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Trumpet Discussion Discuss Church Choir Gigs in the General forums; What is worse is that there are directors out there that are also trumpet players who also act that way. ...
  1. #11
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    Feb 2008
    Kokomo, IN

    Re: Church Choir Gigs

    What is worse is that there are directors out there that are also trumpet players who also act that way. Of course, they never try to play in the manner that they direct. They also want you to play quietly in the upper register instead of trying to get a blend an octave lower. I think your solution of being "tied up" is a solution. They don't seem able to change.

  2. #12
    Piano User BADBOY-DON's Avatar
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    Jan 2004
    Gig Harbor Wa.

    Re: Church Choir Gigs

    Quote Originally Posted by veery715 View Post

    It seems to me that most of us would truly benefit from cultivating the quietest ppp playing we can muster.
    Not only is is excellent for our chops, it has its place in many settings: church, tiny clubs, etc.
    It is truly harder to control many aspects of play at very low volume, but I believe it can be done and that we become better players by doing it.

    That is not to say that you won't get the hairy eyeball from the MD anyway - churches tend to be inordinately reverberant and will boost the trumpet's presence in the way some cars look fast when they aren't even moving.

    AMEN!...I COULDN'T AGREE WITH YOU MORE...but also remember JUST HOW MUCH SOUND IS ABSORBED AND CHANGED during the actual performance.
    AMAZING... How much difference in sound takes place, especially with a large hall that is nowFILLED WITH WARM HOT BODIES.

    Being flexible is just part of the process when playing trumpet in these kinds of situations...n'all that jazz--(n' Purcellllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll!!!!! !)

  3. #13
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    Re: Church Choir Gigs

    Without knowing the music and the section of the service it's difficult to generalize but my thought is that this is a setting for worship and the music should cause the worshippers to be reflective and created a devotional atmosphere rather than drawing attention to the musicians as though they were the purpose for the service. So, quiet is better.
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  4. #14
    Forte User Al Innella's Avatar
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    Aug 2007
    Levittown , NY

    Re: Church Choir Gigs

    Been there done that, just play with a good tone, don't play too loudly, maybe an mf tops, and try to blend with the choir.

  5. #15
    lmf is offline
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    Re: Church Choir Gigs

    Go with a cornet!

  6. #16
    Fortissimo User SteveRicks's Avatar
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    Re: Church Choir Gigs

    Comeback has a good point that most church choir directors assume the music is to provide a devotional atmosphere. They need to check out the Bible. The idea of the trumpet is to call attention, break the silence, sound the call. Maybe if they would use us for that once in a while, we might concede to a few pieces at ppp. "God of Our Fathers" Wake up, folks!
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  7. #17
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    Re: Church Choir Gigs

    One thing I've learned in over 40 years of playing is that you need to use the right horn for the right job. My favorite instrument for church jobs has always been my gold Bach Strad, because the tone is warm, I can darken the sound if I want to, and the conductors always love the richness of the sound. Also, let your musicianship guide you, especially in situations where the director has no idea what he wants from you! For example, if I'm playing the "Hallelujah Chorus" with a choir of 25 voices, it would sound different than if I'm playing with a choir of 50 voices, and also the sound would need to be adjusted to the accoustic of the room (basically empty at rehearsal and full of bodies during the services!). A silver trumpet is sometimes too bright for certain settings, but brass might do better. Or a cornet may be the best choice in some rooms. So you might experiment with which instrument is better suited for the job. Take more than one horn with you, perhaps? Arrive early and experiment with sound? Also, church musicians don't always mark dynamics well (if at all) in their arrangements. Use your good judgment as to appropriate dynamics and the ensemble effect you wish to create. Too often brass players come into a church setting and they play as if they were at a marching band festival! If the choir is singing at mp, don't wait for the director to ask you to play more quietly, just do it. Show them that you are are a versatile player and you'll be asked back again! (And yes, I've been a choir director as well as a band director, so I've seen both sides of the story!)

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  8. #18
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    Texas - USA

    Re: Church Choir Gigs

    couple of tips here - don't be obnoxious about it, but always start with a fair interpretation of the dynamics (if anything, slightly more volume than you need) - then if they ask you to lower the volume, you've got plenty of room to do so and everyone is happy - you're hopefully still able to play at a comfortable volume while being accommodating of the director's wishes - in other words, always negotiate volume from a position of strength. I usually have a quick word with the rest of the section before we start to give a heads-up on this approach and it seems to work out ok most of the time (at my home church we rarely are asked to back off - but we're doing contemporary stuff in a large room designed for it with a world class sound system)

    Also, with smaller choirs find parts of the arrangement where you are playing that they are either nor singing or sustaining and play those sections full while being extra careful with the stuff that has you playing while there are words being sung......ask the director to help you clarify these spots (they'll be impressed that you actually care)



  9. #19
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    Jul 2009
    New Hampshire

    Re: Church Choir Gigs

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveRicks View Post
    Comeback has a good point that most church choir directors assume the music is to provide a devotional atmosphere. They need to check out the Bible. The idea of the trumpet is to call attention, break the silence, sound the call. Maybe if they would use us for that once in a while, we might concede to a few pieces at ppp. "God of Our Fathers" Wake up, folks!
    While trumpet players love to use such Biblical references, it's important to note that way back then, the trumpet was most likely a hollowed out ram's horn, and certainly not the cylindrical-tubing piece of metal which we use these days.

  10. #20
    Forte User edfitzvb's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
    Woodlawn, VA

    Re: Church Choir Gigs

    I play often in my church (at least once a month) and I try to be cognizant of blend problems, which change from the 8:00 service (with 14-16 choir members) and the 11:00 service (with 24-30 choir members.) Factor in the fact that I am not as well warmed up for the 8:00 service and we face some significant challenges. We did a Christmas show a few years back and I had to play trumpet behind an 11 year old child singing a solo with an amateur sound man at the controls. I was placed between the child and the audience. I am sure you can tell how much I enjoyed that experience.... and the part went up to my B above the staff.
    My favorite experience was with the congregation member who motioned me over BEFORE THE SERVICE and asked me to play softer before I even started. I told him that I would do my best, but he was seated directly in front of my bell and within 20 feet. I felt like saying, "It's a TRUMPET, guy. Try sitting in a different spot." It is hard to hide a trumpet in instrumentation that includes 2 flutes, 1 clarinet, 1 tenor sax, piano, organ, and 2 trumpets. They are GOING TO be prominent. I try to remember those times like the guy who took time to talk to me after a service because he had to talk to the trumpet player who played so beautifully because he used to play and the trumpet was beautiful and pure on "His Eye is on the Sparrow." Moments like that help when criticism comes and you're playing a "freebie" for your home church.

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