Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Clapping after the Choir Sings

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Clapping after the Choir Sings

    Hi everyone! I am positive this subject comes up in many churches and that there are as many opinions on this as there are grains of sand in the seas.

    Our church leadership is interested to know of any wording used in church bulletins to politely discourage the practice of clapping?

    Does anyone have anything they are willing to share?

    Thanks!

    #2
    How about this:

    If you appreciated the service music today, please let the choir director/organist/soloist know after the service rather than through applause.

    Comment


      #3
      This is a frequent topic of discussion for our choir director. We have 130 singers in choir and an orchestra that ranges for 30-50 volunteers. As a result, whenever we sing, no matter how solemn or worshipful, its common to hear applause. While it is nice to be acknowledged, it is a distraction to the experience of worship to have the attention suddenly shift from vertical to horizontal.

      To your question, here's what we do

      1. We acknowledge that people clapping is a way that they can say thank you and feel a part of the service. So, we allow that, usually early on, with an upbeat piece. The director will often sift the focus by saying something like "we can praise the Lord for the gifts He's given his people to sing for you."

      2. For the more solemn pieces, the ones that would be distractinf to have applause, our director will often coordinate with the pianist or organist or lighting guys to immediately transition into the next segment, even if just an interlude. This has helped conditioned people to see when we are encouraging attention on the message, either of the sermon or the song as opposed to inviting applause.

      I am probably oversimplifying but this has worked out really well for us. I hope that helps and is an encouragement.
      Eric Mack
      www.ThisOld340.com
      Rodgers 340 S/N 34341
      Los Angeles, CA

      Comment


        #4
        Honestly, we don't worry about it at our church. If the choir sings a bang-up good anthem that moves people, there may be some brief and respectful applause. The only time people break into wild applause and even stand up is at the conclusion of our annual Christmas cantata, which by the way is presented on a Sunday afternoon rather than within a service, so that's different. I take the occasional Sunday morning applause as appreciation of the earnest efforts of our "small but mighty" choir which generally numbers fewer than a dozen and sometimes hits one out of the park, despite our small size (aided by the superb acoustics of the choir loft). So the appreciation is genuine. It's not unusual for me to have tears in my eyes when we're done.

        Keep in mind that the congregation is not worshiping the choir or losing their focus on God in those moments of heartfelt appreciation. And it can be a source of great encouragement for our little group. If I'm honest, I must say that it helps me feel like the hard work was worth it, though of course I should think that anyway, since God certainly receives our offerings of praise with love and without judging.

        I do understand the argument against applause, and I strongly agree that a worship service is not a show, perforomance, or recital, but I have to wonder if at least some of the aversion to applause is well-meaning but perhaps needless. If someone doesn't want to applaud or truly doesn't believe in it, they should not do it. But to feel that someone should ride herd on the congregation and snuff out everyone's heartfelt expressions of appreciation seems pointless and counter-productive. If I were to spend time and spiritual energy on Sunday morning worrying that someone might applaud, I might miss a blessing and maybe even the whole point of the service!
        John
        ----------
        Church: Allen MDS-45 with Allen MIDI-DIVISION-II expander
        Home: Allen Renaissance R-230 with expanded four-channel audio and MIDI-DIVISION-II
        Shop: Bunch of organs in varying conditions, some good, some not...
        Half of an incredible two-man organ service team -- servicing all the major digitals in Arkansas churches
        https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

        Comment


          #5
          Our minister HATES applause and has said as much in sermons. On top of that, he never thanks anyone for anything. In his 5 years with our congregation, he has only thanked the choir ONCE for their part in worship. So, in spite of his pleadings, the congregation applauds the choir because it is their normal response to being inspired. They want to thank the choir. I suspect that if the minister would get off his high horse and express thanks to the choir for the blessing of music, applause wouldn't be necessary.

          He preaches against worshiping the music, the choir, or the musical instruments used in worship, but he never says thanks for the blessings that these things bring.

          Applause typically occurs after the prelude or postlude or the choir anthem, and often after solos (these happen once or twice a month.) The applause doesn't happen every week. To be fair, our preludes and postludes have been separated from the rest of worship. Our assumption is that these pieces transition the congregation from private worship to corporate worship and back.

          The minister preaches that we are the hands and feet of Christ. I just say that if Christ were here, he would want to say thanks by applauding - we're just doing it on his behalf. You can imagine that this doesn't go over too well.

          The minister used to complain that people weren't taking the time to 'prepare themselves' during the prelude and that I should play hymns instead of classical music. I said it doesn't matter because no one listens anyway. The next Sunday, I chose a prelude that I knew people would stop talking to listen to. In the midst of the quiet, I heard someone tell a joke to try to get people to laugh. I glanced around. It was the minister.

          Comment


            #6
            So sad that you have a minister who is that uncouth, Regeron, and who seems to have a problem expressing appreciation. He would surely have a more successful and satisfying ministry if he would loosen up a bit!

