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Choir activities

In order to give guidance to the choirs in their important work, and to promote standardization and uniformity in singing, an organizational chart is in place and facilitates the administration of choir activities. Other than the technical relationships shown on the organizational chart, the choir leaders have the spiritual support and guidance from their respective leaders. The National Chairperson gets instructions for the choir work from the District Apostle who happens to be musically talented as well. In carrying out the choir programme received from the National Chairperson, the Regional Choir Teachers and their assistants liaise closely with the apostles of the regions while the District Choir Teachers and congregational choir teachers liaise with the District Leaders and congregational Rectors, respectively.

Training of choir teachers:
Qualified music teachers who are members of the New Apostolic Church train choir teachers. Seminars are held to teach junior choir instructors on how to read music and interpret it.

Promotion of choir practices:

Choir members at congregational levels, meet twice during weekdays for one hour in the evenings and once at the weekend for 2 hours 30 minutes. In the rural areas the arrangement is the same, except that they meet in the afternoons instead of evenings.In addition to congregational choirs, there exists a “special choir” – a small group of selected voices at Regional or National level. These groups are meant to sing during special gatherings.

How the Choirs are taught:
Choir practices begin and end with a prayer by any minister available. Choir leaders teach the members phrase-by-phrase and voice-by-voice, and members learn by memorizing because most of them cannot read music. The choir members then sing back to demonstrate that they have mastered the phrases until harmony is achieved. However, before teaching begins, the words and meaning of the hymns are explained.At the next choir session (practice), the choir will first go through the previous hymns, to ensure that they have not forgotten the hymns they learnt in the previous sessions.

Song books in use:
The following song books are used:

  • New Apostolic Hymnal (NAH)
  • New Apostolic Hymn Collection
  • German Collection
  • Canadian Hymn Book
  • Male Choir Book
  • Messiah : By G.F. Handel
  • Creation : By Joseph Haydn
  • Locally composed hymns approved by the District Apostle.

Most hymns are translated into local languages. This makes it easier for the choir members and the congregation to understand and appreciate the meaning of the hymns.Committees are in existence to translate hymns into local languages.Choir members are not auditioned prior to joining the choir and membership is open to all ages. It is the duty of the choir-teachers to train these members.

Musical Instruments:
In some congregations, the organ and the orchestra accompany the choirs. In some cases Choir-teachers use pitch pipes where there is no organ or orchestra. However, organists and orchestra members have to be taught on how to read music before handling the instruments. The teaching is done in-house.