Top tips for preparing your choir for performance

In the run-up to a performance, time can seem to fly by in a blur. All of a sudden you realise the big day is upon you. If you are under-prepared, this can be a nerve-wracking experience as you panic about what needs to be done, learned or organised. However, if you are well-prepared, the experience can be quite the opposite, leaving you focused and able to deal calmly with any last minute issues that may arise. Here are some top tips to help you ensure your performance runs smoothly and is a great experience for you and your choir.

Plan, plan, plan

Preparing for a performance starts well in advance of the event itself. When you select the date, think about key factors. How many rehearsals are there until the performance? How many songs do you need to select? What kind of repertoire will be suitable? What kind of repertoire will excite and develop your choir? The sooner you can select your programme the better. Once you know what you are going to sing, you can map out your rehearsal plans so that you can fit in everything required, leaving your choir enough time to become confident. If there is inadequate time and they feel rushed, the experience will not be as enjoyable for them and this may reflect in their performance and the overall feel of the show.

Have an event form

For each performance or event our choirs take part in, we have an event form. This form contains all the key information in one place, including contact details, set list, sound and lighting needs, budget and dress. This is helpful, not only for quick reference but also to build up all the elements of the event as we work through them. Using this method, you can also create tasks for yourself with deadlines to ensure everything is taken care of. If the performance is one you're hosting yourself, and you are lucky enough to have some helpers, delegate some tasks, eg front of house or a fundraising raffle. Always remember to thank those helpers at the end of the performance. If the experience is a positive one for them, they will probably be willing to help again in the future.

Keep an eye on ticket sales

Ticket sales can be a source of anxiety, particularly if you're running your own event. Think about where and how people will purchase tickets. If your venue has a ticket office they may sell them for you and you can also look to get a batch to sell at rehearsals. Remember people won't buy tickets if they don't know about it so make sure you have some eye-catching posters and flyers to distribute. It's wise not to presume that all your members have remembered to buy tickets for their friends and family. They may need reminding a couple of times at rehearsals. Finally, if sales are slow, hold tight. We often find that people snap them up with only a week or so to go, as opposed to buying them a couple of months in advance.

Be flexible

As the big day approaches be wise with rehearsal time. By all means, correct problems, but try to be positive and encouraging. Avoid negative comments that can be discouraging for the choir. One of the most important things to do at this stage is boost your singers' confidence and work on performance skills. Get them thinking about how they look when singing a piece and how the audience will perceive them.

It's all in the detail

Finally, a couple of weeks before the performance look at the fine details and make sure everything is in order. That way, if it isn't, you still have time to sort things out. Make sure you have given your choir clear instructions on timing, rehearsals, dress etc. If you are working with a sound engineer or lighting team, check that they have all the information they need. Keeping everyone happy and informed is vital to a successful performance.

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