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Musical Musings: Christmas Page 2

The Feast of the Holy Family

Part II: The Family Choir

The success of a Family Choir depends greatly on the music selected to be sung. Choose music which is simple and will require little rehearsal time to perfect. One option is to find or arrange a Christmas carol medley, giving separate carols or verses to groups within the choir (young children, elementary school children, junior or senior high students, women, men, etc.). When using familiar carols, variety is very important to retain interest. These carols may be accompanied by organ, or other instruments may be used, possibly on descants.

An interesting accompaniment to a familiar carol can make an easy anthem for the group. Another idea can be found in certain carols which lend themselves to alternative treatment. Carols such as "Good King Wencesalus, " "In the Town," "Search for Lodging" and "From Heaven Above" may be sung between two (or more) groups.

With a nucleus of church choir members, the Family Choir can lead the congregation in certain liturgical music. "Like Olive Branches" (Deiss) is a setting of the responsorial psalm for the feast. Divide verses among the groups or assign one family per verse. "Gloria of the Bells" by Peloquin might be used if the original choir members are familiar with it. Consider other responsorial-style hymns and acclamations like, "Cry Out with Joy and Gladness" (Marchionda), Psalm 96 (Bord) CNP Catalog #1096-1, "Festival Eucharist" (Proulx), "Lyric Liturgy" (Peloquin) or a simple chant setting of the "Kyrie" or "Agnus Dei."

Announcement of the Family Choir should be made early to all choir members, inviting their families to join them for this liturgy. A notice should be placed in the bulletin indicating specific rehearsal time, perhaps one hour on the Saturday morning before the feast.

The idea of a Family Choir has worked well in several parishes. Inviting people to form a Family Choir in a very meaningful way solves the problem of what to do on the Sunday after Christmas when half of each choir may be away.

  Back to Part I: Introduction

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