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Help: Really mad at my choir director

The Celtic Bard 03 Dec 00 - 10:41 PM
Joe Offer 03 Dec 00 - 11:42 PM
kimmers 04 Dec 00 - 12:02 AM
John in Brisbane 04 Dec 00 - 01:36 AM
mousethief 04 Dec 00 - 12:45 PM
MMario 04 Dec 00 - 12:52 PM
Bert 04 Dec 00 - 12:56 PM
mousethief 04 Dec 00 - 12:56 PM
MMario 04 Dec 00 - 01:09 PM
Margo 04 Dec 00 - 01:20 PM
Clinton Hammond2 04 Dec 00 - 01:26 PM
IvanB 04 Dec 00 - 01:31 PM
IvanB 04 Dec 00 - 02:01 PM
The Celtic Bard 04 Dec 00 - 03:51 PM
DougR 04 Dec 00 - 05:56 PM
mousethief 04 Dec 00 - 06:01 PM
Lyrical Lady 04 Dec 00 - 06:44 PM
tar_heel 04 Dec 00 - 07:00 PM
Midchuck 04 Dec 00 - 07:01 PM
Bill in Alabama 04 Dec 00 - 07:35 PM
Burke 04 Dec 00 - 08:03 PM
GUEST,Russ 05 Dec 00 - 12:03 PM
Mark Clark 05 Dec 00 - 02:45 PM
IvanB 05 Dec 00 - 03:10 PM
mousethief 05 Dec 00 - 06:04 PM
Joe Offer 05 Dec 00 - 06:37 PM
Burke 05 Dec 00 - 06:55 PM
kimmers 05 Dec 00 - 07:17 PM
sophocleese 05 Dec 00 - 07:18 PM
The Celtic Bard 05 Dec 00 - 10:42 PM
Mark Clark 05 Dec 00 - 11:20 PM
Sorcha 05 Dec 00 - 11:37 PM
kimmers 05 Dec 00 - 11:50 PM
Ebbie 06 Dec 00 - 12:58 AM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 06 Dec 00 - 06:42 AM
GUEST,Kernow John 06 Dec 00 - 07:12 AM
GUEST,Russ 06 Dec 00 - 10:55 AM
Alice 06 Dec 00 - 12:28 PM
mousethief 06 Dec 00 - 12:44 PM
GUEST,Russ 06 Dec 00 - 12:59 PM
Mark Clark 06 Dec 00 - 01:06 PM
Burke 06 Dec 00 - 05:15 PM
Sorcha 06 Dec 00 - 07:31 PM
GUEST,Russ 07 Dec 00 - 11:02 AM
Burke 07 Dec 00 - 05:40 PM
Callie 07 Dec 00 - 05:46 PM
Liz the Squeak 07 Dec 00 - 06:57 PM
sophocleese 07 Dec 00 - 08:05 PM
Auxiris 08 Dec 00 - 06:30 AM
Burke 11 Dec 00 - 07:50 PM
sophocleese 11 Dec 00 - 10:46 PM
John in Brisbane 12 Dec 00 - 12:15 AM
The Celtic Bard 18 Dec 00 - 07:53 PM
InOBU 18 Dec 00 - 08:40 PM
GUEST 18 Dec 00 - 09:16 PM
CamiSu 19 Dec 00 - 12:01 PM
GUEST,the atheist in the Choir 19 Dec 00 - 01:50 PM
McGrath of Harlow 19 Dec 00 - 02:10 PM
The Celtic Bard 19 Dec 00 - 09:09 PM
GUEST 02 Dec 15 - 01:32 PM
Joe Offer 03 Dec 15 - 12:52 AM
kendall 03 Dec 15 - 09:04 AM
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Subject: Really mad at my choir director
From: The Celtic Bard
Date: 03 Dec 00 - 10:41 PM

My church formed a Christmas choir headed by the lead singer of the worship team. This is only the second year that we have had a Christmas choir and because of the great response we had last year, they decided to bring it back.

However last year the piano player who became our choir director brought in his band. I had no problem with that until he handed out all of the solos to people on the worship team or in his band. A lot of people tried out for those solos and a lot people were disappointed including me. It took a lot of soul searching and courage to be able to go up there and sing with the choir without having the wrong motives. I promised myself last year that if the same thing happened the next year, I was going to pull him aside and give him a piece of my mind.

Well, he ended up leaving the church and the lead singer became the Christmas choir director. I thought that finally everyone else would have a fair chance at the solos. Boy was I wrong! She held rehersals but it was one big scam because she ended up handing out the solos to people on the worship team including giving herself two parts! I was so mad at her that when I got home, I threw my choir book across the room.

Well we had a two week break for Thanksgiving and just meet again tonight. I thought that I had gotten myself together and put it behind me. Then I found out that she had lied back when we were having try-outs when she told me that she was cutting this one song I wanted to try out for. Instead she was just setting it aside for the worship team!

Everyone who has a solo is on the worship team! I stayed to talk to her after practice but she was busy so I drove home. Part of the way home, I turned around to go back but by the time I got there, she was gone. I called her house but I got the answering machine.

I really need some help here. I want a solo but that's not why I'm so mad at her. I'm mad because she's being unfair. Injustice like that shouldn't exist in the church, especially not in my church! I'm just so mad because she is putting people in front who are already in front and ignoring the others who can't commit to the year-round worship team and can only do the yearly Christmas choir. All of them may not have the best voices, but that's no excuse. I just want some justice. Maybe I'm a sentimental optimist but one thought keeps coming back to my mind: All that is needed for injustice to triumph is for a good man to do nothing. I need to do something, I just don't know how or what.

I've never written anything so personnel on here. Please don't let me down.

God bless, Rebecca


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 Dec 00 - 11:42 PM

Hi, Rebecca - for years, I sang from the pews and said things about church musicians being fickle and back-stabbing and small-minded and downright nasty. Now that I've been a church musician myself for 15 years, my impression of church musicians hasn't changed much - and I sometimes find it hard myself to resist the temptation to commit the sin of "ecclesiastical cattiness." Maybe it's a fault that's common to all performers, and it just seems more obvious among church musicians because one should be able to expect church people to be nice.

I guess I'd suggest that you stop trying to get a solo, and concentrate on getting people to get along together and to have a good time together. Take the time to listen to people, and maybe goof off a bit and start having a good time yourself. Go out of your way to see to it that others are enjoying themselves, and that nobody is left out of the conversation. Once you've made it so people really enjoy your company, you'll start getting those solos.

