A ROBUST CULTURE OF CONGREGATIONAL SONG is a hallmark of Christian worship. Present day Christianity, especially in the English-speaking world, is notable for the shared tradition of hymnody. In a pluralistic age, that shared hymnody reflects a remarkable witness to the oneness of the Church. Hymns, even within the stylistically circumscribed practice of our Parish, come from every corner of the Church's history. They derive from plainsong, from secular folk melodies, from pre- and post-Reformation vernacular devotional song. Hymns have roots as far back as the middle ages, and they continue to be composed today.
Nothing indicates the health of a parish better than the vigor of its communal worship as manifested in the singing of the whole community. Here are some reminders on being a better performer in the pews.
Sit with your friends.
Singing in a large church such as ours can be a lonely experience unless we support each other. Please consider sitting in the middle nave rather than the side aisles. By
gathering with our family and friends we not only support our singing, but transform a large and empty room into a smaller and fuller place. Sitting closer together also welcomes visitors more warmly.
Follow the organ when singing hymns.
The organ is the traditional leading voice for congregational song. Unlike the practice in some places, namely Roman Catholic and Evangelical churches, our cantors do not function primarily in the capacity of "facilitators of song." They do not stand before us and beckon us to sing. While our cantors do sing everything that we sing in the pews, their primary contribution is that of the "psalmist," singing the verses of the minor proper in the absence of the choir.
Observe our custom of part singing.
Observe our custom on part singing. Where hymns are reproduced in parts, the invitation to sing them in parts if you wish is implicit. However, with some exceptions, our custom is to sing the opening and final verses in unison. The choir observe this practice as well.