Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tonal Tuesday - I Haven't Got a Thing to Wear

Does your choir wear a uniform or have a dress code?  Our Embro Thistle Singers shirt is black with our logo on the right shoulder and we wear black slacks or skirts (and yes the boys may wear skirts if they wish.  We do have a Scottish heritage!)

Wearing our black shirts.
Sometimes for presentations like California Dreamin' at the Embro Fair, we wear fun costumes.

Here we added some red scarves for holiday cheer.

Here are some of my ideas about choir outfits or uniforms. 

1. Do they have to look the same?  I think we have all sung in a school choir where we wore white shirts and dark slacks or skirts.  That worked all through my elementary career except for a small bump when I thought that perhaps it would be better for the singers to wear what they wanted.  Not a good plan.  Not only did they look haphazard but that was how they sang.  That feeling of cohesiveness was missing.  Maybe it is fine for some but if you peruse You Tube you will find most choirs wear similar outfits.  I feel it really helps with the unity of sound, hence the name "uniform" - just in case you didn't know.

2. Cultural Reasons - There are some gorgeous cultural costumes that add greatly to a choir's presentation.  The colour, style and sometimes shape of the outfits sure can add to the understanding of the music.  When the music represents a culture the costumes can only add to that.

3. Age Appropriate Clothing - when I was a young singer in our church choir we wore cassocks with a white surplice.  The junior choir wore beanies and the senior choir wore these awesome 4 corner hats.  Moving up to the Senior level meant moving from the beanie to the HAT.  Wow!  I was SO proud.  It is worth thinking about a change in the choir robe or outfit that would indicate growth or change when you have younger and older members.

4. Cost - Our shirts are less than $50 and purchased by our choir members.  I think really expensive outfits are unnecessary as that money can be used for so many other great things like music or trips. That is truly something that you will all have to agree on.

5. Ease of use and wear.  I belonged to an awesome choir some years ago.  We travelled to the U.K. to tour.  We had travel outfits that meant we had to purchase a set skirt or trousers, blouse or shirt and were given sweaters.  They were bulky to pack and the shirts looked less than their best after all that time in a suitcase.  They were even more fun to put on in a moving bus (coach) when we were headed to a Mayor's reception and were late from a trip to Mount Snowdon.  Now that was fun.  Everything you are now thinking, happened.
We also had lovely long gowns with red cummerbunds for concerts.  When we had to put them on all crammed into the top floor of a gate keepers guard house, they seemed much less glamorous. The trip across the road to the "loo" in the pub was also fun with these gowns on.  Great memories though.
My point is that what you wear will depend on where you will be and how easy it will be for you to change and move from one spot to another.  Being in a stone church with no toilets and very limited space is not the time to be putting on full length gowns or tuxedos in my mind.
Cleaning and care of the outfits must also be considered.  That can be quite an expense.  All those points have to be considered.  Our shirts are washable and "wick away" material so good for warm and cool venues.  We made those a conscious decision so we didn't have to have more than one for the most part.

All in all, consider where, when and how the outfits will be used.  My own thought is that you K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Sweetie) the costumes you want to use.  As long as it helps your sound be more harmonious and you feel good about how you all look together, then they are the outfits for you.
Let us know what YOU have for your choir clothing!!

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