So you’ve got your choir up and running for the year. They have a couple of new pieces learnt and you are starting to turn your thoughts to getting your choir performing.
But some of your members just want to come each week to sing and not worry about all that effort with performing. But what if there were compelling reasons why this is a good idea for your choir and them personally too? And what positive impacts can an uplifting performance have on your choir?
In this article, I’m going to outline FIVE reasons I believe performing is great for a choir, regardless of their ability or experience…or even if they feel ready to perform.
My #1 reason for encouraging my members to perform is that it helps them create social bonds and a sense of shared history. You can’t capture this any more clearly than when people look back at photos of performances from the past year. I love it when members start saying “Do you remember when…..?” With my Great Day Choir, we’ve had thrilling large scale performances, busking in local shopping centres, summer festivals in the sunshine and of course, singing in the rain! It is the UK afterall! In all of these occasions, there are unique memories which my members can share with each other.
My #2 reason for getting my singers performing is the huge impact it can have on their individual wellbeing and confidence levels. Many people see performers on stage as doing an activity they might only dream about. But as a choir leader, you are creating these opportunities. Your members will go through the process of building up to the big day and learning their words. There is the inevitable sense of anticipation, almost preparing for a marathon. They might have people coming to watch them – to acknowledge them and give them encouragement. For someone who has never performed, going through the process for the first time is a huge achievement and the sense of joy (and perhaps relief) afterwards is a wonderful rush.
My #3 reason for getting your choir members performing is that it can give the choir an aim or purpose. When I was a secondary school music teacher running the choir, I loved the time of year when I could enter them into the local choral festival. It gave me a good reason to challenge them with higher difficulty music and to work in more detail on their technique than I usually would. It gave us a tehcnical focus.
My community choirs love to perform in aid of worthy causes and local charities. It helps people to focus less on their own ability and more on the cause. We have an external reason to try our best.
My #4 reason for encouraging my community choir members to perform is retention. If a member is looking forward and working towards an upcoming date in the diary, they are more likely to stay committed to the choir. I especially love encouraging relatively new members to perform. This is especially true when the performance is informal and it is ok for one or two members to use the music as a guide. If you can give your new member a performing ‘win’ in the first month or two then they are more likely to get the bug and want more. They are more likely to commit to the choir. READ how I like to celebrate my singer’s debut performances with the choir.
So my final reason, #5, is simply that performing with a choir is really good fun. It’s like being with a group of friends and you are the ones everyone else is watching having a good time. As someone who was very reserved growing up, I found solo performing quite nerve wracking. And yet for some reason, I abolsutely love leading my choir and helping them to enjoy the moment.
So to wrap up, the last comment I would like to add is that we can make performing opportunities simple for your singers. Yes, big events with lighting and costumes are exciting and are important to give your choir peaks through the year. However, some of the most meaningful performances are much more intimate eg. performing at the door of a ill member, busking at the local shopping centre or an impromtu ‘performance’ singalong in a cafe.
It’s the act of coming together to share singing with a wider audience that’s key. And this is as important for our singers as it is for our local communities too.
How are you going to get your singers performing in 2022? And remember to share your pics in our Creative Choir Leader Facebook Group
Are you looking for support to help get your choir performing this year? Did you know that in our membership The Inspire Club we have guides and checklists to help you get your performance programme underway, without all the hassle. Some of our resources include:
- PDF GUIDE Writing Risk Assessements
- VIDEO LESSON Choreography for children’s and youth choirs
- TEMPLATE Set List for a 40-50 minute Gig
- PDF CHECKLIST Setting Up a Community Choir Festival