Choir Procession?
  • Does anyone here have a choir procession? A discussion existed about this in 2008 but since a lot has changed since 10 years ago I was curious to see if anyone does this.

    Also, what do you fellows think about the practicality of a choir procession in the EF? (Of course in situations where the choir is at the front)
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,440
    I confused as to what you mean by a choir procession. Are you asking if anyone has their choir process from the "choir room" through the church to the loft? Or if they process with the priest during the processional chant?

    We process out on Holy Thursday when the Eucharist is taken to the altar of repose and we sing the chant while processing. We don't have a choir room or anywhere to process to or from, if that makes any sense.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,303
    We used to process in and also leave the loft and go down front for communion. Too many of my folks are now too old to handle the choir loft stairs more than once on Sundays.
    Thanked by 2canadash jefe
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,656
    Procession to the Baptistry in the Easter and Pentecost Vigils? Palm Sunday, Corpus Christi, Candlemass, Rogations... Yes the choir joins the procession, our Cantors and some of the other men don Choir Dress, the ladies process just ahead of the congregation.
    Thanked by 1madorganist
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,011
    Changed since '08? This is immemorial custom everywhere I've ever sung or visited that has a choir in front or in the chancel. Our big exception is Good Friday.
  • pfreese
    Posts: 59
    Much of this depends on the layout of your church. It could be a nice added element if the choir sits near the sanctuary so such a procession would make at least some “logistical” sense; our parish choir sits in a transept (no steps) so we’re able to do this fairly easily every Sunday. IMHO processing from the rear of a church only to immediately return on one’s way to a choir loft is rather pointless.

    I can’t speak to much experience with the EF, but I’d imagine choral processions in your average Sunday mass would be less welcome than in the OF. Plus, I’d gather the instance of an EF choir that sings from the sanctuary (as is the old British practice) is likewise very rare these days. Every EF church I’ve seen thus far has their choir sing from a loft.
    Thanked by 1Casavant Organist
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,726
    Both the Roman Catholic Cathedrals in London, England, have choirs behind the altar (technically outside the sanctuary) and process in and out with the clergy and ministers. I am fairly sure Liverpool does the same.
    Thanked by 1Casavant Organist
  • At Walsingham the cathedral choir process from the narthex after the crucifer, thuribler, and torch bearers and before the sacred ministers. They go to betwixt front of nave and chancel, do a profound bow, split and go back the side aisles to the choir gallery. This may seem unnecessary and pointless, but it is in Anglican DNA to have the choir in the procession - nor do they have any trouble at all holding their hymnals and singing the hymn while processing. When we build a new and larger cathedral, the choir of course will go to their choir stalls 'in choir' in the chancel - where they really ought to be.
    Thanked by 1Casavant Organist
  • The situation that MJO and a_f_hawkins describes is mainly the one that I'm thinking of here. At St. Michael's Cathedral Basilica, all the choirs process after the 4 leading servers.

    My curiosity surrounds the EF in particular, if anyone has any experience with that.
  • rarty
    Posts: 95
    Since most sung Sunday EF Masses begin with the Asperges, I think it makes sense for a choir that sings from the chancel or near the sanctuary to process in with the ministers and celebrant, especially if there is an organ processional that doesn't require singing/reading while walking, navigating steps, etc. But if singing an unmemorized hymn or the Introit for the procession, I'd rather be in place beforehand.

    In the EF, there are standard choir directions for processions (though the ordering doesn't make a lot of sense for a lay choir): When entering/exiting with the celebrant, the choir should be ordered by seniority/rank, with junior members before senior, walking behind the servers/altar boys, but before other clergy 'in choir' and the celebrant. But when entering/exiting separate from the main procession, e.g., a few minutes before or after Mass, it is the opposite—the director/senior choristers are at the head.
  • My curiosity surrounds the EF in particular, if anyone has any experience with that.
    Women may not be part of a strictly liturgical procession in the EF; if everyone is going to the same place, the women walk either ahead of the crucifer and acolytes (e.g., flower girls) or after the celebrant, with the congregation. Now, mind you, this is ignored in many places, including some FSSP and SSPX apostolates. Male cantors in cassock and surplice (or religious habit) should walk between the servers and the clergy. tomjaw mentions the appropriate occasions for choir processions above: "Palm Sunday, Corpus Christi, Candlemass, Rogations... " I would add Holy Thursday to this list if the place of repose is completely separate from the church proper and the choir cannot be heard there when singing from the usual location.
  • Blaise
    Posts: 438
    M. Jackson Osborne,

    We are going to have a new church? Wow, I just started visiting it last year after wanting to come for at least a decade. It looks magnificent as it is. Hopefully it won't be totaled.