            Despite my plea up above for the acceptance of applause, I do "get it" when some folks seem really shocked and appalled at the suggestion. And in some settings and some types of services it would be most inappropriate. When we visit the UK and attend the glorious and majestic services in the great cathedrals, I would never expect to hear applause following the anthem, even though these services normally include some of the most awesome choral singing you could hear this side of heaven. As much joy as these anthems may bring to me, it would feel wrong to inject clapping into one of those grand services that are so filled with glorious music!

            And I certainly have been blessed in some of those. I recall being in a service at Exeter Cathedral last year when the choir sang "Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem" and I just almost melted into my seat, I was so overcome with emotion and awe. But I didn't feel an impulse to applaud, because I knew that it just isn't done in that kind of service. Rather, I wept almost uncontrollably while trying not to make a scene!

            So yes, I am sure that some of my friends in ministry feel that same way about their own services and would never expect to hear applause. But in a church like mine, a fairly formal Disciples congregation, which is not "high church" by any stretch, but definitely not as loose and free as the typical Baptist or Pentecostal or Nazarene service, the service is not so fully integrated and scripted, nor so seamlessly connected as a high church Anglican service; thus a bit of spontaneous applause or the occasional "Amen!" won't seem out of place. Our pastor actually walks out among the pews sometimes during the sermon and speaks directly to individuals, encouraging people to interact with her. She is very open to having the people applaud when they want to show appreciation for something.

            The OP may well be in a church where the service is formal enough that clapping seems inappropriate. It's hard to make a judgement about that without being there and being involved. In a situation where clapping really should not be done, I'd say that the pastor should openly speak of it, tactfully giving due honor to those who have been clapping to show appreciation, while explaining that as he sees it, the spirit of the service does not call for that, and that appreciation should be shown in other ways.
            John
            ----------
            Church: Allen MDS-45 with Allen MIDI-DIVISION-II expander
            Home: Allen Renaissance R-230 with expanded four-channel audio and MIDI-DIVISION-II
            Shop: Bunch of organs in varying conditions, some good, some not...
            Half of an incredible two-man organ service team -- servicing all the major digitals in Arkansas churches
            https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

            Comment


              #7
              I, for one, was raised in the North and clapping in church just WAS NOT DONE. Not even for the children. It was felt (and I agree) that applause following an anthem gives the impression that the choir and musicians were performing for the congregation, instead of leading them into contemplation and worship. I began in children's choirs at age 9, and it was impressed upon us that were were not, in fact, performing to entertain the people in the congregation, but were singing for God and to help the others communicate with Him. Those lessons have stayed with me all my life, and it galls me a lot for our church to break into applause when the choir finishes. It is automatic when a "barn burner" anthem is sung, but also often happens following a solemn one and breaks the atmosphere that the choir has so carefully attempted to create. About the only time they don't clap is following a slow, soft, meditative anthem, and anything on Good Friday (thank God for that).

              Our Senior Pastor usually does not join in the applause, but instead verbally thanks the choir and musicians for their efforts. (We have a 4/83 Klais pipe organ, a full-size grand piano, occasional musicians--string quartets, brass ensembles, etc., and a 100-voice adult choir. Although most singers are untrained, we do a pretty fair job with most of the music thrown at us.)

              I would definitely prefer that clapping not occur during the service. It jolts me out of the worshipful mood I think desirable for the service. It makes me think that the congregation sees us as a performance, not as a worship aid. It bothers me. However, I cannot stop it. I don't participate in it when other musicians or the children have done their service. I do attempt to give praise afterward to those who played or sang.

              David

              Comment


                #8
                Reading the various replies, I'm starting to see one reason people applaud in our situation - the music is the only joyful part of worship.

                Our minister is a self-professed introvert whose greatest goal is to have everyone pray and read their bible - and that life should become one extended bible study. Every sermon boils down to this.

                I suspect that there are issues of insecurity, in terms of both vocation and salvation. I get the sense that his admonitions are to attempt to recreate us in his image, but I also sense that he may not trust his own salvation - it sounds like he's trying to convince himself that what he says is right. He relies mostly on inspiration. His training is possibly solid but it's minimal. References to biblical and church history are rare. He makes (and preaches on) endless lists of what to do to be a real christian. I've already heard a couple congregants say, "If I hear about another list....!!"

                I think he's also torn between a well-trained, old-school preacher-father and a very high-hand-raising pentecostal mother-in-law. He may just be trying to make them happy.

                I feel that when he leaves us and we get a minister who can take some real interest in the congregation and who will put down their bible and get off their knees to associate with others, and when worship becomes a joyful event from start to finish, the applause will become unnecessary.

                I should add that our congregation is small, numbering fewer than 70 on a normal Sunday, and that on most Sundays, 1/3 of those gathered are singing in the choir. Some of our soloists are in their 80s, so an appreciative applause doesn't feel out of place. I also encourage 'optimistic' solo texts, assuming that we have gathered to share life and to inspire each other to better things.

                Comment

                Working...
                X