Many recent NOTES: Liturgy and Music blog entries have been about the new and the old. New and old anthems. New and old spaces. New and old instruments. New and old (familiar, perhaps a better word) service music in our liturgy.
But I have never written an article about chairs.
This past Sunday, when our Bishop blessed and dedicated all of the remodeled and renovated ministry spaces, someone asked me while touring our new Music Suite:
"Did you design all of this?"
I received this exclamation as a supreme compliment, but the truthful answer is yes and no. Yes, there were many meetings early-on, and yes, I did crudely sketch out things on large legal pads. And yes, the design committee and architects carefully and diligently considered everything I proposed and requested. And yes, we got much for which we asked.
On behalf of the entire music department of Church of the Holy Communion, I can say that we all (singers, ringers, children, directors, parents) are overwhelmed and ecstatic and grateful for our new state-of-the-art rehearsal and storage rooms.
But I take credit for the selection of the new choir chairs (…he said, humbly).
In our Parish Choir rehearsals, we work hard. Any Episcopal choir worth its salt must, as weekly Episcopal liturgies include a ton of music. On any given Sunday morning, our choirs prepare 5-6 congregational hymns (yes, we analyze the texts and rehearse them), three sung service music pieces (Gloria, Sanctus, et.al.), a sung Psalm, and 1-2 anthems.
With their standard cushy padding and scooped-out seats, regular stacking or folding parish hall or banquet hall chairs do not cut the mustard. And yet, such chairs are what most church choir rooms have. Sitting in said chairs, maintaining a good singers stance is impossible; the singer winds up sitting forward on the seat, trying to keep good back posture. But without back support from the chair itself, the singer quickly grows tired.
Wenger-brand choir chairs are one of the industry standards for university choral rehearsal rooms throughout the land. Wenger manufactures all sorts of wonderfully designed equipment for music rehearsal rooms, including chairs, risers, carts, platforms, and storage.
When singers sit properly in these chairs (sitting upright with shoulders down and relaxed), they are sitting with perfect singing posture. The backs of the chairs even have lower lumbar back support, similar to the driver's seat of a very fine European sedan. With feet flat on the floor, sitting up straight, and keeping shoulders relaxed, singers can rehearse for longer periods without fatigue.
In our new Music Suite, there are innumerable things about which to be excited: music library, vesting rooms, handbell storage, separate large rehearsal rooms, AV equipment and preparations, openness and natural light, and even new restrooms. But I may be most excited about the new choir chairs.
Please drop by and try out one of the new chairs. They're quite fancy and comfy.
Or, better yet, join the Parish Choir and claim one for yourself.