Lack of motivation
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,501
    I've been at my current position for fifteen years. In many ways it is great. I'm a disheartened this year. I will lose my best tenor, my son #1 who was always in attendance because he came with me. We'll be down a bass next year when #2 leaves. Even if they come back, they will probably want to find their own church jobs, so it is unlikely they will be back.

    It is very difficult to convince men who sing well to join the choir, if they are even available. Good Catholic men often have larger families and unpredictable work schedules.

    I am having a difficult time approaching this year with the gusto I did in the past. Perhaps I should have taken the time to attend a conference, but it was difficult with my family commitments.

    So, what do you do to pick up your boots and get at it? Or is that what you do... simply pick up your boots and get at it.

  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,955
    That's hard. I have been in my position 16 years. I love some of the people, but some I wouldn't mind not seeing again. You are correct about men singers.
    Thanked by 1canadash
  • It seems to me that the source of your new-found 'lack of motivation' is really the fear of loosing singers you could count on and knowing that you had the personnel to do what you and your choir could do. Is this a correct observation? Wouldn't you feel more 'motivated' if you had people on whom you could count, and could 'perform' at the level at which you have become accustomed?

    Your assessment of many, though not all, men is accurate, and is as true of women as men. Ask your pastor if you can make an appeal during announcement times or at the end of mass (I usually hold such non-ritual mass add-ons in studied contempt, but...). Initiate a weekly 'choirmaster's column' in your parish newsletter. After mass, or at church socials, personally approach men and women whom you believe would be assets to your choir. Really engage them and give them a taste of how beautiful an experience choir can be. Ditto, calling likely suspects. Ditto inviting them for a coffee. In all of these approaches present choir as a richly rewarding spiritual journey, a delightful source of friendship and team work, not to mention a beautiful service to the Lord. Etc., etc.

    Talk to your priest about your concerns and seek encouragement and deserved recognition. Ask him if he would stand behind the choir's needs and publicly recommend it to those who qualify. Pray and shore up your sagging motivation. You can't attract others without enthusiasm and confidence.


    More later.
    Thanked by 2canadash CHGiffen
  • A director near here made a trip to a KOC meeting and a surprising number showed up and joined the choir
    Thanked by 3canadash Kathy CHGiffen
  • Does your church have a Holy Name Society?
    Thanked by 2canadash Kathy
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,731
    We have plenty of committed men, they even take time off work to sing mid-week Masses. Our problem is a lack of ladies!
    Thanked by 1canadash
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,501
    @ Noel: I think the KOC are scared of me! lol!
    @ Ken: No, we do not as far as know.
    @ Tom: Lucky you!
  • When I feel unmotivated I look for something new, something to break up the monotony. Start practicing a piece you've always wanted to learn but didn't make time for. Pick a new piece for your choir to learn too, maybe something completely different than anything they've done before. As a constantly performing and now teaching musician (I am returning to private teaching after being away from it for many years), music is all about everyone else and too often becomes just another day at the office. I don't attend concerts nearly as much as I should, but I always feel very energized after I go. It doesn't even matter what kind of concert it is. Awesome baroque group is playing downtown at a pretty church? Heck yeah I'm going. My daughter is involved with a kids music/theater group and they had their first performance the other night. The kids got to sing with a great local band that I'd never gone to see before. It was so much fun, and I made a mental note to explore more local music.
    I'm not so great at cultivating motivation with housework, however. There I take a stricter approach but one that doesn't leave me feeling overwhelmed or even less motivated. Pick just two or three things you want to accomplish today, and do only those things. You can't clean the whole house in one day, similarly you can't learn that new piece in one day, or fix all your choir troubles in one day. I feel much better if I can say "at least I was able to do this today, tomorrow I'll do a little more" and it really reduces my anxiety.
    Prayers for you, I understand that feeling and how easy it is to feel overcome with it.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,500
    I made an appeal at Mass one Sunday and more men than women stepped forward. They talked about it afterward, how they had considered joining but were just waiting to be asked.
    Thanked by 2canadash CHGiffen
  • ViolaViola
    Posts: 403
    I sympathise.
    We have just lost our best tenor; now we're left with one inaudible one(I suspect he just mimes) and two who are away a lot. And just one bass.
    A solution could be to choose music for SAMen or SSA, while you look for and pray for new recruits.
    Thanked by 1canadash
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 3,177
    Do you have a coffee hour? Get chatting with people -- about anything EXCEPT music. Sometimes getting to know people reasonably well from a non-musical perspective will make it easier for them to join the choir.

