For example, a typical ward choir may include singers with beautiful tone quality, as well as those with wobbly, brassy, buzzy, thick, thin or breathy sounds. There may be singers who can hear and hold their parts as well as those who need a lot of support nearby. There may be people with a lot of experience singing in choral groups and may even read music, some who are new beginners, and everyone else who may be somewhere in between. There may be those who are in the prime of life and others who are well past it. Often, and hopefully so, there will be a few youthful voices willing and eager to learn.
The Director's job is to take these different and varied voices and help them learn to BLEND. One of the most important jobs for the director is to UNIFY the VOWEL MOLDS.
Getting everyone to agree on how to form their VOWEL shapes can provide amazingly quick results. That's why Choral Warm-up's usually consist of practicing scales on the primary vowels short and long a e i o u. The harder vowel molds to negotiate are probably the short "a" as in "cat" and any dipthongs such as "ah_ee" as in "high." (Gotta remember to hold the first vowel 90% and then add the vanish vowel for 10%) When to use the unaccented "schwa" sound as in "the" can also be problematic. Even if the group doesn't achieve the High British Diction gold standard, just coming to an agreement on individual vowel sounds makes a huge difference and enables the sounds to BLEND.
In the end, our united efforts in attempting to unify our vowel molds also helped unify our hearts. When we all tried so hard to blend our voices, the minor discrepancies sort of cancelled each other out and we could feel a unity never before accomplished. From there we could focus more on phrasing and feeling the message of the words. And then we could ask a blessing that the Spirit could witness through our efforts. That's true BLENDING!