How to choose a good rehearsal day and time?
  • henry
    Posts: 224
    In asking the choir if they would like to continue with Monday night rehearsals (as last year), some said they will be taking college classes on Monday nights, others said they are afraid to come out at night (not the best neighborhood), others asked for rehearsal before or after Sunday Mass, and one asked for Saturdays. How does one choose? I like the Sunday idea, but since I play for all the Masses, it doesn't give me much time in between. Sometimes I just have to get out of the choir loft for a little bit for coffee and/or washroom. Saturdays are no good - too much to do, and then the occasional wedding, etc. Any suggestions?
  • We used to always have rehearsals on Sundays just before the mass because most people refused to come out during the week. I did not agree with that since the church should be open and quiet for those who come in early to prepare for mass. When I took over as DM, I made rehearsal on Monday nights because most people agreed that was the best for them; however, I found that to be counterproductive, as most people had a tendency to "forget" the music a week in advance. We now rehearse on Thursday nights (for those who choose to show up) and it's been a little better. My other alternative, is to have a couple of major Saturday morning workshop rehearsals for major holidays. As far as getting out of the choir loft, well, of course, we all understand that.
  • henry
    Posts: 224
    I agree with you - the church should be quiet for those who come early. Also, the congregation shouldn't be hearing Christmas music being practiced on Advent Sundays nor Easter music being practiced on Lenten Sundays!
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  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,481
    Thursday is often the chosen day for choir rehearsals in this area. We have ours on Wednesday evenings. It has been like this prior to my arrival. We are a bedroom community and people work late; so it is a very late rehearsal. We have three Masses Sunday mornings. There would be no where to rehearse, so that would be out, and, as was mentioned, it would be difficult for choristers to remember the music!
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Others might hate this idea, but I've ALWAYS just dictated the day and time, and will continue to do so. The fact is that you'll never get everyone, or even a majority, to have free schedules. Set the time and those who can come, will come. Let them debate it, and by Christmas you STILL won't have a decision.
  • TCJ
    Posts: 832
    I used to do Easter/Christmas choir practice on Sundays, but I'd schedule it for an hour after the last morning Mass, so there was never anybody else in the church. There was an afternoon Mass, but too far away for anyone to be disturbed by us. So nobody heard Easter hymns on a Sunday of Lent except the choir. I'm not particularly a fan of choir practice on a Sunday since it was already the busiest day, but sometimes you have to go with what works for everybody.
  • marajoymarajoy
    Posts: 781
    "We are now going to have practice both on Sundays at {this} time and Thursdays at {this} time. You MUST come to one or the other, and preferably both, in order to sing on any given Sunday."
    Then, for the 3 people who end up coming on Thursdays also, work extra hard with them and teach them extra beautiful music, that they will sing occasionally by themselves. It should be obvious, but if necessary, explain it to the rest of the choir, "We just don't have time on Sundays to work on extra-special music. I would love it if you would join us on Thursdays when we have so much time to really perfect things like this!"
    If you are doing good things with the Thursday group, then eventually more people will acknowledge that and start coming.

    Not sure if this fits your scenario. (It worked for me awhile ago.)
  • WJA
    Posts: 237
    My Schola practices at church 45 minutes after Sunday Mass and at my house 1.5 hours on Thursday evenings. There are just eight of us, all men. On the Thursday evening practices, we work an hour, then break for 20 minutes or so to sip scotch (purchased with proceeds from occasional wedding gigs) and chat, then wrap up with another half hour of practice. Since everyone enjoys the fellowship—we say our Schola is really our Catholic men's group—it doesn't seem a chore to come out on weeknights.

    I don't know whether this Schola/men's group model would work for larger groups or mixed choirs, but it's worth consideration.
  • Carl DCarl D
    Posts: 992
    I second the Scotch!

    You're going to just have to pick a day and time that is a reasonable tradeoff and works most of the time. That will then impact who joins or leaves. It's a good idea to keep it consistent year to year, since people structure their OTHER commitments around it.
  • Our church space is limited and I am finding that I may need to change the rehearsal agenda up. We have mid-week services during Advent and Lent - and we recently started Evensong services on Sundays 1 time each quarter. I split the Chancel Choir and started an advanced (intermediate at least) reader group and now my Chancel Choir had 9 and added 3 and my Kantorei had 10 and now has 12. Since I am only able to handle 20 at one time in the main area for the choir - this works well. BUT - I may end up moving my Chancel Choir to Sunday mornings before service - and limit that group to unison/2pt music and the occasional psalmody. It really will change things up quite a bit - but being in a college area - my pianist drives 1 hour 1 way to get here... so, moving it to Sunday will make things easier on him.
  • It's rather a convention that the closer to Sunday the better. This is why most Episcopal churches have choir rehearsals (usually 2 hrs) on Thursday evenings. A few, plus most Protestants rehearse on Wednesday. The best is Thursday because of it nearness to Sunday. Friday, being 'social' night is sort of out, so Thrusday it is. Some choirs will have extra rehearsals for major feast on the nearest Saturday morning or afternoon. Catholics, I've noticed are about equally divided between Wednesday and Thursday....Thusday is without question the best. Monday or Tuesday would be the utter worst and rather pointless Most choirs rehearse for two hours divided by a 10 or fifteen minute break. Choir call on Sunday mornings should be an hour before mass, failing that, at least 45 minutes.
  • My choir rehearses on wednesdays from 7pm until 8:30pm and sometimes until 9pm if we are preparing lots of music say for example in the lead up to Christmas or Easter. We also have a rehearsal starting at 9:45am for the 11am sung mass.

