Need Advice on Difficult Choir Members
  • Hello! I am the director of a small church choir. There are 10 singers including me, 7 women and 3 men. We are a new choir, just three and a half years old, and only one member (besides me) has ever sung in a choir before. Most of the singers do not read music and we have no organist so we sing a cappella. It's been challenging but we've made a good deal of progress.

    My problem is with the men. One of them has Alzheimers so I'm really just talking about the other two. They do not read music and they do not practice. So, they never really learn their music. Up until recently, I have been able to pound the notes into their heads in the week or so beforehand, but like cramming for a test, they retain only a bit of it. So now, as we keep learning more and more music, they are falling further and further behind. I have exhorted them to practice over and over. I make CDs for them so they can hear how the music goes. They do not listen to them. Both of their wives are in the choir and they've told me they've tried to get their husbands to practice but they don't, saying, "Nah, I got it."

    Now, not knowing the music does not keeping them from singing - and loudly to boot! Their slurping around trying to find the melody and not getting the words in the proper rhythm is distracting to say the least. It makes the whole choir sound wrong. I have tried saying that if you don't know it, don't sing it, but they sing anyway. Is it possible that they do not know they don't know it?!?!

    The ladies are getting frustrated too. They know their music. They practice on their own. They come to me for help when needed. They want to learn more Masses and do polyphony... But the men are still messing up the stuff they should have learned 3 years ago. I have wasted a good deal of rehearsal time reteaching them things they should know already.

    A couple of weeks ago, I reached the end of my patience. We had a little talk. I explained that they were all responsible for learning their music on their own and that rehearsal was not the time to do it, etc, etc. I said how disrespectful it was to everyone else to show up to sing without bothering to learn the music.

    In one ear, out the other. On Easter morning, in rehearsal before Mass, it was clear that the men did not know the sequence, Victimae Paschali Laudes. We'd gone over it a few times before in rehearsal and they had a few weeks to learn it on their own with CDs. Nevertheless, one of the men couldn't even follow along. The other just made something up. Rather than trying to pound the notes into their heads right before Mass, I put my foot down. "Ladies only."

    Now, I could keep on excluding the men when they fail to learn their music but I'm afraid I'll end up with a women's choir before long and I don't want that. The men actually do a pretty decent job with the hymns which are strophic and mostly predictable. It's the chant that they can't do.

    I would appreciate any suggestions you might have.

    Thanks!
    Thanked by 1shawnk
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,821
    If this is EF, do you use psalm tones for the propers? Or even a simple falso-bordone? (That was the advice given me to when I first started.)
  • We use the psalm tones most of the time for the propers. They do okay with those. It's the sequences, ordinaries and other chants, like the Subvenite, Libera Me, Mandatum, etc., they can't do. They even managed to derail the Litany of the Saints this year.
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,481
    Do you have my men in your choir? SERIOUSLY? This was exactly my problem.... now the good thing is that I have two excellent basses and three tenors, who read really well. So one thing you could do is what I did and have some children and teach them to sing bass and tenor. But that takes a few years.

    Before my children could help sing, I did omit the men from lots of things to keep it simple for them. For example, I had them learn the same chant refrain for a season for communion (SEP). Yes, they were bored, but at least they weren't awful. Once they got the hang of it, I added other refrains.

    I kept them men during recess. I'd give the women a break and work with the men or keep the men after rehearsal. You could ask the men to come early as well. I also had the women learn some SA pieces so the men had less to learn and remember. Anything that was SA(T)B was simpler. We never worked on bass/tenor parts for hymns. That was too much.

    Can the women work on their own for a bit, when you work with the men? Can you have sectionals? I do have people that can do this for me in my choir, and that was always a Godsend.

    Nothing is the end of the world. Just do the best you can with what you have. I know it can be frustrating, but jut give it to God.
  • Canadash, oh to have men that can read music!!! It must be wonderful!

    We have an SSA hymn that we do and the ladies have requested we do more. And we will. We will also do more Ladies Only chants. The upcoming sequence for Corpus Christi might be a good candidate.

    I'll consider taking more time with the men but I really need them to own up to their responsibilities. They are not incapable. They just don't bother. Of course, if I make them be in rehearsal longer than the ladies, they may decide they prefer to learn things at home while their wives are practicing...?

