• mahrt
    Posts: 517
    Is your choir vested, i.e., do they wear some kind of uniform vesture that is distinguished from street clothing? Are they visible from the congregation, i.e., placed somewhere at the front of the church?
  • Ambrosius
    Posts: 49
    We were visible until recently, but we have just migrated to a new choir gallery and are invisible now. However, we are visible still when we go downstairs to receive Holy Communion. We have never been vested, but, though we wear street clothes, we all (30 or so) make sure these are black or near-black: it's fairly uniform, unfussy and understated - works quite well for us.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,955
    We are not visible, and plan on keeping it that way. My choir is too badly behaved to put them in front, so we stay in the loft. It is also hot in that loft, all year. Wearing robes would work, if one were misery synod Lutheran and enjoyed suffering for suffering's sake. Given the heat, our invisibility, and the lack of any desire to suffer, we don't wear robes. Because of our advancing ages, a minister brings communion up the steep, winding stairs to the choir.
  • Protasius
    Posts: 468
    We are not visible when singing at Mass; for a concert we sing visibly in the front at the steps of the sanctuary, unless we are accompanied by the organ situated in the back.
  • jpal
    Posts: 365
    We are currently not vested and very visible. Renovations planned for the fall will move the choir to the back...right in front of the new organ.

    We do have plans to get robes for the treble choir.
  • We are not vested and are on the altar to the right (not my choice, believe me). Nxt year we will be in our new church and in the loft (Praise God!)
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    It must not be a large altar. The one at my church will only hold 2 people, maybe up to 6 if they really squeeze in.
    Thanked by 2Spriggo eft94530
  • Small church, small altar. Pews seat about 300.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,707
    No. I live in the wild wild west and restrictions, decorum and the finer points of liturgical practice seem to me to be played down. I usually wear a coat and tie, but jeans and cowboy boots are the norm here. BTW... Wyoming is considered mission territory.
    Thanked by 1IanW
  • At my new job (Feb. 28), the choir wears blue robes, white trim. When I took over, they sat for most of the Mass in folding chairs, facing the congregation and a couple of microphones, in the front of the church, where you might expect a side altar. They now sit in the front pews, without mikes, and so are less visible (or rather, distracting) than before.
    Thanked by 1eft94530
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 757
    Join the Ordinariate; sing Evensong & Benediction; wear cassock (colour appropriate to the place), surplice & hood. Otherwise, sing Mass from the loft in civvies.

    ps sorry for the pontification.
    Thanked by 1Mark Husey
  • Our liturgical choir sits in the loft, and is only visible for reception of Communion and processions. Men wear (black) cassock and surplice. Women have red/purple choir albs on order from Almy, to be debuted soon. They may wear scapulars on top of these down the line.

    Choristers- boys in cassock and surplice, girls in white alb and black scapular.
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,447
    In my college choir we wear our black academic robes. Dress code is supposed to be trousers and collared shirt, but not everyone adheres to it at the moment (a few have turned up in T-shirts, shorts and flip-flops!)

    My other choir wears what I think is a geneva preaching gown, but made in the colour of the Bishop's cassock. I am lead to understand that this was a compromise as we are a mixed choir and it is technically not correct to vest women in in cassock and surplice.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,955
    IanW, if we are ever fortunate to have an ordinariate in my area, I plan on asking if they need an organist/DM.
    Thanked by 1IanW
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,501
    We are vested in awful green robes. We are not visible to the congregation until we process for communion. Though the gowns are unappealing they solve the problem of modesty. For some reason the twenty somethings do not understand the concept of modesty and I am thrilled I don't have to manage the clothing choices of these talented singers.
  • JennyJenny
    Posts: 147
    We are in the front to the right of the sanctuary which is where the organ is. No choir loft. The choir wears white shirts and black pants/skirts. I don't love either choice but there is no other option for our placement and the 'uniform' is better than the blue academic style gowns the choir wore previously.
  • Mark HuseyMark Husey
    Posts: 192
    We are vested in purple cassocks and white surplices in a rear Gallery and visible to about 30% of the church from the transepts. We process weekly for the opening hymn and to communion. We don't wear the surplices in Advent or Lent because then we're just all purple and...you get the picture.
  • advocatusadvocatus
    Posts: 85
    As an unfiltered response, I like MaryAnn's idea of alb and scapular (but for both men and women.) The vesting of the lay/de-clericalized choir is an interesting question related to the identity and role of such a choir in the reformed liturgy. As part of the Body of Christ, the choir and its members surely share in the identity of Christ as Priest, Prophet and King, and in the mission of prayer, proclamation and service. Like the clerical choir (and all other liturgical ministers) the choir functions in a "priestly" way--in the name of and on behalf of the whole assembly of God's People. The choir clearly proclaims the Word and the Kingdom in the chants proper to it, as well as in its prefiguring of the heavenly choral destiny of the whole Church. The choir serves in it's ministerial function to the assembly, supporting it's song and prayer and engaging in dialogue with it.

