Reimagining The Traditional Choir Performance In The 21st Century

If you’re used to putting on an end-of-year performance that consists of your entire year’s repertoire, is it time to think out of the box and approach it from a different angle? Your show is likely formulated several months ahead of time by the planning of your repertoire, selecting a date and securing a venue, but once that’s done, there are several questions you may be asking yourselves.  In this month’s Blog, we attempt to answer some of those questions!

How can I maximize my audience attendance without over-pressurizing my members into learning enough songs to fill a 90-120 minute show?
How can I encourage members of the general public to attend, in addition to friends and family of my choir members?
How can I charge enough in ticket sales to cover the cost and make a little profit?
How can I keep my audience engaged throughout the show?
There is one simple answer to all these questions; put on a “variety show” which showcases other local talent and not just your own!

Look within your choir!
Perhaps you have an incredibly talented choir member or small group of members who would welcome the opportunity to perform their own piece. Maybe they’re a talented musician and could play an instrumental, or perhaps they have an exceptional voice and could sing something which doesn’t involve the rest of the choir. Don’t worry too much about highlighting them; chances are the rest of your choir already now they are particularly talented.

Seek out local talent!
If you’re actively part of your local music scene, you probably already know a couple of great singers who would be willing to front your choir in a couple of songs; highly impactful without too much effort. It’s also likely they’d be just as happy to promote their own music by singing one or two of their own songs, adding more texture and variety to your overall show.

Consider who might accompany you!
Most choirs are traditionally accompanied by either a pianist or backing tracks. So why not consider hiring a band or string quartet to add interest to your show? Once again, they could perform something in addition to accompanying you, and they will likely already have their own following who potentially would also want to attend the show.

Enlist the services of an MC!
There may be someone in your choir more than capable of taking on this task. Or perhaps one of your choir members knows someone suitable. This will take the pressure off you, allowing you to direct the choir without the additional stress of trying to engage your audience in between songs.

Highlight a community/world issue!
Why not consider highlighting a community/world issue during your show? Have someone come along and briefly talk about the issue and why not link it to one of your songs for added impact and interest? You could cover anything from homelessness to first responders, but it may also give you something else to talk about when you come to promote your event.

Involve your audience!
Think about the possibility of involving your audience in a little singing! This type of audience participation is becoming extremely popular, so what’s stopping you from teaching your audience to sing a simple harmony? This could be done just before or just after the interval, as your choir leave, or return to the stage. Maybe the chorus of a well-known song would work, or even one of your fun three-part warm-ups, although you want to choose something that can be taught quickly without the need for lyrics or complicated arrangements.

Putting on a variety show will give your performance some interesting layers and hopefully entice a broader audience to purchase tickets. Most people are more financially aware than they were a couple of years ago and are looking for value for money. By offering a more varied show, you are taking your audience on a journey, which includes not only your amazing choir but also some great local talent.  Talent that you may not have collaborated with at any other time and honestly, what could be better than that!

Did you enjoy our blog? Check out our other blogs on all choir related topics

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