Paul R. Schilf, Ph.D.
In the Lutheran tradition of worship, the church choir provides two liturgical roles. The choir offers service, and provides assistance to the congregational body, enlivening and enriching the worship of the entire gathered assembly. It does this in three distinct ways.
- The Lutheran Church Choir supports and enriches the congregational singing of hymns.
- The choir brings richness and modest variety to congregational worship by singing and proclaiming the portions of the liturgy entrusted to it.
- The choir enriches congregational worship by presenting attendant music as possible and appropriate.
In September, culminating in our Hymn Festival, we focus on how the choir assists the congregational body with the singing of hymns. In subsequent issues of our church newsletter we will examine the two additional ways in depth.
The Lutheran Church Choir supports and enriches the congregational singing of hymns.
By devoting regular rehearsal time to the practice of hymns to be sung in the various worship services and special events, the church choir establishes a nucleus of singers who can confidently lead the singing. Acoustically, this is most efficiently accomplished not by singing at the congregational body from the front, but by leading the congregation from the side or the rear of the sanctuary nave.
Through the weekly singing and practice of hymns, the choir works to enlarge the congregational repertoire. The learning of new hymns of solid doctrine and value enliven the congregation by providing new texts and tunes. These new musical forms provide additional fresh and changing expressions of moods found in the church year. Additionally, in an appropriate manner, the choir introduces the congregation to new and varied settings of familiar standards. For example, by participation in a Hymn Festival, such as we have the opportunity here at Christ Lutheran Church, we offer to our members and the community traditional Lutheran Hymnody in a different setting.
By leading the congregation in singing familiar hymns in different musical settings, and by introducing the congregation, over a period of time, to new and unique, doctrinally-sound hymns, the Lutheran Church Choir assists in the liturgical service and edification of the congregation.
Let ev’ry instrument be tuned for praise; Let all rejoice who have a voice to raise; And may God give us faith to sing always: Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia! (Lutheran Worship 449 – Text: F. Pratt Green.)
Buszin, W.E. (1958). "Luther on music." New York, NY: Lutheran Society For Worship, Music, and the Arts, by permission of G. Schirmer Inc.
Schalk, C.E. (1983). Music in Lutheran Worship. St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House.