A gallery that is included in the design of many different types of Christian churches is the choir loft. The purpose of the loft, also known as a choir gallery, is to provide a specific location for those who serve as a choir during a worship service to gather. A choir loft can be found in the main worship area’s front section, back section, or even off to one side. In almost every case, the choir loft is elevated above the worship area’s general seating.
The choir loft is commonly found in a balcony area at the back of the sanctuary, chapel, or main worship area in many larger churches. This allows the choir to provide musical ministry during the service without detracting from the worship center’s visual elements, such as the rostrum or speaker’s area, or an icon or image that has been included in the worship service. Because the choir loft is higher than the rest of the congregation, the choir’s songs have the potential to wash over the congregation.
A choir loft can be found behind the rostrum or in the nave of some churches. This type of choir loft, while elevated, includes the choir’s physical presence in the congregation’s ongoing view. This feature of the choir loft is appealing to many people because it allows the congregation to see the choir while they are performing their musical ministry during the worship service.
From the 17th to the late 19th centuries, churches frequently included a choir loft that was thought to be modeled after a colonnade. In most cases, this meant that the choir loft was not only elevated above the general seating, but it was also on a higher floor. The choir loft would be open to the main worship area, but the choir would be elevated above the congregation’s heads. While the upper floor choir loft was traditionally located in the back of the sanctuary, there are examples of it being placed on one side of the worship area.