Directors' Toolbox

Small Groups during Slim Summer Sundays

April 19, 2011

Having been a church choir director now for many years, I have been faced with the dilemma of what to do during the slim summer months when my choir members are on vacations or spending the weekends at the lake with their children.

My church is one that doesn’t like the music program to take a break during the summer months, so I have to find creative ways to utilize the choir members that I have even when I am left with only one or two sopranos, or one or two men.

Last year I tried something different that went over very well for me and I want to pass the idea along because it worked out so well!  I asked my choir members to give me their vacation schedules early, and I put together small groups to fill the void of the missing choir during our worship services.  I had a ladies trio, a male quartet, a ladies ensemble, and a mixed ensemble.

I was able to choose appropriate music for each of these groups through www.jwpepper.com.  I found material that was easy to learn and that my congregation felt was blessed;  but more importantly, during the difficult summer months when I didn’t have a full choir present for rehearsals, I was able to use my regularly scheduled rehearsal time for my small group and still program new and valuable music that ministered to our congregation.  Music ministers are often called upon to be creative and work with what they have, and this worked so well for me last year that I am planning a full summer like this again this year!

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2 Comments

  • Reply Nancy Ryther August 10, 2011 at 10:04 am

    I am a director of a very very small choir. The congregation loves that we have a choir and are very appreciative of the music and worship we share with them. However, I often am frustrated in trying to find music suitable for such a small group of volunteers, the core of which do not have musical training. On occasion, I have a woman with excellent musical skills who is in town and sings with us.

    To come to the point, I have a difficult time finding music and would love some suggestions of general anthems or praise songs or hymn arrangements that are tried and true and might help me bring some fresh music to our worship experience. Duet music, trios, unison pieces, and three-part arrangements would be just our cup of tea. It would also be good if such choices were available through Pepper so that I might be able to purchase soon.

    Thank you for sharing your plan for accommodating low summer attendance. I hadn’t thought to ask well ahead for planned vacations and absences. That sounds like a really good idea for reducing the number of surprises during the year.

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