Catulus wrote:Perhaps the role of a choir is not only to facilitate and encourage the congregation to raise their voices to God, but also to facilitate silence and contemplation. What do you all think?
I think I agree with this. And I think many choirs do just this, by taking time to begin pieces, not rushing into the psalm, for instance, before the echoes of 'Thanks be to God' have died, but pausing to allow the words of scripture to sink in. Where I have experienced a lack of time for silence and contemplation is usually where the priest rushes onto the next 'bit'. Our priest, for instance (who is mostly wonderful), will start the notices almost before the last chord of the communion song dies. He also has a habit of pausing for all of about 30 seconds after the Intercessions, when the reader invites the assembly to pray for a moment in silence. I've usually just about gathered my thoughts when he launches into the closing prayer bit. I find that many of our readers too, seem frightened of silence. They fail to use pauses when they read and they rush through the prayers without giving any opportunity for reflection.
And so, I do think the choir can do its bit to facilitate silence and contemplation, but so could others who facilitate the liturgy.
Catulus wrote:Are they there to lead, or to guide, or even to encourage?
This surely determines the best position!
A combination of all three, I should think and, yes, this should determine the best position.
Catulus wrote:Following the post-communion hymn, which is beautifully sung, the choir remain standing as if to imply that now they are finished, its time to get on with Mass and wind things up
If you find this irritating, why don't you simply approach them and ask them if they would mind sitting down after the post-communion song until the priest signals that it's time to move? I know from experience, that when people approach our choir direct with suggestions, we take them on board and discuss them at our planning meeting.
Finally, for the record, I was being facetious when I mentioned Liverpool. I just found it interesting that so many people seemed to know exactly where I was talking about (that is assuming we are all talking about the same Cathedral )