How do I word an announcement at mass? Ideas?
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,380
    Please help me with an announcement?

    I will make an announcement this Sunday at 3/5 masses for choir members. I’ve been losing members but it’s not been all bad since some of the people I’ve lost were those that had trouble breathing/maintaining pitch etc. But I’ve lost some good people too. Does anyone have a kind way of asking for members who can sing vs. we’ll take anyone?

    I really, really do not want just anyone to join. I attended a mass at another parish where it was an unauditioned choir and frankly speaking, the choir was horrible. I know this is unkind, but it is the reality of it all.

    I know this is not the best way to recruit, but I've got to start somewhere. Any suggestions would be gratefully appreciated. I do not wish to be unkind.

    Thanks.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,726
    I am sure you can make a generic announcement inviting singers to join your choir, but that may get you some you don't want. Bulletin notices can be used but I have never been sure they are effective. I have spies around who listen for good voices in the congregation during mass. When one is found, a personal invitation is made to join us. We do get turned down sometimes, but sometimes not. I have been talking to choir directors in my town and they are having the same problems attracting singers. It seems folks don't do singing like they used to, or are so over-scheduled they don't have time. Paid singers are available but we don't really have the money for that.

    Good luck!
    Thanked by 2canadash CCooze
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,613
    There are three major components of the ask:

    1. Invite/welcome the participation of parishioners who: enjoy singing, can read music at least at a basic level [if you wish to note that reading chant notation would be a welcome but not necessary bonus, you can do that] and wish to dedicate themselves to the parish's music ministry through regular attendance at rehearsals and scheduled liturgies.
    2. Inform them what the rehearsal commitment is.
    3. Direct interested people to contact the music director (and how) to set up a time to meet in person in private. [You can choose to call it an audition or vocal assessment - or not. But to my mind a vocal assessment is a necessary minimum - there are just too many people who don't really know where their voice would properly be placed within the voices of a given choir, and only a choir director can assess that.]
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,069
    Make handbills and stuff the bulletin... that keeps tacky announcements out of the Mass, and it puts a reminder on the table of every member!
    Thanked by 2canadash CCooze
  • Perhaps you should have representatives from the choir (or you yourself) in the Narthex after Mass, perhaps as an addendum to the announcement to answer questions.
  • CGM
    Posts: 432
    I second the audition component. How about something like, "We always welcome experienced singers into our choirs. Please contact the director to schedule an audition, and we look forward to your joining us!"
    Thanked by 1canadash
  • How about :"Please contact the director to schedule an audition, and we look forward to meeting you" - that way you might avoid an expectation that every audition translates to automatic acceptance. ?
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,380
    This has been my parish for 17+ years now. I am frustrated at how few people DO anything there. It's the STP.... Same ten people... Same ten percent. I want to nag people into joining.

    I know there are at least two very capable men in my congregation, but what I hear is, "Well, I'll pray over it." or "You guys are doing a great job, you really don't need me..." sigh...

    I want to NAG them into joining. I don't suppose that would work eh?
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,025
    Tell them there are three possible reasons to join the choir: (1) you have a great voice and could put it to good use to the glory of God in the choir, (2) you have an okay voice that would greatly be improved by joining the choir, or (3) you think God gave you a horrible voice, and this is your chance to get even.

    (maybe that should be in purple)
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,380
    Ha ha Chuck! thanks! I'm using that for sure! lol!
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Canadash,

    You don't find the words for an announcement during Mass. I think the idea of personal invitation is a better one (for a whole collection of reasons). Alternatively, you could announce in the bulletin a choir-recruitment dinner at (some place of your choosing) and see who shows up.
  • Based on what you are looking for, the mention of an audition or vocal assessment would seem to fit.

    I think CGZ's mention of a recruitment dinner is a good idea... it gives you a chance to speak about the specifics of what involvement in the choir represents, the commitment, etc.. So your bulletin announcement (which the pastor could point out from the pulpit) would perhaps include both components and a mention of the role that music plays in the worship / liturgy of the Church.

    In my choirs, I schedule an end-of-year meeting each year for the existing choir and for people who might be interested in joining. Dinner is provided, there is a celebratory component (we have finished the season and there is the summer break before we start the new season)... but there is also an honest meeting where I discuss what it is that we are after in terms of choir - the privilege of what we do balanced against the corresponding obligation of rehearsal so that we can achieve our purpose. I lay out the expectations for participation along with the spirituality inherent in being part of the choir.

    For existing members, the meeting is my chance to be very clear on expectations and focusing awareness on the REAL reason why we do what we do - even those who have been singing with me for years can benefit from the reminder. It is a chance for them to weigh the commitment against the reward and make a free decision of yes or no. For new people (and there are always a few for whom this is the first end-of-year meeting), it clarifies - in a friendly social setting - what we are all about. Music is the tool, not the end.

    The celebratory aspect, the expression of "thank-you", the social context of having a dinner meeting (typically at a restaurant with alcohol and food) - all bring home the team aspect - that we are a kind of "family" - and provide another appeal for being part of a group of like-minded and devout Catholics.

