Sunday, June 18, 2006

How to coordinate a choir

I had a surprise today. Some members of the choir asked me to delegate some of what I do to them. They were all concerned that I was finding it too much (I was like what gave it away - My fatigue? My complete lack of joy? And it took you this long to notice?!). So I said I'd write a list of all the different thing I do and we could work out what others could do and what I have to do. This is it:
  • Find out feasts/readings for Masses in advance (anywhere from 4 weeks to 4 months)
  • Nag the PP to plan/make decisions (Seriously! If I don't, we get given really challenging music like 5 minutes before the Mass. This is a campaign in itself. I began asking for a planning session for the Easter liturgies in January (3.5 months in advance). We got around to planning at the beginning of April - 3 weeks before Easter - just too late to properly learn new music).
  • Read (and read around) the readings
  • Identify themes
  • Select relevant songs/hymns (sourcing music if necessary)
  • Narrow music selection based on what we know and how much time we have
  • Pray

For each weekly practice;

  • Pray
  • Plan music to rehearse based on events of the next two weeks (longer if there is a big event coming up)
  • Learn/refresh knowledge of music
  • Try to plan a warm-up/vocal exercise in the rehearsal in such a way that no one will notice it
  • Pray
  • Have a good lunch
  • Leave work on time
  • Run rehearsal (90 mins)
  • Neither say or think anything that could possibly be interpreted as a critism (including things like, 'we went flat' or 'could we sing this more quietly')
  • Keep positive the whole time and take nothing personally
  • Have a prepared explaination or rationale for every hymn choice, action and suggestion I make
  • Remember to remind everyone of the next and upcoming events
  • Leave last
  • Sleep

For each and every event/performance;

  • Get a good nights sleep
  • Pray
  • Formalise and type up music schedule for the event
  • Get to Church about 30-60 mins before event
  • Get music selection approved by both the PP and celebrant
  • Find out what unusual thing is happening and how it will impact the music
  • Put up hymn numbers
  • Copy and cut music schedule for choir and celebrant
  • Run performance
  • Be positive and take nothing personally
  • Remind everyone of next and upcoming events
  • Go home and sleep

My criteria for a successful event;

  1. Nothing unusual happens
  2. The choir sings in tune
  3. I am still standing and have not had anyone tell me off

I think I may have to edit this list slightly before I present it to everyone.

1 comment:

PeteB said...

I think I made it 4 lots of PRAY and 3 lots of SLEEP so I reckon you've got it about right!
I'm sure you've realised by now that for every 10 positive comments you get after a Sunday service, that ONE obliquely negative hint just destroys all that's gone before!
Stick in there!
I think it's really good that you've got them all behind you and wanting to help out. Be encouraged by that - don't think it's because you're failing - it's because they want 'ownership' and more personal involvement!
Either that - or they've discovered your Blog! You know, you're not quite as anonymous as you probably think on these things!