Size of Music programs and choirs
  • G
    Posts: 1,397
    For those who are in parish music programs, what is your parish's average weekend attendance, and how many members in your main adult choir?
    How many cantors?

    I am curious because while I am constantly recruiting, and fretting about numbers, but another MD in a nearby Church said my choir was huge for the size of the parish.

    We have 29 members, although usually only about 20 on a given Sunday.
    Attendance is, I think, about 700 a weekend.
    Seven cantors.
  • There are five sunday Masses including vigil. We do one only. The rest are what you might expect in any parish. we limit our group to 12 members. 250 or so attend the Mass at which we sing.
  • Cantor
    Posts: 84
    Yes, that is pretty gigantic for such modest attendance.

    We have probably close to 4,000 attending 5 weekend Masses. The main adult choir has about 25 members; there were over 40 at one time, but the previous MD took a number of people with him when he left. There is also a smaller contemporary choir that has about 10-12 singers. Between the two choirs, about 10 cantors serve the non-choir Masses, with greater and lesser degrees of participation outside their choir commitments.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,707
    could you change the title to your post? its a bit crass.
  • athome
    Posts: 31
    We are a parish of 5,500 registered families and 6,000 to 6,500 attend Mass on any given weekend. We have 7 Masses and 4 of them are doubled during the winter seasons for a total of 11 liturgies from October through April during weekends. There are two contemporary ensembles, one Spanish choir, a children's chorus, serveral rotating cantors and one parish choir of 30 voices for the 10:00 service. The parish continues to grow. (mesa, az)
    Be well.
  • 6000 families registered. 8 weekend Masses.
    24 in Schola, 20 guaranteed week to week. I direct.
    20-24 in Ensemble including instrumental quintet, 3 vln, 1 cello, 1 clar. I direct.
    10 in Coro.
    6 in Youth Group Ensemble
    3 Masses cantored, same cantors each week for assigned Masses(one of them me.)
    One early Mass, organ accompanied, singing led by celebrant.
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,204
    Suburban parish; 12,000 registered members (3,000 families); lots of younger families with babies or teenage children

    5 weekend Masses, average weekend attendance 4,700 (a guess, it's a bit of a moving target).

    Adult choir sings at 9 am Mass, average 14-16 members; during "Festival Choir" season membership increases to 24

    An ensemble of about 12 voices (and a flute and guitar) sing for the 7:30 am on alternating Sundays. My associate directs that ensemble and plays the organ/piano.

    "Contemporary ensemble" sings for Sunday 5:30 every other weekend, has 15 members (with one cross-over between it and the more traditional adult choir

    Other Masses covered by single cantors or "small group" cantors (I hate it, but it's one of the sacred cows I can't slaughter. . . folks who want to be in front of a microphone singing their "harmony" along with the principal cantor/psalmist. Please don't judge me too harshly; it's a beast I simply can't kill)

    Total of 10-12 cantor/psalmists and "hangers-on" (see above)

    We also have several volunteer instrumentalists (1 trumpet, 4 flutes, 1 guitar) who play at various Masses

    It's a very confused program, and I've tried to carry out a long-term education campaign for the folks who like to "sing the harmony" at those Masses being covered by a cantor to understand that that's not the purpose of the cantors. They don't really seem interested in forming up more structured ensembles to cover those Masses, and they either can't or won't help recruit folks who may want to participate, because of the "we don't have time to rehearse, we just want to sing" mentality that was permitted to exist for the tenure of my predicessor.

    I direct the adult choir and play for at least 2 other Masses per weekend; my associate takes up the rest, and we have one husband/wife team that sing for the alternate 7:30 am Masses.