All the best to you.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: kimmers
Date: 04 Dec 00 - 12:02 AM

I sympathize a bit, as I've had something like this happen on a small scale. Don't get me wrong, I love my choir, and our choir director is a wonderful man and a good friend. But slowly, over three years, I've had to learn that talent really does have to take precedence over things like attendance and attitude. We're just blessed in that we don't really have any bad attitudes.

Our choir is tiny, usually about a dozen people. My husband and I are scrupulous about attending practice, only missing when absolutely unavoidable. Last June we arranged our vacation so as not to miss a Sunday morning, changing to an afternoon train. Imagine our disappointment when only three members showed up that morning and Jeff had to cancel the anthem.

Over and over again, I've watched solos be awarded to the best voices, whether or not they show up on time or are available for the less glamorous regular Sunday morning anthems (as opposed to Christmas and Easter). The truth is, though, I'm not ready for a solo, and I know it. I may never be. My role in the choir is to show up on time, practice, set a good example, pay attention, and crack a few jokes when things get tense. My voice is passable, and my ear is excellent. I'm good at plucking difficult notes out of the air, and I can count out rhythms. I sound pretty decent wedged in between my friends, but by myself I'm just okay.

Jeff would give me a solo if I asked for one, I think, because he does appreciate my faithfulness. But what I really enjoy is being part of that seemless blend of voices, singing as one organism. Let the flashy people have the solos, and strive to enjoy the rewards of being faithful.


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 04 Dec 00 - 01:36 AM

You know Rebecca I first read your post over an hour ago and was completely stumped as to how to reply. Choirs are very strange organisms and I'm not too sure I still have the urge to analyse such alien life forms, so please don't get too stressed if you don't understand the dynamics. The greatest gift of being a chorister is to make a contribution to overall entity - if you wish to stand out then you're probably in the wrong place. But it's important to be able to share your frustrations with someone else and maybe get another point of view. If the Director won't do this honestly then maybe another member can help. At the end of the day however the Director is the boss and he/she has a large say in the rules of engagement, regardless of equity, compassion or common sense. On your part you will need to accept this inevitability and enjoy yourself in spite of this - or not accept it and leave the choir.

It has not been by intenton to appear harsh but overwhemingly I would recommend that you stick with the choir even if the Direcor is less than perfect. That's the only outcome that will contribute joy to the situation.

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: mousethief
Date: 04 Dec 00 - 12:45 PM

"The devil enters the church through the choir."
---Russian proverb


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: MMario
Date: 04 Dec 00 - 12:52 PM

*chortle!* MT - love the qoute - I've often thought "The devil enters the church through the vestry."


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: Bert
Date: 04 Dec 00 - 12:56 PM

Perhaps I'm being uncharitable here, but personally I'd find somewhere else to sing.

Bert.


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: mousethief
Date: 04 Dec 00 - 12:56 PM

Maybe it's a denominational thing, Mmario!

PS did you get your book yet?

Alex


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: MMario
Date: 04 Dec 00 - 01:09 PM

not yet...

I've seen choirs go in several directions - choirs where the "best" parts go to those who attend the most frequently and faithfully...and choirs where the "best" parts go to those whose voices suited them best; and choirs where the "best" parts didn't go to anyone who disagreed with the director - about anything.


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: Margo
Date: 04 Dec 00 - 01:20 PM

Here's the thing: When you're that mad you're generally powerless because of your own guilt. Guilt for being mad, not for wanting a solo. You need to speak up and tell her that you don't think it's fair. I think you should do it in front of the whole group. Be prepared to be the only one who feels that way. But don't be surprised if others join in too.

There's nothing wrong with singing solo. Oh, you're ego might be involved, but you and the Lord can work that stuff out in private. You're unhappy about what you percieve to be an unfair situation. Nothing wrong with speaking up. If you're angry and can't cool down, just apologise for your anger, and I bet it will be overlooked. That's my idea. I hope you do let us know what you decide and how you do. Margo


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Subject: Don't get mad...
From: Clinton Hammond2
Date: 04 Dec 00 - 01:26 PM

... Get even...

I know a few guys who'd be more than happy to 'take care of' this choir director for a couple-hundred bucks...

;-)


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: IvanB
Date: 04 Dec 00 - 01:31 PM

MMario, having been both a chorister and a vestryman, I'd say the devil has about an equal chance at either of them. *BG*


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: IvanB
Date: 04 Dec 00 - 02:01 PM

Sorry, my last post didn't reall address Rebecca's issue.

Having been a chorister who was assigned perhaps more than my fair share of solo work, I can see the point of view of sticking with the choir for unity's sake as well as that of wanting to 'shine' once in a while. Both blending with the choir as a whole and doing solos presented unique challenges that were beneficial to my singing ability.

Rebecca, might you approach the director not in the sense of being angry at not being assigned any solos, but in the context of wanting the challenge of solo work to further your vocal ability? Unless she's a complete oaf, she should be happy to have someone who wants to extend her ability. And if she IS an oaf, then bert's suggestion might be in order.


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: The Celtic Bard
Date: 04 Dec 00 - 03:51 PM

Thanks guys for all the support.

Before I start, I'd like to make some things clear. First off, I wrote that thread right after practice when I hadn't really gotten myself under control.

Secondly, I have sung in choirs all my life since I was a little kid and I've never had a solo. Never. I've had a lot of people tell me that I have a really good voice but I've also had a lot of people tell me that I am worthless. I guess I just want a fair chance, a little time in the spotlight to prove to all those people who said that I was no good that I really am.

Third, I love all the people in my church. I don't hate those who got the solos that I wanted and I don't hated my choir director even though I'm mad at her. I guess that the one thing that I'm sick of is the choir politics and all the selfish manuvering that goes on behind the scenes.

Fourth, I was able to put aside these same feelings last year, get right with God, and sing from my heart. I guess I was just hoping that I wouldn't have to do that again this year.

Joe, thank you for your wonderful suggestion. I guess that sometimes I can get so caught up in my own problems that I stop thinking about others.

I really do enjoy singing with the choir and I absoluting love the way that all those diffeent voices can blend together to create one perfect harmonizing voice. No matter how mad I get, I'm not going to quit the choir because it's about praising God and not her. I guess it just took talking to all of you guys to remember that. I'm still going to talk to her and express my dissatisfaction but that's my right to do so and she wouldn't be a good choir director if she didn't listen to the choir. It just gets so hard and so annoying trying to work my way out from under the shadow of her beautiful voice. Like I said before, I guess I'm just a sentimental optimist who wants to see a world where everything is fair.

