choir lacking married couples
  • Geremia
    Posts: 193
    Our polyphonic choir has many married people, but very rarely married couples, although there are many musical couples in the church. We've also had many dropouts. It's not due to children; I've seen married people with many children alongside them in the loft, even if one spouse doesn't sing. But no longtime married couples committed to choir. Is this normal or a fluke?
  • My wife was a better musician than I am. Which may have affected my adherence to an unauditioned community choir, and hers to a more selective group of female voices.
  • Many longtime married couples are quite happy to have some time apart on a Thursday night... ;)
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,272
    It must be nice to be able to be picky. I pretty much had to take anyone who showed up and be grateful they were there.
  • Carol
    Posts: 694
    My husband and I are about 10% of our parish choir, Pre-covid 19. He writes many of the arrangements (N.O.) and directs the choir while another person plays the organ. I am the "librarian" of the choir, making copies, organizing the folders, etc. Neither of us are paid, but the organist is. I do get paid to sing for funerals, though. We enjoy making music together in the choir, although once in a great while we do have artistic differences. Overall, it is a great thing to share a musical endeavor with one's spouse.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen CharlesW
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,272
    You both should be paid. I found, after years in Catholic music, there is always money available to send Father to gad about the middle-east accomplishing nothing. The latest vanity project always seems to get funded, as well. It's not right.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,792
    In my experience having couples (and indeed families) in the choir can be a two-edged sword. Yes, it does make some things easier, but on the other hand, if the Smiths are having, shall we say, the marital equivalent of the Battle of the Somme, it makes for a difficult rehearsal. (I am, incidentally, single---I've had enough weddings.)
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,272
    I refused to play for weddings and contracted them out. I realized I didn't care much about Buffy and Brad's special day and didn't want to have to deal with them.
    Thanked by 1kenstb
  • Carol
    Posts: 694
    CharlesW, we don't mind being volunteers and we aren't taking money away from anyone else. We are fortunate not to need the money. It gives my husband a chance to practice his arranging and conducting skills. Our differences are not apparent to others, I believe. We occasionally disagree in musical taste- tempo, harmony, etc. but we iron that out at home. Hopefully our reward for volunteering will be in heaven. The camaraderie of the choir is nice and I miss that. However, I don't miss the people who don't come to rehearsal for frivolous reasons or show up but have left their music at home.

    Also, this pastor is a good steward of the parish resources. He has made improvements/repairs that were overlooked for too long. He is not a warm & fuzzy person by nature but he drops whatever he is doing to visit the seriously ill, etc. He takes his duty to administer the sacraments very seriously.
  • Carl DCarl D
    Posts: 992
    I've been in multiple situations where my wife and I were either in the same music group, or not. Sure, it's understandable that parents are able to bring their kids to practice. But that doesn't mean they're comfortable doing so, and having kids stay up late who are getting cranky. Plus, keeping kids under control during MASS is a totally different thing. For many years we didn't both sing in choir during the same years, so that one of us could corral the kids at Mass.

    As the kids matured, we were then able to play in the bell choir and leave the kids at home. That worked well.

    There are also several situations where our interests diverge. My wife has never been in the schola, and that's just personal preference. And there's such a thing as TOO much togetherness, as we're finding out during the pandemic.

    My advice is not to worry about it. Invite people, but don't apply pressure. People can manage their own lives.
  • In my experience having couples (and indeed families) in the choir can be a two-edged sword.

    One issue I've experienced when a family has been involved, (especially if there are older children too) is when they get sick or go on vacation. Suddenly 3-4 people are gone. No bueno for smaller choirs.
    Thanked by 3bdh Carol PolskaPiano
  • In my 14 years of being a music director, I have had two couples attend choir together. In my experience it is normal to have only one spouse join.

    There are a multitude of explanations for why "musical" couples would not sing together. Perhaps the person prefers non-choral singing, a different style of music, or does not want to commit to evening rehearsal. Perhaps one finds they appreciate a night at home alone. Perhaps it is a difficult marriage.

    My own husband did cantor for me at one time before we had children, but that turned out to be a less than ideal situation. I clearly remember one time he snapped at me when I attempted to coach him on the psalm tones. I wonder if he really didn't want to be there, but saw that I wasn't ready to cantor and play myself when one of the very few cantors weren't available. He was musically talented but did not want to join the choir.
    Thanked by 1canadash
  • Someone has to take care of the children. In my experience, volunteer parish choirs consist of mostly younger (school-aged) and older (retired). There are very few "middle-aged" as they are busy with rearing children and work. I've known many choir couples, but they were either young and dating (still in college) or empty-nesters.

