From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A choir, also sometimes called quire, is the area of a church or cathedral that provides seating for the clergy and church choir. It is in the western part of the chancel, between the nave and the sanctuary, which houses the altar and Church tabernacle. In larger medieval churches it contained choir-stalls, seating aligned with the side of the church, so at right-angles to the seating for the congregation in the nave. Smaller medieval churches may not have a choir in the architectural sense at all, and they are often lacking in churches built by all denominations after the Protestant Reformation, though the Gothic Revival revived them as a distinct feature.
Choir benches ( such as the one's at St Mary's) are more common in parish churches. Each bench may have padded kneelers attached to the back of it so that the person behind may kneel at the appropriate times during services. The front row will often have a long prie-dieu is a type of prayer desk primarily intended for private devotional use, but which may also be found in churches. It is a small, ornamental wooden desk furnished with a thin, sloping shelf for books or hands, and a kneeler.
As an architectural term "choir" remains distinct from the actual location of any singing choir – these may be located in various places, and often sing from a choir-loft, often over the door at the liturgical western end. In modern churches, the choir may be located centrally behind the altar, or the pulpit.