We could blog for weeks about what makes the successful choir and come up with many different answers, obviously the music needs preparing to the highest standard, I say obviously but judging by the choir members faces at some concerts that’s not obvious, when a choir is not ready, shaky or not sure, it reflects on the faces that the audience see- but since some choirs don’t have audiences lets sort that one first!
For many people going to a concert Saturday night at 7.30 may not be No 1 priority and making it so requires dedicated effort in choice of music, choice of venue and letting people know, of course there is no rule book that says concerts should be at that time and I have successfully held afternoon and teatime concerts, it’s not so much the concert time but the content and venue that are deciding factors.
Who are your existing audience, where did they hear about you and why do they come – all questions you really should know the answers to, what is it about your choir that offers an interesting and quality night out. – ask yourself, if you weren’t singing – would you go to your concert!
Will your venue be warm, accessible by public transport, well lit and a comfortable place to spend a couple of hours, – or a cold church with hard pews (and if it is … warn people in advance)! Will you present a programme of things you like to sing, if so bear in mind that some of the most delightful things to sing are some of the dullest to listen to, will the programme be varied, well thought out and designed to delight and retain your existing customers, and attract new ones- the lifeblood of the future.
In short- are you singing for yourselves or your customers – if you know your customers from previous events ( because you collected their emails and sent them a newsletter) – then maybe you already ran a competition to find out their favourite pieces and some of those are in your programme, maybe your venue is intrinsically linked to the music you are singing or you are celebrating through your music something that is of local interest, perhaps the children’s choir you invited as guests will bring parents and relatives that have never been to a concert before and may become your new concertgoers.
It’s a short blog and I have just put some collected thoughts about the actual events, large audiences come by hard work in solid publicity and promotion, the pub that serves the finest Yorkshire Pudding in the county will never sell any if no one knows- but it’s all linked together – choirs that sing to full houses and present exciting programmes have little difficulty in recruiting and retaining members or in being proactive about spreading the word!
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.