Some parishes give the choir a “break” during the summer. Rest is important. Even God rested! But we might rethink this practice of giving music ministers a formal break from the Sunday Mass.
One reason is that we don’t give any other ministries breaks simply because we need them! Might our practice of giving the entire choir a break from Mass actually communicate that choir is nonessential? Second, it might teach music ministers that if they aren’t playing their instrument, adding harmonies, or singing anthems, they aren’t “doing anything” at Mass since they aren’t performing their role.Might our practice of giving the entire choir a break from Mass for the summer actually communicate that choir is nonessential? Click To Tweet
But Sing to the Lord, the United States bishops’ document on music in divine worship, says: “When the choir is not exercising its particular role, it joins the congregation in song. The choir’s role in this case is not to lead congregational singing, but to sing with the congregation . . .” (31). This ministerial accompaniment is as important as the more complex musical elements the choir provides during the year.
If they are present during summer, music ministers can still exercise their ministry in a simpler but visible way, without much or any rehearsal, by singing the “primary song of the Liturgy,” that is, “unrehearsed community singing” (STL 28).