Thank you all for your support and advice.

God bless, Rebecca


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: DougR
Date: 04 Dec 00 - 05:56 PM

Sounds like a very political situation, Rebecca.

In Choirs that I have been involved in I believe that solos were assigned to the best voices. Difficult to accept, I know, but perhaps your choir director just doesn't feel that you have a solo quality voice, has the quality he/she is looking for.

I don't mean that to sound unkindly at all, but perhaps you should approach your director from that angle. If he/she doesn't feel you have the voice she/he is looking for to perform solos, then perhaps, as someone else suggested, you should search for another choir.

DougR


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: mousethief
Date: 04 Dec 00 - 06:01 PM

Rebecca, do you have a voice coach? A voice coach could help you develop your voice (helped me immeasurably!) and moreover, would have an apolitical opinion of whether you were "ready to solo." If your voice coach says you're "good enough" but your choir director doesn't think so, it's definitely a political thing.

This sort of politics, alas, rears its ugly head wherever humans congregate. No church or any other group of human beings is entirely free from it.

Alex


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: Lyrical Lady
Date: 04 Dec 00 - 06:44 PM

Rebecca, these are all excellent responses. I will respond from the other side of the fence. I've sung plenty of solos but that wasn't always the case. For ten years I had a vocal coach and I trained my voice in a classical style. I was never chosen for the solos because I didn't have the ability to fill the room with my voice. It took years and a lot of hard work. Choral singing and solo singing require two different techniques. A good vocal coach can help you with both. Choral singing is about listening, blending and not standing out. Solo singing is about muscles, breathing, expandtion, relaxation and control all at the same time! It is very difficult to switch back and forth. Could it be that your director isn't aware that you are interested in singing solo parts? Maybe if you had a quiet word with her and explained that you would like to grow as a singer, perhaps she could choose a piece that would suit you. If she does'nt embrace your enthusiasum, than I would definately find a new choir. Unfortunately, when it comes to music there is good and bad ego. I don't recommend being confrontational with your director, bad feelings make for bad music.

Good Luck, LL


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: tar_heel
Date: 04 Dec 00 - 07:00 PM

WHO SAID THERE WAS SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE??sounds very political to me!!!


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: Midchuck
Date: 04 Dec 00 - 07:01 PM

Go before the Elders of the church and convince them that the choir director is the Antichrist.

Mudcatters will come to testify that he's been seen all over the country and in Britain besides, conducting Black Masses.

Then propose that a Bluegrass gospel group with fierce high tenors be brought in to pep things up.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: Bill in Alabama
Date: 04 Dec 00 - 07:35 PM

Rebecca--

I can't read music, and I have never been in a choir, although I have been a vocal performer for thirty years or so; but I have discovered that, while you can't expect folks to do the right thing, you can get by if you content yourself with trying always to do the right thing yourself. As Joe O. says, you'll find that it works wonders.


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: Burke
Date: 04 Dec 00 - 08:03 PM

I'm so mad! I hit clear entries when I meant to scroll & wiped out what I wrote.

I'm a choir member who is always passed over for the solos so in a way I know how you feel, but in a way I lack sympathy as well. If you came into my choir as an occasional and were awarded the solo I'd want you to have a drop dead voice to justify your selection over me. So instead of looking at who got the solos, look at who is in the choir all the time & doesn't get called on.

With a regular choir the director knows basically who's there, what the group's composite ability is, what everyone's voices sound like & can select music accordingly. New members who begin in the fall can be incorporated into the existing group. A really good new member can really raise the quality of music that the whole choir does, a more marginal one can at least get up to speed by Christmas. I've rarely seen someone so bad that they really hurt the choir, I've seen choirs hurt by loss of key members. Some choirs have paid section leaders in order to guarantee the presence of that key singer. They also get all the solos, from what I understand.

I have no idea how big a choir you're talking about, but I've never had a church choir director audition for solos. The director knows our voices and selects soloists based on the needs of the particular piece. We've had the very occasional anthem where he was so set on one particular person doing the solo that the date of the anthem was changed if that person was going to be gone. More usual, he asks one of the members & if he or she will be gone, asks someone else. I ended up with my one & only solo with this director as choice number 3 or 4. It was one of those weeks when everyone was out of town; half the choir & hardly anyone in the congregation either.

Most churches want the Christmas music to be really special. Bring out the horns, sing the descants, do the Hallelujah Chorus. By opening participation up to irregulars the director is getting pig in a poke for one of the most critical services of the year. It's possible that more difficult music has been avoided in order to incorporate the occasional singers. Without more knowledge of the group dynamics, I'd credit the director with selecting as soloists people she knows she can count on to do well for the service. You said the current director is the previous lead singer. She may be in way over her head & going with what she feels surest of.

I'm not quite sure what to make of the try-outs you've related. As I said, only the huge Oratorio Society I'm in auditions for solos. A church choir often has a 'try-out' that amounts to giving the director a chance to hear your voice alone, find out your range, and make sure you can carry a tune. Even if the try-out reveals a solo quality voice, that doesnt tell the director if you can really pull it off when the time comes. Solo for some other service to find out, maybe. For Christmas? I'm not too sure.

My ego has been hurt by not being selected more often for solos. I thought I did pretty well on the chance I was given. I accept it because I understand the purpose of the choir is to enhance the worship of the congregation, not to build my ego. I love to sing & I love to sing with a group. My ego was more than satisfied when I took a year off & was practically dragged back into the choir. From feedback from others I've come to realize that my ministy is in the choir, it's important to them that I am there. I love being just a member of the choir when I stop worrying about if I'm getting the recognition I think I should get. I find that the occasional comment from someone that they enjoy singing with me to be recognition enough.

A final note, I've been in choirs where soloists were rarely used. I don't know a director who doesn't get endlessly second guessed on their anthem selections, how the rehearsal is conducted, who never comes to rehearsals but still sings, you name it. I begin to suspect the directors who avoided solos did it deliberately so they not have to deal with yet more second guessing.

I know this sounds harsh, but I'm trying to offer a different perspective.


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 05 Dec 00 - 12:03 PM

I second Bert's motion. It sounds as if membership in your choir has stopped being fun and is too much like work. Surely you can praise God adequately somewhere else.


