The topic before me this afternoon is what are the roles and responsibilities of choristers, instrumentalists, the choir master and technical the team in fulfilling corporate worship. Let me quickly draw our attention to the fact that choristers role is very important in the church and I am delighted to say that from my observations the 90% choir members, after rehearsal will go the extra mile to download from YouTube and listen to their music. This is particularly the case when we have a new song that is included in the bulletin and sent to the VFC choristers chat room.
I must commend you all for a job well done. In the Last two weeks, while I was discussing the retreat programme with the choir director, I was told that I would speak on this topic. The first thought that came to mind was, what will I say? I strongly believe many of us are familiar with the topic but I still think it is worthwhile “reaching them”.
Those who sing represent the angels who stand around His throne offering hymns of praise. St Paul’s writing to the Corinthians in the first letter suggest, the orthodox “phonema” – I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with understanding also. I will sing with the spirit and I will also sing with understanding also, 1st Corinthians 14:15.
Let me quickly draw our attention to know that it is a thing of joy to be a choir member. The roles define your position in an organization and responsibilities define the function of your position.
THE CHOIR MINISTRY
Basically the role means the part you are going to perform and responsibilities are how accountable you are for the results produced by your roles. One of the major roles as a choir, like the Levites, is to minister with songs, so that we can attend to the needs and wants of those who come to worship by use of music. The Levites never sang nor played for entertainment. The choir ministry is not for entertainment. The role in simple words is that what did you do there? For example The roles of the choir in church is to sing and the responsibilities is to learn new songs and show up to practice and Sunday services.
There are various roles and responsibilities of the choristers, instrumentalists, choir master and technical team in corporate worship but I will like to highlight few of them. So here are the list.
THE ROLES OF THE CHORISTERS
1. The Choir plays the role of leading the congregation in divine worship singing songs of faith, comfort, hope, forgiveness of sin, coming of Christ, His death and resurrection, redemption of the word by his love and life everlasting.
2. Choristers must have an attitude of service striving to give their very best to God.
3. Choristers can also help the congregation appreciate a wide variety of musical styles as well as deepen their faith and love for God.
4. Choristers must have listening skills and pay attention to what they are hearing. Listening to others in your part will help you stay in tune. Reaching out to hear the other part will help you stay in tune enjoy and get a better understanding of harmony.
THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE CHORISTERS
1. Every single member of the choir has the responsibility to know their part to attend rehearsal regularly on Friday and Sunday after service Choristers should arrive early to properly warm up their voice important for a rehearsal. The most important is simply to turn up every week.
2. Good Behaviour: Choristers should conduct themselves in an orderly manner both at rehearsal and on Sunday service, Reading Musical Notation: With the assistance of the choir master choristers should strive to learn how to read music and available for sight reading class 30 minutes before full rehearsal starts on Friday.
3. Punctuality: Choristers must be punctual in attending rehearsal and shall be in the church at least 25 minutes before the schedule.
4. Participation/Commitment: A chorister should commit to normal Friday rehearsal the way we do in VFC. It is the responsibility of the choristers to inform the choir master if you need to be absent from a rehearsal or service. Never leave the choir master questioning your level of commitment. Chorister should practice beyond rehearsal at home going over the music. Choristers require participating during Sunday service as well as special services like Wedding, Birthday, and Burials.
5. Discipline: If you are not disciplined you have no business in the choir. No choir can make any progress if members are lacking discipline. Every chorister should have fear of God and be humble. The motto of every choir member-should be sing unto God as the theme of our 2016 choir festival.
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF INSTRUMENTALIST IN THE CHURCH
1. Consistent involvement in the worship.
2. Instrumentalist must have the ability to play a wide variety of music in order to accompanied as needed.
3. Maintenance of the instrument
4. Instrumentalist must know that instrument playing is not to show case your talent to congregation but to lead them in the worship
5. Maintain a regular schedule of personal practice to be prepared to perform all music for rehearsal and service.
6. Play at all services of the church as well as wedding, Birthday, and Funerals.
ROLE AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF A CHOIR MASTER
1. The Role of choir master is to help the choir and the congregation grows as disciples of Jesus Christ though worship and music.
2. Preparation of the choir for the participation in the Sunday service.
3. Conducts effective and productive rehearsals
4. Vision; looking for ways to expand and enrich the music program of the church.
5.Work together with the members of the choir.
5.Choir is the primary responsibility of the choir master.
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE TECHNICAL TEAM IN THE CHURCH SERVICE
1. Be Responsible for adjusting sound levels during service as needed.
2. Responsible for proper sound check: Includes gain settings, monitor mixers, proper volume setting, and the mixing process.
3. Be Skilled in hearing live music in its part, with the ability to control sound equipment so that the entire worship service heard clearly and naturally in the worship space.
4. Responsible for recording the service.
5. Lastly talk with the choir master to find out if issues existing for them during service- review
In conclusion, if God has blessed you with the gift of singing, give as living sacrifice to Him by joining the VFC choir or youth ensemble. As our songs bring comfort, Zeal, Inspiration, hope, Joy to us and our listeners, it is our fervent prayer that at the end we shall join the host of Angels in praising God for ever more. I am confident to say that choir is the only department that has roles to play in Heaven. I will leave us all with this thought especially the choristers, what role do I play in the choir as a whole?
This speech was delivered by Babatunde Shosanya at the Choir Retreat Saturday 6 April 2016 at the Bistro, Airtel Building, Babana Island, Lagos, Nigeria.
Shosanya Babatunde is a Choir Master and Organist. He holds
M.A (Music Edu), M.A (Theory/Composition), B. Sc (Hons), P.G.D.E (Music Edu), P.G.D.E. (NTI) Dip. Music, I.G.C.S.E Music Examiner.