Ideas for Musical Selections in Sacrament Meeting
1. Organize yourself!! Make a plan that you stick to every month. For example:
1st Sunday: Fast and Testimony Meeting – no musical selection
2nd Sunday: Musical Selection
3rd Sunday: Congregational Hymn
4th Sunday: Ward Choir
5th Sunday: Your choice
2. Involve the ward in the musical selections. The more they are involved by taking responsibility for the ward’s music, the more they feel the obligation to make music a greater priority. You will find that your ward music will improve immensely. It will be better understood and more appreciated.
Talk to your ward choir director about performing in sacrament meeting at least once a month as recommended in the Church Handbook. Schedule a specific Sunday each month for the choir. Their selection need not be difficult – a simple hymn will do if sung beautifully and tastefully. They need only a couple of rehearsals to prepare for each musical selection.
Talk to the primary president about having the primary sing in sacrament meeting a few times each year. This can be the entire primary, just the junior or senior primary, a group of children (one particular class, brothers and sisters, etc.), or a solo. No organization sings more and is prepared with more musical selections than the primary. Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and a Christmas song in December are great opportunities to hear from the children in the ward.
Talk to the young men and young women presidencies about having the youth sing in sacrament occasionally. They could enlist in the help of the ward choir director if they need to.
Talk to relief society presidency, the High Priest’s Group leadership, and the Elder’s Quorum presidency about forming musical groups or choirs to perform in sacrament meeting. They could do it together or separately.
Use the talents of your ward’s vocalists and instrumentalists. The voice, the piano, the organ, strings, and woodwinds are appropriate in sacrament meeting. Take advantage of anyone who sings or plays these instruments. Ask them to choose a month and perform a special selection that would be appropriate.
Finally, ask your ward organist to prepare a special arrangement of a hymn to be sung by the congregation. Congregational hymns are a perfect opportunity for the members to experience singing with modified organ accompaniments, descants, changes of key, and powerful registration changes (from soft to loud or vice versa.) Any organist, with some practice, can at least prepare a hymn with some changes of registration to add to the congregational hymn each month. Pick the hymn well in advance and give it to your ward organist to come up with something.
3. Be on top of it!! Always prepare a couple of months ahead. Procrastination in ward music means boring congregational hymns every month that seem like “just another hymn.” Nobody wants to just sing another hymn. We want to be uplifted by something special. So plan “special” musical selections and do it at least a month or two in advance.
4. Always review everything for approval! Establish right away a system whereby the primary, or ward choir, or soloist, or whoever is doing the musical selection comes to you well in advance to seek approval of their song. The day or week before is not appropriate. It is not fair to tell people “no” when there is not time to choose something different. That is how we end up with inappropriate music. With enough time you can direct someone toward a more appropriate musical selection.
Once you have approved the music you should get it approved by the bishopric. They may require you to come to them all of the time, or only if there is a questionable song. However, whenever there is a doubt as to whether something is appropriate, DO NOT DO IT! There is too much quality music out there to waste our meetings with the borderline stuff.
Go to the Music tab for specific titles of music appropriate for sacrament meetings.