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Saturday, 5 April 2014


The Old Testament tells us that sister of Moses, Miriam, led a  women’s choir with a timbrel in her hand. The Song of Moses & Miriam was a victory song describing the miraculous parting of The Red Sea, which the Hebrews had just witnessed: "Sing to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously; horse and driver He has hurled into the sea."

Saint Ambrose  is considered as the first who introduced the antiphonant method of chanting, or one side of the choir alternately responding to the other; from whence that particular mode obtained the name of the "chant."

Charlemagne, the founder of the Carolingian Empire, was fond of music and took pride in his boys choir. Impressed by the beautiful Gregorian music of Rome, Charlemagne had monks sent over from Rome to train his Frankish singers.

Choral music long has been associated with the church. Although choirs existed in Europe throughout the Middle Ages, their role was restricted to unison performances of plainsong. By the 15th century the mass was normally performed by a choir.

The saintly King Henry VI of England founded Kings College at Cambridge University in 1441. He left instructions for a choir of six lay clerks and 16 boys to be trained at the college school and to sing at daily services.

William Billings (1746-1800), the first American composer, founded the continent's first singing class in Stoughton, Massachusetts in 1774 and the first church choir as well.

The Handel and Haydn Society, familiarly known as H+H, is an American chorus and period instrument orchestra based in Boston, Massachusetts. Founded in 1815, it is the second oldest musical organization in the United States after the U.S. Marine Band (founded 1798) and the oldest continually performing arts organization in the United States. It gave its first performance on December 25, 1815.

Handel and Haydn  Chorus rehearsal, 1903

On January 2, 1921, just two months to the day after its first broadcast, KDKA aired the first religious service in the history of radio. Pittsburgh's Calvary Episcopal Church was chosen because one of the Westinghouse engineers happened to be a member of the choir and made the arrangements. The technicians (one a Jew, one Catholic) were outfitted with choir robes in order to keep them from distracting the congregation.

In 1973 3M designer Art Fry, frustrated by errant hymnbook page markers at choir practice, realized the need for a low-tack sticky note. He applied a weak glue to yellow paper and the Post-It note was born.

In 1980 the Reverend Robin Everett suggested advertising slogans on clergy and choir robes as a means of supplementing church income. The time will come when, the English vicar wrote in his parish magazine, on mounting the pulpit he would confront the congregation with the slogan, “British Gas.”

Shakira was rejected from the school choir because the teacher thought she sounded like a goat.

When choir members sing together, their heartbeats often synchronize.

Sources Christian History, Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc.

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