Sunday, December 14, 2014

Good Christian Men, Rejoice...

John Rutter laments the decline in mass singing, especially in the Christmas season. We aren't far behind the UK in this regard. Rutter:
.... We aren’t, in general, much good at massed singing these days. Look around you at a church wedding when it’s time for a hymn and watch the congregation standing in mute embarrassment, the only sound coming from the organ and the choir (if there is one). That’s partly because hymns nowadays are known only to churchgoers, and they are in a minority; but it’s also inhibition.

Singing is like swimming — a natural, healthy and intensely pleasurable physical activity — but you have to try it, preferably when very young, to make this discovery. If, as an adult, you enjoy singing, you probably came to it as a child. Until the 1950s, you might well have sung round the piano with your family, but then the passive consumption of television put an end to that form of self-entertainment in the home. You could well have attended church, or been drafted into the local church choir — in the days before the British could afford foreign travel and exotic leisure activities, there wasn’t much to do in your spare time, trapped in our islands, and choir practice (if you didn’t fancy being a Boy Scout or Girl Guide) was probably the high point of your week if you were young and seeking after adventure.

By the 1960s that came to an end too. .... [more]