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Habitual Lateness on the part of a volunteer church choir for Rehearsals and Services

I just started a new job as Director of Music at a church and one of my main challenges so far is the lateness of the volunteer choir for rehearsals and the services. The choir is scheduled to meet on Thursdays for 2 hours and again at 10 am before the 11am service on Sundays. I have established from the beginning the importance of being present and on time but while I make allowances for occasional lateness for the midweek rehearsals, due to traffic, work etc , I have reiterated that it is disnconcerting, disrespectful and unacceptable for persons to be habitually late on Sunday mornings. I start my rehearsals with physical and vocal warmups which I try to make as interesting and meaningful as I can then I go through unfamiliar hymns and the anthems for the day. I usually reserve announcements for the end of rehearsal or if I think a breather from singing is necessary. It has been well over a month and I see no improvement. The choir is a small choir in a small church so recruiting is difficult. I am planning to have another discusssion with the choir about this this week. Help.
Replies (25): Threaded | Chronological
on July 4, 2011 4:20am
Only one month? Be patient! Small church choirs require a tremendous amount of patience in order to be musically successful. Don't risk alienating the few volunteers you have. Just find a way to be persistent, while being patient at the same time. One month is not enough time for a c-change, in my opinion. Keep plugging at it in a friendly way. You do not have to change your standards one bit, but you may need to increase your patience, in order to be successful with this. (This sounds like a long-standing problem, but I have no way of knowing).

Think of it this way: the tardiness is a symptom of a problem of THEIRS (the tardy), not yours.

The moment you begin to think that THEIR tardiness hampers YOUR work with the choir, you've lost. You are fully capable, their tardiness cannot change that. With that mindset, nothing will affect your persona and attitude (no amount of tardiness, inept musicianship, bad wobble, you name it, will make you so much as frown), and choir service will be more attractive to them, because YOU are.

Another tip: when I look at your post, it seems virtually every sentence begins with "I". If this is your attitude, it may be prolonging the problem, no matter how logical your arguments are. Your singers might be picking up unintended signals from your ego. Just try saying the entire post with "We" instead of I, and see how it feels. If it is in anyway disingenuous, you have a problem, in my view, one that is easily fixed. Don't allow their behavior to alter your perspective and attitude, no matter what. Choral conducting is never exclusively about "I", or purely "what I do."

If this is a cultural problem, then it simply takes a long time, and there is very little you can direct action you can take that will correct the behavior. And the more discussion you have on the matter, the more the atmosphere gets poisoned. Are you as impatient with their musicianship, or their vocal ability? Do you have discussions about the typical small church choir problems, like illiteracy, wobble, etc? Think of the tardiness as just another problem, and approach it with the same care. Having discussions about it never works, and can backfire.

1. Be patienty persistent, and
2. Do not let this problem (or any other of the choir's behavoirs) affect your demeanor one single bit.

The problem will eventually resolve itself, if you are patient.

on September 8, 2011 7:01am
Nicely said.
on July 4, 2011 4:29am
If it's only a month, give them time.  This is obviously a learned behavior.  Is everyone late?  If it's just a few individuals, speak to them privately and find out the reason.  General discussions are generally not too useful because they annoy those who aren't late and blow right by those who are.  And trust me, I'm talking from personal experience here.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on July 4, 2011 4:37am
Sympathies, Desmond. This is tough when it's habitual - but it is possible to improve it significantly.
Strategies that I have tried and I think have helped (not always possible to tell which of several provides the magic! and besides different things work with different people) include using the discussion with the choir to get suggestions of how to manage it as well as telling them why it's important, and having a sign-in sheet as a register on which we all write down our arrival times each week. When we are expecting new people to start is a good time to get existing members on board in setting a good example. Public thanks to the individuals who were there early can also be encouraging. People will change their behaviour if it gets them compliments :-)
My most conspicuous success was when we had mostly cracked this, but with one singer left who was often absent and always late when she came. I had a long heart-to-heart with her, sharing the difficulties that she presented to the rest of the group - she's a strong singer and a big personality, so it really makes a difference if she's there or not. This made a bit of a difference - but mostly in eliciting more apologies when she was absent/late. Then, when I had to miss a week, I asked various singers to lead different bits of the rehearsal, and gave her the warm-up. She saw straight through it as a strategem, but said when I got back that she could suddenly see why I minded people turning up late! She has been on time nearly every week since then (this was back in March), and is really pleased with herself for making the change. Phew!
Things are pretty good now, but it took much more than a month really to make a major difference for us. So don't despair yet.
The other thing that strikes me is that recruiting will be easier when you've improved this. A clear start-time leads to productive rehearsals which makes for people feeling more proud of their progress which makes for more joyful voices. And joyful voices are what attract new members.
Looking forward to seeing what other people suggest, as this is a challenge that faces every choral director at one time or another. 
Applauded by an audience of 1
on July 4, 2011 5:04am
Wow!  You sound like you live in my world.  I have not been able to solve this one.  Most of my singers are respectful of my time (& theirs...) but there remain the few singers for whom the concept of "on time" is a mystery not to be solved.  You could do what a conductor long ago used to do which is start on time and when someone did dare to come in late, he stopped, watched silently as the person made their way to their seat, then made some comment like "how kind of you to join us."  Of course, this was a college choir, not a church choir, and it was long ago when people seemed to take their responsibilities & commitments much more seriously.
Mari Reive
on July 4, 2011 5:25am
I hear your pain, but a lot depends on what you have to work with. Here in Tokyo we are still
working with a once-in-a century earthquake (and aftershocks) while facing the fact that our brothers and sisters 150-plus- miles north will be dealing with a once-in-a-millennium quake for some years to come.