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: Mark Clark
Date: 05 Dec 00 - 02:45 PM

Okay, I've been reading about everyone's frustration with choir directors and church choirs in general and figure, as a rather new choir director, I should throw in my $0.02 USD worth.

There are some differences between my situation and the ones you've mentioned because ours is an Eastern Orthodox parish. This means the choir sings more or less continuously thoughout the Liturgy and except for the clergy and chanters, there are no solos. Still, the music is challenging and ranges from elaborate Russion arrangements by Rimsky-Korsakov and Tchaikovsky to ancient Byzantine and Arabic tones. Most of the music is in four part harmony and has been hand charted by generations of priests and choir directors. Often the charts are merely approximations of the intended sound which may have no precise expression in western notation.

Our choir sings from a loft above and behind the nave of the church so we aren't seen by the faithful unless they turn around and look up (probably in astonishment).

A very few dedicated members are willing to attend rehearsal and work on the music. Relatively few (not the same few) are able to sight read. Some participate regularly, some only on their favorite special holidays (e.g., Pascha or Christmas). At the beginning of the Liturgy I may have as few as six people ready to start. By the time we reach the reading of the Epistle and Gospel that number may have grown to twenty-five. Following Communion, around a dozen may remain to complete the Liturgy and any memorial service that may be scheduled.

Everyone is a prima donna and has unempeachable information as to what we should be singing, what the other members would prefer, who sings off-key, what the tempo should be, etc. It seems rare that a choir member will just pay attention and follow direction feeling gratitude for the chance to use their God-given talent in a prayerful way. Everyone knows better than I what part they should be singing and where they will best be positioned in the group. Some will even make up their own harmonies because they are certain it's better than what is in the score, even when the response calls for unison singing. At the end of a normal ninety-minute Liturgy I'm pretty well wrung out.

Keep in mind that these are all nice people who think of themselves as making an important contribution. A wise priest once told me that the devil comes into the church through the choir. I'm beginning to see what he meant.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: IvanB
Date: 05 Dec 00 - 03:10 PM

Mark, I'm well aware that the Eastern Orthodox liturgy is a musically grueling one, but, believe me, I've seen some pitched battles over the finer points of Anglican chant as well. I have nothing but admiration for choir directors, who must seemingly please three masters all at once - the congregation, the pastor and the choir itself. Seems a Herculean effort to me.

Ivan


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: mousethief
Date: 05 Dec 00 - 06:04 PM

Another Orthodox Mudcatter! I'm not alone any more!

Hi, Mark! Are you on the old or new calendar? We're coming up on Nativity really soon (I'm in a new calendar parish). Love it! "God is wiiiiiiiith uuuuuuuuus....."

the tall tenor with the beard,
Alex


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 Dec 00 - 06:37 PM

Gee, it sure is nice to have this chance to "vent" about the perils of singing in the choir. I joined the choir 15 years ago as an undercover spy from the Parish Council, trying to get the choir directors to do what we want them to do - encourage the congregation to sing. I'm still not sure if I've made any progress, and I think I lost some ground during my 6-week vacation that ended last week.
I came home from choir practice hopping mad last night. We have two good Catholic hymnals, with enough copies for everybody in the congregation, Instead of learning songs from the hymnals, the choir director keeps passing out illegal photocopies of arrangements that are beyond the capabilities of our choir. Most of the music she chooses comes from evangelical sources. I have nothing against evangelicals and I like a lot of their music, but it usually doesn't quite fit into the Roman Catholic idiom. "Worthy Is the Lamb That Was Slain" and "Power in the Blood" just don't cut the mustard in a Catholic church, even if the songs are kind of catchy.
I'm tempted to ask the pastor to ban photocopies and require the choirs to use music that comes from Catholic publishers or that is approved by the pastor. We always seem to get choir directors who have no idea at all that the music is supposed to be for worship - they usually seem to want to put on a show.
Grrr.
There! Now I feel better, and I can go back to being Mr. Nice Guy.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: Burke
Date: 05 Dec 00 - 06:55 PM

Getting congregations to sing! Have you ever noticed that some people think the way to get people singing is by constantly introducing new music? People will sing when they know how it goes, so at least 75% of your music should be what's familiar. 1 newish thing at a time, and after a while it's familiar as well.

Most don't like to sing if they feel like they're a solo, they need to hear the others thinking. Musical accompaniment that drowns everyone out ruins the singing. It's also good if everyone sits close enough together so they can hear each other, but for other reasons we tend to spread out as much as possible.

Just my $.02


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: kimmers
Date: 05 Dec 00 - 07:17 PM

It also helps to have clergy who actually sing along. Our rector just belts it out; usually he gets the notes right. His enthusiasm is infectious, and the congregation sings more than any other Episcopal church I've been a part of.

Mark, I can relate to your frustration. Lately our director has taken to starting practice bang on time, even if only two people are there. He has just lost patience with the prima donnas who want to hang out in the narthex and socialize until the last minute (we have practice right after the Sunday morning liturgy). I do try not to second-guess our director. I wouldn't want to do what he does.


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: sophocleese
Date: 05 Dec 00 - 07:18 PM

If you want people to sing plant (during a full moon preferably) singers near the back of the church. That way the sound of them singing carries over the ones in front so they feel less alone and exposed when they do try to sing.


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: The Celtic Bard
Date: 05 Dec 00 - 10:42 PM

When I started this thread I was just trying to get other people's advice and points of view. Boy did I ever!

However I again feel the need to clarify some things. First of all, this choir is SEASONAL. We only exist for Christmas then we disband for another year. Although it may sound like I'm new to the choir, EVERYONE ELSE IS TOO! The only people who sing year round in front of the congregation are those on the worship team.

Secondly, the reason we have try-outs is so that the choir director can hear the voices of everyone who wants a solo. She hasn't heard everyone's voice and because of that we have to have try-outs so that she can. Becasue we are only a SEASONAL choir, she can't just decide from memory because its been so long since she heard us.

Third, I love singing with the choir but I just want a fair chance at the solos.

Now I know that the people on the worship team are the "tried and true" singers who can really belt it and also have gotten over their fear of singing in front of a lot of people but that doesn't mean that they should be the only ones. Of course, I may be wrong. I just don't know. However I do know that there are people in the choir who have done singing elsewhere and could possibly make great soloists.

