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Thursday, 29 January 2009

Choristers, Committment, and Quality

A new (to me) blog, Jupiter Jenkins, had this post, which struck a chord, (albeit a slightly flat, bass heavy one with a weak yet strident topper,) with me.

His train of thought is a bullet train, and I don't recognize all the stations, nor yet comprehend how we got from one to the next for the track is not linear, but I enjoyed the railway journey nonetheless.

It is, as I said there, Ladies and gentlemen of the studio audience, like I have a TWIN.
Maybe it is the lot of most church choir directors nowadays.
Another choir member announced at the choir party last night that she will be missing many rehearsals in the upcoming months. I wrestle with taking a more traditional approach to choristers who skip rehearsals and expect to perform on Sunday.

In this day and age, so many volunteers feel less and less commitment to anything they say they will be part of. Trying to be strict often has the unlooked for effect of shooting one’s self in the foot. My strategy has been to continue to come up with music that is interesting and within the grasp of the people who show up to perform. Obviously this isn’t working. Ah well. ...

We are singing a watered down SAB version of ... Several of my choir members were unhappy with this version and complained quite vocally again last night as I rehearsed it at the party. They don’t seem to realize that soon we won’t even be able to sing three part harmony if people keep deserting the ship....

see the decline of the choir as my own failure...

I am a pretty good church musician. I can direct choirs and play the organ okay in a field where many if not most are mediocre. [a point of divergence, I as an organist AM, unquestionably mediocre] ...
my problem is that I .... don’t bully people that much. I guess image trumps reality even in this case. Ah well. The spheres keep listening and I keep feeling lucky to be able to spend so much time personally with great music. It just looks like at church it’s going to be more and more organ and congregational music rather than great choral music.

Although that is another point of divergence - our choral music, I think, is a cut above the congregational choices I must make.

Although last week, not a word of the psalm or the ordinary was other than as prescribed, and all four slices in the Hymn Sandwich I am constrained to serve up in place of the propers was at least a good, sturdy, well sung hymn. (Deo gratis for the Conversion of St Paul-afforded opportunity to squeeze in another chance to sing SINE NOMINE, and Faith of Our Fathers to whatever the usual tune is... and yes, we skipped the "...of our mothers" verse Gather offers.)

The Kingdom of God and I Received... (with my four original verses,) rounded it out.
And they were all well sung, very well sung.
Himself, "Why, they sang them like a buncha Methodists!!!!!"

(Wonder how much participation there was on Awesome God at the other Mass...)

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