‘The rehearsals are so dull we try to miss as many as possible’ so said one choir member when I was researching information for recruitment, another common complaint was ‘no one wants to sing’ of course not everyone wants to sing but as our open rehearsals show, there are still plenty of people wanting to sing – but the choir has to make them feel wanted.
A choir that sings fine music, maybe goes on tour, has a friendly membership and a good leader, that is seen to be busy and singing to full houses will have no difficulty recruiting.
A choir who gives an information pack to new members, maybe even a pencil! – that uses top quality colour recruitment leaflets and spreads these widely and continuously will portray an image that people want to be part of.
Some choir’s recruitment strategies put off more people than they attract, a full page article in a local evening paper (very valuable in terms of what it would cost to use for advertising) was devoted to showing a few members of a Male voice choir outside what looked like a derelict church proclaiming the message that if more men were not found it would have to close!
Recruitment needs to be specific, how many singers, what part, by when – and then pictures of the choir in action, not posed, always help, even better if they can show a cross section of ages and members singing their hearts out.
Nobody wants to join something that is dying, but a picture showing singers happy and working- that’s a winner.
Open rehearsals, Find your voice sessions, Free singing days – all these are in the armoury of a good choir director and their committee, and think about this, the jump from bathroom singing to choir is too much, too daunting but a ‘Find your voice session’ – now that’s something that’s a step along the way and probably why it works, and it does work- the Male voice choir I mentioned above had 12 members, but with a new musical team, renewed drive and vigour within 18 months it had ( and still has) 55 members- men just brought off the streets as it were- and they sing in an inclusive, friendly choir to consistent full houses.
Tim Knight is a Composer, Choral Director and Best Selling Author of ‘365 Tips To A More Successful Choir’ which you can purchase here.
The Novello Book Of Music For Lent & Easter can be found here.