    Sectionals are a good idea if I can manage the logistics (we're a small chapel) and get the ladies something to work on. I got tied up the other day and when I came a little late into the choir room, one of the ladies had taken it upon herself to help go over things with the other ladies. But since we practice before Mass, it might be difficult to get the men to come early because one of them is consistently late as it is.

    Thanks for your input!

  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,921
    So now, as we keep learning more and more music, they are falling further and further behind.


    Maybe they would benefit from more reruns and less new material. One benefit of the liturgical year is that it gives you a perfectly good excuse to perform much of the same music year to year. Also, the sameness of Ordinary Time / Time After Pentecost gives you similar opportunities to review and improve previous music instead of taking on new music.

    Also, I trust that the repertoire you are using is never SATB, but rather SAB or two-part.
  • bonniebede
    Posts: 756
    Two things - your should be making moves to have all your singers able to read music, I think. That is worth investing some ongoing time in.
    Secondly, it sounds to me like these guys are bluffers, so without losing your peaceful, cheerful gentleness, call their bluff during rehearsal. Ask people to sing as individuals, or in small groups or two or three, correcting and teaching as you listen and direct. When these men sing, if they do not even have the tune, point that out. They have the music, (whether written or aural to have practised at home) so there is a reason they sing it wrong (which may be their lack of effort, or may be other, undisclosed or undiagnosed reasons they are concealing under their bluffing, possibly out of fear of being shamed). Let your choir be a safe place to make mistakes, and be a learner, and possibly they will not feel the need to bluff so much.
    On the other hand, actions have consequences. If you don't know the music ( for whatever reason - missing through illness, not bothering to learn it etc etc) you do not sing that piece. Without being nasty, make sure everyone is clear what your minimum threshold of competence is, and that the result of not reaching that threshold is that you don't sing. Do not put this is vague terms - 'please, if you don't feel confident singing this, please sit it out' rather, in rehearsal - 'Thanks John, for working on that, but as you don't have that tune yet, please don't sing that piece during Mass'. Write it down. When the choir stands to sing that piece, if bluffer John stands to sing, tell him quietly to sit. And wait till he does before you start.
    As a director :
    Practise continuous assessment of the level of competence in your choir. what is the minimum someone has to do to be allowed sing at all? (i.e. sing a melody line in tune, or is it more than that?) While a professional or auditioning choir might have a baseline of high skill which all fit into, most volunteer choirs will have mixed abilities - and changing abilities/ Younger singers will be growing in competence, confidence and range, others might be losing range, mental acuity etc. There is never a static picture.

    Secondly, establish the principle - everyone practises and makes progress in sight singing. This can be a fun , competitive game at the beginning of choir. I have fond with males of all ages, turning it into a competition can make them try their best. (keep it light and fun - a hundred points for the person who can decipher and sing these for bars -etc etc)

    Thirdly - establish the principle, not everyone sings everything. More industrious and competent singers have an opportunity to do more advanced music. Rather than split into two groups (the ones who bother and the ones who don't) split into several groups - a,b,c learning a new motet, d,e,f learning a new harmony for a regular hymn, g,h,I, learning material others in the choir know but they have not mastered (they might be newbies, or just need a slower track).

    Arrange your repertoire with the type of choir you have in mind, with something which includes all those whose level of competence you wish to include. By which I mean, a professional auditioning choir might have a repertoire of only difficult pieces, and if you can't do it, then the music stays and the singer goes. For a mixed ability choir, there should be a range of pieces, the simplest of which are manageable by the least competent or newest members. The more complex pieces are simply sung by less members. For those who want the whole choir singing more complex material, point out that the choir is responsible for fostering learning, and secondly, the whole choir should be trying to recruit new members.

    Lastly, to raise the whole level of music, consider doing pieces seasonally, rather than trying to learn too much new music every week. That way you can work on polishing finer details, rather than just singing the tune. You can provide a range a possibilities - barely competent singers who sing the seasonal regulars only, to highly competent singers who can work on complex pieces at greater speed, and a range in between.

    Finally decide if it is choir policy to ask people to leave. What is the minimum behaviour necessary for membership? This is obvious is some areas - for example if someone was cursing and shouting at you week after week, you would discover there was a mandatory minimum requirement of politeness fairly fast.
    What is your mandatory minimum in terms of ability? practise attendance? effort? (be careful in assessing this = someone who is less able and makes effort, may prefer to appear as someone who is more able but can't be bothered to make an effort).

