Saturday, September 13, 2008

Church Choir Protocol

We have some new members of Church Choir this year, and even some long-standing members had some questions about how we should be doing things, so I drafted the following procedures and handed them out to choir members this week.

Church Choir Protocol
(or, The List of Things that Some of Us Do, So the Rest Should Probably Do Too)

1. Processional and Recessional Hymns are always sung in unison. Gradual and Offertory Hymns are sung in unison on first and last verses, and in harmony for middle verses. Communion Hymns are sung in harmony, all verses.
2. Note that sometimes this changes, depending on the hymns themselves, so it's wise to come to rehearsal so that you are not the sole choir member singing harmony when the rest are singing in unison, singing loudly when the rest are singing softly, clapping when the rest are swaying, etc. Rehearsals = Good.

Processional and Recessional:
1. When processing and recessing, walk about 2 pew widths behind the choristers walking in front of you, at a comfortable, saunter-ish pace. While you may walk to the rhythm of the hymn, this does not work so well for waltzes. If the pair in front of you are walking too slowly, carefully jab the corner of your hymn book into their ribs.
2. When you and your partner reach the front of the chancel, bow to the altar and then proceed in to your pews. For the recession, turn to face the altar as the crucifer retrieves the cross. When the crucifer turns to the congregation, bow (all together now), and then proceed out two at a time.
3. Sopranos and Altos should pair up for procession/recession, as should Tenors and Basses. When there is an uneven number of one section, the person left over should walk solo down the centre of the aisle. For example, three sopranos and four altos, three tenors and four basses would walk SA, SA, SA, A, TB, TB, TB, B. If someone attempts to walk with you where he/she shouldn't, fee free to push that person.

1. Rush towards the communion rail as fast as you can. Last one there is a rotten egg.

Cassocks and Surplices (not surpluses)
1. Your cassock should be buttoned all the way to the collar button. Your surplice should hang evenly across both shoulders, and evenly from front to back.
2. Feel free to remove any clothing underneath your cassock to better your comfort, warmth, etc., but please remember that you've done so before removing your cassock after the service. Nobody wants to be THAT chorister.

1. All your music will have your number on it, and will be in your cubbie for you before rehearsals and services. You are welcome to take your music home with you, but please do bring it back.
2. Public spectacle will be made of those whose music is missing.
3. If your hymn book, anthem book or folder are missing, it probably means that someone stole them. Accuse your fellow choristers liberally.


I'm Still Me said...

This is fun! You would have laughed at the gong show that ensued when LH had our church choir practice processing.

Towanda said...

It's funny cuz it's true...

Chunklets said...

I like the bit about rushing the communion rail!

Anyway, apropos of nothing in your post, there's an aricle here that you might find interesting!

RevDrKate said...

What is it about choirs...we are all the same! Too funny. BTW, and also completely unrelated, I snatched your meme and played it at my place. Thanks.

Julie said...

Ha! I like that it has humor. Good job! :)