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The Invisible Choir

07. August 2017

Columns, RP Living,

  —Lydia Goerner

On Thursday nights, a small group from the Oswego Reformed Presbyterian Church gathers in elder Kevin Plummer’s home with their psalters and tea.

They call themselves the invisible choir.

The invisible choir formed in this upstate New York church after The Book of Psalms for Worship was introduced to the church. Many of the tunes presented a challenge to the congregation.

“When the blue psalter first came out, we crashed and burned a lot,” said Kit Swartz, the church’s pastor of 35 years. Swartz said the congregation experimented with taking time during evening worship or Sabbath school to work on the new tunes, but they found this inefficient. They also considered having a traditional choir in the front or back of the church.

The invisible choir was born with the intention of familiarizing people in the congregation with the tunes to prepare them for worship on Sunday. Each member of the choir sits where he or she would normally sit, integrated into the congregation.

“Praise is a corporate thing,” Swartz said. “We’re averse to any hint of performance, and sitting wherever we sit actually is more serviceable to the goal of encouraging everybody to sing.”

The invisible choir practice sessions typically see a half dozen attendees. The group practices each psalm that will be sung in the church service, rehearsing them with the melody and the parts, and then moves on to other tunes by ...

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