Christ is Risen!
Below please find Alice Hughes' e-mail sent to the PSALM list in February of this year which contains the choir guidelines.
Yours in Christ, Matushka Betsy Tumbas
...Back in the early nineties our choir developed a list of policies / guidelines for members. At the time folks were frustrated with each other and the directors, I believe, because of a lack of expectations and norms. The choir members themselves gave a lot of input, I think we sent around a survey that solicited input on a variety of choir related topics, like:
1. How often do you think rehearsals are necessary?
2. What do you think the ministry of singing in the choir is? (Why do
we do what we do?
3. Should people be able to sing on Sunday if they weren't at rehearsal?
4. How often is too often to skip rehearsal?
(I don't recall the actual questions, but they were things like that.)
Once we had everyone's input and our own, Anne and I drafted a "Choir
Policy". That the choir then agreed to it wholeheartedly. That
original policy has been modified and clarified over the years, but
has basically stood the test of time in our community....
St. Lawrence Orthodox Church Choir Policies
The ministry and function of the St. Lawrence Choir is to effectively
lead the congregation in worship at specified liturgies. Singing and
leading in this manner requires unity, skill, understanding and
preparedness among the singers. This singing ministry is indeed a
high calling and one that requires labor, commitment and skill.
Adherence to the following choir policies facilitates our proper
functioning and the fulfillment of our ministry to the church.
I. Church Year
The Church Year divides naturally into three sessions:
a. Fall/Winter â" October through Theophany (approximately 4 months)
b. Winter/Spring â" Pre-Lent through Pentecost (approximately 5 months)
c. Summer â" beginning after Pentecost through the Elevation of the
Cross in late-September, including Transfiguration, Dormition and our
Patronal Feast. (approximately 3 months)
To better plan and accommodate these three sessions, we will ask choir
membersâ"at the beginning of each sessionâ"make a commitment to that
session in its entirety. Individual concerns that arise within a
session can be addressed, as necessary, according to the guidelines
a. Rehearsals are on Wednesday nights, beginning with Vespers at
7:00 p.m. Vespers function as both a spiritual and a vocal warm-up,
so please make every attempt to attend them.
b. An additional Saturday rehearsal is usually scheduled before
Nativity and Pascha.
c. Attendance is required at ALL rehearsals.
1. Regular attendance is a sign of respect for your
director and the other singers, and of your seriousness about your
2. If you frequently miss more than one rehearsal in six,
your absence is hindering the progress of the entire choir and your
schedule may need adjustment to allow your continued participation.
3. Students & Parents: Choir is huge time commitment.
Keep in mind that homework, being grounded, studying for exams, etc.
are not acceptable excuses to skip choir rehearsal.
d. Please bring all current liturgy books, and a pencil to every
rehearsal. (Please do not mark music with a pen.)
e. We will generally have two scheduled breaks during the year.
1. One immediately following Theophany for one to three weeks.
2. One shortly after Pentecost for one to three weeks.
3. Occasional weeks off at the conductor's discretion.
a. At all services be ready at your stand in the kliros 5 minutes
before you are expected to sing.
1. For Sunday Liturgies this often means being in the
kliros ready to sing at 8:45. However, we encourage you to arrive 30
minutes before Sunday Liturgy begins to focus, pray and prepare
yourself to lead the worship.
b. All liturgy books should be prepared in advance.
1. This can usually be done on Wednesday night after rehearsal.
2. If not, allow yourself 10 minutes to prepare it before
c. Please arrange yourselves at the music stand so that you can
see both the music and the conductor.
a. In accordance with the seriousness of the calling of a music
minister, choir members should conduct themselves in a respectful and
prayerful manner while in church. Talking during the service should be
restricted to any question about the service itself.
b. Please refrain from leaving the kliros area unless absolutely
necessary. Flitting in and out of the choir during a service is
distracting and disrespectful for all involved.
All choir members are invited to sing at weddings as they arise. Those
who plan to sing will be expected to attend any required rehearsals
and a warm-up 45 minutes prior to the Wedding Liturgy
a. Good communication enables us to function as a unified group.
b. It is essential that you notify the conductor in advance of
any liturgy or rehearsal that you will be unable to attend. Many
times we must plan accordingly to accommodate your absence.
1. Let the conductor know as soon as you know regarding any vacation plans, illness or any other event.
c. Keep the conductor informed of any upcoming schedule changes
that may affect your participation.
d. Please discuss individual concerns outside of general rehearsal time.