First Unitarian New Choir Member Guide - Service Particulars


Item (click to enlarge) Where What/When Comments

Thursday Choir Rehearsals

Wall portraits of previous ministers look on to make sure our diction is correct

Bancroft Room
(church parlor,
turn left immediately
after entering the
lower (brick patio)
State Street
(Park in the lower
State Street lot)

Most Thursday nights
7:00 - 9pm

(During Sept-May season)
(See online calendar to be sure)

Warm-up the first five minutes; sometimes there will be sectional rehearsals (Sopr+alto separated from tenor+bass)

Very informal,
lots of fun
Sunday Choir Warm-up Meet:
Choir loft, sanctuary
surrounding the organ
Sundays prior to service
Choir sings typically 3 out of 4 Sundays each month; Easiest if you can get your robe ahead; Robes are in the basement closets
Collect in the front narthex (be there by 10:30ish after having coffee break and socializing 10AM-10:25)
prepare to line up to enter to center aisle for introit  
Lining up

In narthex, a cappella
Front hallway
Line up to enter  
NEW Choral Introit Choreography

Lining Up in Narthex, to enter

Meet in the
Front hallway

Near the end of the prelude,
file out into the center aisle, two at a time, spacing yourselves approximately 2 pews apart, facing forward.

At the end of the candlelighter's sentences, the choir will then turn to face each other, and the soloist will begin the introit and the choir will join in.
The choir members are facing each other in the aisle, however having taken a small step to the left in order to be looking in between the adjacent members facing you. This achieves a staggering so that we're not just "singing to each other."

At the conclusion of the introit, rotate back to facing forward.

Most of the time, the introit score will be arranged to have a soloist intonation to begin to set the pitch and tempo.
Processional Hymn

In Center Aisle during introduction

split left & right

Continuing in balcony

During organ introduction (or the announced point in the hymn),
process either to the platform (stage area) or upstairs
(as announced during rehearsal)
if in doubt, just follow the person in front of you!


Begin processing as prescribed by the organist's prior instructions, such as: Typically sing the first verse remaining in the aisle. At the beginning of the first(sung) (sometimes second) verse, commence processing (right foot begins) and split to turn right right or left and proceed up the spiral stairs. Once in the balcony, head along the side to the choir loft and find your seat, remain standing until after the hymn.

Help keep the tempos brisk. Resist the temptation to lag behind the tempo as the congregation often does subconsciously.

Sometimes the tenors and sopranos will have a descant to sing on the last verse (and/or an altered last few notes of the last verse). I'll try to continue the interlude as long as possible to get you in place for that.

We no longer sing A-mens even if they're printed in the score.

Sing unison on the first and last verses, and 4 parts on the inner verses, unless the hymn is marked as UNISON.

LP Amen "forever and ever Amen" remain seated Chord from the organ and begin singing 2 beats (head jerks: 3+4) after the notes are given (there'll be no pause in the organ's chord, it'll fade away once you start singing)  
Offering Sentences

The minister will announce the offering

Offertory Anthem Choir stands at the direction of the organist
Anthem begins immediately after the minister's sentences  
Anthem(s) Choir is standing (Sometimes the anthems are placed in various positions within the service)  
Choral benediction ("outtroit") Choir is still standing from the last hymn chord from organ to give notes -
listen carefully the chord is soft
Postlude Choir is dismissed but can linger if interested Please pass in music to the top of the organ console and return robes to hangers in the basement closets
Enjoy the compliments from the congregation at the coffee hour!

Typical Order of Service

(choir involvement in red)

SUNDAY May 00, 1900 10:30 A.M.

"Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try." YODA

ORGAN PRELUDE      Air, from Orchestral Suite in D       J.S. Bach


CHORAL INTROIT             [choir is in center aisle]



In the love of truth and in the spirit of Jesus
We unite for the worship of God and the service of all.

*DOXOLOGY     [choir remains in center aisle]

*HYMN 203 (gray) "All Creatures of the Earth and Sky"        WILLIAMS      [choir processes forward]

TIME FOR ALL AGES (Childrens Story)

(Children and their teachers, may go to their classes)




CHORAL AMEN (organ chord for notes)

OFFERTORY ANTHEM (choir stands)

SCRIPTURE READING Proberbs 4:7-16, 18-21, 26-27



*HYMN 295 (gray) "Sing Out Praises for the Journey" WESTMINSTER ABBEY


*HYMN 302 (gray) "Children of the Human Race"       SERVETUS





First Unitarian home page    Music at First Unitarian

Phone: 1+508.757.2708
Fax: 1+508.753.9332
Mail: 90 Main Street, Worcester, MA 01608-1173  USA

The Reverend Sarah Stewart, Minister(2014-)
The Reverend Barbara W. Merritt, Minister Emerita
Will Sherwood, AAGO, ChM, Director of Music & Organist
James Haupt,Assistant Director of Music
Paul Ropp, Music Committee Chair

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