Why have a church choir? To lead worship; to offer the congregation time to reflect; to allow people to share their talent for the greater good. Let’s face it, even the Psalms of David exhort us to praise God with music – so you’d think a church choir would be totally uncontroversial, wouldn’t you?
Wrong! The choir, being human, would like the congregation to LISTEN to the anthem or whatever other contribution they’ve spent several evenings practising. The congregation, on the other hand, would rather chat, or go and have coffee. It has been suggested to me that some of the congregation resent the choir getting more chances to sing, over and above the hymns that everyone sings. There is an easy answer: come and join the choir, then you can sing more, too!
But this seems reminiscent of Russia’s most diehard Communist days, when orchestras couldn’t have conductors because that was elitist. (Fancy! Waggling a stick to keep time is elitist?) Next thing we know, churches won’t want choirs because they would rather do all the singing themselves, and any musical talent held by either the choir-members or the hapless organist will be regarded as ‘showing off’, rather than sharing their talent to enhance worship.
I’m all for democracy, but to dismiss musicality in worship is about as daft as telling a tennis-player not to win matches because they’ll draw attention to themselves!