    Clerical "choir" dress consists of the "house" cassock, topped with the surplice, a form of the baptismal garment. Since boys and "lay vicars" have historically stood in for "canons," it has been customary to vest them in clerical choir dress. Is the lay choir (even the boys and lay men) really analogous to the clerical choir? Or are non-clerical monastics - an intentional community of those who share a life of work and prayer, gathered "in choir," a better analogy and "model" for the lay parish choir?

    I don't think anyone could argue that the alb is appropriate liturgical vesture for any baptized Christian. If there is a need to further identify the choir as a body within the liturgical assembly (both outwardly and inwardly among its members--regardless of whether or not they are visible), is the scapular--a yoke and apron--appropriate to a community within the community bound by a certain discipline (however informal) and dedicated to service within the liturgy?

    Or is this co-opting a symbol of canonically instituted religious orders? For these folks, the external scapular is not a liturgical vestment, but part of the habit. As "bland" as it seems, the alb alone may be the best and only way of vesting the lay choir in a way that doesn't confuse the "layers" with the liturgical vesture of Holy Orders or habits connoting a vocation to a life that goes well beyond the commitment of belonging to the lay choir. "Bland" may be the point--submerging individual identity and personality within a baptismal and eschatological framework. Who are these who have washed their robes white in the blood of the Lamb?
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen mahrt
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,447
    The academic robe has its origins as clerical dress, so is arguably appropriate for choirs. They are also readily available in stock sizes which is handy.
  • Ninnel
    Posts: 1
    The academic robe is so boring, I think... Is it ok if I will dress some outfits from here http://inkprofy.com/church-outfits/ ?
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 1,155
    Our choirs do not have robes. Our previous DM said that the choir was part of the congregation and should not appear to be separate from them by using robes.
  • Our previous DM said....

    In his, or her, case I would say that the DM stood for 'Demented Maestro'.

    The choir are definitely not a 'part of the congregation'. They have a distinctive liturgical role to play, one which was made amply clear by the IInd Vatican council - which commanded that they should be 'assiduously cultivated'. That role is to grace the liturgy with works, propers, motets, anthems, from our musical treasury, and, incidentally, to provide support for congregational song. They should most certainly be vested.