Back in Tokyo we have a similar work plan, all ready for the summer vacation. But for some of us, it's really hard to set out one or two hours before normal, to show up for choir practice, even if it's very basic (especially for those of us who have been regular Anglican choristers for (now!) exactly 50 years. (Details upon request but I go back to Singapore Cathedral in 1960...)

In the old English saying, please cut your coat according to your cloth.

on July 4, 2011 7:24am
I have had this problem in my church job also.  I stressed over and over again about trying to be on time as it sounds like you have.  The problem with a volunteer choir is there is no real recourse for this although I will say that as time marched on, no pun intended, things got better.  One reason is that I start rehearsal for the " on time" people rather than for the late crowd. (I say this out loud alot - that I am beginning rehearsal for the on time people rather than the late people.) That means, I allow a 5 minute grace period, and then start rehearsal.  Eventually, people feel uncomfortable coming in so late and missing what is being done.  There are the chronically late  people and that will never change.  The church members are also late for church which has also amazed me.  Many people come in late for service which means it could be a church wide problem.
However, it does sound like you have alot of rehearsal for a small volunteer choir?  And maybe some of their lateness is a reaction to three hours a week of rehearsal.  Maybe you could try an hour and a half during the week with the understanding that by doing this, you expect people to be on time and then perhaps 45 minutes on Sunday.  It does sound like a big commitment for a small volunteer group.  I do hour and a half on a week night and then depending on how prepared they are, I bring them in on Sunday morning, 45 to half hour before.  They appreciate small concessions on time here and there as many work full time and have busy lives with families to think of.
Believe me , though, I feel your pain....
on July 4, 2011 7:24am
My solution to this problem has been simple and effective.  I say nothing to my singers about getting to rehearsals on time, but simply start on time no matter who is there and who is not.  If someone walks in late, I say nothing to the latecomer, but simply keep working as the latecomer finds a seat.  If the latecomer does something distracting (such as walking between the choir and me or causing commotion as a seat is found), I stop, expressionless, say absolutely nothing, and wait until the latecomer is situated before I begin again. People in my choruses seem to get the idea pretty quickly that they need to be there on time. Until you change their habits (which should only take a couple of weeks) you might dispense with warm ups and hymns and get right to the meat of your rehearsal right at the start, so that even those who may not think that warm ups and hymn preparation is important will know that the work begins promptly. It is equally important to end your rehearsals promptly, showing the singers that you respect their time as well.
on July 4, 2011 11:52am
Or move warm-ups to the middle of rehearsal (perhaps permanently), instead starting with some repertoire with a gentle range which won't push their voices, if you sense that the singers don't value warmups. It's a bad idea to start with hymns anyway, since people are used to singing hymns really loudly.
on July 4, 2011 9:15am
There are specific comments here that I was tempted to respond to, but I won't.  We have the same problem in our choir, and no amount of jaw-boning makes any real difference.  There's one dear lady who is ALWAYS late on Sunday mornings - there have even been mornings when she's missed the warm-up rehearsal entirely and struggled into church five minutes late!  Rather, my commentary would be on the issue of not only a choir or church-wide problem with tardiness, but with a societal problem with tardiness as just one of its many manifestations.  And the cause?  The "eighth Deadly Sin" (I know, there are only supposed to be Seven!) of indifference.  "It doesn't make any difference;" "I don't really count in the overall;" "They'll do just fine without me;" - and it all relates to the same thing.  If choir directors approached their jobs with that degree of indifference, they'd be out of a job within weeks or months.  If God were indifferent, we'd die at the nano-second of indifference from Him.  The counterargument that there is so much which requires our attention and that things slip has to be responded to with, "Then, perhaps, you need to look at all the things you do and decide (i.e., make a difference) what's really important to you - and then do it with the same injunction we're given to following the two great commandments - with your whole heart, whole mind, whole strength."  