Excellence in all things and all things for the glory of God!
There is no getting around it, if we want excellence to be a part of our ministry it takes planning. To ensure my choir is well prepared for each Sunday, I pick all the anthems we will sing from August through December. This means I spend quite a bit of time in the summer listening to new music and looking over what is available in my own music library. I love the first couple of choir rehearsals because we sing through all the anthems for the fall (generally 12-15 songs, plus our Christmas music). This helps me in a number of ways. First, I can assess which songs will require more time in rehearsal and which songs we’ll learn quickly. I get immediate feedback on the music. It doesn’t take much time to figure out which anthems will be the “top picks” and which ones I have to tell my choir, “you will grow to appreciate!” Having all the music ahead of time allows the lyrics and music to seep into the minds and hearts of my singers, an extremely important element in effectively communicating the music with excellence. I always include in our repertoire 4-5 pieces we have sung in the past. These are songs I know the congregation and choir both love. The anthems we redo allow more time in rehearsal for new music, but also provide time to work on good vocal production since they already know the parts well.
As musicians we must strive for excellence and never be satisfied with where we are. There is always room for improvement. Encourage your singers by choosing music you know they will like or pieces they already know. Challenge them to grow as musicians by choosing pieces that will push them as musicians and help better their talents. I tell all the performing groups I conduct, I need musicians, not singers and players. There is a difference and the difference is the willingness to learn and improve in the gifts God has given us. After all, doesn’t God deserve our very best? The Psalms tell us to “Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.” ~Psalm 33:3
Sing on, friends!
R. Kevin Boesiger
Editor’s Note: Take a “Closer Look” at these approachable anthems composed and edited for success for choirs of any size. Included is a brand new anthem by Kevin Boesiger and Mary McDonald called “COME HOME.” Highly recommended!