My understanding of the history of Church of the Servant is that the church was established in a time when choirs and pipe organ often took away the voice of the congregation. In order to encourage the “full and active participation” of those in the pews (er…seats), COS shied away from anything but seasonal choirs. So it may seem like an affront to the principles of our worship to introduce a choir as a regular ensemble at COS.
Wait—I can explain!
First of all, the choir is not primarily an anthem choir. The goal is not to present a lot of pretty music to which the congregation sits and listens. Instead, it is a liturgical choir that will support and adorn the congregation’s voice. We introduce new songs, add descants and harmonies, sing portions of the liturgy, and assume the cantor’s role in responsive psalmody.
Musically, it adds a sustaining voice that supports the congregation’s singing well. Most importantly, it adds an entry-level ensemble to the church’s music ministry. Currently, musicians must be extremely proficient to take part in COS’s worship: pianists must play in a variety of styles, cantors must sight read proficiently and instrumentalists must read and transpose at sight. It’s important that we have an ongoing ensemble accessible to “regular people.” The choir meets this need.
I believe whole-heartedly in the principle that the congregation is the primary choir in worship, but I think that at this point in the church’s life a steady choir is an appropriate way to support the people’s voice.
Can’t tell a Sanctus from a Sursum Corda?
Up all night with a wondering about worship?
Want to join the choir?
Contact Greg: email@example.com.