Childhood Memories Friday: Church Choir

Childhood Memories Friday

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Going through old photos, I came across this — kids’ church choir, I would guess around 1975.

church choir 1975

When I was a kid, church choir was a big deal. It was kind of like an extra-curricular activity, meeting for a hour one day after school each week. We sang, of course, but also played games, learned some music history and theory, and of course ended with refreshments (served by the omni-present volunteer moms, working out of the mysterious-but-wonderful little “kitchenette” near the choir room).

Choir was always led by the current minister of music. I remember one in particular, Rev. Shreve. He drew little cartoons of various hymn writers, and handed them out to us. This helped them come alive for us. I still remember Sabine Baring-Gould, depicted as a grape. Looking him up, I see that he wrote “Onward, Christian Soldiers,” a hymn that many churches have deemed too non-PC to even sing these days.

Here in the photo, we’re playing some game that escapes my memory. Yet I must have played it, because I’m in the photo — near the back, left side, wearing glasses. I do remember that dress.

It was in choir that we learned our musicals, our Christmas and Easter “parts” to say, and were assigned solos. I never wanted to be given a solo, but due to my faithfulness, I did land a few. You may remember my angst over this from my memoir. I remember learning about notes on the staffs as well, and about note values. Between church choir and piano lessons, no wonder reading music became as natural to me as reading words.

Looking at the photo, it amazes me that there were apparently at least 20 of us who gathered each week for choir. We were grouped by age, maybe a primary choir for grades 1-3 and junior choir for grades 4-6. There were separate choirs for the preschoolers and teens. We learned a lot in church choir, and it makes me a little sad that such a thing doesn’t exist anymore, at least in my neck of the woods. Kids are so busy with sports and other activities anymore that I’m not sure there’d be enough interest even if church personnel (or more likely, volunteers) were willing to put a program together.

Did you have a similar type of church choir for children when you grew up? What do you remember about it?



5 thoughts on “Childhood Memories Friday: Church Choir

  1. For years I helped with the choirs for kids at First Baptist. I did not do that all the time because in 1974 when I was picking up Susan and/or Jill, David Shreve dashed out to my car at the carport and asked me to consider being First Baptist pianist. It was a simpler time. It was a better time.

  2. Ah yes, I do remember church choir at Pleasant Chapel when I was a kid! We also had a motley group of 18 or 20 rowdy teenagers in ours, and although we behaved on Sundays we had lots of fun at choir practice. Lots of chatter and giggling between songs. We even had a church orchestra at one point, so I played flute in that, of course. Our minister’s life played violin herself and probably more accomplished than I realized at the time. It made her a nervous wreck to put up with us every Thursday after school. In retrospect, I wish we had been much more cooperative when working with Mrs. Littler! Those were simpler times, and our choir practice was a social event as was Youth Fellowship on Sunday nights.

  3. I attended a small Catholic school and church in southern Indiana and we always had a children’s choir. It was made up of girls as far as I can remember. We’d sing at one of the Sunday Masses and at funerals if the funeral was on a weekday. The school was located next to the church so it took 2 seconds to get there! We were excused from class and sang at the funeral Mass which lasted less than an hour. It wasn’t a large choir, just a few girls from each grade and grades 1thru 3 were not in it. I think it was grades 4 thru 8. I remember all the compliments we got but I can’t remember when we ever practiced. We must have, otherwise how we would know the songs? The Sunday hymns were different from the funeral hymns which as I remember were mostly mournful sounding. There was a choir loft in the back of the church where the organ was located. I loved the view from up there, it made the entire inside of the church look so majestic.

  4. We didn’t have a kids’ choir, but when I was in high school we’d sing occasionally with the adult choir. I remember the beautiful music and harmony. But there was one time when the director, who was, shall I say was a “forceful” leader, was waving her hands around and a fly dropped dead in front of us. Hard to suppress those giggles.

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