    You say the men can do certain things (strophic hymns) and you don't want to lose them. Fine. Hymns remain a permanent part of your repertoire. They may never sing anything else. Fine. Once it is normal for you to say at the beginning of a piece - Janet Mary and Alice only singing the motet they have practised. Now everyone please. Now the 6 women who are singing this sequence etc etc, it will be easy to confine them to their competencies. I would make it an unbreakable rule, that people who sing along to a piece they are not called for, are doing something rude and unhelpful, and will ultimately be asked to leave.

    Praying for you, as it sounds like you have great ability and a big heart!
    Thanked by 1eft94530
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  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,481
    I'll consider taking more time with the men but I really need them to own up to their responsibilities. They are not incapable. They just don't bother.


    Just keep asking and but have your expectations low. Chances are that they will never bother.... You may be surprised if they ever do.... but at least you won't be disappointed when they don't.

    Maybe they would benefit from more reruns and less new material.
    and
    consider doing pieces seasonally, rather than trying to learn too much new music every week.


    In your situation, I would have core pieces which include mens' parts. I would vary the womens' music more. This year at the Triduum I repeated, almost exactly, what we sang last year. I did have new music planned, but due to illness and lack of commitment I had to let it go. I was more calm, knew it would be beautiful and no one in the congregation was the wiser.

  • Maybe they would benefit from more reruns and less new material.


    The only new thing they have had to learn so far this year is the sequence, Victimae Paschali Laudes. And they didn't do it. They weren't even close.

    Also, I trust that the repertoire you are using is never SATB, but rather SAB or two-part.


    Actually, we have a couple of 4 parters. Once we have it down in 3 parts, a couple of us ladies add the tenor part. But most of our hymns are in unison or 2 parts (altos singing harmony).

    The next new thing we have to learn is the Corpus Christi sequence, Lauda Sion Salvatorem, which is much more difficult than the Easter sequence. And I'm sure I will have to reteach them the Pentecost sequence before that. I have no plans for any new hymns at this time. They aren't required anyway.
  • Two things - your should be making moves to have all your singers able to read music, I think. That is worth investing some ongoing time in.


    I've been trying to teach them solfege and intervals so that I can give them some clues as to how to it goes. "Your next note is a perfect 5th above - "Twinkle, twinkle". I even play a "Name That Tune" game where I point to the solfege syllables and make them sing it and figure out what the song is. Unfortunately, I have not been very consistent with the solfege training because we are often operating under "emergency" conditions. Now that Holy Week is over, I plan to resume.

    Do not put this is vague terms - 'please, if you don't feel confident singing this, please sit it out' rather, in rehearsal - 'Thanks John, for working on that, but as you don't have that tune yet, please don't sing that piece during Mass'.


    Yes, I have been too subtle and that definitely isn't working. Somebody recently told me that not everyone can take a hint. I was too concerned about embarrassing people and I've let them get away with it for too long. Time to change.

    Thanks for your input!
    Thanked by 1bonniebede
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,115
    In my case, back when I directed a schola, I had one singer who refused to put the extra effort in to work on her pitch issues. After getting fed up with it, I asked her once more to work on it, and when she refused, I then gave her the ultimatum, at which point she left, with tears.

    The schola improved immediately.
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,481
    I wish I had your guts Ben... When my difficult singers go on holiday, our whole group sounds better! But I'm a chicken!
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,115
    Had she not been so blatant about her lack of effort, I probably wouldn't have done it.

    It's one thing to have a singer sight read propers at warmups before Mass because they were up with a screaming child all night, and are apologetic about the situation. Been there, done that, we made it work. It's another for a singer to just say they didn't do it, and that they see no problem with this.

    That is when I am not so gracious....
  • So, Father needed an extra server or two during Holy Week. I offered him the one difficult singer who can serve Mass. "Are you sure you don't need him?" "Oh, don't you worry, Father. We'll manage." Unfortunately, Father only needed him for Holy Thursday and Good Friday.
  • Ben's solution is the correct one.
    You should end this charade.
    You are being had.
    Thanked by 2Adam Wood CHGiffen
  • Carl DCarl D
    Posts: 992
    Fantastic advice above, especially Bonnie's. Definitely set and enforce clear criteria - Not because of your own ego, but because you're in service to the Church.

