Good Friday, Behind the Scenes

I’m not normally in the choir at church for two reasons. I’ve lost half my range, and I’m a zombie when they have rehearsals in the evening. On Good Friday, John thought there were not going to be enough sopranos, so he asked if I’d be willing to sing with the choir. He knew I’d directed all the music at our last church and was familiar with it. I found it exciting to witness the action. Downstairs, all was serene and worshipful, but in the loft there was constant movement.

The organist put on shoes before going to the front of the church to accompany a cellist playing the prelude. John says she plays the pedals of the organ wearing socks and not shoes. My toes cringed at the thought. The organist’s daughter directed the choir. She normally directs music at the praise and worship service, but the music director is quarantined with his COVID-infected wife. What a time to be forced to stay home from your job! Heather was a marvelous substitute. While directing, she switched to singing alto, because there was only one other there. Grandson David does not show at the other end of the tenor section, and John was out of the picture. Perhaps you can see two people sitting before monitors as they were live-streaming the service. Another was downstairs with her phone, getting shots of the cellist and organist.

I turned to the front of the church where the young tech was videoing the people playing the prelude. The young man who does the audio had stepped away, but you can see his sound board all lit up. He plays the marimba next to the sound board. I don’t often hear that soft sound, but he usually plays when the congregation sings hymns. I was very impressed with the talents of all these people.

Despite the quiet hubbub upstairs, the service was very meaningful. As usual, we left the church in silence after the Bible was slammed shut. Requiescat in pace, dear Lord.

52 thoughts on “Good Friday, Behind the Scenes

        1. Good acoustics have a pleasing reverberation period. Have you ever been in a large stone church? Choir voices bounce off the walls and sound rich and full. Maybe you’ve heard a service from Westminster Abbey or St Paul’s Cathedral. Large American churches are live, too — St John the Divine in NY, Washington Cathedral, etc.

          Our church in NY was a wooden A-frame building with excellent acoustics. Our little choir of 12 sounded impressive. We had wooden pews and a terrazzo floor. Our church here has soft cushions on every pew, and the sound is dead. They use microphones for everything, and it’s still hard to hear people speak or sing. The cushions absorb the sound like sponges.

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          1. Ah, hard surfaces. My old church (actually all Catholic churches locally) are all hard surfaces except for a cushion on the kneeler. Cathedral ceilings and lots of stone. Our local cathedral has a very well known choir that is wonderful. It’s almost impossible to get a seat when they sing at a service.

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  1. What a lovely experience to share. I love to sing, but as my father, husband, and son all affirm, “I cannot carry a tune in a bucket.” If you still have half a range, you are still 200% beyond me.

    I think the heart is what matters…said she who cannot sing.

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  2. I can see that it is a busy place! Thank you for sharing. Holy Week has been a little different this year. Because i am only part time (20 hours) and even though I tend to go over that, the church leaders were mindful that a traditional Holy Week would be rough. And sad to say, it really is not a strong tradition for them. I focused on Passion Sunday last week and recorded modified services for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Trusting all to go well tomorrow, trying something a little daring, and hoping I remember all of John 20:1-18 (by heart). I love the tradition of the Easter Vigil, but that too as not on the radar for many UM’s. Blessings for the remainder of this day of waiting. Sunday is coming! In Him, Michele

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    1. That’s wonderful that you recorded services for Thursday and Friday, even if it isn’t a strong tradition. You have to start somewhere.

      I don’t know why I felt Saturday as such a day of waiting, but it was good to have time to think about it.

      I’m praying that your memory will be perfect for Easter.

      We visited a church near Charlotte several times when our daughter lived there. The pastor recited the gospel for the day from memory. I was amazed, but it’s a wonderful way for scripture to permeate your brain. My memory isn’t what it used to be, and I now find just a verse or so quite challenging.

      I’m praying for a very blessed Easter for you and your congregation.

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  3. It’s so wonderful to see how different churches are working together to get the services out to all in spite of the difficult times. Way to pull together!

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      1. I know the church we go to Jazz Vespers at started with a simple cell phone and live streamed to a Facebook page so it can be relatively simple. I’m not sure how to YouTube stream it. If the church has a WordPress page they can get the business plan and use a plugin to embed the video for live stream. Hope he finds his solutions 🙂 I’m guessing not not by today, though.

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    1. I enjoyed your post Anne. It’s been many years, decades really, since I’ve sung in a church choir. I remember enjoying it very much. Your church is lovely.

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  4. He is Risen! No extras today, because our worship pastor and his wife were in court in Ukraine this week, the 2nd of 3 hearings required to adopt 2 orphan sisters! The sub did a great job at the 8:00 mask required service, and the full worship team was on for the 10:00 which they stream live on Facebook and YouTube.

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  5. I can’t carry a tune either, so never was in choir in church, nor school, back in the day. That’s some high-tech equipment you have shown us here. No wonder they’ve been able to readily broadcast the services during COVID times to the congregation who gather in their respective homes to watch.

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      1. I go by a large Episcopal church every day when I walk to the Park. They don’t have services in the church in the Summer months as they don’t have A/C. They go to a hall for Sunday services. So, they’ve been online since COVID began. One Sunday morning I walked by – only one car in the parking lot and this must have been the person who turned the sound/streaming equipment on. Just as I walked by, the church was filled with organ music. I could hear it through the closed doors. It struck me as strange that it was that loud and no congregation there.

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          1. Interesting! I never thought of the people being buffers to the loud music from the organ in the church. How do they keep from making it sound hollow in the empty church I wonder?

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  6. No congregational singing for us. Even the little ensemble got covid in the fall despite precautions. Our church has astounding acoustics and I can’t wait to hear music there again.

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  7. Anne, did this happen just this past weekend? I don’t understand… All choir activity stopped a year ago at my John’s church. (And it’s been very disheartening for him – he loved singing in choir!!) Last year it was discovered at one church in the US that almost every choir member caught the virus. After that, they found that singing is high on the list for expelling viral particles if one is harbouring the virus. So that was the end of choir activity here.

    Did you see this video I posted last year? John’s church choir director put all the voices (recorded separately at each singer’s home) together for this amazing video: https://crossedeyesanddottedtees.wordpress.com/2020/04/08/stunning-choral-production/ .

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    1. Our church has not had regular choir rehearsals, but a few singers stand six feet apart to sing when services are taped. This past week I sat with others in the choir loft, and we were closer than that. I suspect all of the older singers have had their vaccination, and the younger ones probably haven’t. Who was at risk?

      I missed your video of John’s church choir. I don’t usually miss things on your blog. Anyway, I listened to it just now. It’s amazing what you can do with electronics these days. Thanks for sending me the link.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, both were A-frame and had/have excellent pastors. The huge difference is the acoustical quality. One building enhances the sound of the choir; the other strangles it.

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  8. I have not been inside our church in over a year. We had online services all year and last summer we had services outside. Now that I have had 1 shot of the vaccine, I am looking forward to going back to church in the very near future! Your church has adapted very well to the pandemic restrictions!

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    1. Our church always followed the rules for the pandemic and often found a way to serve most of the congregation. Right now every other pew is roped off, and we haven’t come near filling the free ones. I was pleased to see a few people outside yesterday that I hadn’t seen for a year. Some of the others I might have recognized if they had been mask-less.

      I’m glad you will be able to return to church. Worshiping on line is better than nothing, but it lacks a lot of connectivity.

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    1. I’m thrilled to know you like choir music. Most people wouldn’t say that, and I always had the feeling they would rather we wouldn’t sing so they could get out of church faster.

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