Choir members from two New York Christian Reformed congregations were challenged to come to rehearsals prepared, maintain good posture, and be mindful of blending well in order to bring a musical message during worship.
Townell taught choir members that composers have specific intentions for their work and the choir should understand what the intentions are while singing.
For example, he said, we behold God’s creation with excitement and joy, and that helps make sense of the quick and flowing style of For the Beauty of the Earth by John Rutter. In Peace I Leave with You by Walter Pelz, the choir presents the congregation with the promise of Christ’s peace. By appreciating the intent of the composer, these interpretations are possible.
Townell also told choristers that singing should be an enjoyable experience for the choir members and for the congregation. In worship the choir presents a musical message. If voices stick out, notes are missed, or the choir blends poorly, the message may be lost.
One participant commented, “I never thought about expressing what the composer intended in our singing.” Another said, “It took me back to my college choir singing experience.”