    And please make clear your distinction between "the men" as a group and these two. Each person is making their own decision. Don't penalize others, that can be demoralizing to everyone.
  • Carl,

    Let me second what you have written about "in service to the Church".....

    Those who are being intentional sandbags (when they have the ability) are nourishing a kind of pride (orgueil, the French call it) which is inimicable to their position as servants of the Church and of the liturgy.
  • Not because of your own ego, but because you're in service to the Church.


    Yes, of course. I tell the choir all the time that we are not there to entertain. We are not singing to the congregation. We are singing to God and carrying on the glorious traditions of the Church. I also tell them that we are not perfect and there will be mistakes, but that God understands. Of course, that's presuming they bothered to learn the music in the first place!!!!

    And please make clear your distinction between "the men" as a group and these two. Each person is making their own decision. Don't penalize others, that can be demoralizing to everyone.


    Yes, I see your point, but in my case, none of the men are learning the music. The third man has Alzheimers and he gets a pass especially since he has the presence of mind not to sing when he doesn't know the music. And on the day I said, "Ladies only", he wasn't there, just the 2 slackers.
  • Those who are being intentional sandbags (when they have the ability) are nourishing a kind of pride (orgueil, the French call it) which is inimicable to their position as servants of the Church and of the liturgy.


    One of these men has a beautiful, strong baritone voice. And when we sing hymns in parts, he gets a lot of compliments from the congregation. He does fine on the hymns. So now, there seems to have developed an attitude among a few people that I need him. But I don't care if he's Pavarotti. I don't need anyone who doesn't know (and won't learn) the music.
    Thanked by 1Gavin
  • Rehearse the men separately.

    Praise the heck out of them when they get it right.

    Praise the heck out of them in front of the women when they get it right.
    One of these men has a beautiful, strong baritone voice. And when we sing hymns in parts, he gets a lot of compliments from the congregation. He does fine on the hymns
    These guys like the compliments they get, but are usually embarrassed because they do not read music and cannot sing as well on new music.

    But they are counting on you to make them sing better.
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 1,083
    Hold it, just one minute here. We are EXPECTED TO PRACTICE outside of the normal rehearsal time????!!!!!
    Thanked by 1EMH
  • Praise the heck out of them when they get it right.


    I do that. I'm afraid, though, that there's been too much praise for too little effort. Why work when the congregation fawns all over you when you don't? The congregation, for the most part, can't tell if we've gotten the chant right or not. But they can tell when the hymns go well. I don't see any embarrassment at all.
  • If you don't see it, then dump them. It's got to be a collaboration between you and them - you've BOTH got to be willing. Tell them to go cantor OF mass.
  • Unheard of, absurd.


    What was I thinking!?!?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,921
    I am not surprised that the men of the choir had difficulty getting the Easter Sequence right. After all, its melody changes every two verses.

    Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to get the best results possible from the choir singers you have.

    Incidentally, do you do any ear-training or solfege exercises with them?
  • I am not surprised that the men of the choir had difficulty getting the Easter Sequence right. After all, its melody changes every two verses.


    Ha ha! That's the way sequences work! But Easter is only 8 verses. Corpus Christi is 24! Seems hopeless.

    Yes, we rehearse before Mass on Sunday.
  • Andrew_Malton
    Posts: 1,069
    Of the four church singing groups (choirs) I know of the most about, none seriously expects practice outside scheduled rehearsal time. And none would consider it appropriate to ask a singer to leave, either.

    I agree with chonak, I think we have to do what can be done with the singers we are.
  • none seriously expects practice outside scheduled rehearsal time.


    If someone can learn the chant during the scheduled rehearsals, I don't care if they practice at home or not. But currently, the men have proven unable to learn it in once-a-week practices. This stuff is not easy.

    And what we do is not up to me. When Father says, "We'll have a High Mass for Corpus Christi," we have to learn the 24 verse sequence. I have several choir members that are up to the task. And we're going to do it even if some of the choir will have to sit it out.
  • Incidentally, do you do any ear-training or solfege exercises with them?


