HOW TO BE A GOOD CHORISTER
How lovely it is always to sing praises to God, to praise him with our voices, to behold the glory of God, to sing down the shekinah of God.
David the psalmist was a man after God’s own heart because he usually steeps himself with songs and praises to God. The renowned philosopher St Augustine of Hippo will say that the man who sings well prays twice, singing is prayer on its own and an effective type or form of prayer.
Singing is a talent and gift, it needs to be nurtured and groomed. There are people who are blessed with lovely voices as the sparrows of the fields, that when they open their mouth to pour praises to God, they bring down the presence of God, they carry the grace for singing.
Remember that singing is a heavenly activity, a habit formed in heaven, a heavenly activity, the Cherubim and Seraphim all pour praises, the heavenly choirs of angels are charged with pouring praises to God, the twenty four elders fall down before the throne in adoration and reverence.
The choir is a group charged with raising voices and for me, the only group that is in heaven and earth, and a person who belongs to the choir is a chorister and as such needs to be a good chorister.
There are good choristers and there are bad choristers no doubt, and we will be looking at how to be a good chorister. Remember that pride is one of the vices that choristers are usually guilty of and the reason is not farfetched, when one continuously hears how good they are, if not properly guided and disposed, the tendency of falling victim to pride plays out and sometimes it is displayed unconsciously.
So to be a good chorister, one must wear the garment of humility, so as to be devoid of pride and this humility will enable one take corrections when necessary, even if the person is the best chorister. Once a chorister is humble, there is this infectious aura around the person, you see other choristers drawn to the person like insects drawn to a beautiful fragranced plant and imagine the magic if the person is a good singer. So humility is an attractants but pride repels.
If you go for choir rehearsals, there is that chorister whose absence is always noticed, whose smiles are always infectious, that people like noticing, that everyone wants to be friendly with, and there is that chorister who though a good singer may be unruly and intimidating, always irritated, telling people off, feeding them with how bad their voices are, that chorister that is not at peace with the little efforts of others, who would always to be at the centre of attractions.
So it is the work of the music director or choir master to make sure that choristers are not bullied, that choristers are at home with each other, that both good singers and the supposed bad singers are not marginalized
Secondly, one must be tolerant, know that in the choir all of you came to groom voices, if you know it all, you wouldn’t be in the choir, so the choir is a place of growth, and as regards to growth, some are slowgrowers while others may be fast or moderate growers, depending on the growth rate of the individual, we are expected to carry all along.
The choir director or masters and mistresses should ensure that all achieved something before leaving, no one chorister is expected to leave the same way they came, there should be an improvement, they should always yearn for rehearsals, the choir should a place where everyone is happy and at peace with each other.
Thirdly, one must be ready to learn, in as much as we advocate for tolerances, the chorister must be willing to learn and grow, the chorister must be willing to improve, it is frustrating that a chorister is taught repeatedly and nothing is shown for it. Like schooling, a chorister is a student because learning takes place in a choir, as a student goes home to revise the day’s classes and lectures, every chorister is expected to pick up the songs learnt and revise them by him or herself, so that you don’t draw others back during the next choir meeting. You can always spot the choristers who revise their songs at home from those that don’t.
Those that revise their own find their feet when the songs are been sung, they flow and make rehearsals easier and sweeter. There is this disappointment of going back to a song that was perfected in the previous class and then choristers come back and tell you that they have forgotten. It is painful, so a good chorister must be willing to learn and put in extra effort.
Fourthly, a good chorister must be regular at rehearsals. Music is dynamic and keeps improving, on daily basis, good music is been released and you can keep yourself abreast with such by coming to rehearsals so that you can practice.
Remember that practice makes one perfect. A good chorister must be ready to sacrifice for that talent; a good chorister must be prepared to always refine his or talent by being abreast with the happenings; that is learning new songs to help thrill audience.
Also, a good chorister comes to rehearsals on time, this is because time is money and it is un-courteous that one has a history of coming to rehearsals very late, for keeping others waiting because if everyone starts coming late, it simply means that rehearsal will end very late and sometimes nothing much can be achieved
Lastly, a good chorister must have this spirit of kinship, must have team spirit. Success in a choir is not a one man thing, rather all hands must be on deck, and there should be a kind of harmony among choristers that should be promoted by all. The choir should be a heaven.
BY AKUBUO CHIGAEMEZU
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