I encourage you to thank members of the choirs when you see them, whether on Sunday mornings at church or an accidental encounter at the grocery store. And, I ask that you do this to both children and adults.

With the children, please don’t compliment them by just remarking how cute they are when they sing. All kids are cute and can appear charming. Rather, thank the choristers for devoting their time each week, throughout the entire program year, to rehearsing and learning music. They offer music with the hope that it might give you a deeper understanding of God’s presence and power. Many of the choristers have chosen not to participate in another extra-curricular activity so that they can do choir. And there are many days when they probably could use the time of rehearsal to catch up on homework or other responsibilities. Even the youngest Cherub choristers understand that being choir is a responsibility to be taken seriously.

Choir members have to exist in a slightly different liturgical time frame than the rest of the parish. During Advent, our congregation is encouraged to slow down, not to rush to Christmas, to experience the holiness of waiting. At the same time, the choir is hard at work on the music of Christmas Eve. Similarly, as our liturgies forsake the saying/singing of Alleluia with the start of Lent, the choir begins rehearsing in earnest music that is mostly filled with the word Alleluia.

Further, while most families sit together in the pews Sunday after Sunday, the choir sits with one another. Some of them have known each other for a long time, others are virtual strangers who have little in common other than a shared interest in choral music. On Christmas Eve, while families are enjoying dinner together before or after church, members of the choir are pulling a double-shift, and some even a triple-shift.

Perhaps most painfully for all of the singers it that they have to endure me multiple times a week. I spend most of the time in our rehearsals nudging and pulling and nit-picking – this is not a club for the overly sensitive. But, for whatever reason, the singers put up with me and keep coming back weekly. I give thanks to God weekly for their participation.

Our music is not offered up as entertainment. We don’t stand to collect applause or accolades at the conclusion of our anthems. The music is an offering – an artistic offering to the great Creator of all that is good. So, please, thank a choir member or two. And feel free to offer up a prayer of gratitude for the time and commitment that they make weekly to this parish.