It’s Time to Bring the Choir Back! Rebooting the Choir After the Pandemic
I have received lots of contacts since COVID restrictions have been lifted concerning the reboot of choirs in our churches. I have compiled a number of articles and resources below that I hope will help you work through these times as we bring back the choir. Thanks to Bradley Knight for making his article available on this platform.
Next week I will resume the series of posts I introduced last week.
Check out these articles below: It Is Time to Bring Back the Choir | Some Thoughts About What to Do Now That Covid Restrictions Are Removed | Additional Articles on the Value of the Choir in Worship
It’s time to bring the choir back
by Bradley Knight
Over the past 20-25 years, there has been a shift in the church. Many churches transitioned from choir-led, melody-rich, harmony-laden worship to a set-up that features a handful of musicians singing simple songs, mostly in unison. This is not a post to disparage any worship style or preference. There is a place for all different styles and expressions of worship. But it cannot be denied that the Church Choir has become more and more eliminated due to the perception of a “performance-based” musical experience.
Then 2020 happened. And the choir completely disappeared.
Now we’re well into 2021. Many of us see a light at the end of a long tunnel. Our churches are opening back up and many are (safely) resuming gatherings, activities, and rehearsals.
It’s time to bring the choir back.
Why? In case you’ve had your head buried in the sand, Christianity is under attack in our country and it won’t end any time soon. The church is preparing for a battle. (This shouldn’t be a surprise to any of us. We’ve read the book of Revelation!) In 2 Chronicles, we read about how the choir was sent out into battle ahead of the army. The Israelites worshipped as they walked into war, confusing their enemies and defeating their foes. It’s time for an army of worshipers to once again lead our churches into battle. There’s nothing compared to the wall of sound produced by a choir, singing mightily in one accord. There’s nothing more inviting to our congregants during a worship service than seeing a multitude of people of different ages, backgrounds, and ethnicities joining together with one purpose: to glorify the Lord through music.
Choirs are making a comeback. (Has Kanye West not convinced you yet? ) A band of believers who adamantly worship the Lord in spirit and in truth can only elevate the corporate worship experience. If your church choir was disassembled during the pandemic, prayerfully consider coming back together in a safe way and resuming choral worship as your leadership gives opportunity. If your church doesn’t have a choir, now is a great time to start one up! People are hungry for a place to belong. They’re eager to use their gifts and talents, and to serve with a purpose. Give your church the gift of a choir.
It’s time to bring the choir back.
To find Bradley Knight arrangements for your choir and congregation, visit www.prismmusic.com. Check out the choir missions trip he is leading here.
See below the bottom of this post for additional articles on the value of the choir in worship.
Some Thoughts About What to Do Now That COVID Restrictions Are Removed
by Kenny Lamm
Many people have contacted me recently about what to do with the choir now that COVID restrictions have been removed. There is still a concern among many about choral and congregational singing. I have not seen any written guidance for congregational or choral singing updated for these days. I can say that the majority of our churches have been full-on singing for the last few months. Some have worn masks while singing; others have not. In other states that are ahead of us in removing restrictions, it seems that reducing restrictions has not had a bad effect. Choirs are returning and congregational singing is going unmasked with no obvious ill effects.
I have more pause concerning choral singing. Even if there is no risk, some choir members may not be ready to put themselves in a shoulder-to-shoulder unmasked situation just yet after being warned for over a year of such exposure. For this reason, I would poll your choir to get a feeling for what they are comfortable with (see sample below). I would then not push them beyond what they are comfortable with too quickly. Spacing may be a good idea if you have room to do that–spread the choir out with a chair or two empty between them. Don’t rehearse in small spaces just yet. All of this may be too careful, but it helps people ease back into pre-COVID practices.
I think there is value in waiting to fully reboot the choir until September as well. Perhaps have some fellowship times, rehearsals, a retreat, etc. in the meantime while you begin recruiting former members and really play up the return of the choir – new and improved. My concern with trying a full restart right now is that people will get discouraged with the numbers of people not yet ready to fully commit plus the usual summer slump. It might be setting up for failure. Right now, we need some strong success in our choir reboots.
You know your church far better than I can presume. I don’t have the answers–I just hope to spark some ideas in you that might ignite a great choral ministry return!!
Sample Questions for a Choir Survey
Which response best describes you and your return to choir?
- I have already returned to choir.
- I am planning to return to choir within the next few weeks.
- I hope to return to choir but it will be later in the year (beyond June).
- I do not plan to return to choir in the foreseeable future.
Which of these statements are most accurate for you?
- I am totally comfortable with no masks and no distancing–a return to pre-COVID practices.
- I am fine with no masks in choir, but would prefer to maybe skip a seat or stand with some space between people.
- I am still pretty concerned about COVID and would rather keep several feet of distance between people.
- I prefer COVID restrictions of masks and social distancing.
How often would you like for us to sing a choir anthem (special song) in worship?
- Once a month
- Once every three weeks
- Once every two weeks
- Every week
Please leave any comments concerning the choir ministry you would like us to know.
Additional Articles on the Value of the Choir in Worship
by Kenny Lamm
In addition to Bradley Knight’s opening article, I have linked here, several other articles that speak to the value of the choir in worship. Take a look:
The Critical Importance of Church Choirs by Vince Wilcox
Do We Still Need Choirs? by Mark Condon
The Importance of the Choir in Today’s Church by Phil Nitz
The Unfortunate Decline of the Choir by Will Whittaker