Have you ever been to a concert and the band comes on and they are playing your favorite song and it just lifts your spirits? A Gospel Church Choir can have the same effect on a church service. Many modern churches have moved away from Gospel Choirs and replaced them with “Praise Bands”, they serve a similar purpose in that they are there to set the tone for the service. They are there to create an aesthetic that will draw people in. The harmonies will bend anyone’s ear, but the words of the hymns is what gives life and raises spirits.
Father George Rutler believes that Gospel Choir’s are essential for a productive service. There is just something about having a strong choir sing. When all the voices come together something beautiful happens. It enhances the moment. Much like your favorite band singing your favorite song. The concert can be lovely but it’s just something a little extra special when that one song comes on. It is an experience that includes everyone, young and old, male and female. In modern music, men are often left out of the worship experience because the modern songs are out of the singing range of adult men. So, men do not feel comfortable singing in public, to music clearly out of their range. But in classic Gospel Choir’s there is a place for men to sing and sing well. And it creates this beautiful experience for both the ones singing as well as the ones hearing.
When we think about old Gospel Choirs we get this picture of a group of about five to fifteen people in long robes with their hands gripped together in front of them, singing in perfect harmony. Unfortunately, this kind of choir is scarce today. Father George Rutler says the Gospel Hymns are rare in churches across the nation. Most music we hear in churches today are egocentric and self-serving. And it misses the whole purpose of worship, which is humanity’s response to God’s love and grace. Each Hymn point congregates back to the teachings of the priest. To combine, preaching with strong music, you have created this experience that points back to the lesson.
Another reason the Gospel Choir is essential to a productive service is it brings the congregates back to the ancient worship. In the Bible, the book of Psalm is literally a book of music written to speak truth into the lives of the reader. These Psalms were eventually put to music to make it easier to memorize, and that is how hymns were born. They were created to help the public remember the truth that is found in Scripture. The tone in these classics are not about lights, volume or entertainment, but about the truth that are embedded in the lyrics.
Lastly, Father George Rutler believes Gospel Choir hymns bring joy to all who hear it. Music in and of itself connects people with their emotions. And hymns naturally will pull out a deep joy.