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Don’t Rise and Shout – er, Sing

By: Ardis E. Parshall - May 31, 2013

This announcement appeared in the Church News in 1952. While I’m not familiar with any widespread habit of congregations routinely standing to sing hymns, it seems unlikely that such an announcement would be made unless this were, in fact, a known practice.

Congregation Remains Seated During Singing

Congregations should remain seated during the singing of hymns, it was recommended this week by the General Church Music Committee.

In making the announcement, Tracy Y. Cannon, chairman of the committee, said that in the new edition of the small handbook entitled, “General Recommendations Concerning Music in the Church,” the recommendation was being inserted as follows:

“To avoid undue confusion, during congregational singing it is recommended that the congregation remain seated. An exception to this might be when a congregational hymn is sung in the course of a long meeting where it is desirable that the people should arise in order to rest themselves.”

Sacrament meetings are worship meetings, the music committee pointed out, and everything in the proceedings should be eliminated which makes for disturbance or static.

The rising and sitting down of congregations with its attendant noise is not conducive for a reverent and quiet atmosphere in meetings.



8 Comments »

  1. But the “undue confusion” “disturbance’ and “attendant noise” is a great opportunity to head out to the restroom.

    Comment by Grant — May 31, 2013 @ 6:44 am

  2. The real reason for this new rule is disclosed …

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — May 31, 2013 @ 6:51 am

  3. I remember my mother saying that they used to stand to sing often. She wished that we still did that. (That was when she had lots of little kids so maybe she thought like Grant.)

    Comment by Carol — May 31, 2013 @ 8:20 am

  4. Standing is the only way to sing!

    Comment by David Y. — May 31, 2013 @ 8:46 am

  5. Our ward has stopped doing the “rest hymn” in the middle of sacrament meeting. I’ll be honest that I miss having a moment to stand and sing at least once. I know the speakers miss the time it took up, too.

    Comment by iguacufalls — May 31, 2013 @ 10:14 am

  6. David speaks like a true musician. What chance do our diaphragms have if we don’t stand and give them room to move?

    I’d take the “long meeting” exception as applicable to any meeting over 29 minutes.

    We’ll quit singing about the same time we quit praying (but we’ll sing “rest hymns” right about the same time we start having “rest prayers” (see D&C 25).

    Comment by Mark B. — May 31, 2013 @ 11:24 am

  7. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir used to sit while singing in General Conference, as I recall — now they ALWAYS stand.

    Comment by ji — May 31, 2013 @ 11:05 pm

  8. It’s fairly standard practice, in my experience, to stand for the rest hymn. I wonder if the congregation was standing for the opening, sacrament, and closing hymns as well.

    I vote to bring back the standing for hymns, the praying with upraised arms, and impropmtu sermons as called on by the presiding officer, to enliven the vast expanses of church meetings.

    Comment by The Other Clark — June 3, 2013 @ 3:40 pm

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