It’s summer! So does that mean the choir must cease and desist all until fall? No, and I again I say NO! For many years my choir would sing throughout the school year and then take a sabbatical for the summer months. After all, many of our singers are taking vacations and spending more time out and about. I always noticed in the fall when we started back up how it took a few months to really get back in the groove. When you only rehearse once a week, it takes time to gel as a group after a three month break. I kept thinking, “there has to be a better way.”
I tried a few things like having the choir rehearse every other week and sing once a month or once every three weeks. The issue of getting people out for rehearsals during the summer months was tough. After a few lame attempts at running some type of summer choir program, an idea came to me that worked very well for my situation. Feel free to modify it to make it work for your ministry, and I also give you permission to claim it as your own – The ENCORE Choir.
During the year our choirs sing so many songs that our congregations LOVE to hear, so why not repeat them. We listen to the same songs over and over again on our playlists, and radio stations play the hits every single day. I looked at the songs we sang from September to May and chose ones the choir and congregation loved. I scheduled those every other week throughout the summer. Here is the beauty of this system. The choir already knows these well and can sing them without rehearsal. On our last rehearsal in the spring, we would run through those 5 or 6 songs. I throw in a brush-up rehearsal right in the middle of summer and we are set. I found that not only was this a great benefit to our services in the summer, but it kept my choir singing throughout the year. I know it sounds crazy, but even singing together every other week on Sunday morning helped us not have that adjustment period when we kicked back into our fall schedule. There were times we had to adjust the Sundays if too many singers were gone on vacation, but most of the time I found people even adjusted their summer schedule to be in the choir on the Sundays we sang. It truly has become summertime and the singing is easy.
- Take a quick poll of your choir members and ask for their favorite anthems. Let them choose the songs to sing during the summer months.
- Do you have a budding director or another musician in the choir capable of directing? Consider letting them direct one of the summer pieces – the choir already knows it, and you get a chance to hear and be a singer in your own choir.
Sing on, friend!
R. Kevin Boesiger