Our Choir Director, Ollie Nicolson gives us an insight into the use of the All Souls Choir:
With Church Worship styles constantly changing and more varieties appearing, here are Ollie’s thoughts on why it may be worth the effort to run a choir in your church.
The use of choirs is ordained by God
Choirs were used plenty in Bible times. Several of the Psalms are dedicated to the choirmaster. 1 Chronicles 25 talks of a band of musicians, including singers, 288 strong, with the mission of leading the people in sung worship. Nehemiah 12 talks of choirs leading thanksgiving. I’m not saying that this is the only way things should work today, but there seems to be something special in God’s sight about a group of the people, leading the people, in singing his praise.
It provides the best support for congregational singing
How many times have you been to a “worship” event where it felt like a performance from a few musicians on stage, rather than God’s people singing truth to one another? The danger of performance isn’t completely avoided with a choir, but arrangements of congregational songs can be kept simple to avoid distraction, and there is something hugely encouraging about both the sight and sound of a body of people praising God together.
And some of the most moving moments of worship I’ve experienced have been singing when the band have dropped out and it’s just a capella voices singing to one another. That works so much more effectively when there is the rich harmony of a choir to support things.
A choir can function as a fellowship group
There are only so many church events people can attend each week and it is valid concern that the choir rehearsal can take people away from fellowship and bible teaching groups. At All Souls the choir functions as a fellowship group, with prayer or bible study every week. Over the years we have supported one another through the keenest joys and deepest sorrows of life. Members speak of the choir as a family, and, although everyone has music in common, in all other respects it’s a microcosm of our varied and international Church family.
The glory of God is displayed in the beauty of music
Just as the heavens are telling the glory of God (Psalm 19), so God’s glory is displayed in his creation of music. The beauty of a group of voices singing in harmony is arguably music at its most sublime. Yes, as with anything good, we can idolize perfection and see music as the end in itself. But our hearts can also exult in God-centred joy at the union of beautiful music and his holy word. So strive for excellence as you sing and play for the glory of God!
A choir is a great tool for evangelism
What easier invite to church is there than a choral concert? Put on Handel’s Messiah and complement the music with a short talk about the composer’s inspiration and intent, or bring the house down with some funky Gospel numbers. And what about singing on a busy street, while others hand out bibles and invitations to guest services? These are just some of the ways we’ve used the All Souls choir. What will your church do?
Don’t miss out on hearing the All Souls Choir this Christmas on Friday 15 December at 7:30pm in All Souls Church, tickets available here!