I know; this can drive people away.  But frankly, if it makes a difference to you and to God, shouldn't you make it make a difference?  I'm sorry; we try so hard to accommodate; but we don't look at people squarely and squarely confront the issue that their commitment - yes, a scary word - IS important, and ought not to be approached as "just one of those things."  We do ourselves, our choirs, our congregations, and our God no good if we sidestep the fundamental issue.  An unprepared singer can throw off an entire section, especially if they have a big voice and a personality to match; so we ask her/him to sit out the anthem they're unfamiliar with or haven't been to rehearsal to.  Why?  Because it MAKES A DIFFERENCE!  I may sound uncompromising, and believe me, there have been so many compromises and accommodations along the way.  But I still periodically remind people of the importance of being timely as an expression of commitment and caring.  Adjusting rehearsal times to start later simply means more excuse to arrive yet tardier - and you have to end the rehearsal at a reasonable time during the week in any event, and so you may end up curtailing rehearsal time you need.
Back when I was doing community theater in Germany, we used to hold the curtain because there would be the "last-five-minute-rush" to the box office to buy tickets.  Finally, we prevailed on the management to raise the curtain on time.  Word got out that this was happening; the rush started happening TEN minutes before curtain.  (We would hold the curtain for groups that were being bussed in; they weren't in control of the traffic or the driving.)  People ARE trainable; it's just you have to be persistent and consistent.  Desmond, stick with it.  Don't give up the ship; it's leaky, but the only one to get us to the other shore.  Start ACTING in a committed fashion, and for those who are committed, they'll be there, and will support you.  For those for whom it makes no difference, it will likely NOT EVER make much of a difference; so, without being nasty, treat them with a certain degree of indifference.  If they ask you to go over something you've already done, just ask them to stay after the rehearsal to do it.  Don't insult your timely folks with going over stuff you've already addressed and that these people can't hustle to be on time for.  At the end of rehearsal, invite those who want to go over certain things previously covered to stay.  Then, IF the tardy DO stay, use it as an opportunity to point out that this wouldn't be necessary had they been on time.  Don't accept excuses; ninety-nine percent of the time, they're justifications and rationalizations.  Old chaplain friend of mine told me once, "Ron, there are many good reasons why anything ever is; but only one REAL reason for it."  Ask them what the REAL reason is they're not timely.  It puts the onus where it belongs - right in their hands.
on July 4, 2011 11:24am
Desmond:  You've had encouragement and good advice from several people already.  I have only two comments to add.
Culture change is hard.  When my late wife took over the "children's choir" at church, not just the children but the parents had a somewhat lackadasical approach.  And the two things she had to push were personal responsibility and appearance.  (No MUSICAL problems she couldn't handle, thank goodness!!)  For the former, she insisted that the KIDS, not the parents, call and tell her if they had to miss something.  For the latter, she insisted on their wearing nice shoes in respect to the church (since they wore vestments, which can cover a multitude of sins!).  It eventually worked, with constant reminders, to the extent that they were trusted to become the choir for the Family Service every Sunday during the school year.
And second, you might want to rethink your vocal and physical warmups.  Some of your members might be embarrassed by the physical warmups (just guessing here, but it's possible, and you need to get their buy-in if it's something they haven't been used to doing).  And my wife discovered that the vocal warmups used by the conductor of our community chorus were actually hurting her voice, so she made a particular point of arriving late to rehearsals in order to avoid his warmups.
Just a couple of thoughts.  Rome wasn't built in a day.  More apropos, Rome wasn't REbuilt in a day, a month, or even a single year!  And we ALL understand your goal:  10 minutes early is on time; on time is late!  But volunteers can often have complicated lives, and there are times when their church choir cannot be their first priority.
(For paid professional orchestral players, on the other hand, 30 minutes early is normal, 20 minutes early is on time, and 10 minutes early is late!!  And the same is true for professional singers.)
All the best,
on July 4, 2011 3:58pm
