"Admonish one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual canticles, singing in grace in your hearts to God" (Col. iii. 1 6.)
THE custom of singing in the Church choir has its foundation as far back as the Old Testament, when, by the arrangement of David, Solomon, and Ezechias, the psalms and other sacred canticles were sung by the priests and Levites. This custom the Catholic Church has retained, according to the precepts of the apostles, (i. Cor. xiv. 26; Eph. v. 19.) and the example of Jesus who, after they had eaten the pasch, intoned a hymn of praise with His apostles, (Matt. xxvi. 30) that Christians on earth, like the angels and saints in heaven, (Apoc. v. 8. 9., xiv. 3.) who unceasingly sing His praises, might at certain hours of the. day, at least, give praise and thanks to God. In the earliest ages of the Church, the Christians sang hymns of praise and thanksgiving during the holy Sacrifice and other devotional services , often continuing them throughout the whole night; in which case the choir-singers probably were bound to keep the singing in proper order and agreement. In the course of time this custom of all the faithful present singing together ceased in many churches, and became confined to the choir, which was accompanied later by instruments in accordance with the words of David who calls to the praise of the Lord with trumpets, with timbrels, with pleasant psaltery and harps. (Ps. cl. 3. 4., Ixxx. 3. 4.) In many churches, where the faithful still sing in concert, if done with pure hearts and true devotion, it is as St. Basil says, "a heavenly occupation, a spiritual burnt offering; it enlightens the spirit, raises it towards heaven, leads man to communion with God, makes the soul rejoice, ends idle talk, puts away laughter, reminds us of the judgment, reconciles enemies. Where the singing of songs resounds from the contrite heart, there God with the angels is present."
- Goffine's Devout Instruction, Imprimatur 1880 -