Brief History of the Choir Robe

The Jewish Torah describes instances where choirs held a role during worship for the early Hebrews. In Nehemiah Chapter 12, section 31, for example, the leaders of Judah assign two choirs to offer thanks. Jewish law also describes vestments or robes that were worn by the high priest and for certain other roles as well. These early religious robes may be the first examples of choir robes, which eventually evolved into what we know today. During the Medieval period, choir fashions tended to follow the fashion trends of clergy. The surplice, a white, sleeved, blouse-like shirt with lace trim, was worn over a cassock, a plain black, long-sleeved, ankle-length tunic, as the official garment of the Medieval clergy. Choirs adopted this style in turn. This period in time is where uniformity of dress really took hold with choirs. During the Reformation era, a new style of pulpit robe, called the Geneva style, became popular. This style, which is still in use today, was based on academic regalia for doctoral graduates. As in the Middle Ages, choirs during this period followed suit and adopted the gowns based on the graduation robe style instead of the secular fashion of the day. During this period, the four basic types of gowns were established which remain in use today: • Clergy robes • Choir gowns • Academic robes • Judicial robes During the Classical and Romantic periods, the choir robe became much more elaborate in design, with each choir using its own specific design. Heavy embroidery was often used, as was brocade material and elaborate stoles. During the Modern period, choir robes were focused on just a few colours, styles, and fabrics. Originally, most choir gowns were available in black, white, and blue. However, with the advent of the popular gospel choirs, the choir robe evolved again and is now available in a multitude of choices. Acadima Choir Robes: Modern with a Nod to Tradition Acadima specializes in robes for religious institutions, as well as graduation apparel. Our wide range of choir robes are made of quality materials and are available in a variety of colours and styles. Each robe is modern, but with a nod to its traditional inspiration. The choir robe is a symbol of conformity, and is representative of an individual voice joining a crowd of voices. When this happens, the many voices joined together resonate throughout the church and the experience is like nothing else. Choir robes contribute to this uniformity. When the choir looks and sings uniformly, the experience is even better. Be sure to check out the great choir robe options available through Acadima to get this uniformity for your worship service.
Back to blog