    Even with paid singers, someone has to to be at home with the kids.
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • Carol
    Posts: 694
    We didn't both sing when our children were young, only I did Our children sang with us when they were in high school in a church choir formed by my husband for a special occasion. They even sang when they were home for Christmas breaks from college.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • I have had many married couples of all ages in my choirs. If they had children they got a baby sitter for week-night rehearsals and left them in the nursery on Sunday mornings. That's not to say that all married couples have a shared vocation for choir. Too, it sometimes happens that one of a couple might be choir material but will opt out simply because he or she doesn't like to sit in church without his or her spouse. As for children in choir or in the choir gallery, I would never permit this. Choir is choir, with its peculiar sacred charism that cannot be compromised by children who need attention. Most churches have nurseries or cry rooms for child care.

    My parents sang in choir all their lives. I and my two younger brothers were sent to entertain ourselves in a separate room, and we just knew better than to cause a ruckus. When we got older it was safe to leave us at home, where we were proud to take care of ourselves without incident.
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,272
    I never had any problems with children in the loft as long as they were old enough to know to behave. Obviously, babies are too young. Having been a school librarian for 10 years, I am quite used to children. I always looked at it as growing the future choir since these kids are the choir you will have tomorrow. On the other hand, diva sopranos past their prime could get to me. Basses who needed hearing aids and wouldn't wear them also were a trial. Kids? No, they are ok.
    Thanked by 2Carol Elmar
  • ViolaViola
    Posts: 377
    We've just had a young couple get engaged in our choir. I wonder whether to publicise this to see if it might attract more members?
    Thanked by 3Carol CharlesW Elmar
  • And here I thought choir was the thing you join in order to find your future spouse.
  • In my experience choir is a breeding ground for courtship and its blissful results.
    Not to mention evangelical for those who may be in it but are not (yet) Catholic.
  • >> And here I thought choir was the thing you join in order to find your future spouse.

    No - that's still university, isn't it? I saw a newspaper article recently mentioning "William and Marry"
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • Reflecting on it, there were quite a few couples in the choir at the cathedral—married and not. Most had been members for many years. To assist them in attendance, the cathedral provided child care during all rehearsals.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen tomjaw
  • Elmar
    Posts: 371
    When we moved to our present parish, our eldest daughter was two years old.
    We immediatly joined the choir and took her with us, which of course caused raised eyebrows...

    Our promise to stop doing so once she would disturb the rehearsal never went into practice - she just slept most of the time, otherwise listened quietly to the singing or joined the small-talk during the break. Same at mass (including the 'talking' with the prayers). Sometimes I took her on my lap, later she sat on a separate chair and apparently tried to understand what we were doing, including what these complicated black-and-white drawings had to do with it!

    In contrast, our second daughter had the normal baby attitude of immediately commenting on everything around her with her own sound, but by that time we knew a trustworthy babysitter.

    In my own choirs at present there are quite some couples but all aged 50+, I don't know for sure what they did thirty years ago...
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • Everyone here has lucked out. The choirs I’ve been in have been hotbeds of love triangles and marital bickering. The best of the lot resembled Ron and Sheila Albertson from “Waiting for Guffman”, if that tells you anything. I’ve lost friends over choir debacles before. One more reason I think Pius X knew what he was doing when he promoted “segregated choirs”...

    No, I take it back - there was one couple I met many moons ago, who sang regularly with the Una Voce crowd. Both teachers. Quirky in a very suburban way, but humble, and very sweet. They both did a lot of work to introduce traditional music into their school’s NO mass. They’ve since moved to the diocesan Byzantine parish, where the husband directs music.

    So there you go, Charles - Byzantine educators are the best!
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,272
    I don't know if we were/are the best. I do think my eastern love for the beauty and majesty of liturgy influenced me to do beautiful and sacred music over choosing stuff that was popular.
  • If we didn't have the Ordinariate I would go to an Eastern rite parish without thinking twice about it.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,792
    One more reason I think Pius X knew what he was doing

    While I disagree with some things (like the blanket 'prohibition' of Orchestra Masses or concertate Psalms), he did have practical experience in parish music, something that not a lot of Popes can claim.