The Joy of Singing in the Choir

Bering Memorial United Methodist Church Choir from Houston sings during morning worship at the denomination's 2004 General Conference in Pittsburgh. Houston will be the host city for the 2008 General Conference. A UMNS photo by Mike DuBose. Photo number GC04247, 5/7/04
Bering Memorial United Methodist Church Choir from Houston sings during morning worship at the denomination’s 2004 General Conference in Pittsburgh. A UMNS photo by Mike DuBose.

Choir singing is not as popular as it once was except perhaps in black churches.    But my wife and I have always tried to bring people together to sing as a choir for special holidays and events.   JoAnne arranges for and directs the choir while I sing tenor or in later years, bass.

I have always enjoyed singing in choir.   I have been reflecting upon why.

1.  I simply enjoy harmony.   Whether created by multiple vocal parts or multiple instruments in an ensemble,  harmony is a pleasure to hear and even more pleasurable to be part of making.  If you have the ability to sing harmony, it is very fulfilling to do so.

2. Church choir singing gives the added blessing of filling one’s mind with inspirational songs.   I often find myself singing the choir song we practiced in my mind on other days of the week.  There aren’t very many time investments that help put a song in your heart like choir singing does.

3.  There is a great deal of camaraderie in a choir.  Like any other task-oriented small group, it provides a place to belong, some wholesome banter, a growing relationship with fellow group members, and a sense of purpose and identity.   In fact, in a small choir, one feels quite close to your section singing partners as you strive together season after season to sing your part.

4.  For a church choir, there is the joy of presenting the number we have practiced during church service.   Sure, we may be a bit nervous about doing well, but we are most interested that those who hear are inspired by the message we are trying to bring in music.   When we receive feedback that our work has inspired and encouraged others, we are blessed by that.

5.  Singing in choir uses a gift I have.  By contrast, right now I am not using the gift of trombone playing that I have and I feel bad about that.   My ability will slowly deteriorate.  But on the other hand, when I sing in choir, I use my singing ability, I keep up that skill, so that I am ready for new opportunities to use it.  As a Christian, I believe I am accountable for using my gifts for the benefit of others.

6.  Singing in choir expands my knowledge of Christian music.  Many of the songs we learn are fresh and vibrant expressions of our faith that I have not heard before learning them in choir.

7.  Being a part of the choir has been a starting point for invitations to sing in numerous other types of groups.  Men’s quartets are a riot.  I have sung in a massed choir where choirs from several churches joined together, a great experience.   I was asked to sing the solo part for “He’s Alive” on Easter Sunday while the choir provided back-up, an experience I will never forget.   One year our choir was videoed and put their Christmas cantata on television. I have sung for live nativities and on “living Christmas trees.”  All these experiences and more came to me because I sing in choir.