    In an unrelated issue, I have to wonder (and have had conversations with a friend of mine on this) how much time and energy would be saved if we stuck to this priority for music at every Mass (I know some of you do already, so perhaps you could render your opinion):

    1) all music drawn from the Graduale or Gregorian Missal, sung by a schola (all men or all women)
    2) music drawn from the Simplex and a good hymnal with organ filling in the gaps
    3) use of polyphony with organ or orchestral ensemble for Masses of the first class (what we would call solemnities under the current progressive system)

    as opposed to this non-stop runaround of having to select "appropriate" hymns, songs, anthems and Mass settings (acclamations, etc), never quite knowing when to incorporate solo organ music to cover liturgical movement not already supported by pre-determined chant set forth by the approved books. I feel like I spend countless hours re-inventing the wheel when I select and schedule music for the Masses. I daydream about what it would be like to simply call the singers together for rehearsal, open the book to the appropriate Sunday, and start working on perfecting the chant and deepening our spirituality and understanding of the liturgy in the process, instead of all of this "touchy-feely" make-work.

    Just wondering.
  • " I feel like I spend countless hours re-inventing the wheel when I select and schedule music for the Masses. I daydream about what it would be like to simply call the singers together for rehearsal, open the book to the appropriate Sunday, and start working on perfecting the chant and deepening our spirituality and understanding of the liturgy in the process, instead of all of this "touchy-feely" make-work."

    I'm right with you there, David, sigh. But I don't think we'll see it in this era until the boomer generation of bishops/priests/people (myself included) hand over the keys of our K-cars and VW Bugs to the Grim Reaper, and if and when the younger priests et al can effect "the shift."
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    I sing with two parishes and the diocesan cathedral choir. Here are our approximate numbers:

    Parish 1: 10,000 registered families. Seven Masses (2 Sat/5 Sun). Church seats ~1200, total attendance ~6,000 per weekend. Adult choir: ~30 members, Other choir (30-somethings): 12 members, Cantored Masses: 5. Adult choir is "All Word & Song, all the time." Other choir primarily Praise hymns.
    - Not sure what the future will bring here. The associate pastor is moving on 1 Feb leaving only 1 priest/pastor and whomever he can scavenge from among local retirees for these 7 Masses.

    Parish 2: 4,100 registered families, growing ~200 familes/month. Six Masses (2 Sat/4 Sun). Church seats 900, total attendance ~4,500 per weekend. Adult choir: ~20 members, Youth Mass band: 8 members, Cantored Masses: 4. Adult choir is "All Gather, all the time." Building Schola Cantorum: ~ 8 members. Ad hoc for now, awaiting a regular "venue".

    Cathedral: Small parish (<1,000 families) but supposedly the third most visited cathedral in US. Eight Masses (3 Sat/5 Sun) Seats ~1,800, total attendance ~8,000 per weekend. Cathedral Orchestra, ~5 members, plays one Mass weekly. Choir, ~16 members, sings 2-3 times per month on no fixed schedule. All other Masses cantored. Choir is primarily Word & Song, as per Music Director, but our wiley choir director keeps adding serious music (i.e., Mozart, Arvo Part, etc.) to the mix as preludes, offertories, etc.<br />
    I believe all cantors are paid positions as is the orchestra. Choirs are volunteer with occasional exceptions at the cathedral when 'pros' are brought in to augment the choir.
  • IIRC, my parish has about 300 familes registered in a city of 12,000 out in the "middle of nowhere." We have three Masses (vigil and two on Sunday), average attendance about 75. Our "choir" sings at one Sunday Mass; we have seven or eight people, most of whom are a woman who claims to see the Blessed Mother out in the desert and her followers, so I'm basically on my own should the 13th of the month fall on a Sunday or the lady decide to take her group on a "mission." When we do have something cantored, I'm it (right now I've cut the music back to a prelude, entrance, and recessional as we're trying to implement the three degrees of Musicam Sacram).
  • bsven
    Posts: 20
    Dear David Andrew, I could never judge you "harshly", as I am in the same boat: trying with only limited success to right wrongs put in place before my tenure. And, unfortunately, I must cooperate. But one of the things that I like about my parish is that all four masses are identical, which means that all of the people have learned the Latin ordinaries, all of the people have the same hymn vocabulary;etc. The choir can of course only sing at one Mass, so they simply add an anthem or two in addition to supporting the people in the singing of the Mass, or occasionally singing one or more of the propers (albeit protesting). I, too, long for all sung from the Greg. Missal. But all progress in this direction comes from the Pastor. In the meantime, streamlining all Masses into the same (traditional) format is restful.