Music Notes: Old Men and Children


by Bryan Anderson, Director of Music

Several years ago, while working at Wells Cathedral, I was fortunate enough to participate in a festival service of the Federation of Cathedral Old Choristers’ Associations, which combined the boys and girls of the cathedral choir with dozens of chorister “alumni” from various institutions.

Since the inclusion of girls in those particular choirs has really only taken hold in the last few decades, the majority of these singers were men: middle-aged and upward to the very elderly. By chance or planning, this was an Evensong service falling on the thirtieth day of the month, and therefore the appointed psalms were 147-150. The moment when we reached Ps. 148:12 has stuck with me ever since, as I have never seen it so powerfully illustrated: “Young men and maidens, old men and children, praise the Name of the Lord.”

How often do we see this happen? How often do adults of all ages and children praise God together? Modern churches can be so concerned with providing age- and generation-appropriate content and programming that they neglect the gain that comes from bringing generations together. Right there in the psalms, and throughout scripture, we see the importance of fully including children in the corporate life of God’s people.

At Saint Thomas’ this Sunday, we are taking a big step in unifying all ages in praise, as we welcome our first young treble choristers into Saint Thomas’ Parish Choir, ranging from 2nd through 6th grade. These children will sing mixed with our adults approximately every other week. While it has taken a lot of time and work to get to this point, it is only the beginning of the journey; I believe this is an opportunity for mentorship, for church growth and Christian formation, and for great music! These children have already started working hard towards their goals; after the 10 am service this week, if you see a new chorister, let them know that they are welcomed and appreciated.