If you're starting a choir choosing your venue can be exciting and makes everything feel very real! Making the right choice can be key to the success of your new venture. To help you here are five ways to ensure your venue is the perfect fit.
Depending where you live you may have a choice of just one or two venues or you may have a vast array of options. Think about the singers you want to attract to your choir. Is the venue in a central location to the community you are aiming to reach? Is it easy to find? Are there good transport links, car parks nearby and even better could local people easily reach it on foot? Location is vital to the success of your choir and it's importance outweighs many other factors. A slightly tired looking hall in a central location is better than somewhere with all the mod cons on the edge of town.
This one is a bit like house-buying in that it's important to be sensible about what you can afford. It's very easy to fall in love with a beautiful venue but be careful not to be tempted by the prettiest venue if it costs three times more than an equally good but older space in the same location. Obviously it's important to be in a venue which is properly managed and meets all fire and safety regulations but the overall look of the space will not affect your skills as a choir leader, which is the primary reason why singers will return week on week to be in your choir. When considering cost, think about the number of singers you can realistically expect to begin with. What's the minimum you need to be able to pay for the rehearsal space without being out of pocket? Remember if your choir grows beyond the capabilities of your venue, you can always look for a new or more expensive one.
Often a topic for debate amongst choir leaders, many choirs have a refreshment break during or after a rehearsal. This adds a lovely social element to the rehearsal allowing people to get to know each other which in turn helps the choir to form a strong bond. Does the venue have a kitchen space? Is it adequate for the number of singers you are hoping to attract? You don't need a kitchen with all mod cons necessaily but the ability to make some drinks and wash up is important. Also, you want to make sure the facilities are adequate and in a separate space so that the break can run quickly and smoothly and you can get back to the rehearsal without too much interruption.
When you view a venue and meet the person in charge of it make sure that you are both on the same page with regards to availability. If your choir is to be weekly run make sure the space is always available. Also ask what time you can gain access to set up as you don't want to be rushing round trying to get your music sorted and chairs out as people arrive. If you plan to run your rehearsals in terms ask what happens when the choir doesn't meet. Are you required to pay on those weeks or do you just pay on the weeks you are there?
Chances are, unless you are an a capella choir, you will need a power source, whether that's for sound equipment to run backing tracks or for a keyboard for you or your accompanist. There may be a piano in your chosen venue but if so do check if it's regularly tuned as the temperature changes in a room not always in use can affect this. When viewing the venue think about how you will have the room set up. Where are the power points? Is there adequate power for the equipment you will need? Will you be able to fill the space with the sound capabilities you have? You may find that the venue has built-in sound equipment facilities, if so make sure you are clear on how to use them and any rules and regulations relating to the equipment.