Well, my choir director called me tonight and I'm going to meet her at the church on Thursday at 6:30. I guess I should congradulate you guys. When I started this thread I wanted nothing more than to give her a piece of my mind. Now I feel like I should calmly sit down with her and ask for her reasons for picking only worship team members. Maybe I should even ask her how I can improve my voice.

Right now, I don't know what to think.

Anyway, I'll keep you guys posted.

God bless, Rebecca


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: Mark Clark
Date: 05 Dec 00 - 11:20 PM

IvanB, Sometimes the hard part is to get it through choir members' heads that we are there for prayer, not for a performance. We're to treat the music and the Liturgy with reverance not to call attention to the singers. That would be very bad.

Alex, I don't suppose you'd like to move to Cedar Rapids, I surely could use another tenor. We are an Antiochian parish so we are new calendarists. We also have pews. We just finished an Evening Liturgy tonight celebrating the Feast Day of St. Nicholas. There is an old calendar Orthodox Church here in town as well as a Greek parish, new calendar of course. The old calendar group also does without pews. In what jurisdiction is your parish? That is, under which Patriarch?

Joe, We haven't had trouble with the introduction of evangelical materials because our Bishop and the Metropolitan Archbishop insist that all parishes select their music from a "library" of Archdiocese approved transcriptions and arrangements. The faithful are always welcome to sing along but of course we don't have hymnals so visitors don't have any way to know the music.

kimmers, Yeah the socializing is the worst. They'll hang around in the church hall until after the Liturgy has started then leave before the Liturgy has concluded to join others at "coffee hour." Ask them when they would be willing to practice and they all say "right after Sunday Liturgy," but when the time comes I see the same faces that I would see when we practiced on a weekday evening.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: Sorcha
Date: 05 Dec 00 - 11:37 PM

I have stayed out of this one because I don't sing in a church choir. On the other hand, that makes it a little easier to see both sides of this. I think Burke's first post was excellent, and tend to agree with him.

I do have one question, however. Celtic Bard said "this is not supposed to happen in churches, especially not in my church." Why epescially not in your church, CB? All churches are groups of humans who have personal agendas and squabbles, so why do you think your church should be immune?


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: kimmers
Date: 05 Dec 00 - 11:50 PM

"Church is not a country club for the saints, but a hospital for the sinners."

Don't know who first said this.


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: Ebbie
Date: 06 Dec 00 - 12:58 AM

Mark Clark and Alex- St. Nicholas, the oldest Russian Orthodox in Alaska, is here in Juneau. I'm not a member but of course I have visited it, as a tourist.

The church is round and small and does not have pews. I imagine 30 people would pack it. There are beautiful icons, though, and there are quite a few Orthodox church members in town. I had a fundraiser silent auction for them here in this house once and they're evidently actively recruiting new blood.

Ebbie


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 06 Dec 00 - 06:42 AM

Hey, Mark, thread creep... should I send Xmas cards to Greek friends for Dec 25 or Jan 6? I think last year we sent them with our other cards but Greek post office meant they probably got them nearer Orthodox Xmas than otherwise. Their cards to us arrived for December. Being Greek, they probably don't care, as long as they hear from us, but being an anal-retentive obsessive-compulsive Brit, I like to try to do the polite thing!
RtS ("Friends all over the world...none in this country, but all over the world..." (c)Galton & Simpson)


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: GUEST,Kernow John
Date: 06 Dec 00 - 07:12 AM

Rebecca
I think Joe's first post makes a lot of sense (not that I'm against the second) and I'm glad you are going to meet your director.
Before you go take a few quiet moments and have a chat with the Big Guy, the one you are really singing for.
I hope it all goes well for you.
KJ


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 06 Dec 00 - 10:55 AM

Thread creep alert! (Hopefully acceptable)

My $.02

There seem to be a goodly number of choir members present here. I am still puzzling over Joe's claim to know of a Parish Council that wanted choir directors to "encourage the congregation to sing."

Let me offer the view from the congregation.

While reading through this thread I was reminded of a problem I always had when I was a member of a church congregation. The songs were always in keys that I found impossible to sing. Since I wasn't a member of the choir and had no musical training, all I could to do was TRY to sing the melody. I always ended up singing half the song in a bad falsetto and the other half in a worse basso profundo. No fun for me or the people near me. I, of course, thought it was my problem. When I reached (nominal) adulthood I occasionally mentioned the problem to other "folk" singers in my acquaintance. I learned that it was a common problem. Finally I asked a choir member (NOT a congregation member) about it. Sure, she explained, the songs are keyed so the sopranos can sing the melody. Finally the light dawned. I was having problems because I wasn't supposed to be singing anyway.

So my point is that if you want the congregation to sing, you've gotta pick stuff they know AND sing it in a key within the range of normal human beings.

My admittedly very subjective feeling based upon my own very limited experience is that most choirs and choir directors would prefer that the congregation simply listen and admire their performance. I am certainly not saying this is true of any of the participants in this thread. My guess is that most choirs and choir directors secretly regret that applause is not deemed appropriate during church services.

But wait, there's more. I grew up thinking that that's the way things was sposed to be. However....

I was raised Presbyterian, but my wife spent serious time in an Old Regular Baptist congregation. No choir. No instruments. Congregational singing in unison. In each congregation several people were deemed song leaders. Song leaders included both men and women and they took turns starting the songs and lining them out. The song leaders were not chosen because of their voices. My wife admits that this arrangement is much more "congregation-friendly" if less musically sophisticated. However the results (at least to my ear) can be strangely and hauntingly beautiful.


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: Alice
Date: 06 Dec 00 - 12:28 PM

Russ, in the pre-Vatican council (1960's) days of the Catholic church, the choir did the singing, everything was in Latin, and the congregation was supposed to not sing. After the Vatican council changes, the Mass was changed to the language of the congregation instead of Latin, the congregation is expected to participate by saying the responses (instead of having altar boys saying them) and singing. The whole point of the changes, including getting rid of the choir in alot of parishes, was to get the people to actively participate in the services. Frankly, I think alot of the good music that was eliminated should not have been, and it can be just as prayerful and participative to listen and contemplate the music as to have to sing it yourself.


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: mousethief
Date: 06 Dec 00 - 12:44 PM

Roger: it depends on whether they're on the "old" or "new" calendar. The Church of Greece is on the New calendar (their xmas is the same as the latins/protties); there are schismatic groups in Greece who are on the old calendar (I believe January 7, not 6, is their christmas). So without knowing which group your friends belong to, we can't say when they celebrate Christmas. Why not ask them?