    Yes, see above.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,536
    Pocketharpy,

    Are we correct in thinking that you are singing for EF Mass, that you don't consider the "Ecce panis" option? For sequences there's always alternatim singing: let the men be responsible for as much as they show themselves able to handle:
    Men: "Veni Sancte"
    all: "Veni Pater"
    Mezzos: "Consolator"
    women: "In labore"
    Sopr 1: "O lux"
    Sopr 1+2: "Sine"
    Altos: "Lava"
    women: "Flecte"
    men: "Da tuis"
    all: "Da virtutis"
  • If the "Ecce panis" option is a shortening of the sequence, no, we sing the whole thing.

    I have tried alternating between men and women but all that does is highlight how unprepared the men are. A couple years ago, after we tried alternating on something (I think it was Psalm 21 - an easy psalm tone) Father told me, "The men need work". We mostly stick to unison now and pray the men can follow along without throwing us off.

    We do alternate during the Kyrie but after three and a half years of singing it (Mass VIII, de Angelis) they're still struggling. At first, a couple of them got confused on the second set of Kyries because the melody does not repeat exactly. So they would muddle that up. It didn't matter how many times we went over it, they seemed unable to correct it. I then decided to alternate between men and women so that only the women would sing that part. But every time, one or two of the men would keep on singing when only the women were supposed to sing and they'd do it wrong. It's written clearly in their music not to sing that part. I tell them to watch me. I give them a clear cutoff, then give them a "Don't you dare sing now" look. Turn to face the women and give the downbeat, and sure enough, one of the men would start singing! We recently discovered that we can prevent them from singing there by having someone physically grab them and whisper to them not to sing. It's a good thing we're in the back of the chapel!

    I do believe I will be establishing a minimum level of competence for the chants. Enough is enough.

  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,428
    We do alternate during the Kyrie but after three and a half years of singing it (Mass VIII, de Angelis) they're still struggling.


    It seems that practicing at home is not really the problem...
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,428
    But every time, one or two of the men would keep on singing when only the women were supposed to sing and they'd do it wrong. It's written clearly in their music not to sing that part. I tell them to watch me. I give them a clear cutoff, then give them a "Don't you dare sing now" look. Turn to face the women and give the downbeat, and sure enough, one of the men would start singing! We recently discovered that we can prevent them from singing there by having someone physically grab them and whisper to them not to sing. It's a good thing we're in the back of the chapel!


    You have a serious problem. I'm not sure what it is, but it is serious.
    Thanked by 2Salieri Ben Yanke
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,481
    I have a couple of men like yours. Lets face it, my choir would be better off without them, but I don't have the heart to ask them to leave. Also, I have enough men who are good that it doesn't matter that much. You may be better off with a treble schola. Why don't you audition some treble boys? In a few years their voices will change and the will have had the training to be decent bass voices.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 3,104
    There is no sin in letting the ladies sing the entire sequence! If you know that they can get it and do it right, then let then do it. The men can listen.

    I find that it can be useful to have some things that are SA only and some that are TB only; variety is the spice of life.
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,115
    You have a serious problem. I'm not sure what it is, but it is serious.


    Time for some focus exercises with the guys, I think.
    Thanked by 1Pocketharpy
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,372
    I wd suggest splitting tge choir rehearsal up into sectionals. Rehearse the men sepratley then bring them all together.
  • Men are ALWAYS behind in the learning and performance curve when it comes to choral work. One would assume that they eventually get better and surpass the women.

    Rarely, if ever, does this happen.

    Anyone have a rational explanation?
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 3,104
    Men are pigs.
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,481
    Well, if the men are well trained, then the women do not surpass the men. Case in point, my choir. I'm really not trying to toot my own horn here, but my sons are well trained. They are string players, have amazing pitch and can read like the wind (better than I do). Generally speaking, it was the girls who took the piano lessons and the boys played road hockey (Canadian boys anyway). So, of course the ladies are the better readers. Now that my boys are singing the tenor/bass parts, my tenor/basses have become fantastic. I send them away and they learn on their own. Yesterday I sent them away to learn the "In Paradisuum" and they came back and knew it in ten minutes and didn't make a mistake when they sang it at Mass. All of that training has paid off, but few parents are willing to make the sacrifices (and yes, they are huge sacrifices) needed to make decent musicians out of their boys.
  • It seems that practicing at home is not really the problem...


