There are some people in my ward who are incredibly talented singers. I am not one of them, but I wish I were. Both their musical needs and mine cannot be satisfied without reducing the quality of the choir. And herein lies the dilemma.

Participating in a church choir can be an amazing experience. You are creating something beautiful, working in harmony with others (literally), and praising God through music.

A great thing about ward choir is that anyone can join. Unfortunately, this is also presents a major problem. In my ward, talented singers often don’t participate in choir because the amateur singers (such as myself) require more time and practice on very basic parts, which tends to make things agonizingly boring for the others. As one talented singer explained to me, it’s like playing basketball with someone who doesn’t know how. If you’re really good at basketball, you might not mind occasionally helping to teach someone how to play, but after a while, you’d prefer to be playing with people who know what they’re doing. Including the amateurs reduces the quality of the music by not only allowing lesser-talented singers but also driving away the more talented singers.

I propose the following solution: require auditions.

Participation in ward choir should be a privilege. The ward choir director will admit people based on private auditions. In wards where choir participation is low, the choir director may decide to take anyone who auditions, regardless of ability, just to provide critical mass. But in wards where there is an abundance of talent, the choir director should be more selective. If you’re like me and would like the opportunity to participate, spend some time on your own practicing up, and then go audition. If you’re not selected, keep practicing and come back next month. Let’s put an end to the age of mediocre choirs.