Church choirs’ main aim is to help people pray, says archbishop
Members of church choirs attending the St Cecilia’s Celebration of Catholic Choirs on Nov 19.
Church choirs should not compete with one another to see which choir is the best. Rather they ought to share resources and help every choir in their parish work towards being good choirs.
This was a point Archbishop William Goh made during a Mass celebrated during the St Cecilia’s Celebration of Catholic Choirs on Nov 19.
Choristers should also be mindful of their primary purpose within the liturgy, that is to help lead people to pray, he told participants gathered for the annual event organised by the Liturgical Music Committee (LMC).
Choral leaders should also lead exemplary lives of prayer and contemplation of scripture as these habits help to form the spirituality of the person, he stressed.
More than 100 members of choirs from the various districts of the archdiocese attended the gathering at the Church of the Holy Cross, held to commemorate the feast of St Cecilia, patron saint of church choristers and musicians.
Prior to the Mass, Dr Peter Low, founder-director of the Cathedral Choir of the Risen Christ, shared with the crowd the rigours of leading and developing choirs. He spoke about his experiences as a young choir boy, his years developing his choir and travelling the world, sharing their repertoire and singing to various churches and communities.
He also shared the struggles he underwent in developing the choir, especially in resolving misunderstandings.
Dr Low, who has served the Church through music for more than 50 years, also highlighted the responsibilities of good choirs and their leaders, and the discipline of serving the Church as a music ministry accompanying the liturgy.
Participants were then treated to music on the church’s Viscount organ by organists from various parishes. The repertoire included selections from Bach, Widor and Boelleman. The LMC Choir also presented a choral piece by John Stainer.
The half hour recital featured bits of trivia about the church organ so as to allow the audience to appreciate the instrument as well as the historical context of a musical genre that has spanned over 700 years across continental Europe.
The event also saw the attendance of two members of Kuala Lumpur archdiocese who made their way to Singapore specially for the celebration.