    Perhaps not, but the women practice at home and they can do it. The men don't practice at home and they can't do it. Three and a half years of not practicing at home hasn't made them any better.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,576
    Everyone gets to play.
    Nobody keeps score.
    Rubbish.

    He who sings WELL prays twice.
    They are not singing well.
    In fact they are singing poorly and interfering with the hearers to pray at all.
    This is about Liturgy, public worship.
    Reproducing music is like arithmetic, it is right or it is wrong.
    It is not about self expression.
    That can be fulfilled in the shower or solo commute car.

    Managers put under-performers "on plan".

    I say record a Rehearsal and a Mass.
    Privately play recording and note timestamps and durations.
    Contact the men to appear as a group at least thirty minutes before the next rehearsal.
    Meet in a room or office that is not the rehearsal place.
    Set a timer so you end the session before the rehearsal.
    Tell them you have something they need to hear.
    Play the excerpts without comment.
    Then ask them to put on their thinking caps
    and tell you what is the problem
    and tell you how to solve the problem.
    Four follow up sessions with prompt attendance should be able to fix some things.
    Make your list doable and specify what constitutes success.

    If necessary play the recording for the pastor
    and let him know you intend to chop the men.

    How likely is it to get better men if they have to join the existing men?
    Thanked by 1Pocketharpy
  • Why don't you audition some treble boys?


    There is only one school aged boy in the chapel and he's a server. We have lots of babies and there are a few young fathers but they are too busy managing their children to come to practice or sing at Mass. So, I'm left with the older guys for now.
  • if the men are well trained, then the women do not surpass the men.


    I know a choir that has the most wonderful, young male singers. They all went to the same traditional Catholic school where choir is not an extracurricular elective. All students are required to learn to read music, sing the Mass, propers, etc. And they love it. That choir actually has the rare problem of having too few women!
  • I say record a Rehearsal and a Mass.


    I've thought about this and I may very well try it.

    One of them, though, seems well aware of how bad they are doing. At a recent rehearsal for a Requiem, just an hour before Mass, the first thing we practiced was so horrific, I almost tossed the offenders out. Instead, I said, "O-o-o-o-o-kay" in a what-do-I-do-now kind of way. For some reason, this fellow thought I was giving them a positive assessment and he said something like, "Well, if you thought that was okay, then you don't hear very well." Then he gave a little laugh. So, I let him have it. "You think this is funny!?!?!..."

  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,678
    Dissolve the choir and create a men's schola and a women's schola with the idea of alternating weeks. To begin though you will schedule the better prepared schola on each Sunday. The women's schola might sing 90% of Masses. The men will become competitive and strive to become better or recruit other men. Send them to find barber shop singers and recruit them. Even non Catholics. Then if the men become better the women will strive to become better. Per omnia...
    Thanked by 2canadash Gavin
  • I think that the personality clashes you are having with them are...interesting.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,921
    Time for some focus exercises with the guys, I think.


    Sounds like these guys couldn't survive long in a game of "Simon Sez".

    I like the various ideas proposed above.
    Thanked by 1Pocketharpy
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Breaking Lenten comment fast...
    With volunteer choirs, only success breeds more success. Obviously these two gentlemen clearly think success is defined according to their terms and that's not likely to change. Even if you did shove them over to a "new" mens schola, they'd be disruptive to the choral process there as well. Thank them for their service, dismiss them (compose a written chronology documenting behaviors/situations) and concentrate all your efforts towards those who will discipline themselves to your guidance.
  • I know it's a lot easier said than done, but I wonder if the men's attitudes would change if you were able to recruit a couple of really, really good male singers. This isn't a realistic option most of the time, I know, but maybe look for a couple of non-Catholics who just really like to sing. One of the best men in my choir isn't Catholic, but he's retired and has plenty of time on his hands to sing with us. I notice that the other men in the group really step it up when he's there, probably because they're competitive and don't want to look like idiots. If the bar is raised and they realize that there are other singers who are a lot better than them, maybe things will change. But otherwise, it sounds like they both have really bad attitudes and I wouldn't waste too much time on them. My heart goes out to you...
    Thanked by 1Pocketharpy