My community choir had this problem.    Over time it fixed itself.    Maybe because not once in the last 2 1/2 years did I start late or finish late.   I respected their time and they soon respected mine.
(My inspiration was a saying by John Bertalot, author of How To Be A Successful Choir Conductor:  Start punctually even if you only have two sopranos and a goat.)
on July 5, 2011 4:55am
Here is a solution I have heard of but did not use myself and to put this into practice, everyone must agree. Suggest that when people are late, they put a nickel (or penny or dime, depending on agreement) in a very visible "bank" for every minute they are late. The money can be used either for a party for the choir or it can be contributed to an agreed upon worthy cause. The person who told me about this said it worked, but I never had the nerve to try it.
When I started my current job, I was told in advance that on Sunday morning for our pre-mass rehearsal, one soprano always came 15 minutes late and then stood where everyone could see her and put on her make up. I could not believe this, but sure enough, it happened every Sunday. I didn't have the nerve to say something, but eventually this woman had a tantrum over some little thing and quit. One by one individually choir members came to me to tell me how happy they were that she quit! The lesson: sometimes when you are annoyed by something, so is everyone else!
I agree with the person who advised you to say "we." Everyone has to take ownership in the choir, and you promote that attitude. I talk about "our anthem" and "our tone" and what "we" hope to accomplish.
In my previous church job, I was the first choir director who used stretching and warmups. That went over really well with most people but one soprano balked. She would come late on purpose to miss the warmups and stretching and even announced her strategy publicly. So, I put the stretching and warmups in the middle of the rehearsal. That worked, and eventually I was able to move them back to the beginning. I was very gratified to learn just recently that one member of that choir told me he still does the vocal warmups that I introduced to him many years ago.
As everyone said, tardiness seems built into our society today. I feel that I never know how long communion will take because I don't know how big the congregation is until 15 minutes after mass starts . . .
on July 5, 2011 8:05am
Yes, those of us working in the Catholic Church won't know the size of the congregation until 15 minutes after Mass starts (true enough here at Ft. Belvoir!) and then 5 seconds after Communion - pfft! - they're out the door, and it MAY be back to the size congregation you had right at the beginning of Mass.  A story not entirely germane to the discussion, but funny anyway.  We went out to the Outer Banks for a week's vacation, and attended Mass at the local high school gym, whence Mass had repaired while they were rebuilding the Catholic church which had been torched by some arsonist.  Padre who was celebrating Mass was an older fellow from "the mainland" and had a serious problem with his legs, so he was seated behind the altar before Mass began, excusing himself for doing so.  Then, he gave a little "pre-Mass homily" which focused on the tendency of folks to dash out the door right after Communion.  His comment was, "You know who the first person was to leave right after Communion?  Judas!  And you know what happened to him, right?"  Not one soul left that gym before the injunction, "The Mass is ended, go in peace to love and serve the world."  Sometimes the most cogent points have REALLY sharp points on them.   Of course, few of us have the intestinal fortitude to take up that approach - but doncha wish you could?
on July 5, 2011 7:03am
I understand your frustration. However, you may need to consider why people are late.  Is there Sunday school before your worship service?  This means that your dedicated singers are always having to miss Sunday school.  Perhaps they are even Sunday school teachers. I am a full-time church musician and have learned the importance of advice I was given years ago.  You have to care about your singers before they will care about "your" music ministry.  We used to have a 2 hour rehearsal with a break in the middle. About 5 years ago I switched to 1.5 hours and if someone needs to slip out for a few minutes that is fine.  I think it would be very hard to recruit new singers with 3 hours of rehearsal a week.
I have found the most success when I can empathize with my singers. You want them to be self-motivated, not controlled by your expectations.  I have a young talented singer with 3 small children.  There are just times when her husband doesn't get home from work in time for her to attend rehearsal or she has to come late. She always leaves a phone message to let me know. I know that she is doing her best and I would not want to discourage her and have her drop out of choir because she can't meet "my expectations." 
