Music Ministry Minute: Choir
When I was praying about this Ministry Minute, I decided to do a little research about the origin of church choirs. And I was a little surprised to find out that the choirs didn’t evolve from the first church or Christianity. We find in First Chronicles that the first “church choir” was appointed by King David some 3,000 years ago
Now these are the singers, heads of fathers' households of the Levites, who lived in the chambers of the temple free from other service; for they were engaged in their work day and night. (1 Chron. 9:33)
And then I found further in 1st Chronicles,
Now when David reached old age, he made his son Solomon king over Israel. And he gathered together all the leaders of Israel with the priests and the Levites. And the Levites were numbered from thirty years old and upward, and their number by census of men was 38,000. Of these, 24,000 were to oversee the work of the house of the LORD; and 6,000 were officers and judges, and 4,000 were gatekeepers, and 4,000 were praising the LORD with the instruments which David made for giving praise. (1 Chron 23:1-5)
Can you imagine 4,000 praising the Lord with music? You may have noticed that the St. James Choir is a little less than 4,000 these days. I’ve been in the choir since 1991 and I can remember a time when we had close to 30 members. It was so big that the choir room was almost too small to hold us and we completely filled the choir loft. Currently, we have 8 members—small but mighty!
We’re hoping to achieve those kinds of numbers again. Thirty, not four thousand! To be sure, being part of the choir is a ministry that serves God and the people of this church. We help lead worship by knowing the hymns that we all sing, we celebrate the everyday and the big holidays by the anthems that we prepare, and we honor members of our congregation at memorials, weddings and baptisms.
We are very blessed in the talent of our Director, Dr. Ray Bannon—and are you aware that he plays while he conducts the choir? That’s very unusual. Someday, we’d like to have an accompanist (do we have a secret pianist out there?). And you may have noticed that Mother Joyce is a little interested in music, as well.
Unlike King David’s time, it isn’t necessary for you to sing day and night. To be a member of the choir, it requires you to attend practice every Thursday at 7 p.m. and to be faithful in your attendance on Sundays. There will be a few other required dates as well.
Look at the benefits: you always have a seat at Christmas and Easter, and you always know what you’re wearing on Sundays. And it’s lots of fun—every Thursday is filled with laughter and singing. We pray and support each other.
If you like to sing, but are insecure about your abilities to read music, come talk to one of us. Reading music is a benefit, but not absolutely necessary. We can teach you what you need to know. And remember, Mother Joyce has offered a voice lesson for the first person who joins the choir.
So pray about it and consider celebrating the Lord in this very special way!