Mark: OCA (Metropolitan Theodosius), new calendar, no pews, no organ. Our parish was founded in 1900 by a bunch of coal miners from the Carpathogenian (or whatever) mountains, and a handful from other parts of eastern Europe. It's evolved quite a bit in the last 100 years, but we still have no pews! We have the same problem getting people to choir practice that you mention. But people do get more serious during Lent, practicing all the music for Pascha.

One interesting note: at the Antiochian church in Memphis, one of the older members (this was one of the churches that came in from the EOC) said that she and her contemporaries really miss the western Christmas music, whereas for their kids, the western stuff is just stuff you hear in the stores; for THEM, "Christmas music" is "the earth offers thee a cave" and such. Just one generation.

Happy holidays to all,
Alex


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 06 Dec 00 - 12:59 PM

Alice, good point. All I was really saying is that I personally would have gotten a lot more out of church attendance had I been able to join comfortably in the singing. I didn't realize how much I liked to sing until I started doing it informally during the folk scare.


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: Mark Clark
Date: 06 Dec 00 - 01:06 PM

More thread creep...

Ebbie, I think St. Nicholas is also the oldest Orthodox church in North America. And don't forget St. Herman of Alaska. The Russians were the first to bring Orthodoxy to this continent and remained the only jurisdiction with a North American presence until early in the last century.

RtS, Greeks celebrate all feast days except Pascha according to the "new calendar" so Christmas is celebrated along with all western denominations. The old calendar Orthodox communities use the calendar of Julius Caesar (Julian, c. 64 BC) for all feast days. Christmas is still on December 25 but, since the Julian calendar is not in precise synchronization with astronomical observation, the two calendars are now twelve days out of alignment.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: Burke
Date: 06 Dec 00 - 05:15 PM

Russ, when hymns are sung in parts the sopranos normally get the melody. The hymns are not really written for sopranos, I rarely need to use my head voice for them. They are, or should be, written for middle range voices of baritone & mezzo-soprano in the appropriate octave. Most people fall into that range.

A lot of popular music, especially for women, is really low in the chest voice. Since that's what we're exposed to, a lot of people never really learn to sing even the slightly higer notes. An example is a school choir director in a usenet group who said the kids complained about hitting the C above Middle C. For men that would be the equivalent of middle C. You might not want to hit it a lot, but most should not be uncomfortable there.

That being said, presumably one reason for the development of simple harmonies is because we are not all average. Some people just feel more comfortable a bit higher or lower from the pitches given. An octave higher or lower is a long way off, but a 3rd or 5th can put the tune in a much more comfortable range. Your voice may just not fall naturally in that average midrange.

I'm going to strongly disagee about not wanting the congregation to sing. The choir wants the congregation to sing. The anthem is when you just listen. Hymns we do during communion are sort of optional because you can't really sing on the way up & back, keeping track of where we are can be difficult, and the individual may prefer to meditate during this time. I'm in a choir that sings every week, but I've been in ones that sang only every other week. In those situations the week off put the choir in the congregation & most of us sing out even then.

When I was in the Lutheran Church, we used to have organists who got so fancy with their hymn arrangements that it could be really hard to join in. Keys would modulate at the verse; there would be an interlude so we didn't know when to sing; the accompaniment would get so fussy that the melody or the rhythm or both were lost; singing the parts is almost impossible. I thought it was show off organists, but a recent conversation with someone who's been studing church musicianship revealed that it's deliberatley encouraged in Lutheran training. Has something to do with wanting unison instead of harmony singing. I wonder if they realize how hard they made it to sing.


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: Sorcha
Date: 06 Dec 00 - 07:31 PM

I thought that another reason for the weird keys in Church music was that it is very easy for keyboardists to play in the "flat" keys..........?


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 07 Dec 00 - 11:02 AM

Burke, thanks for the thoughtful, rational, non-defensive reply.

Let me give this another shot.

What I was trying to sort out is a phenomenon I have noticed in my own life: - I always found it very difficult to sing along with the choirs in churches. - I have consistently found it very easy to sing along with other folk musicians whether in jams, song-circles, etc.

I have sung with knowledgeable and even professionally trained singers in informal situations. No on has ever suggested that my singing range is unusual. I have had no reason to think that my "voice may just not fall naturally in that average midrange." But as I said, I had always assumed that my problem was some problem with my voice and range until I had choirmembers reassure me that my problem was a common one.

So even if it is true that hymns "are, or should be, written for middle range voices " my limited experience is that they are not sung by the choirs I have heard in keys that people with "middle range voices" can sing in comfortably.

As for my claim about choirs not wanting the congregation to sing, I was exaggerating for effect. But in my defense, "wanting" is not a binary phenomenon so that someone either wants (1) or does not want (0) something. Wanting is a matter of degree. If, on a scale of 10, a choir and choir director's degree of wanting the congregation to sing was a 10, then they would do everything possible to make it easy for the congregation to sing. Once again, in my limited experience, I would give the choirs and choir directors I have heard a 4.5. They don't make it impossible exactly, but they sure don't make it easy.

I can speak with a lot of in experience in making things easy. I am one of the leaders of a folk-type club. We get together every month to sing. I want (10 on a scale of 10) everybody who shows up to sing when we are doing our group singing. I am willing to do whatever it takes to get as many people singing as I can, no matter what their skill level. Thus I push a common repertoire of SIMPLE songs. Some of the musically sophisticated members of the group groan whenever I say "Let's do Mole in the Ground." I make sure that we sing these simple songs in the most accessible keys for the entire group. I make sure we do them at a moderate tempo. Etc. etc. My goal here is not optimal sound but optimal participation. Admittedly, group singing isn't the only thing we do. We give out divas and various small subgroups their chance to shine. But I view my job as developing a sense of group identity by singing as a group. All my efforts have made me even more aware of the differences between my approach to group singing and the approach taken by the choirs and choir directors I have experienced.

So, my point is that if a choir "wants" (say in the 8 range) the congregation to sing, they have to work at it probably a lot harder than they are. They probably have to make a number of musical compromises that they don't want to make. Which is fine with me.

The reference to my wife's singing experiences were not cited to praise a style of singing (Old Regular Baptist) but to point to a singing environment I find much more congregation-friendly than that in the more structured mainstream Protestant Christian churches I am familiar with.

You refer to "organists who got so fancy with their hymn arrangements that it could be really hard to join in." That is exactly what I am talking about. But what I am also claiming is that even when a choir does not think it is being hard to deal with, it is for the people like me in the congregation.

