There’s a strong case to be made that singing with a weekly practice singing is like playing on a baseball team. Just as the 160-game baseball season requires strength in the short term and endurance over the long haul, singing full voice for two hours requires strength and singing like that every week requires endurance. And just as it’s a rare ball player who makes it through the whole season, it’s a rare Sacred Harp singer who can show up every week; ball players miss games due to injuries, while Sacred Harp singers miss singings due to jobs, personal responsibilities, travel — and yes, sometimes even due to injuries or hoarseness caused by poor vocal technique.
A baseball team mitigates player turnover by developing a strong bench and a good bullpen. Similarly, each section in a weekly singing can develop plenty of good singers, so that when the inevitable happens and someone can’t show up, you still have enough strong singers to hold down your part.