In one of my first church jobs, our Mozart concert had been postponed because of a snowstorm.  I scheduled a rehearsal on the Mozart music between services on Christmas Eve!!  I guess that didn't win me any friends. ;-)
People come to choir to have fun and fellowship as well as to make music.  I would suggest looking carefully at your rehearsal techniques and choice of repertoire. Do you really need that much rehearsal time?  How many unfamiliar hymns are there?  Maybe you could talk to a couple of choir members to discuss the situation.  I hope that things improve.  All the best.
on July 5, 2011 8:13am
Judith - good commentary, and a reminder to us all.  Yes, you're right; people do have a lot on their plates, and when you have a dedicated soul that is just sometimes overwhelmed by circumstances not entirely in their control you do have to make allowances - in spite of the fact I talk a tough game, I do understand that folks are coming from work, so I don't really get bent about folks coming in late for rehearsals during the week.  Working in the DC area is stressful enough, that I make the point of saying, even if we're doing something special mid-week (a holyday Mass or a special presentation at a local retirement facility), "Call is at (X) time; but come in as soon as you can; I know you folks are working, and you've got to struggle through traffic."  It's amazing, truly, how close to the start time people get - because you're right:  they do want to do well.  In a sense, perhaps the best thing to do is to think of choir as "family" - we do here; we pray for each other, sing, celebrate, spend time.  Most of us are no longer living where we grew up (DC is the great location of "Where did you come from?" and there are few native "Warshingtonians" (no, that's not a misspelling!)) and so our "family" is one that's made up of the folks around us.  So we have to work on the "family" we've got, and take their foibles in stride.  That said, one DOES have the responsibility to occasionally point out some less-than-acceptable or less-than-desirable behavior - I mean, you're supposed to do that within your family, aren't you?
on July 5, 2011 11:16am
I would agree with most everything here but did a few other "little things" that seemed to help my very good church choir. 
  • Warm-ups were ALWAYS at the beginning of rehearsal
  • Announcements were ALWAYS right AFTER the warm-ups and if you didn't make it to warm-ups---too bad, sorry this is too high/low for you without warming up.  Tough toenails!
  • I usually made the announcements myself but asked if anyone else had something to add--Mizzus "ALWAYS LATE" always had something to add but if she didn't make it to rehearsal until after the announcements, I wouldn't yield the floor to her.  She changed her ways mostly, especially if she had something to announce!
  • I made it a policy--you were not offically LATE  if you came in during the warm-ups or announcements--as soon as we began working on rep, you were late.
  • See if changing the rehearsal time makes a difference--even a small change.  I changed Thursday rehearsal time from 7 pm to 7:15 pm and it made a HUGE difference.  The Session would meet occassionally--and other groups as well-- right before our rehearsals and all those in the Session or whatever would be late.  We rehearsed from 7:15 until 9:15 and not 7 to 9--not a big difference but things worked out so much better.
  • As several have mentioned--this is still "early" in your tenure. And this isn't even the busy seasons!
Hope this helps. And it really is early!
on July 6, 2011 1:25pm
Speaking from the viewpoint of a singer. There is nothing more irritating than someone who is constantly late for a rehearsal. I've sung in my church choir since I was 8 years old. If I had a rehearsal, the rehearsal came first over anything else. People who are consistently late not only disrupt you, but they also disrupt their section mates. If you miss the notes for any music, odds are you will make a mistake in performance. It is also disrespectful to everyone in the choir. We all have busy lives, but if you make the commitment you need to keep it.
Some of the directors suggested starting at 7:15p which is a good idea. For some reason people can mange to be on time for quarter past rather than on the hour. Try calling rehearsal for Sunday morning for 9:45a. It will give everyone time to arrive, get coffee, get organized. We found the people in our choir who'd been consistently late started arriving early. It was the beginning of a more cohesive choir.
As the others have said, you are about two months into the position. There is every possibility that as they get to know you the problem will solve itself. Good Luck.             
on July 10, 2011 6:40am
 I think the best advice has already been given.  

