Singing While Gray

Thanks to Rev. Dr. Anna Hall from Convergence for sharing this Great Idea for re-envisioning ‘church choir’.

Rev. Dr. Anna Hall outlines a number of challenges congregations are facing with regard to congregational singing – particularly those related to aging church. membership and smaller memberships: elder voices ‘struggle to hit the high notes’, lay musicians travel more once retired (and to see grandchildren), continuing discomfort with singing due to Covid and other diseases. You can add to this list, I’m sure.

She then cites an article from Bryan Hehn, Director of the Center for Congregational Song, which ‘highlighted the dilemmas of a choir director whose musicians were not only aging but in declining health’.

Dr. Hall suggests reenvisioipning our purpose for church choirs, creating space for how folx participate – and even lead – in church choirs, and affirming that singing together has mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits for individuals and the congregation as a whole.

To tips included in Hehn’s article, Dr. Hall adds only three of her own:

  • Choose music that is adaptable to older voices
  • Stay flexible – plans can quickly change with a small choir if a few people are absent
  • Have fun! Singing together is one of the great joys of life, no matter how old we are.

Read Rev. Dr. Anna Hall’s full article here.

Finally, Hall reminds us that worries ‘can come more from performance and consumerist values than our Christian faith’; letting go of previous expectations may be a form of grace that extends the joy and life of the church’s choir!