, we will depart the rehearsal with a recognition that the time we’ve spent together has been worthwhile and important. Anyway, that’s my goal.
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