Thursday, September 10, 2009

Children's Choirs

Children's Choirs.
Why is it that more churches don't have them?
I have been wracking my brain on this one.

You see,
I've been trying to organize an event
for children's choirs:
A Children's Choir Festival.
I was hoping to invite several choirs
from the area
to participate in this event.
I was hoping to make it an annual event,
something the kids could look forward to.

There's only one problem:
I'm having a heck of time
finding churches in the area
(Catholic or otherwise)
that actually have a children's music ministry.

I've tried my Facebook friends.
I've made phone calls.
I've asked pastors
if they know of pastors of other churches
that might have children's choirs . . .

Most of the places and people
I have been in contact with
have a children's choir for Christmas.
But not much more than that.

Why is this?
I mean,
there's a ripple effect
in a children's music ministry.
Get the kids involved
and parents and grandparents want to be there.
And brothers and sisters
have no alternative
but to be in church.

Many years ago
at an NPM convention
a speaker
(I don't remember who)
was quoting statistics.
I can't remember the source
of the statistics either.
The only thing I remember clearly
is one of the statistics given:
80% of people who sing in choirs as adults
sang in a choir as child.

Like anyone else
who has attended an NPM event,
I went to many workshops and concerts that year.
But that sole statistic
was the most powerful part of the event for me.
How can one not but act upon that statistic?

Why don't we have more churches
with children's choirs?

Why aren't we teaching our children
the difference between
and decrescendo?

Why aren't we teaching our children
what a fermata is,
what a repeat sign is?

Why aren't we teaching our children
to sing the psalms?

Why aren't we teaching our children
to memorize the Eucharistic acclamations?

Why aren't we teaching our children
to sing in parts?
Why aren't we using the wonderful gift
that is Taize
to help us to that end?

Why don't more people see
that apart from all of the music stuff they will learn
they will learn and affirm the faith?

why don't more churches
have children's choirs?

I currently serve
in a Southwest Detroit Parish.
The children's choir I direct
sings mostly in Spanish,
but does have a few songs in English
in their repertoire
as well as some Taize in Latin.

It is about as inner city as it comes.
But you know,
of all of the ministries\I've been involved in over the years,
this one is the most life giving.
Perhaps it's because I'm at a point in my ministry
where I can see that statistic given at an NPM event
so many years ago
come into its own.
. . .and. . . yeah. . .
. . . I sang in a choir as a child, too!. . . .

And you know,
I would be amiss
if I did not send out kudos
to Oregon Catholic Press
for their collection,
"El SeƱor Nos Invita."
This work provided
a most excellent starting ground
with my work
with this particular group of amazing children.
I only hope OCP plans to do more work like this!

I would also be missing the mark
if I didn't mention how much the work
of Lee Gwozdz has inspired me.
I just thought you might like to know
that Patrick Star of SpongeBob Squarepants fame,
frequently attends our rehearsals.
I never would have thought of inviting him
if it weren't for you!

I will still most likely host an event
for the fabulous musical children this fall.
But it most likely won't be a choir festival.
But I'll continue to work on that.
I'll post info about the fall event
once I have it all in line.

In the meantime,
get busy
and get your children's choir started!
It only takes a spark. . . . . .

.. and hey, if you'd like to discuss this further,
feel free to contact me
via my Facebook!

No comments: