Practice, Practice, Practice!

Years ago, my husband and I were getting ready to sing at a Mass.  We were doing a sound check and he had asked me to sing a little into the mic so he could check the levels.  I burst into an enthusiastic song when I suddenly heard him say, "What the heck?"  When I asked him what was wrong he just shook his head and mumbled something, but I quickly realized what was wrong.

Apparently I was hitting notes that hadn't been invented yet!  Oops.  Fortunately I got my act together in time for Mass and the hours of practice paid off.  My better half knows what's best for me!
I'm not a natural singer.  I can sing with practice.  And more practice.  And more practice after that.

One summer, while taking voice lessons, I made up my mind to cantor.  My husband helped me practice every day and when the time came, every teacher I ever had at Old Town School of Folk Music was in my head coaching as I sang.  I'm not stupid.  I picked a Psalm that was within my very limited range.  Some of them can be pretty brutal.  It went well and I had the confidence to do it again.

I bring this all up because I've had conversations with singers and musicians who play in church who seem to think that throwing the music together just before Mass and "winging it" is okay.  Huh?  Okay, people, even Slowhand practices!
I've been to many Masses where the lack of practice is obvious.  It's painful to hear and watch, yet the following week, it all happens again.  I've also been to Masses where the choir was always late, sauntering in like they had all the time in the world, while the Priest is at the back of the church, patiently waiting.
A few times my husband and I got to church early.  The choir was nervously practicing.  Once  I didn't recognize the song they were singing, but when I did, my mouth dropped open and my husband and I just stared at each other.  It was a song we had just sung in church and had we not just sang it, I wouldn't have known what it was!
My point?  If you are in a choir, take it seriously.  Make the most of practice.  If you are having trouble, ask the choir director to help you.  Practice at home.  Invite another choir member to join you.  Be on time for practice.  BE ON TIME FOR MASS!
I know you are volunteering.  I know you are not getting paid.  You're probably not a professional.  You sing or play an instrument for fun.  But don't you want to give Our Lord the very best you have to offer?

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