Church Choir Performance Etiquette

by Jennifer Kimrey
Church choirs have etiquette standards to help the group be prepared and do well.

Church choirs have etiquette standards to help the group be prepared and do well.

Church choirs perform at all kinds of functions. From church services to holiday events, they fill the room with beautiful singing voices, rich instrumental sounds and inspiring performances. Joining the choir means putting in hard work and effort, as well as abiding by the standards set for proper performance etiquette. By showing up and being on time, dressing and acting appropriately and being prepared, you can contribute to your church choir's performances and overall success.

Attending Rehearsals

Before a performance, a church choir puts a lot of hard work into arranging the music, practicing vocals and preparing for a show. Part of your commitment as a member of the church choir is practicing with the group. Attending every rehearsal is paramount in preparing for a performance. Not only does it give you the practice you need to do well, but it shows the group you are committed to the choir.

Being on Time

Attending rehearsal is the first step to proper pre-performance etiquette; being on time is the second. Punctuality is important not only for your own sake, but for others' too. Arriving to rehearsal late, even by a few minutes, can be distracting to those who have already begun practicing. Many church choirs begin their rehearsals with vocal warm-ups -- arguably one of the most important aspects of practicing -- and latecomers miss this vital element.

Dressing Appropriately

It's common practice for church choirs to dress alike during performances. Some ask members to wear a black-and-white ensemble from home, while others will hand out gowns to wear over clothes. No matter your church choir's preference, be sure to abide by the dress code set for the performances. This will keep the attention on the lovely music -- not on one choir member who is wearing something different from the rest of the group. Also, go easy on cologne and perfume during performances, out of consideration for others in close proximity.

Being Prepared

Being prepared for a church choir performance takes more than just having your voice rested and ready. Church choirs often ask members to bring their binders of music and pencils to their performances. This also means that any notes that were taken during rehearsal should already be in your binder. Bringing a pencil allows you to make any last-minute changes without permanently marking your score sheets, which may be recycled or reused for other members next season.

Paying Attention

While singing, focus on what's important -- giving a spectacular performance.

One of the most crucial rules of etiquette for church choir performances is paying attention. It can be tempting to start up a quiet conversation between songs with a neighboring choir friend or reach into your pocket to check your phone, but neglecting to focus will take away from both your performance and your fellow choir members' performances. During a performance, avoid making eye contact with audience members if that distracts you; focus on a blank point in front of you, like a wall or exit door. To stay focused between songs, begin rehearsing the next performance in your head.

Acting Appropriately

There's an exhaustive list of what "acting appropriately" entails, most of which is common sense: no arguing, being kind to fellow choir members, no profanity and so forth. Being humble and not acting like the center of a church choir is another way to be polite and appropriate. If you earn a lot of solos, for example, it's easy to begin feeling like the star; treat your fellow choir members with respect at all times.

Abiding by Other Rules

Each church choir has its own set of rules and requirements. Some may ask you to bring a pencil so you can mark directions on your scores. Others may ask you to sign in or out when you arrive and leave. No matter the rule or request, be sure to respect the church choir so that the rehearsals and performances run smoothly.

About the Author

Jennifer Kimrey earned her bachelor's degree in English writing and rhetoric from St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas. She's a regular contributor to the "Houston Chronicle" and her work has appeared on Opposing Views Cultures, The Austin American-Statesman, The Red Vault, The Western Vault and various other websites and publications.

Photo Credits

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