Choir Recruiting for Shrines ...
  • Dear Forum, I have started serving as DM at a Shrine in Las Vegas, which is not a parish, therefore no core membership to draw from, largely visitors, and no formal choir has been established. Personal contact with "regular attendees" and announcements from the ambo have not yet yielded any sign-ups for a volunteer choir, or even instruments. Are there any "special" approaches to recruiting singers/instrumentalists and a volunteer Shrine choir that is not a parish? Thank you in advance.
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,532
    You probably need a professional choir... a church without a regular congregation, or with very few regular congregants, is unlikely to ever have a "parish choir".
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,532
    You could try putting a notice in your diocesan newspaper - but most of the folks who read that and might be willing are likely already in their regular parish's choir.
  • Was there ever a choir?

    Are there cantors for all the Masses? Are they volunteers or paid?
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 909
    A 4-voice professional choir would be just terrific, and probably not too costly. Of course, this assumes that the singers are truly professional and can hold (and perhaps largely LEARN) their parts on their own.

    I believe @CGM had a choir like this in Stamford for a while. Perhaps he could weigh in...
  • CGM
    Posts: 416
    I run a professional ensemble like that now at a shrine, in fact — five pro singers (including me — I direct and sing). We rehearse once a week for 90 min. or so, then show up on Sunday a half-hour before the Mass, sing through most of the music, and then sing the Mass.
    — rep: Renaissance motets, Weber proper-chant adaptations (in English), my own SATB Responsorial Psalm settings, and a repeated SATB congregational Mass setting (all the music is different week-to-week except the Mass Ordinary)

    My old professional ensemble, back in Stamford (an octet, with me) didn't have a mid-week rehearsal; instead, we learned all the music in a 90-min. rehearsal immediately prior to the Mass that we sang. It made for an intense, but immensely rewarding, early Sunday morning.
    — rep: Latin propers at Offertory & Communion, a complete Renaissance Mass setting (except the Creed), Renaissance motets, my own SATB Introit and Responsorial Psalm settings (all the music was different every week)

    If your musicians are good enough, a Sunday-only ensemble could work well. These scenarios will fail without ace sight-readers on all voice parts.

    As far as costs go, it depends on what the market will bear. Find out what the local Catholic cathedral and/or big Protestant churches with extensive music programs typically pay their singers, and use that as a benchmark for setting up a budget.
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