    Bribes work, too.
    Thanked by 1canadash
  • I have had a similar situation... My choir is currently all women. I've pondered this in the past... it seems men directors sometimes have an easier time recruiting men singers; women directors seem to attract other women (perhaps this is just my own perception). My parish is having another "stewardship fair" next weekend, at which I'll be present for each Mass and see who shakes out.

    In the meantime, I have just looked for SSA and SA resources and have had success with that and (of course) the chant. I have actually had to revise my typical propers repertory since I have no basses now (I can sing tenor if the other sections are strong enough, but that depends on reliable attendance). I use more chanted propers than before.

    I do find that attending the annual workshops and Colloquium events gets me re-inspired each year. I know that it helps a great deal in giving me the encouragement I need to press on.
    Thanked by 1canadash
  • KARU27
    Posts: 184
    A director near here made a trip to a KOC meeting and a surprising number showed up and joined the choir

    Tell them they can wear their capes, etc. (imagine your own shade of purple)
    Thanked by 1canadash
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,955
    They are getting new uniforms, btw. Just saw pictures in the diocesan paper. They look more like soldiers instead of Cap'n Crunch.
  • Charles -
    Are these new uniforms for everywhere, or just in your diocese.
    I've always thought that their uniforms looked like something out of a grade D movie of about sixty or more years ago. They would be just the thing for a funny little kingdom in a film such as The Mouse that Roared, & cet. It's all that cheap looking satin.
  • It's not a horrible idea to stop doing polyphony for a while and stick to Gregorian Chant. The local (well not really local) EF Mass which I attend on a regular basis almost never has polyphony and it's equally as beautiful as if there were polyphony.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,955
    Are these new uniforms for everywhere, or just in your diocese.

    Supposedly for the whole organization. Click on section "A" and find the article when the PDF downloads.
  • narfie13
    Posts: 18
    In order to attract men to sing in church, might you advertise a course for young men in High School or college (who are not yet married with children) where you offer vocal and choral training in excellent music. That is being done in Portland OR.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • ...find the article...

    I found it and am underwhelmed.
    The old operetta ones are/were at least more imaginative and colourful.

    They've gone from looking like the royal guard in a very old grade C movie to looking like air force cadets.

    ..... and about those feathered bicorns in their traditional costume - these, in their day, would only have been worn by officers, never by the rank and file. This is just one more thing that makes their traditional costume look fakey.

    I would recommend some smart looking tunics with a tasteful amount of gold piping, and bearskin hats. (At least half purple.)
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,955
    I have difficulty trusting adults who wear feathers. Given that some of the local knights have been a bunch of doofuses (or is that doofi) whose chief goal in life was to get away from their wives and drink beer, my distrust is well-placed. Lately, we have some new folks in the knights and they are turning the parish chapter into a true service organization, which is a very good thing.
  • dad29
    Posts: 2,225
    I've always thought that their uniforms looked like something out of a grade D movie of about sixty or more years ago.

    Some people have remarked that choirs dressed up in robes can look a bit pompous and even silly.
    Thanked by 1mmeladirectress
  • @canadash Just feeling the need to be real and say that sometimes picking up the boots can mean eating Taco Bell in the parking lot at 9:30pm while listening to Sunday Baroque on the radio.(what I'm doing at this very moment) I gotta take what I can get sometimes LOL!! Somehow I have to make myself fall asleep before 11pm and get up at 5:30 tomorrow morning for orientation week....The shredded chicken burrito is really good-my favorite lolol
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,501
    @Fidem: Thanks for putting this crazy thread back on track! lol!

    Unfortunately I've been enjoying some fine dining lately, and it's going to go back to fast food.... It's SO DIFFICULT to recruit. And I know that the people who join enjoy it! It's not perfect, but it's pretty good! But to get them to come out.... SO.DIFFICULT.
  • Lol! I was just talking with a former choir member yesterday. She has some health and mobility issues and is worried about making the commitment again. I told her there's no pressure, even if you can't make all the rehearsals just do what you can. Others are worried about work schedules. Again, all I ask is at least give it a try, and hope that they enjoy it enough to make more time for it when they are able. I guess the previous director really made a mess of things and several choir members quit because it wasn't enjoyable anymore. I'm reviving the children's choir (prior person didn't want to bother with them) and that seems to have really energized the whole situation.

    Self care pro tip: I eat my Taco Bell in the parking lot instead of at home because I don't want to hear "AWWW why didn't you get me any?" from my kids. And most of the time I do bring them something, but sometimes you need to do something for YOU. Lol
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • picking up the boots

    I usually take this quite literally. Only my boots are usually made of transparent glass and filled with a golden sedative liquid which is (all too rapidly) depleted . . .