Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tonal Tuesday - Bread & Butter for Your Choir

Bread & Butter, Toast & Jam, Mashed Potatoes.  Those are basics that we all recognize.  Just for fun, here are the Newbeats with their version of those basics.  You have to love the falsetto.

There are some bread & butter basics that all choirs need.  

1. Raison d'être - A choir must have a clear mission statement.  Just to make music and make money is not enough.  ETS exists for SONG, SERVICE, FUN.  We make the best music we can in service to the community and have lots of fun doing it.  Some choirs keep alive a certain style or genre of music.  Others are the ambassadors for their communities.  Know your "WHY" and you will sing with passion.

2. Audience - You must know who your audience is before you sing.  We knew our communities were supportive and that we could be of service to clubs and fund raising events.  Because we have an eclectic audience base we cover many styles of music.  It doesn't make much sense to create a choir and then hope for an audience to come.  If you have a choir and your audience is dwindling then revisit your music choices and see where you can suit more potential listeners. 

3. Suitable Music - See #2.  As well as music to suit your audience, you must suit your singers.  Untrained voices need music that helps them learn and be successful at the same time.  I don't mean dumbing it down.  I mean choosing music in the range and parts that your choir will enjoy and while making a great sound.  If you only have 20 singers with limited experience, then doing 8 parts is probably going to create frustration.  Does that mean that sometimes you will work at something and put it aside?  You bet.  It may also mean that you may find that the challenge brings out the best in your choir and they are up to the challenge.  Be flexible and ready to call a halt when needed.

4. Accompanist - This is a hard one especially if you are a volunteer group.  We are very. very blessed to have our Kristy!  However, it is a good idea to ask people to be an accompanist for a short time at first until you find out if you are a good fit.  An accompanist who wants to lead and be the boss would be a bad fit for us.  However, a collaborative musician such as Kristy is, works really well for us.  Know your style and keep looking until someone fits the bill.  Sometimes, people are just waiting for you to ask.  Go find them.

A great mix of the above creates a charisma that translates to happy audiences not to mention very satisfied singers.  If one or other is out of sync, you need to butter your bread with a different brand.  Sorry I just couldn't resist!!

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