Hope this better expresses my thoughts.


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: Burke
Date: 07 Dec 00 - 05:40 PM

Celtic Bard, I hope all goes or went well in your meeting today.


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: Callie
Date: 07 Dec 00 - 05:46 PM

Ha! We have the opposite problems in our choir. It is such a democratic choir where everyone gets a go, that the talented singers are known to get miffed when they're overlooked!

Find another choir Rebecca - there are so many groups who would want your enthusiasm and eloquence. Why stay and get annoyed?


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 07 Dec 00 - 06:57 PM

The C above middle C? I was the only person in the school who could hit it when I was 12! And that was after 4 years in the choir. Add another 24 years to that and when in practice I can get the octave above it..... it scares the cat to pieces!!

Oh, and for those grumblers there, I can get the G below middle C, as well.....but not symultanously.

Hope the choir problem is sorted - I got the opposite problem, in that I nearly always got picked for solos. It got really boring in the end for everyone. When I matured out a bit, it got nicer because I wasn't doing the soppy boy soprano bits, (I know, I'm a girl, we had no boys at my school..... or in the choir, leastways, not one that could carry a tune without the aid of a bucket....) and it was a lot nicer for everyone when we got a couple more decent singers in!

LTS


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: sophocleese
Date: 07 Dec 00 - 08:05 PM

GUEST Russ, I have to admit that I usually feel that I'm singing in the wrong key when I'm with a bunch of folkies singing simple tunes. They're always pitched low and once my voice warms up I want to sing higher and higher. Its not a matter of showing off but wanting to sing where I'm comfortable. Hymns seem to fit me quite nicely. So I think it is simply a matter of voice placement. Clearly whoever decides the range that hymns fall into has a voice in the same range as I do.

Hmmm Liz, my 8 year old son just started singing in a local choir (more enthusiasm on his part than skill, but that will improve). Their music goes up sometimes to the D an octave and one (second) above middle C, is your middle C the same as my middle C? Then again he is the only one in his entire school who is in the choir.


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: Auxiris
Date: 08 Dec 00 - 06:30 AM

Rather than offer any advice, I'd like to tell you a story, if I may. . . a true one, though that is certainly not to say that the others I've told are not true, my dear friends. Once upon a time, not so very long ago, though at times it might seem to be, there was a high school choir director whose name was Mr Bay. Not a stuffy, old-fashioned, dandruffy sort of choir director, but a young, lively, imaginative Afro-American one. He had just replaced a choir director of the stuffy, old-fashioned, dandruffy type at the beginning of the term and had spent all the first part of the school year shaking up his various vocal music classes and alternately either coaxing, sweet-talking, bullying or harrassing his students into singing their very best in class. Suddenly all those boring breathing exercises and warm-up scales started to make sense and everyone began to sing much, much better than ever before. Anthony, the class clown who hadn't ever sung with much enthusiam before, began to enjoy music classes and practice at home, learning to breathe properly and so on and discovered that his true voice was in the counter-tenor range, even though he was in the tenor section in class. Not even his younger brother's teasing about "Tony sings like a girl" bothered him and more than one of his neighbours stopped to listen when they were passing by if he happened to be singing.

Now, it was the end of October, dear friends and Mr Bay was busy selecting music for the Christmas concert and deciding who would have the solo parts. He announced in class that auditions would be held all week long and the results posted on the main bulletin board the following Monday. Amongst the solos selected for the concert was a piece that Anthony thought he'd like to try out for and signed up on the audition list. He thought he had a good chance to be given the solo, as the song was not only for counter-tenor but written in Italian and Anthony had grown up speaking Italian as well as English, thanks to his grandmother. He auditioned for the solo along with others in his class and felt he'd sung the best, as the others were tenors and all the rest of them had to use falsetto to reach the highest notes and he hadn't, being the only true counter-tenor to audition. Indeed, Mr. Bay was rather surprised that Anthony had the least interest in singing a solo, let alone that one?as it was quite difficult---since he'd been warned about this particular student's laziness in class by the previous choir director. Also, Mr Bay had a preference for Alvin, another of his students and finally awarded the solo to him, even though Alvin's voice wasn't nearly as suitable as Anthony's soaring, pure counter-tenor. "I'll just change the key", thought Mr. Bay, "No one will be able to tell the difference and after all, I'm the choir director! Who would dare question my decision?"

The following Monday, Anthony went straight to the bullentin board to check the audition results and was shocked to see that the solo had been given to Alvin when he knew he'd sung better and waited until the end of the day to have a word with Mr. Bay. However, Mr. Bay just told Anthony that his decision was final and that he'd have to wait until next year's concert. "But, Mr. Bay, please give me another chance! I've worked so hard and I know the song already. . . I promise you won't be sorry!" pleaded Anthony, only to be told once more that the selection for the concert was final. Struggling to keep back bitter, angry tears, he started for the door and Mr Bay said, thinking no one else would hear him, "Besides, you didn't really think I'd give you the solo when I've got Afro-American students to choose from, did you?"

Well, Mr. Bay only thought that no one else would hear what he said, but I did, because Anthony was my friend and I was waiting for him outside the music room door.

Aux

P.S. Sorry if this is a flagrant example of thread creep, doesn't have to do with church choirs or if I've been long-winded.


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: Burke
Date: 11 Dec 00 - 07:50 PM

Rebecca,
How did it go?

Russ, you did get my back up with saying choirs don't want the congregations to sing. I must admit I'm not always sure about the organist, but choirs do want the congregation to sing. I do agree that wanting the congregation to sing and knowing how to really accomplish it are 2 different things. In my personal look at history, it seems like every movement to improve congregational singing has ended up producing choirs. I'm personally inclined to think the organ does little or nothing to encourage congregational singing. I'd prefer almost anything, piano, guitars, a-cappella with strong leaders to organ, especially one played badly.

In a bit of defense for the organists, there are more churches that want organists than there are good ones out there. Most churches do not need & cannot afford to hire a full time musician so often the organist doing the best they can with somewhat limited skills. As to key, that's set by the hymnal they're playing from unless they are really good at transposing at the keyboard.

The recent hymnal compilers, so far as I can tell, have tried to put the hymns in more singable keys than the originals often are. I compared my Welsh-American book to the Presbyterian Hymnal and found that almost all hymns in both were a step & sometimes 2 lower in the Presby than in the Welsh, which really does want part singing. I meant to ask some of the alto in choir how uncomfortable they feel on the melodies in our hymnal but forgot. I looked at a couple of hymnals where it seems like the expected range is mostly and octave from d-d. Any that go higher always seem to also go down to c or b, & they don't seem to want to go lower than that.


