If a fundamentalist church is of any size at all they will inevitably have a choir of consisting of at least fourteen women and no more than six men. It is possible in smaller churches for the choir to outnumber the rest of the congregation.
Most fundamentalist choirs don’t have a professional director. The guy with the title Music Director usually spends the bulk of his time teaching 5th grade science at the Christian school and cleaning the church bathrooms. They also lack expensive sound equipment, choir robes, and auditions. All that is required to join the choir is a healthy pair of lung and the desire to make a joyful noise. Professionals who think they know better than the choir director and keep whining about things like musical pitch and meter need not apply.
In addition to singing at weekly services the Fundamental Baptist choir is also responsible for the yearly Christmas cantata, Easter cantata, God and Country Sunday, and special music at revivals. The miracle is that they do it all on thirty minutes of practice before the Sunday evening service. It’s a good thing that fundamentalists don’t believe in singing too much new music.
Break out the song books and fire up the organ. As they say in southern churches, “Y’all pray for us now, we ain’t practiced much.”
10 thoughts on “Choirs”
I lasted one whole choir practice at one church…as a musician, it was way too much for me to handle 🙂
As a choir director who does indeed clean the toilets, I must add a hearty halleluia! I streache our practice to an hour and a half and was almost burned at the stake as a heritic. Only slightly singed we persevere. LOL
Ahhhh I’m so glad for our choir. It really is awesome.
Though they do sing the same songs over and over. At least they sound amazing while doing it.
I’d still rather hear a choir than a praise band, ANY day.
I’m with you.
How ’bout a GOOD praise band? :p I like both, personally.
I’m a bit lost on this statement…what’s your definition of a “praise band?”
I’m glad you asked! A “praise band” is a group of instrumental (generally) musicians who provide accompaniment to the singer(s), generally called the “praise leader” or “praise team,” who provide singing leadership of a CCM-based service. The average praise band will consist of a drummer, one or more keyboardists, a lead guitarist, one or more rhythm guitars, a bassist, and whatever odd wind instruments the praise leader wants or the congregation can scare up. Generally, the only member with consequential musical training will be one of the keyboardists, while the guitarists and drummer will likely be non-music-reading, self-taught enthusiasts. Given the nature of guitar charts, this won’t matter. A self-taught drummer can be a problem, of course. Unless the wind players are either excellent sax players or jazz trombones, the winds will be isolated to a musical ghetto – which is OK, since the arrangements for such instruments are usually mediocre, and no one will miss them 85% of the time. Of course if this is some kid of megachurch, the musicians will mainly be on salary and the rock musicians may approach session-quality, depending on the community. And don’t imagine that self-taught musicians are necessarily bad or even second-rate; they just don’t share formal musical training with the others. This does lead to interesting rehearsal and performance issues – many times the STMs will say things like, “that’s not the way they did it on the CD!” And you’ll get YouTube links rather than scores or charts.
You’re right about there being a preponderance of women over men in the choir. I guess there’s still a male mindset that singing is sissy. Wrong! I much prefer to hear men sing than women especially screechy soprano women. Some sopranos are excellent but others make me want to run screaming from the building.
Though you’d think they’d want more tenors and basses (the supposed male parts) they don’t want female tenors. I happen to be such and of course I got looked at like I was a cyclops or something. I don’t see what’s so strange about wanting to sing in a natural voice rather than a falsetto especially if your falsetto sounds like Edith Bunker. But all that we’ve talked about today about how suspicion is always leveled at women no matter what they do, was true in this case as well. I love singing tenor and it feels right. But to the choir director’s wife, I only sang tenor so I could sit close to the men.
Whatever. We’re in a new church now that has no choir because it’s a small church. But I am going to see if we can’t organize one very soon! And I will sing tenor bless God!