1.  Start on time!
2.  Don't worry about "warmups", most small church choir music is easy enough that you don't need to warm up.
3.  Dispense with the small talk at the beginning of the rehearsal.  Get right to work.
4.  Never scold the choir about anything.  If they feel that choir is important, they will be on time.  So make choir rehearsal feel important (that's your job).

I had this problem with one choir with about 50 members.  About 10% were habitually late.
I made a two sided poster with a smiley face on one side and the caption "Praise the Lord!  You are on time!"
The other side had a frowning face with perspiration drops and the caption "Thank the Lord you made it!"
I placed the poster near the door so folks had to walk around it.  Before rehearsal, I used the smiley face.  At rehearsal time, I turned the poster over.
The choir got in the swing of things and peer pressure kicked in.  Soon, the late comers changed their habits.

Clarence   (I'm looking for Beta testers)

on July 15, 2011 8:34am
i have run a worship group of singers and musicians in church for many years, although I've recently stopped, and I've always taken the view that because people are participating from the generosity of their hearts on an entirely volunteer, unpaid basis, the idea of scolding seems quite inappropriate. I always found that encouragement and praise brought the best results, and if people were late or unreliable in their attendance, I tried to maintain an attitude of being (and feeling) grateful for what they did contribute. We had a happy group of about 30 people who in the main always enjoyed being together and creating beautiful music for worship. People who were habitually absent would generally leave in the end, and by then we'd become accustomed to working without being dependent on their voice or instrument. I'm of the opinion that praise and encouragement are by far the best way. Personally, if I was a volunteer member of something and found myself being scolded, I'd leave. Maybe that's just me! But I suppose if someone had a private, kind word with me and told me they appreciated me and that it would be better for me and everyone if I didn't miss the first ten minutes of rehearsal, that would probably work alright. We'd usually start with refreshments and chat for a while before starting serious work. If paid musicians were working for me, I'd have an entirely different approach, gosh yes!, but I think you need to respect people who give up their time and gifting sacrificially, as it were. I realise this may sound a rather unprofessional approach, so I must add that I do totally believe in the importance of rehearsals and working hard to achieve excellence, I simply believe that a happy and valued group of musicians will produce the best results, and each each deserves to be valued, appreciated and encouraged. If things were going badly, as the leader I'd really feel I'd have to look to myself for the reason and for the answer, not to them. The leader should feel confident in their ability to 'people manage' as well as to 'music-manage'. That easy confidence, once you've accepted it, will impart confidence to others and enable you to lead with generosity and a smile, securely knowing that you are the right person for the job. And turning a kind eye to people's occasional failings will have the added benefit that they will (usually) have the same kindness to you over yours!
on September 7, 2011 12:38pm
I have discovered that in my choirs there are always certain people who are always early and always certain people who are always late.  Generally those people don't change their behaviors over time.  When it becomes problematic or when the lateness becomes more than a few people I will address it.  I have done that in a variety of ways, sometimes verbally, sometimes an email to the group, etc.  It was never scolding or rude, just a gentle reminder that we have limited time to rehearse and that timeliness is helpful to the whole group.
One time I wrote a silly little warm-up, something that could easily incorporate the tardy person's name, and welcoming them to rehearsal.  I taught it to those who were on time at the beginning of the rehearsal, and then as the tardy people came in we would immediately stop whatever we were doing and joyfully sing this little ditty to them.  it was funny and nobody was offended by it, but they understood what was being said between the lines. :) 
FWIW I absolutely do not agree with the advice that church choirs do not need to warm up, or that the music is easy enough that they do not need to warm up.  We as directors are charged with encouraging and teaching proper vocal use, and warm-ups are essential to that.  We should not deprive the timely singers of good singing technique or vocal use just because other folks are tardy!
Julie Ford 
on September 8, 2011 6:20am
Yep, I agree with the several who have said "regardless, you should start your rehearsal on time....even if only one or two are there".  Make that time important, constructive, and spent on the coming Sunday's anthem.  Then continue on with whatever music you have in your plan.  When you get to the end of rehearsal you can sing this coming Sunday's anthem...and the late ones may ask to rehearse their parts. Of course, you had already done that at the start of rehearsal... and now time has run out.  Perhaps this routine may drive your point home.  Never complain to the "on time" few about the tardiness of others --- you'll be talking to the wrong bodies.  It may take a while, but with Job's patience( yours, too), and, of course, God's help, they'll come around. Good Luck!
on September 8, 2011 8:21pm
I didn't take the time to read every response so if someone already suggested this I apologize.
Rather than negative reactions toward the perpetrators, why not make it fun for those who show up on time and reward them?
Have a bucket at the piano.  Every member on time submits their name in the bucket.  At start time remove the bucket.  At the end of rehearsal draw a name for a gift card or something else.
Most everyone likes gift cards (Starbucks, TCBY, DQ, iTunes, etc.)  I guess the only problem would be funding the gift cards but creative sources might be arise.  Maybe individuals in the congregation might be willing to donate.
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