    And, Ninnel is right about that vesture: academic robes are not only boring, they are not choir habit, they are..... academic robes. If for some (in-)conceivable reason one cannot put one's choir in cassock and surplice, then I would recommend as a decent alternative these alb-like garments with a scapular over them. This has a definite liturgical appearance, - or at least a 'religious' appearance.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • With all due respect to you, your former DM shows his/her true colors. Why have a choir at all if they are to be a part of the congregation? Your former DM shows a profound lack of knowledge in this matter and of all historical Vatican documentation on choirs, not to mention current practical norms and examples at the Vatican. One has only to watch a Mass from St. Peter's Basilica. It's a vested men and boys choir in front of and separate from the congregation / nave and upfront and visible.
  • Liam
    Posts: 5,003
    Though it doesn't help to overstate a correction, as there is GIRM 312: The schola cantorum (choir) should be so positioned with respect to the arrangement of each church that its nature may be clearly evident, namely as part of the assembled community of the faithful undertaking a specific function. The positioning should also help the choir to exercise this function more easily and allow each choir member full sacramental participation in the Mass in a convenient manner.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,777
    I read that in light of the controversies c. 1900 when chancel choirs invaded the sanctuaries and ensuing anxiety lest they be confused with the altar party.
  • JesJes
    Posts: 576
    As a kid the choir I was in wore maroon robes but remained in the loft. We also had cravats...
    As a teen and young adult I've been in another choir in invisible cloaks and in the loft. (Sorry I love the idea of invisibles!)
    As a "mature age student"/young adult I now travel around the place mainly to rural places and form choirs and we obviously don't have time to robe up and we sit or stand wherever we stand which I usually pick the rear or offside of the church or wherever.
    Whilst I know there is no law against standing in front of the sanctuary in choir robes I've never been a fan of this because the blokes appear to communicate throughout mass and at consecration whip out their phones and capture the moment and share to Facebook all obscuring the view of the sanctuary for the congregation. I suppose it is my only experience of this.
    I really like not knowing where the voice is coming from.
    One of my congregations is just learning how to sing so I scatter the choir among the people and people are catching on. It's grown the choir exponentially. We got 4 new members all fantastic singers just in the last month!
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,955
    I tried that "I scatter the choir among the people and people are catching on" thinking it would help the congregation learn some new hymns. In reality, the choir viewed it as having someone else to talk to. They have been back in the loft ever since, where I can monitor them and prevent the trouble they are prone to get into.
    Thanked by 2Jes CHGiffen
  • JesJes
    Posts: 576
    You have naughty choristers! Poor Charles! I in part had no choice, some of my choristers kinda gave birth to or father between 7-15 children and have to sit with them anyway so I figured this would be a suitable solution. We put the kids in the schoolyard and rehearse and then all go into mass all guns ablaze! It gets a bit weird when we sing motets so sometimes we convene at the back if it's too hard. It's kinda cool that the congregants are having a crack at the parts and everything. I'm very proud.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen CharlesW
  • A 'choir' scattered amongst the people is not a choir.

    (Ceci n'est pas une pipe un choeur!)
  • GerardH
    Posts: 426
    Cue the controversy (and slight side-track)...

    So I have sporadically dug around on this issue, and I have never found clear-cut answers. It is evident that the most desirable vestiture for a choir is cassock and surplice. However, when the issue strays to choir dress for females, everyone screams "Ecclesiastical Cross-Dressing!"

    Now I can understand that the cassock is a specifically male garment - and a secular one at that. The surplice, however, is a just shortened version of an alb. Since the alb is a symbol of the baptismal garment, all baptised Christians by right may wear it - women included. Ergo, a woman may wear a surplice. Therefore it would seem the best course that choirs wear surplice, males over a cassock, females perhaps over a tunic, analagous to that worn by religious.

    Am I missing something?

    P.S. Totally agree with the consensus on academic gowns. We have to wear them, and they're awful.
  • JesJes
    Posts: 576
    Uurgh academic gowns... yuck.

    A choir scattered among a very tiny congregation is still totally a choir when they sing nicely in 6 part polyphony thank you very much. (if I had an offended emoji it would be used right now haha)
  • for my $0.02,

    cassock/surplice for an all male schola - yes
    for a mixed schola (which in our case is only in necessity) - no

    for a mixed Catholic choir , if it's necessary to distinguish the choir members from the rest of the parish, maybe they can all agree to wear just black and white, or similar, as performing choirs often do. Worst case, the members of the congregation will spot this and keep offerng to move them up in the Confession line (which is something to think about isn't it...)
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,473
    Well being a seminary we have a unique situation. On Sundays all the sems wear suits so the choir wears those too. However on special occasions like our Lessons and Carols they wear Cass and Surp.
    My .02 for parish choirs is that they wear a light white alb
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,473
    More .02. It seems to me that Cass and Surp are not appropriate for parish choir. The garment is historically indicating someone in orders or in training to be ordained. I think there is some document that says that.
  • However on special occasions...

    Every Sunday is a Very Special Occasion.
    Appropriate choir habit is not a thing reserved only for extraordinary occasions, it is for all liturgy on all Sundays and Solemnities.
    With respect, I suggest that you are inculcating an unfortunate attitude about choir habit (and by extension, about liturgy itself!), whatever that habit may be at a given place.
  • Who does the laundry on all these albs etc?

    Kinda stunning that a discussion from 2013 has been re-started by a SEO seeking bot (you guys will especially love their section "#5. Church Dance Outfits") - and you all carry on as if the discussion never even paused!
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,955
    Discussions never really end, they just hang in the ether until renewed.
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 1,155
    Unless chonak decides to lock them.