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ChoralNet: Proper Attire for youth church choirs

Date: Fri, 29 May 1998 18:50:52 EDT
From: JudithHigb(a)
Subject: ChurchYouth Choir Attire -compilation

Dear Listers,
Thanks for sharing what works in your situation. Here are the answers to
the following post:

We are in the process of getting new robes for our choirs. (adult robes
over 25 years old.) Our 2 year old youth choir is wearing robes even older
(but with less wear since they don't sing every Sunday.) Do your teen choirs
still wear robes, or have you moved to more modern attire. I am considering
matching polo sirts with a pocket logo (choir name, notes, etc.) and dark
pants/skirt and then just keeping the old robes (rather than replacing them)
for festival occasions such as Lessons and Carols when all the choirs process.
any comments?
I will compile to this list and also share compilation at my session on
starting a youth choir in your church at OCDA summer conference. (June
29-July1, Otterbein College, Westerville, OH.)
Judith Higbee
Church of the Saviour
Cleveland, OH
We do Navy slacks with a white oxford with the tie of their choice. Our
congregation is somewhat casual, so the slacks for girls is not a problem.
You could go to skirts, but the length gets to be a problem. Our youth choir
really likes the uniform and the choice of tie. We told them to get a crazy
Hope this helps.
One choir in Cleveland inherited our black choir robes when we got new ones.
They are planning to perk them up with stoles of Kinte cloth for their youth
choir. Perhaps your youth choir robes could be used with new stoles, too, of
something near and dear to your youth.
Our teens do not use robes any longer as it gets rather expensive and the
way they grow up so fast, we're constantly making alterations. We use
different attire depending on the service (morning - more formal w/ tie
&/or jacket, evening - less formal w/ nice shirts and pants.) We try to
avoid denim at all times as this tends to cast a too laid back look. On
special teen conferences and meetings we will use the polo shirt and khaki
attire. This helps break the ice and eases the "comfort zone" for those
teens (non-choir) that do not have the funds to dress as the choir. We try
to avoid a "better-than-thou" atmosphere.
Our church is using a modified RSCM program and the Youth Choir was delighted
the purchase of all new, green robes with separate white collars. They also
the RSCM medal on a ribbon and will receive collar pins on Awards Sunday. If I
been in charge at the time of the robe purchase, I would have looked for robes
that were not so "hot" (these are polyester, I think). But, otherwise, I
like the way that both choirs look when they process each Sunday: it says that
they are also "ministers." I wish they all had big crosses to wear....
My youth choir wears matching outfits. Polo shirts w/church logo and kakhi
pants. Works fine. Robes just don't look right on a youth choir IMHO.
The Episcopal tradition of vesting the choir, whether adult,
Choristers, or children, is alive and well in Southwest Virginia. It
instantly solves most problems. When my wife took over the Choristers she
did insist that nice dress shoes be worn, but other than than they simply
dress for the weather and nobldy ever sees it.
Good question. We are about 36 singers in grades 7-12 and we do wear new navy
blue robes, about 2 years old, color and design approved by the kids. They
are the basic, "academic"robe but very fine quality.

We go with the flow. Though the norm is to wear them, if it is too hot, we
don't, if it is a guest sing at an area church, we often don't wear them
either. On several annual services that are "informal" we don't wear them.

More often than not the kids prefer them, so they can wear what they want
underneath, and the only reason they beg not to wear the robes is b/c of heat.

I must say that when we don't wear the robes we do not have another "outfit"
and I would personally stay away from the high-school madrigal group look like
the plague.
on July 24, 2002 10:00pm
The ladies in our 30-voice, middle and high school group wear light blue, knit cardigans with white Tank tops underneath and black pants, while the gentlemen wear nice, knit polos in the exact same shade with white T-shirts and black pants. The uniform can be adapted if needed-- i.e., khakis for a less formal look.

We bought our cardigans and polo shirts at the Gap-- the kids LOVE that their uniforms come from there and we got an amazing price since the items were on sale.


on September 10, 2002 10:00pm
Kids love to look like they are part of a special group, and choir robes really help them do that. When you say that your robes are 25 years old, how long do you think polo shirts last? And, if you stretch out the cost of robes over even 10 years, they are still cheaper, plus don't look like "everyday" wear. I still think that He deserves our best, and if we don't teach our kids that, how else will they learn?