It is always interesting to read what other choirs are doing. There are so many styles and genres represented by these singing groups that is is certain that no one way of doing things will work for all.
The use of recordings to help teach songs is one of those tools that some think are good and some the opposite. I believe, that as with most teaching ideas, there need to be many paths to the same goal.
Oh yes, we do use recordings to help with learning a song. But here are my tips for their use.
1. We DO NOT sing with recordings. We listen to recordings of songs we may be wanting to learn. We do not sing along with them.
2. We listen while reading the music. Especially if you have people who don't read music, this is a great exercise. They learn to follow along with the notes, the markings like D.S. al CODA etc. It is also fun to play the game of "What are they doing differently in the recording than what we see in the music?" If a rhythm, speed, harmony etc. is different then it is a perfect reason to go over those bits and point them out before those differences are set in their memories.
3. We don't always use a recording. Sometimes, it is better NOT to use a recording especially if your arrangement is unique and you can't find a suitably similar one. We also don't want the choir to rely just on recordings. Various learning opportunities keep things fresh.
4. You Tube is a great resource. Oh my goodness. The plethora of recordings on the web is an amazing resource when used with care. Use only very good quality performances as examples. Sometimes, just playing something once or twice is enough to give an overall impression without imprinting a style you may not completely want .
5. We do not use taped accompaniment. This is a horse of a totally different colour. However, it is a particular bugaboo of mine. Accompaniment tapes can be helpful for those who have limited access to proper accompanists but recordings are unforgiving. You cannot use "rubato" or various dynamics for effect unless they were built into the recording and then only that one way. If you are working with children, I cannot emphasize enough NOT to use recorded accompaniment. Beat the bushes and ask for favours but find an accompanist. Electronic keyboards are very available and comparatively inexpensive these days. Make it so, Number One.
Use recordings to add fun and variety to your practices. Used with discretion you and your singers will learn and expand your musical horizons.