A Tale of Two Choirs
It struck me Sunday morning as I was singing in Wedgwood's choir that the two choirs I have been a part of this year could not be more different. The University of Aberdeen King's College Chapel choir is a small, audition only choir. It is very formal, wearing robes, using music, and singing only classical music with organ accompaniment. It was fun to sing with them, but Sunday mornings at chapel were really dull, and the hymns we sang were never upbeat and rarely Christ-centered. I never felt an atmosphere of worship there, and the choir certainly did not lead the congregation in worship. We sat at the back of the chapel, behind the congregation, and only led in music, not worship. As a matter of fact, most of the time the choir was bigger than the congregation.
Contrast that with Wedgwood's adult choir. We don't wear robes, and we're not allowed to use music on Sunday mornings, but throwing off those inhibiters has only freed us to worship more openly. We have a great band/orchestra that accompanies us, and our Wednesday night rehearsals without the guitars, drums, and brass just reinforces how much they add to the music experience. Sunday morning services are never dull; the congregation joins the choir in clapping to the music, lifting hands in praise, and raising voices to the King. The atmosphere of worship is unmistakable, and if I may say, rare. I have never experienced worship anywhere else quite like I experience it at Wedgwood. The choir is not performing - that is plainly clear. Yes, we stand in front of the congregation, but we aim to draw all attention and glory to the Lord of Lords.
Now don't get me wrong. There is certainly a time and place for classical music, and I really enjoyed being a part of the chapel choir and singing such impressive works. But difficult music, beautiful melodies and harmonies, and organ accompaniment means nothing if it is not presented in an act of worship to the King. Better to have drums, shouts of praise, an occasional missed pitch, and contemporary songs with an attitude of worship than the most perfect performance of Mozart for one's own glory.