    Typically we retire to a local chinese restauraunt after wednesday night rehearsals for a supper and usually head out to lunch after Sunday mass.

    We are most fortunate to have a dedicated rehearsal room as well as a dedicated storage room for our choir robes, music and an office. Mind you - this is a Cathedral Church we are talking about.

    See if you can use another room for warm-ups/rehearsals. Most churches are attached to a school or have a hall with a small side room that you can use as a "choir room".
  • We rehearse on Thursdays and Sundays before mass in our choir room, which is in the basement of the church. I would suggest scheduling it the way we did in college: have everyone write down their schedule for the week and then pick the day(s) and time(s) that appear to have to most people available.
  • I'm on a church committee that uses Doodle to find mutually agreeable times for meetings. Works well for us...but of course everyone needs to participate for it to work. What I like is that it doesn't require showing your schedule, just indicating what times won't work at all, will work, and might work.
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  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,428
    +1 for Doodle. Works great.
    Thanked by 1Scott_W
  • At least everyone seems to have a regularly scheduled time. Our choir director feels no need for that. We usually gather 45 minutes before Mass in the choir loft and begin singing prelude music 10 minutes before Mass. For a few weeks prior to Easter or Christmas we begin 1.5 hrs before Mass. That means we sing for 2.5 to 3 hours some Sundays. That is not good for anyone's voice, especially those of us who are trying to preserve aging voices. We tend to be more of a "group who gets together to sing on Sunday" than a choir. I envy those of you who have dedicated time for music!
  • Scott_WScott_W
    Posts: 462
    I'm on a church committee that uses Doodle to find mutually agreeable times for meetings.

    I actually wish I had something to schedule so I could try it. Thanks.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Not sure if we'll continue this next year, but, for now, we have practice Thursday afternoon (3:30-5:00) for those singing for the Triduum. We have practice before the sung Mass on Sunday one hour before Mass begins for those who want to sing on Sunday. What I like about this is I know who will be singing at each Mass! If we do this next year, I'm thinking we'll have the seasonal practice on Thursdays two months before Christmas and two months before Easter. Otherwise, just have Sunday practice before Mass.

    We just started this last week and I already had one complainer who said it "wears out his voice" to practice before Mass and then sing at Mass. You can't win in this business!

  • We rehearse Thursdays 7:30-9:30 PM and have a warm-up on Sunday at 9:15 AM. Many years ago, at a former parish, I inherited a rehearsal time on Tuesdays at 7:30 after the Perpetual Help devotions. It just seemed that a good deal was forgotten by Sunday.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,921
    @teachermom24, I wouldn't dismiss the guy who claims to feel vocal stress from practicing and then singing at Mass. A lot of well-meaning people have long-standing but unhealthy singing habits, and have never been taught anything different.
  • the members of our small a cappella choir are very spread out, over a LARGE metro area. What seems to work best for us is to have our weekly practice about 45 min after the Sunday Mass, which gives people the time to make a thanksgiving and greet their friends, and by then just about all the congregation are out of the nave. Nominally practice is 45 minutes, but usually runs about 1 hr 15 (or more if we get enthusiastic). From time to time we all discuss the frequency & length of practices, not hard to reach a consensus.
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,912
    Gavin is correct, I think. I've been through this before: struggling with changing the choir time because there were some people who said they didn't join choir because they couldn't make rehearsals, etc. The end result was that I just dictated the time, and we didn't lose anybody, nor did we gain anybody. We tried to change a few times, but it didn't have any effect on our rehearsal attendance, nor on enrollment in the choir. Eventually, it ended up back where it started because that was easier for everyone involved.
  • Spriggo
    Posts: 122
    THREE YEA...ah, never mind.
    Thanked by 1bonniebede
  • bonniebede
    Posts: 756

    Decide when you want to have your meeting.
    Set the first provisional meeting 'to decide when we will meet' on that day.
    At the provisional meeting, find out what day will suit them....
    As all who can make it that day are the ones that are at the meeting, that will be easily agreed to.
    problem solved.
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