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