Church Choir or Chaos?

Continuing with my post on the state of affairs at our church, the St. George Orthodox Cathedral in Trivandrum, here is my take on the church choir.

1. Either there should be a proper choir or no choir. What we have today is a shame.

2. Most of the time it looks like there is a competition between those in the madbaha (altar).

3. Some of the sextons are spoiling the whole environment with their run down voice. People loose interest as it is very irritating and they stop singing / participating after that.

4. There are talented people in our church who can lead and be in the choir but they don’t get involved because of the politics.

I am a member of this parish since 2007 but nothing seems to have changed for good in these years. Can we do something about this?


  1. JO   •  

    It is pretty sad to see present day choir is too modernized and a competition of varied voices and styles along with instruments with loud sound. Lead singer dominates the mike. And each choir member need not have a mike or a mike only with lead singer/s. It should be shared with quieter voices in the choir. It is also seen that when electricity goes, choir mike and keyboard still works due to the inverter/ generator whereas only one mike works in the altar. These embody the idea of performance and not worship.

    90% of churches lack orthodoxy style of chanting. Orthodox choir is chanting and not singing. The beauty of Orthodox liturgies is also the acapella – i.e. basically irregular, mixed voices ‘singing’ in church without instrument. Instruments should be use to give timing and maintain tone not to perform.

    Choirs, let down the participation of the congregation who are not great singers or rhythmical. This is again from my experience. I didn’t participate in choir of a Chennai Cathedral as choir members there are traditional members and great singers. I realised even congregation didn’t do much sing along. I stood midst of congregation than being in front or extreme back, during the liturgy and found the barely whispering (the prayers) ladies around me starting to participate in singing and a few guys on the left joining them when I sang in average volume. Human beings have a big tendency of following and this was one example of how ‘professional’ choir de-motivates natural participation.

    Sexton’s singing: One can’t stop someone singing from bottom of their heart but prior assigning on who does what and who leads in altar, can be done. These days participation on previous day prayers or choir practice doesn’t take place but people walk in and start doing things. This is in a way good as in terms of contributing, initiative etc but taking effort and time to prefect or coordinate with all lacks.

    • Dr.Abu Cheriyan   •  

      I do agree to all things you had told.Orthodox worship must be congregational

  2. Philip Ayyamplackal   •  

    Who is interested in setting the house in order. The people who are in charge of the show considered it as a paid job or a honorary to get some name and fame. As long as this attitude continues nothing is going to change.

  3. Roy Thomas   •  

    Dear Brotheren

    Our Church stsrted ‘Shruti School of Music’ which is chaired by the renowned Rev Fr M P George .Even if we stsrted our Litergical Dept late, this is the Great Resource, where any Church Edavaka/congregation should ref .

    Finally our Episcopal Synad should implement Unified Qurbana & other Namaskarams in all tof our Churches in India, then in other parts of the Globe.


    Roy Thomas
    Abu Dhabi.

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