If you were to ask any music minister to list their top five concerns in running a successful choral program, certainly the departmental budget would be somewhere near the top of the list. We have all, at one time or another, felt the pressure of running a music program on a shoestring budget.
Unfortunately, after allotting funds for items such as instrument maintenance, special musical guests, and choir retreats, there is often not much money left for the purchasing of new music. But…you should never fear! If you are savvy and can think “outside of the loft,” your congregation might be able to help you when your budget is limited.
Why not offer the members of your congregation the opportunity to purchase “honorary” anthems for your choir? This can be done in many ways. For example, a congregant might want to purchase an anthem and donate it to the choir in memory of a deceased loved one. Or, a congregant might consider donating an anthem to the choir in celebration of a more joyful occasion, such as a graduation, wedding, anniversary, or retirement.
After a member (or perhaps a family) of your congregation donates an anthem, be sure to place a small sticker inside each copy of the anthem detailing the information behind the donation. This way, as the years pass, the choir will be reminded of how the anthem came into their library.
Also, whenever the anthem is sung, include in your bulletin or program a short note highlighting the circumstances behind the donation. If this practice is followed as the years pass, your congregation will be continually reminded of both the generosity of the donor(s), and the person (or persons) being honored or memorialized.
The folks in our congregations want to contribute their time and resources, financial and otherwise, to their church in a lasting way. However, many of their gestures of love, such as cards and flowers, can easily be discarded and thrown away after a few days. But, the purchasing of an anthem truly has the potential to touch lives and change hearts for many years to come.
I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas! See you next year in “Thinking Outside of the Loft!”