Our vision is to identify and claim our God-given gifts and use them to reach the world with Christ's good news, equip each other as disciples and respond, "Here I am," when the Spirit calls.
“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord!”
Congregational singing is such an important part of our worship experience that for centuries churches have dedicated space in sanctuaries for musical instruments, choirs and conductors.
Our goal is to continue this tradition and improve our support of congregational singing. However, our sanctuary design presents some challenges to this goal. A group appointed by our Session met recently and listed the following challenges based on the choir in the original choir loft:
1. The choir can’t be heard well by congregation
2. The congregation cannot see the choir or director for singing cues
3. The acoustic structure to the loft favors the organ and does not support the vocal sounds (it’s difficult to hear the choir over the organ)
4. The choir can’t hear itself very well
5. Air handling blower vents contribute to sound blocking
6. The loft is inaccessible to wheelchairs and walkers
7. There is no ability to modify placement of chairs in the loft
This year we have been experimenting with placing the choir in the front three pews of the sanctuary, and so far the move has resulted in several improvements. Most notably, we can hear and see the choir, resulting in better congregational singing. Yet there are still some challenges to the current placement of the choir in the pews. Again, the study found the following challenges that need addressing:
1. Movement of choir members is difficult
2. The choir can’t face all of the congregation
3. Turning from the congregation to see the director is difficult and sometimes impossible
4. Seeing the director is difficult for some due to being on the same level
5. The position of the choir blocks the view of church members on that side of the sanctuary
6. Choir members in some cases are singing into the face of another choir member
7. Seating is not movable – fixed configuration
As a result of these findings, the appointed team made the following recommendations to Session, which were then adopted at it’s recent meeting:
o Locate the choir in front/right section of sanctuary.
o Remove the three pews currently being used by the choir
o Arrange existing choir chairs in this space to face into the sanctuary and turn the existing piano around so the director is facing the choir.
This experiment will cost us nothing and the pews will be saved so that we can reinstall them if we choose to do so.
The leadership of the church welcomes your feedback and we pray that these efforts will result in improved and joyful singing in our worship services as we give God all the glory!
Special thanks to the members of the Worship Space Design Team: Gary Smith, Lee Richie, Sheila McKenna, Lynn Roach, Carole Richie, David Drewry, Joe Blankinship