Starting out: how to get your choir their first gig

You've started up your choir and got some rehearsals under your belt. Things are going well and you're getting good feedback from your singers. Now it's time to start focusing on your first gig.

Having a performance of some sort for your members to work towards, no matter how small or informal, is really important. It creates a buzz, helps focus the learning and is a great way to develop team spirit. It also helps to create team spirit within the choir.

While both you and your singers are finding your feet, my suggestion is to start with something small and achievable. This way your singers will be able to easily see and hear the results and will gain confidence in their ability to perform as part of the choir. Selecting two or three songs to get ready for a performance will keep you busy in the initial season rehearsals whilst running introductory warm-up and technique exercises alongside to develop their voices and skills.

Depending on your location and size of venue you may want to consider the following options for the performance:
  • Invite family and friends to come along for the last twenty minutes of a rehearsal. Perform two or three songs, or a short piece, then offer refreshments afterwards.
  • Look out for local events taking place, such as a fete or festival, at which you may be able to take to the stage. This is also a great way of attracting new members.
  • Visit a local school or retirement home and entertain the pupils or residents there.
  • Ask a local pub or bar if you can do a short performance there. They'll welcome the extra customers and you'll have a performance venue.
Whatever you choose, I suggest you avoid starting too big. A concert made up of extensive repertoire which will leave you practising for months before the choir have sung a note in public would not be ideal. In any case you want to build up to really exciting performances and giving the choir a mega-concert first off makes it harder to find the next exciting hook.

Developing vocal and performance skills take time, and a choir takes time to gel together. The more you can practise performance skills at smaller informal events before taking to a big stage, the better your choir will look and sound, and the more confident they will feel.
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