UNNING A CHOIR REHEARSAL correctly is a million times harder than it looks. Those of us who enjoyed singing in college choirs received a “rude awakening” when we entered the real world and stood on the other side of the baton. Indeed, we talk for hours about this subject at the Sacred Music Symposium each year. How one begins rehearsal is crucial. In addition to attendance and opening prayers, it is good to have something “simple” (e.g. the Offertory antiphon) to start with, and it’s important that those arriving late hear singing as they enter. Suggestion: Why not sing through a new hymn as a “warm up” exercise? Someone took an iPhone recordings of one of my choirs doing that:
People have rightly pointed out that the Brébeuf hymnal has tons of melodies which are unfamiliar, in addition to all the common ones. That’s certainly true—and it’s one reason to be excited about this new hymnal.
Try reading through a new hymn melody toward the beginning of each choir practice. You’ll be amazed how “unfamiliar” hymns quickly transform into “old favorites.”