Personalising Your Choir!
What makes your choir stand out from the crowd? Depending on the size, your town or city may be host to hundreds of choirs, but even if you’re servicing a small town and the only kid on the block, you’ll want to make sure you’re providing a truly personal experience. Even the most discerning member loves to feel special and this month, the Canadian Choir Leader Network (CCLN) examines a few simple ways you can ensure they feel they have your full attention and they’re not sharing you with a room of other people!
Learn the names of your members – ALL of them!
Personal connection begins with a name! Remembering names is easy for small groups but not easy if you teach hundreds of individuals per week. An excellent way to remember is to take a photo of each member (or have them provide one) for your register. This works well if you’re using a registration app, of course, but it can also work for paper registrations as you can have them include a photo with their registration form. A quick glance before each rehearsal helps our memory associate a face with a name and/or a photo in front of us and prompt recognition as they arrive. It may take a few weeks, but you’ll be pleased you made the effort, and your members will feel special because you know who they are. This manifests itself with a genuine wow factor during rehearsals when one of your many members raises their hand to ask a question, and you can acknowledge any one of them at random with their name.
Find out their Birthday!
Such a simple thing but with a considerable impact. Have your members provide you with their birthday when they sign up, then have the rest of the choir sing “Happy Birthday” during the warm-up to all those with birthdays that week – who doesn’t love to be celebrated on their special day?
Know when your members are unwell!
If a member doesn’t show up to a rehearsal, or even if they call ahead to let you know they’re not coming, follow up! Find out if they’re sick and send them an e-card of “Get Well” wishes from the entire choir. If they’re out long term, perhaps you could send flowers or a food basket (this could even be done by having a collection among the choir so that the cost is not left to you to personally) and check-in with them sporadically. You want to ensure your members know you are thinking of them, even when they’re unable to attend a rehearsal.
Keep your ear to the ground!
Listen out for any members who may have life-changing events going on; this doesn’t have to be something devastating like a long-term illness or loss of a loved one but can include anything from the birth of a grandchild, a change of job or a wedding/engagement to a memorable trip or a new home. A simple “congratulations” can go a long way, and it shows you’re invested in them as human beings and not just singers in your choir. Learning a little tit-bit of information about each one of your members may seem a small thing to you – but to them, it’s everything!
Distribute lanyard-style name tags to your choir and encourage them to bring them each week and wear them. Making a choir a community will keep your members coming back long term and facilitating something as simple as allowing members to learn each other’s names through the provision of a name tag is paramount to the success of whether or not this is achieved.
Organise a social!
Organising a social serves many purposes but can be a great way of personalising your choir! Covid permitting, this could be anything from a karaoke event to a summer picnic, from a weekend pub get together to a private movie theatre event (sing-a-long movie of course). You could even invite members to pop along to the local pub after rehearsal for a drink and a chat, what better way to get to know your members than in an informal setting away from rehearsal?
Produce merchandise for sale that only members can purchase (this works well if you have a larger choir). Obviously, you may have to run this by your board so it can be a much simpler proposition for a personally run choir but by creating a brand, you’re making your members feel like they belong to something special and exclusive and in turn, they’ll be more likely to return in the future. Everything from hoodies to car stickers, it doesn’t need to be ongoing and you don’t need to carry stock, there are companies out there who will print once per term based on your confirmed orders.
Personalising your choir is a powerful way to keep members coming back. If you make them feel part of your “family” they’re less likely to stray and will be invested in not only the singing but in you and the community too! What do YOU do to keep your choir a personalised experience for your members? If you have any suggestions we’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.
Did you enjoy our blog? Check out our other blogs on all choir related topics.