Church Music

Three Ways to Have a Summer Choir (+ How to Make the Most of Your Time Together)

Three Ways to Have a Summer Choir (+ How to Make the Most of Your Time Together)

It’s that time of the year: The days are getting longer, the grass is growing taller, and we can (finally) leave the house without putting on a coat - summer is almost here!

As people are wrapping up their school-year commitments and making plans for those lazy, hazy days of summer, now is the perfect time to start organizing a summer choir at your church.

Now, I know what you’re thinking:

“That’s not in my contract!”
"We all deserve a little break, don’t you think?”
"No one would come if we had rehearsals in the summer.”

I get it. Summer choirs may work really well in some churches and not-so-well in others.

The good news is, there’s not a one-size-fits-all model.

7 More Theme Ideas for Your Next Choir Program

7 More Theme Ideas for Your Next Choir Program

A few years ago, I wrote a post called, 10 Theme Ideas for Your Next Choir Program. Today, I’m writing a follow-up post to share seven more ideas to add to your inspiration list.

Choir programs are a great way to keep your choir members engaged and committed to rehearsals (especially toward the end of the academic year, or over the summer) and explore some new music that you wouldn’t normally sing during the church year.

The music you choose will depend on your choir's interests and abilities, your church, and your goals for the music program. Plan a choir program as a fundraiser of some kind or to celebrate a special anniversary for your church. Consider collaborating with other church choirs in the area to create a special community event.

Summer Conferences for Church Musicians (2019 Edition)

Summer Conferences for Church Musicians (2019 Edition)

For those of us who teach during the year, summer is the perfect time to learn and develop our own musicianship skills and catch up on some professional development.

Summer conferences are a great way to do this. They help us stay connected with others in the field; learn new things about playing, singing, directing, and teaching; find inspiration for creating meaningful and engaging worship services; and hear about all the latest music releases: choral, handbell, children's choir resources, curriculum, instrumental collections, etc.

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.

Go-To Warm-Up Resources for Busy Choir Directors

Go-To Warm-Up Resources for Busy Choir Directors

Warm-ups for choirs are like stretches for athletes: they help prepare the muscles and engage the mind for focused, active work.

But more than simply warming up the voice and preparing to sing, choral warm-ups are a practical way to prepare and introduce new musical skills and concepts before singing them in the context of a piece of music. This not only saves you time in rehearsal, but it also creates a more cohesive learning experience for your choir members.

Two Easter Hymn Settings for Brass Quintet

Two Easter Hymn Settings for Brass Quintet

Easter is less than two months away, which means you’re probably in the midst of rehearsing your cantata or ordering last-minute choir anthems, choosing your service music (and practicing that Widor Toccata again), and hiring brass players for the big day (and maybe the week before, as well).

But what will you have them play? Besides brass parts that may be available to accompany your choral selections, and standard repertoire they may have prepared to play for the prelude and postlude, it’s up to you to find hymn arrangements and any other music you’d like them to provide in worship.

Looking for a few new brass arrangements for this year?

I’m thrilled to introduce Two Easter Hymn Settings for Brass Quintet: creative and well-crafted settings of two well-known Easter hymns: Jesus Shall Reign (also known as I Know That My Redeemer Lives) and The Strife Is O'er, arranged for Brass Quintet with Opt. Congregation.

Ubi Caritas: 10 Settings for Holy Week

Ubi Caritas is an ancient chant, thought to have originated in France between the 4th and 10th century (source). The original text has several stanzas. Here is the first stanza with English translation:

Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.
Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor.
Exultemus, et in ipso iucundemur.
Timeamus, et amemus Deum vivum.
Et ex corde diligamus nos sincero.

Where charity and love are, God is there.
Christ's love has gathered us into one.
Let us rejoice and be pleased in Him.
Let us fear, and let us love the living God.
And may we love each other with a sincere heart. 

(source)

Making the Most of Your Weekly Choir Rehearsal: 7 Helpful Strategies to Save You Time

Making the Most of Your Weekly Choir Rehearsal: 7 Helpful Strategies to Save You Time

Want to listen to this post instead? Click through to the full post for an audio recording.

Time. 

It’s one of the biggest challenges we face as church musicians and music educators. Here’s what some of you shared on my reader survey in response to the question, “What is your biggest work-related challenge?":

TIME!!! I am always scrambling to get things done.

I find it challenging to fit in all I want (or need) to do. (My inspiration is often greater than my time allotment!)

Limited time (30 min./week).

Lack of enough rehearsal time and space.

I teach Preschool through 8th grade music. It is challenging to find time to put together great lessons for that huge age span.

Trying to make my staff/session understand that SO much of what I do is "invisible hours”; that I spend hours upon hours studying scores, researching liturgy, finding new ways to help all my choirs, etc. So many of them think that the bulk of my time is in front of a choir or congregation, when in actuality there is so much that goes into preparing for those few hours in front of people.

5 Reasons Why Your Rehearsals Feel Monotonous (and How to Fix It!)

5 Reasons Why Your Rehearsals Feel Monotonous (and How to Fix It!)

You know the feeling:

Lackluster.
Laborious.
Boring.
Same old, same old.

It’s easy to slip into a rut in rehearsals from time to time, but I think we can all agree: these are not things we want to feel or experience.

We don’t want to feel like we’re just going through the motions each week; we want to feel excited and energized to sing and learn and make music together.

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.