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: sophocleese
Date: 11 Dec 00 - 10:46 PM

Burke, you just reminded me of something else. I asked my husband how much lower than usual a song had to be before he found it uncomfortable and how much higher it had to be before he found it uncomfortable. His answer was that two full tones lower and it became difficult but it only had to go one tone higher for it to be tricky, or uncomfortable. So I wonder if that's a function of the original key or a higher level of discomfort with something too high rather than too low.


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 12 Dec 00 - 12:15 AM

My wife and I had more of a concert than a wedding. We were very fortunate that we had a family friend to play the organ for the 'churchy' bits. We sat down with a group of friends of mixed voices, sang htem all, experimented and agreed that they would be much more singable if we brought the feys down by 1.5 to 2 whole tones. We advised the organist and she was happy to accede. Come wedding day I turned to wife on each occasion that these hymns were being sung and said something like "That bitch is playing them in the original keys". When I tackled her afterwards she smiled sweetly and said "I figured that on the actual day that you'd be too excited to even notice".

This has been a fascinating thread. I hope that Rebecca has fared well.

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: The Celtic Bard
Date: 18 Dec 00 - 07:53 PM

I know what you're all thinking. It's about time Rebecca stuck her head back in here. I'm sorry but I've been busy and plus with all the people on-line doing their Christmas shopping, the server I use has been busy.

Well, for the moment you've all been waiting for. I talked to my choir director and asked her why she choose only worship team members. She said with the church expanding like it has been, she wanted to put on a professional show. It turns out that the song I thought she had lied about was actually a different song with the same title. She offered to let me sing for her again and then gave me some pointers. She told me to practice at home and sing for her on Sunday at practice. When I did she decided to give me the solo. I sang it yesterday for all three services and everyone told me that I did really good. I know that I did good.

However I felt guilty that she gave me a solo just because I raised a fuss. I told her at our meeting that I wanted her to give me a solo on the merit of my voice and not because I said something. I also apologized for the rather angry message I left on her machine and for accusing her of lying.

My sister said that it sounded like she gave me the solo just to shut me up and keep me from going to the choir as a whole.

I guess in the end that I'm more confused than ever. I'm glad that I got a chance to prove that I could get up there and sing. However now I'm wondering whether she did it just because I said something. I loved doing the choir and the concert was great. You are so right, Kernow John, when you said that I should remember that I'm doing it for God and not for my choir director. Thank you so much for reminding me of that. In the end it's about a very special baby's birth and not about getting the solo or looking good in front of the congergation.

Thank you everyone for your advice, criticism, hard questions, and support. Have a very Merry Christmas.

Rebecca

P.S. Sorcha, in response to your comment, I just want to say that I like to think that life is fair and that the church is immune to human failings. I know it's not. I'm not saying that my church is special, I just like to think that it is. Thank you for your comments.


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: InOBU
Date: 18 Dec 00 - 08:40 PM

Hi Rebbecca! :-)
Just to let you know, we at the YCL (Young Communist League) Meet every Sunday, from 9 to 11, am, and WE all get to sing, have solos and are really nice to each other! Besides, insead of a coffie hour afterwards, you get Borcht, Vodka, and Beer. Soooo, come and have a nice wee sing with the comrads, and a hug.
Arise ye prisoners of starvation, Arise ye wretched of the earth!
:-0
Larry


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Dec 00 - 09:16 PM

Oh for Gods sake........get a life.


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: CamiSu
Date: 19 Dec 00 - 12:01 PM

Rebecca

Perhaps instead of giving you a solo to shut you up, she has instead discovered another voice she can offer solos to, as well as one who will practice with her pointers? (Next year you'll know for sure.) As to remembering who you're singing for, that's also a wonderful way to handle the shakes when doing the solo! (Our church has no choir, and I am the substitute soloist of last choice--owing, I hope, to the fact that I am also a Sunday School teacher, and they prefer not to pull me out of there...)

CamiSu


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: GUEST,the atheist in the Choir
Date: 19 Dec 00 - 01:50 PM

Seriously, I doubt whether a really good musician (instrumental or vocal) needs a God to worship. If the music's good, sing it. If you think you could do it better than the people who get to do it, either you're wrong or you've got a legitimate complaint. I once led a whole congregation of Unitarians in singing "A Man's a Man for A' That". I wasn't the best voice there, but I had the only authentic Scots accent.


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Dec 00 - 02:10 PM

The best carol singing doesn't go in for solos, just the occasional party piece. I'm talking, of course, about the Village Carols tradition - best heard and best sung in pubs rather than churches (more ecumenical that way).


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: The Celtic Bard
Date: 19 Dec 00 - 09:09 PM

Again I would like to thank everyone who contributed to this thread.

I am seriously considering taking a voice class that is offered at my school to get some professional help with my voice. There is also a concert choir that I might dig up the courage to try out for. I'm going to continue to improve my voice.

Thank you everyone for all of your comments.

Have a very Merry Christmas.

Rebecca <><


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Dec 15 - 01:32 PM

Joyce Moes

The solos in my choir do not go to the best voices but to those who kiss up to the director. I have tried and certainly have been prepared to audition but the raspy soprano and her pal always get the solos. I have been given a song leader position based on my hard work and voice. However, the raspy soprano and her pal are given the weddings and funerals. It is not fair - why not give a few others in the choir a chance not only me? We have some men and women who have excellent voices and musicianship. Need your help!!


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 Dec 15 - 12:52 AM

Well, I have to say that singing groups in general, not just church choirs, tend to be very political. I was in one choir where the choir director's wife was the only one who consistently got solos, and she was a horrible singer and the nastiest person in the choir. But she was a Force To Be Reckoned With, and she would have made things very unpleasant for the rest of us if she didn't get the solos she wanted.

And the choir director, a really good guy, would have been really miserable.

I was in a caroling group where I thought I was the director and another guy was emcee, but the other guy thought HE was director. Turns out that I had been replaced as director when I was off on vacation one year, and nobody bothered to tell me. The other guy died, so now they're happy to have me as both emcee and director. But it was really awkward for a while.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Help: Really mad at my choir director
From: kendall
Date: 03 Dec 15 - 09:04 AM

I'm with Bert.


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