    Team-building; clarifying purpose and expectations; celebrating and simultaneously looking forward - all good stuff. :)

    One last thought... I tell the choir several times during the year and at the EOY meeting about the importance of recruitment. I want the choir to actively recruit like-minded people who will embrace the goals of what we are about throughout the year. I get quite a few new members that way...

    Best of luck in building back up your choir!
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,726
    This has been my parish for 17+ years now. I am frustrated at how few people DO anything there.


    I had wondered if that was common elsewhere. We have the same few people who do everything and the rest don't seem to want to do anything - other than get their one hour obligation in on Sunday. Then they are free to go home and forget the place until next week. The problem is that those few who do everything are getting older and aging out of active work.
  • this resonated with me >> It's the STP.... Same ten people... Same ten percent.
    We seem to have the same percentage. It's too bad, because placing one's talents (cooking, landscaping, singing, whatever) at the foot of the altar, so to speak, is far less work, and far more joy.

    I too think a vocal assessment is important (and like Incardination's approach). Liam has listed excellent guidelines for personal invitations. Thanks!
  • I want to NAG them into joining. I don't suppose that would work eh?


    And if you succeed, you could then come in here and complain about how they miss half of the rehearsals (which they knew was going to happen because of work or family or whatever).

    Seriously, first you need to be praying for your parishioners, and for people who might join. That is always the first step. STP or whatever: God will give you the people you need - the trick is to make sure that you recognise them when he does.

    The occasional public invitation is good - and usually works better if done by a priest than a lay person. Sad, but true.

    Invite them to come along to one rehearsal, after which you'll schedule a vocal assessment. (No point wasting your time assessing people who don't want to join once they see what you do.)

    But focus on personal invitations. Perhaps start with for seasonal events eg join the choir for Advent, Christmas Lent, or Easter: some people who cannot do the whole year may be willing to do a month or two.
  • KARU27
    Posts: 91
    Sometimes I wonder if Catholic churches don't get choir members, because the choirs seem to be dominated by older folks, and that makes it unappealing for people who are younger? I wonder if: there were some child care available for rehearsals that might help? Could you have rehearsals when kids are occupied there for something (CCD, sports practice, etc?), and hope to rope in a parent to sing? I realize this sounds crazy. : )
    Also, I know that when I am involved in music at my parish, my kids complain ("can't you sit with us instead?"). Is this part of the problem - - families then can't sit together, it leaves one parent to wrangle children, etc?
    I know I raised more problems than solutions, but I just wonder about these things.
  • Cultivate a choir which doesn't "target" one age. Train the young ones to assume adult responsibilities at the appropriate time.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,726
    I have some children in the loft in order to get parents to sing. They are generally well-behaved, and when one occasionally acts up, they are kids and I can live with it.
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,439
    Seriously, first you need to be praying for your parishioners, and for people who might join.


    Pax, you have hit the nail on the proverbial head. Prayer is first and foremost.

    Why not try this? - announce in the bulletin that there will be a weekly perpetual novena to St. Gregory or Cecilia for an Increase in Choir Members. In the first place, you will be ensuring that the work you do will be done for the right reason - the true and proper worship of God. This will both improve your attitude (and your choir's) towards the reason they are doing what they are doing. Secondly, this will attract the right type of person - not the show-boating prima donna or lounge singer tenor, but someone who is genuinely interested in expressing their love for the Lord through the gift of music. And seriously, who doesn't want to be able to cooperate with Divine Providence in answering prayers - especially those which are a simple as showing up to sing twice a week? And, if nothing else, you have those show up who don't necessarily have a 'talent' for music, but have a 'talent' for praying - those who appreciate the work you are doing - and who, above all, will reach out to others in the community they know whose talent you might have overlooked? Just a thought.
  • ViolaViola
    Posts: 279
    If you can get one or two young ones they bring their friends. Half our choir of 24 are students under thirty; but then the problem is they go home when the university breaks up for Christmas and Easter, and it's back to the faithful, elderly few.
    I teach part-time at the university, so I personally invited students I thought would fit in. I think that although it's more time-consuming it's more successful in the long run..
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,439
    Start a Pueri Cantores chapter. (Or the equivalent thereof.) Build a culture that shows that church music isn't just for old folks. And train your future replacements.
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,380
    Sometimes I wonder if Catholic churches don't get choir members, because the choirs seem to be dominated by older folks, and that makes it unappealing for people who are younger?

    We have all sorts of ages in my choir. Thirteen is the youngest and +60 is the oldest and everything in between. I've got the two youngest gentlemen singing the Gregorian propers.

    I wonder if: there were some child care available for rehearsals that might help? Could you have rehearsals when kids are occupied there for something (CCD, sports practice, etc?), and hope to rope in a parent to sing? I realize this sounds crazy. : ) Also, I know that when I am involved in music at my parish, my kids complain ("can't you sit with us instead?"). Is this part of the problem - - families then can't sit together, it leaves one parent to wrangle children, etc?

