choir anthems

How to Add Instrumental Parts to Your Choir Anthems

How to Add Instrumental Parts to Your Choir Anthems

Opportunities to play and hear different instruments has numerous benefits for your choir members. Here are three notable ones:

Benefits of Including Instruments

1. It helps singers be actively and creatively involved in the music-making process.

We learn by doing, by moving, by experimenting. For children, music is a form of play, and interacting with it by singing, moving, clapping, and playing instruments only deepens their experience.

2. It gives singers an opportunity to connect and engage with music in new ways.

The chance to experiment and try new things is a crucial part of the music-learning process, for learners of all ages. For children, clapping and playing instruments gives them an opportunity to improvise and even compose their own rhythm patterns and short melodies.

A Quick Latin Pronunciation Guide for Church Choirs

A Quick Latin Pronunciation Guide for Church Choirs

Does your choir know how to sing in Latin?

There’s something sacred about singing an anthem in Latin, I think; it connects us back to our ancient roots, the development of church music centuries before us, and those that gathered to worship in those times and places.

The best part about singing in Latin? It’s made up of pure vowels. It’s great for singing!

There are two basic pronunciation guides for Latin: Italianate and Germanic.

29 Multicultural Anthems for Church Choirs

29 Multicultural Anthems for Church Choirs

Multiculturalism isn't something we often talk about in church settings, right? Let's be honest:

Most congregations tend to sing the hymns they know from their hymnal.

And most choirs tend to sing music they are comfortable with, in a language they speak, and in a musical style that is familiar and accessible to them.

We're drawn to what we know and what's familiar to us, and that's completely natural.

The problem? We may miss opportunities to learn about people from other cultures, races, and ethnicities.

How to Choose Music for Your SAB Choir (+ 18 Anthem Ideas)

How to Choose Music for Your SAB Choir (+ 18 Anthem Ideas)

Choosing music you like and think will work well in your worship service is one thing; choosing music that’s accessible for your choir is a whole different ball game.

It's important to think about what your choir can realistically do and what they can do well; what will challenge them to grow and learn and yet be meaningful for them, as well? What will lift them up and build their confidence while also inspiring their faith?

Top 25 Favorite Anthems for Intergenerational Choirs

Top 25 Favorite Anthems for Intergenerational Choirs

There’s something special about an intergenerational choir: the coming together of people of all ages and walks of life to share music and lift their voices in song. It sends a message of unity and inclusivity and I think it gives us a little glimpse of what heaven might be like, singing in the angel choir.

Intergenerational choirs are a great way to celebrate something special in the life of the church - an anniversary or special service. The easiest way to create this experience is to combine groups you already have. There are a number of ways to do this.

Worship Planning Theme: Grace

Worship Planning Theme: Grace

When I was in high school, I heard a pastor explain grace in the form of an acronym: God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense.

Grace is a gift, an invitation to receive God’s riches and become heirs of God’s kingdom.

I grew up in a United Methodist church, and the more I learned about what it means to be Methodist, the more I learned about grace.

You see, John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, considered grace the cornerstone of the Christian faith. He described God's grace as having three different forms: Prevenient Grace, Justifying Grace, and Sanctifying Grace.

"Immortal Love, Forever Full" and 15 More Anthems for Holy Week

"Immortal Love, Forever Full" and 15 More Anthems for Holy Week

Holy Week is the week in between Palm Sunday and Easter. It’s the time in the church year when we remember the Last Supper, Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, the betrayal, the denial, the crucifixion.

Some churches have several Holy Week services: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil. Others alternate between having a Maundy Thursday service one year and a Good Friday service the next. Still others have one combined Holy Week service that touches on all the events of the week: the Last Supper, Jesus praying in the Garden, and the Crucifixion.

Last year, I shared my service outline for a combined Holy Week service that incorporated music, art, and poetry. I used symbols to guide us through the events of the week: Light, Water, Table, Garden, Courtyard, Cross, Darkness. Download a copy for free here.

2017 Reading Session Picks: Ensemble

2017 Reading Session Picks: Ensemble

When I have the opportunity to sit in on reading sessions, I’m keeping an eye out for any good anthem - whatever the voicing might be. If it has good text, is well-crafted musically and artistically, and is versatile enough to be used more than one Sunday out of the year, I make a note of it.

Everyone has their own rating system for this - some use a check-plus, check, check-minus system, others use smiley faces (with teeth, without teeth, indifferent, sad). To each their own, right?

Anyway, once I get back home with the anthems I saved, I divide them up into piles for easy list-making and cataloging later: Adult Choir, Youth, Children’s Choir, and Ensemble.

I’ve already shared my lists for adult choir and children’s choir; today, I’m sharing a few pieces I think would work well for an adult or youth ensemble. Enjoy!

2017 Reading Session Picks: Children's Choir

2017 Reading Session Picks: Children's Choir

Last week, I shared my top 12 reading session picks for adult choir; today, I'm sharing my favorites from this year’s Choristers' Guild reading session - lots of good music to consider for your choir this year!

Some of these anthems are new this year; others have been around for a while, but are worth considering, if you don't already have them in your library. I especially loved the ones that include optional rhythm or choir chime parts, as this is a great way to get more children involved and incorporate another dimension of music-making into your rehearsals.

Even if the anthem doesn't call for it, this is a relatively easy way to tailor a piece to your group and resources. Pull out part of the piano accompaniment (the bass line or perhaps the notes that fall on downbeats in the melody line) and add bells or chimes. Create a simple rhythmic ostinato pattern to accompany one of the verses, or give a few children triangles or finger cymbals to play during an interlude. Be creative!

2017 Reading Session Picks: Adult Choir

2017 Reading Session Picks: Adult Choir

Happy 4th of July week, friends!

I hate to break it to you, but did you know there are only 21 Sundays until the First Sunday of Advent?! I know. It’s true.

If you’re like me, summer is a time of rest and relaxation, but also a time of planning and getting ready for the new church/choir year. I just got back from a wonderful week in North Carolina for the United Methodist Fellowship’s Music and Worship Arts Week. It was a busy few days of worship, rehearsals, seminars, reading sessions, and concerts - so much new music and teaching ideas to soak up!

Eric Nelson was the clinician for the adult choir this year and I loved observing him in rehearsal, watching him conduct, and gleaning his wisdom. One thing he said that really resonated with me was this:

“Our congregations don’t need to be reminded about the brokenness in the world. Instead, we need to remind them, as much as possible, about the beauty and harmony that are possible in the community of Christ.”

I love that.