• Heath
    Posts: 928
    Would anyone like to share their experiences in purchasing these for their choir?

    --Where to search to find used robes (new ones are expensivo!)?
    --Design? Color?
    --Raising the money to purchase them?
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 754

    Have you considered a simple, black, British-style Bachelor's gown? They have three great virtues: they're not visually intrusive; they don't look like quasi-clerical dress; and they have the potential to be inexpensive (if your local academic gown suppliers don't stock them, you can probably have them made up at a reasonable price).


  • WGS
    Posts: 295
    I've sung in two robed choirs. One was an OF choir of men and boys. When that choir sang from the choir loft, we wore grey slacks, white shirt, tie and blue blazer. When we sang from the choir, we wore cathedral style red robes and white surplices purchased from Almy. (definitely surplices and not cottas and yes, expensive.) I know that the men bought their own robes, but I don't know what the boys did. Almy and other suppliers have material and patterns available for sewing your own, but I was told that the sewing is difficult.

    For another EF choir, I was able to obtain discards from an Episcopal Church. (As a matter of fact, that church was changing to the same robe and surplice combination mentioned above.) Their discards amounted to a hooded alb with cincture and a red scapular. That combination has served quite well.

    As to a source of used robes, you might check with some Catholic or Episcopal Church which is being merged or suppressed. Also, occasionally there are notices about used robes in the Church Music Quarterly of the Royal School of Church Music - even sometimes from USA sources.

    and watch out for matching shades of colors and material!
  • Steve CollinsSteve Collins
    Posts: 1,021
    100% cotton is much cooler, and I prefer to see something more like "clerical". One option is to have "cassocks" with gently rounded openings rather than the square openings that are simply missing that little piece of white plastic! Borrowing from Anglican traditions, just use cassocks that are any color other than black, and wear a much different style of surplice.

    Academic gowns, especially 100% man-made fibers, are much hotter, and have much more yardage in them. If they don't look academic, or even judicial, then they look very Baptist! They do not work with any sort of surplice. They only thing that looks even reasonable is colored "choir stoles". That maybe makes them look more Methodist.
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,202
    There is an English-style cassock that fits the above description. Instead of buttoning up the front, it's kind of "double-breasted." It buttons or snaps at the waist and at the shoulder, and also features a flat sash, not unlike some of the modern "cassock-albs" that are popular. The benefit is that the collar is lower on the neck, and the shirt collar and knot of the men's ties show. Women and boys can also wear an Eton collar with a tie or for the women a cravat. This style only works however if you use an all-Anglican style. For those who prefer Florentine style surplices, the only cassock that looks right is a Roman cassock.

    For my part, I'd avoid anything other than cassock and surplice for vesting a choir, despite the nonsense repeated at least three times in Sing to the Lord that says cassock and surplice is reserved for the clergy. . . like the clergy ever wear formal choir dress anymore.
  • The boy choir and men's schola - not to mention the school's female assistant director - wear white surplices and black cassocks at St. Paul Church in Cambridge, MA. Though the comments in Sing to the Lord raised a few eyebrows, it is a directive that will be ignored. The tradition runs too deep.