    I understand this too. One of my fantastic members has five very young children. He sits down with his family for part of the mass and comes up for the chanting of the psalm or an anthem. He often brings his children. As a mom myself, I have no problem with these things. He just had baby #5 and came for two rehearsals before Christmas. I was happy to have him. Perhaps I will make this known, though, I worry about upsetting the solid crew. I could not offer babysitting or the like.

    Seriously, first you need to be praying for your parishioners, and for people who might join.
    Yup. Right now I'm deep in praying for my children, but I suppose I could add this in to the mix?

    announce in the bulletin that there will be a weekly perpetual novena to St. Gregory or Cecilia for an Increase in Choir Members.
    I will do this. Great idea.


    If you can get one or two young ones they bring their friends. Half our choir of 24 are students under thirty;
    Nice work. We are no where near a university. We have some high school kids and some university kids.... I'll ask them!

    I do wish our "Lifeteen" director would suggest it to the group.... sigh....
    Start a Pueri Cantores chapter. (Or the equivalent thereof.) Build a culture that shows that church music isn't just for old folks. And train your future replacements.
    I'll look that up!
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,439
    do wish our "Lifeteen" director would suggest it to the group.... sigh....


    Have you actually spoken to the Lifeteen director? My experience is that not every Lifeteen director is a Jeff Spicoli clone. They may not fully understand it, but they would appreciate Tradition when presented to them. It's just like with Charismatics. They really warm up to Tradition when someone presents it to them in their own terms. (We had one 'convert' who was giddy when she found out that the old, old calendar had an octave for Pentecost.)
    Thanked by 1canadash
  • "Lifeteen" director


    Dumb question: What's lifeteen?
    Next dumb question: Who's Jeff Spicoli?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,726
    Lifeteen? You will be happier if you don't know.
    Thanked by 1canadash
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,439
    Jeff Spicoli? You would be happier if you did know!
    Thanked by 1canadash
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,380
    lol! I didn't know either CGZ!

    As for the Lifeteen, I don't know. I've asked before and I don't think anything was said. I may go around the block and ask other people who are involved. Maybe they could do a session on the importance of service in the parish.
  • Isn't Lifeteen Msgr Dale (Somethingortheother)'s group?
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,380
    Lifeteen is now an international movement in parishes to engage youth.

    https://lifeteen.com
  • Look for people who have outgrown Lifeteen: it's great when you're a teenager or if you have the gifts to go back as a leader, but as people's faith matures, they need more. This is where more traditional music becomes more attractive, as people go deeper.
  • Pax,

    To pick up a point I made on another thread..... if it's appealing to teens as teens, it's not training them to be adults in the faith, and so it can't be a good thing in itself, whether it has good results from time to time or not.
    Thanked by 1eft94530
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,380
    So, I did make a tacky announcement, but since the last one was about 7 years ago, people actually complimented me on it. I think this is because I asked people to join in a novena for the choir and to pray for us.

    I had at least 6 people say they were going to come to the next rehearsal. One is a senior in high school and another is in college. The rest were adults. I think four have real promise... so we'll see.

    No men though.... :(

    Thank you!

  • Wow, Canadash, that was a great result! I hope they all stick around!

    These are great ideas for recruitment. I think I'll suggest some of them at my parish.
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • mburrier
    Posts: 25
    1. Is a choir necessary? The Church does offer a wealth of support, via STL, SC, et al. But what are the musical needs of your parish?
    2. Needs differ from wants. If your job is as Choir Director, then by all means, recruit, recruit, recruit. But if your job is Director of Music, then listen to your parish, your singers, your musicians, and create a reasonable, lasting situation.
    3. Example: I was in Italy a couple of years ago (Rome, Orvieto, Alps, etc.). I experienced a beautiful Sunday Mass with no choir nor instruments.
    4. In other words, remember that music serves the liturgy, that basic is better than terrible, and the Mass is not a talent show unless the musicians have actual talent.
  • Caleferink
    Posts: 277
    @mburrier
    1. Is a choir necessary?

    YES!

    The documents you cite say exactly why choirs are necessary! There are centuries of sacred music out there, so much of it beyond the capabilities of the people in the pews. It needs to be heard.

    Or, for less churchy reasons, I'll leave it to the great John Rutter to explain: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pm-Pm1FYZ-U&feature=youtu.be
  • For a less-tacky announcement try this:


    (Imagine it being sung):

    The Lord be with you
    And with Thy Spirit

    A Lection from the Beginning of the Letter of Kappelmeister (fill in in name)
    Spare us, O Lord!**

    In the beginning God made the heavens and the Earth, the choirs of angels and all that dwell therein. Now therefore, my Beloved Brethren, see that God called them choirs of Angels. Be not loud, clanging cymbals, therefore, but voices raised in praise of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, Who gave you tongues to speak His praise. Choir registration begins immediately following this Mass.


    The Word of the Kappelmeister.
    Thanks be to God.


    ** Some editions of the manuscript require the text to be "Good Lord, deliver us", while others merely indicate something illegible, followed by "Good Lord!"