One problem with small churches is the lack of voices for an effective choir.  In one church choir I led, one of the families gave up on the pastor’s ability and took half the choir membership to another church.  We pressed forward with 5 voices (mine being the tenor) until I could convince some of the teens to join us.

I now sing in a choir of 100.  You need that size for the wall of sound of a Brooklyn Tab anthem.  And with a choir of that size, you still have a decent output with the 60 left over on a holiday weekend (like today’s second service).

But small church choirs needn’t be discouraged.  I read a post this afternoon of a Georgian monistary in Calgary that maintains the chants, and does virtually the whole service in the old rhythms.  They hosted a seminar that Jeffrey Tucker attended, and it was his blog post that told the story,

Toward the end of the post was a statement that stuck with me, and ought to give some of you encouragement:  “Noiseux told us that 10 people singing chant in perfect unison will have a fuller sound than a hesitant group of 40.”

I’ve sung with that hesitant 40.  Not  sure of ourselves and wanting to give a good performance.  Had we instead spent another practice in prayer, understanding that it was not to the congregation we were singing, but to God, we might have done better.  We as a choir are worship leaders, singing our songs to ou Savior, and inviting the congregation to join in.  In fact, my current choir’s best event is Wednesday evening practice time, where we are able to worship without worrying if the camera is on us, or any other technical detail.  We sing for the sheer joy of it, singing for ourselves and our God.

I’ve done Handel’s Messiah with a team of 10, where I was the only 1st Tenor.  It wasn’t loud, but it was effective.  We knew the music implicitly, and the books we were holding were mostly props.  We proved, without microphones, that size is usually secondary if the choir is singing what it can with the right additude.

Go and do likewise.

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