3 Reasons Most New Church Choir Repertoire Sounds the Same

by vernsanders on July 1, 2011

Thoughts on Church Choir Repertoire, part 1

One of the things I enjoy about my position as publisher of Creator magazine is that I get to see most of the new church choral anthems that are published each year in the process of assembling our Select 20 anthem reviews for each issue of the magazine. (If you are reading this and you publish choral music for the church and you are not sending your new issues to Creator for review, contact me to make sure that we get your new materials.) It is a love/hate enjoyment, because, while I look at thousands of pieces in a year, it is a time consuming job, and sometimes not a lot of fun.

I’ve been doing this since I purchased the magazine in 1997, and it has been interesting to see the changes that have taken place in the last 15 years. Over the next few posts, I’ll be talking about what I’ve seen, and what I think about it, but for now, let’s get a few general observations out of the way.

  • The influence of the Brooklyn Tabernacle choir, and the “worship choir” movement in general, has changed how publishers think about what a “choral” anthem is exactly.
  • The erosion of the numbers of “full service” independent print music stores, and the consolidation those that remain in the hands of just a few owners, mean that fewer and fewer people control what is “acceptable” to sell.
  • The now standard practice of marketing new choral music through the production of demo recordings means that most choir directors now pick music on the basis of what they “hear” (especially production values) rather than what is on the printed page.

I’ll go into more detail about all of the above, and more, but I’d like you to help me by contributing your thoughts, complaints, and affirmations of what you see in church choral music these days. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Ipod shuffle status: 3072 (Kyrie (Mass in E minor) – Anton Bruckner)  of 7875

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