Pre-performance checklist - Are you and your choir ready?

As you approach a performance, there's always lots going on. Repertoire needs to be perfected and performance skills considered. With all this going on it can be very easy to neglect the issue of the big day itself. Here's a handy checklist of things to remember.

Contact the organiser

It's likely that when booking the event for your choir you had plenty of contact with the organiser at the venue but have you spoken to them lately?

As the performance day approaches, it's a good idea to touch base with the organiser not only to create a rapport with them but also to check that everything is still in place with regards to your booking and that no major changes have occurred. The chances are everything is fine, but by checking you can rest easy giving yourself the peace of mind that everything is in hand.

View the venue

It might be that your performance is taking place in a familiar venue you have used many times, but if it is somewhere new, it's always worth going for a look around. Even if you have seen the venue at the time of booking the performance, having a second look will allow you to think of more logistical elements relating to the performance. These might include the following.
  • How big is the stage?
  • Do I need any stage extensions added for the choir?
  • How many audience members can be seated?
  • Where will people get refreshments in the interval?
  • Where will the choir be when not on stage?
  • Where can they leave valuables?
A second viewing is also worthwhile, particularly if much time has passed since you made the booking. Are there any changes? Any building works going on affecting parking? All these logistical issues can be covered as long as you are aware of them.

Check the sound

Whether you take charge of the sound requirements for your choir or have someone assist you, it's a good idea to make sure everything is in place before the day of the performance. Plan whether you will be taking your own equipment along or if you will be using the sound system in the venue. If using the system in the venue, is there someone to operate it for you or will you need to know how to do this?

If you are working with the venue's sound team make sure you talk with them so that they understand your requirements and you understand theirs and any limitations of the venue. Building a good rapport with the sound crew is crucial in order to create a memorable event which is enjoyed by all.

Good working relationships also bode well for any future events and may lead to further opportunities. It's always a good idea to allow time for a sound check particularly if you are bringing in musicians to play whilst the choir sing.

Think about front and back of house

Time and time again, I've fallen into the trap of neglecting the importance of front and back of house helpers. You may be working in a venue which has a supply of these but more likely you will need to enlist your own.

Make sure you consider the audience numbers and have enough helpers to deal with tickets on the door, showing people to seats, setting up a raffle or refreshments.

Back of house, you will need a confident team to keep noise levels down and make sure people are ready to come on at the right time. It's best to enlist non-choir members as it's unfair to give those ready to perform extra duties.

Consider the choir

Finally, have you told the choir everything they need to know? Make sure all timings, dates and arrangements are clear. It's a good idea to have an availability sheet so that you know how many members to expect on the day for the sound check and the actual performance. Make sure instructions for parking, uniform and the running order are clear so that your singers aren't left with any surprises.
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