OST of us church choir directors across the U.S. are experiencing a severe disruption to our normal liturgical lives. Some of us at least have the privilege of singing for live-streamed Masses with scaled-down choral forces. Others are waiting on the sidelines—and I can only imagine how difficult that must be for you.
In either case, there’s much we can do to build up the liturgical lives of our parishes even after having our wings clipped. Here’s just one idea: take this time to educate your parish on what your choir was working on before you had to suspend rehearsals.
Think about it: you were probably preparing full steam for Holy Week and Easter when you got the word in mid-March to stop indefinitely. Some of that music may have been ready for Mass, while other pieces needed more polish. But you and your singers put a lot of work into all of it.
So, why not let your parishioners know a little bit about these pieces? Describe what you love about this music and why you selected it. Tell them briefly about the composers. Share an anecdote or two about the musical challenges your choir overcame in rehearsals. Express your optimism that you’ll have a chance to sing these pieces at a future Mass.
I’ve begun doing exactly this in a series on my own blog that I’m calling “The Lost Motets.” Depending on your situation, you might prefer to send a message to your parish email loop, post an article on your parish website, or even create a YouTube video. Consider including some audio, whether it’s an actual recording of your choir or a YouTube recording of another choir.
I can think of several potential benefits here:
- You’ll send the message to your parish that your choir works hard to make all those beautiful Masses possible.
- You’ll increase appreciation of the music you sing at Mass. It’s not just pretty background noise for prayer—it’s sacred!
- You’ll capture the attention of potential choir members—perhaps even from other parishes. Surely there’s someone in your pews who has always meant to ask about joining your choir but just hasn’t gotten around to calling you.
- You’ll give parishioners a chance to get to know you better through your writing, even if they’ve never spoken with you in person.
- You’ll be striking yet another blow against the comfortable mediocrity that has plagued liturgical music for decades.
You don’t have to do much to do a little good. Let your natural passion for your work shine through, and encourage people to listen to a recording so that the music can speak for itself. And then keep praying.