    (University of Houston student as of Monday - takes the name of a patron of physicians, St. Blaise, which is what I am aspiring to be; in particular, a physician for musicians, including organists - I plan to take organ lessons through the music school's community studies program)
  • Greetings, Blaise-Paul -

    It is likely to be more or less five years, but it is common knowledge that a new and larger cathedral will be built. We need it. Our present building is a gem, both spiritually and architecturally - in fact, Cram and Ferguson, the successor firm of Ralph Adams Cram, who built our present building, received an AIA award for it. But, wonderful as it is, we are literally bursting at the seams. We have more than doubled our membership just in the last few years. We have a Saturday vigil, three Sunday morning, and one Sunday evening mass, and the church is full for all of them. Counting three this very evening, we have ordained nine new priests this year, and we have about half a dozen seminarians. Ha! And to think that there were those who chortled that the Anglican Use would be here today and gone tomorrow. We are here to stay! God, Jesus, St Joseph and the BVM (and Cardinal di Nardo!) have all smiled wondrously upon us. Bishop Lopes says that the Ordinariate will grow exponentially in the next few years. I believe that he is correct in his vision.

    Godspeed in your studies and in your aspiration to become a physician.
  • Blaise
    Posts: 438
    Thank you graciously for the godspeed.

    I do hope they keep the overall design. I love the shrine in the middle of the campus - it is a very, very serene oasis in the middle of a busy (by that I mean to say - in a polite fashion - somewhat run down) district of Houston.
  • The design of all our buildings, including future ones, is and will be consistent. They are faced with stone and are in a style informed by mediaeval English architecture. The cathedral church itself was inspired by and designed after a typical XIIIth century English parish church. The present cathedral church will remain - but a larger one (facing EAST!) will be built on our campus, probably on the large soccer field across from the chancery. Next in order, though, will be a new and larger parish hall, immediately east of the chancery.

    We also are planning to build a Catholic high school with a curriculum heavy on theology, doctrine and The Faith, heavy on music and the arts, and on our English spiritual patrimony, as well as a genuine liberal arts syllabus.
    Thanked by 1Blaise
  • Blaise
    Posts: 438
    As to the question, I do know that at my [now former] parish, Our Lady of the Atonement (then a Pastoral Provision parish), the adult choir would process during Lent for Holy Mass in advance of the thurifer. The attire was dark suits and tie for men, black attire for women. This would be back in 2010. Additionally, the choir would also process for Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols.
  • Ralph Adams Cramm

    Lucky. Cram's right up there with Viollet-le-Duc and Pugin. Brilliant social commentator as well.
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,932
    "Brilliant social commentator as well."

    That, much less even than his art.
  • JL
    Posts: 164
    Cram's right up there with Viollet-le-Duc and Pugin.

    Even better than Viollet-le-Duc, who revised medieval buildings to fit his idea of how they ought to have looked--a bit like the early twentieth-century editors of Palestrina and company.
  • jefe
    Posts: 183
    Our steep, 164 year old winding wooden staircase to the tiny choir loft (with an ancient German tracker organ with no expression) is called the, "Great Eliminator". Once you can no longer climb said stairs, your no longer in the band. Our loft is at the rear and out of sight so the church choir only processes with the clergy on Palm Sunday and/or Easter when every choir member is ringing a bell in G harmonic minor and singing full bore the 5-part round, Christ ist erstanden based on Heinrich Isaac's classic chant. It's a total smells and bells cacophony leaving the wide eyed parishioners wondering what in heaven's name has descended upon them. Several times a year on feast days, one of our Compline Choirs does a non singing hand bell processional to good effect. We go down the center of the darkened Nave (that's trouble right there) and split up front continuing to throw those clappers and process back along the outside to the Narthex and up the stairs to the loft each person leaving their bell at the bottom of the stairs which makes it a built in board fade. Other times we do Peter Hallock's simply terrific Easter Canticle also with handbells with music on folded cardstock, or Wigbert Wipo of Burgundy (d. c. 1050) hymn for Easter Sunday, Victimae Paschali laudes, plainsong, Mode 1 in our Compline amebae saunter.