Weekend Reflections: Christmas Singing with Stan on 12.12.10

Last weekend, we were honored to be led in worship by legendary choir/worship director Stan Endicott and genius arranger/musician Chris Barron.  They brought beauty and creativity and reverence and freshness to a dozen Christmas carols – creating a deeply moving experience.  But rather than tell you about it myself, we invited Stan to share some of his thoughts and intentions for last weekend’s worship time.  Here’s what he said…

“Oh, the great memories of going Christmas caroling and singing the great Christmas songs in church.   If only we could get our congregations to sing with as much alacrity all year!   Christmas carols can have great affect on your worship all year long.

“Remember the days of Roller Derby?  One skater grabs the hand of the one directly behind and “flings” the person forward, often the result being that person going to the front of the pack.  Christmas Carols are like Roller Derby, catapulting a congregation to greater singing.    We have the great advantage of a culture that understands that churches sing carols at Christmas time.  So with that “unfair advantage” in our favor, congregational Christmas singing can have a major affect on congregational worship singing throughout the entire calendar year.  Use the singing of Christmas carols as a standard for congregational singing.   Sixty-nine times in the Psalms, we are commanded to sing.   But to get the most benefit out of this Christmas experience there are practical things we must do.

“Here are five things I have learned:

1.  Invite the congregation into this experience with a welcoming spirit and a genuine smile.  This is a perfect opportunity to practice your hospitality skills.

2.  Arrange the songs musically, in a way that is fresh and beautiful.  Aim the musical style toward “current radio” styles, keeping in mind that this is a multi-generational experience.  Be sure to include Christmas “sounds”, even with a contemporary music track.

3.  Make sure the songs are not too high or too low – keep average singers in mind.

4.  Highlight short solos to give the congregation a rest and to let them reflect – include a beautiful solo instrument, like flute, recorder, oboe, violin, etc.

5.  And finally, bring the heart of worship into the carols – be mindful and talk about the “new” that the Holy Spirit wants to accomplish in this experience.

“Our recent experience during the Willow Creek weekend services proved to me that congregations will SING!   They sang with “gusto”.   To hear that many people singing with joy was one of those life experiences to never forget.

May the singing during Christmas last the entire year.”


Posted by Aaron Niequist on 12.16.10 under Lead Worship, Weekend Experience.

2 Responses to “Weekend Reflections: Christmas Singing with Stan on 12.12.10”

  1. This is a test to make sure commenting still works after turning on alkismet

    Posted by KC Walsh on 12/13/09 December 21st, 2010 at 6:57 pm

  2. Thanks for the wonderful experience of worshipping the Lord with the guidance and enthusiam of Stan. Pam

    Posted by Pam Kollar on 12/13/09 December 11th, 2011 at 11:52 pm

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