5 ways to source the perfect choir rehearsal venue

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.

Location

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.

Cost

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.

Refreshments

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.

Availability

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?

Power

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.

Comments on 5 ways to source the perfect choir rehearsal venue

  1. Acoustics are another important consideration. I have a new choir that has been in a small hall with a huge amount of reverb. Great for building their confidence initially, but now I am seeking a dryer, less sympathetic space so that as the choir grows in numbers and ability we aren’t lulled into a false sense of security by the wash of reverb we currently have. I need to be able to hear their errors and ragged edges now to take them forwards!

    1. Avatar Victoria Hopkins says:

      That’s a great point Kathy. I sang with a symphony chorus that rehearsed in a large church hall and it was just too easy to fill the space. When we got into the concert hall with the orchestra, we needed a lot more ‘oomph’. Once we moved rehearsals to the concert hall, that was never an issue.

  2. Avatar Val says:

    I also like to have smaller spaces available for sectional breakouts.

  3. Avatar Val says:

    I second the comment about considering lighting. I also like to have smaller spaces available for breakout sectional work.

    1. Christine Mulgrew Christine Mulgrew says:

      Hi Val,

      Thanks for your message. I completely agree, I would love some breakout space. That would definitely be on my perfect venue wish list!

  4. Avatar Graham Codling says:

    I have made the mistake of choosing a venue without considering two additional elements – light and air quality. We have a wonderful church in a central location with good seating capacity but the air is a bit musty. I have lost 3 potential choir members who have some form of allergies to mold as they simply can’t breathe properly in that building. In another church we had the issue that in the morning there’s plenty of light coming through the windows, but during evening rehearsal it was poorly lit and we had to find trouble lights and hang them up!

    1. Christine Mulgrew Christine Mulgrew says:

      Hi Graham,

      Sorry to hear your venue choice has thrown up some issues for you with your choir. I’m glad you got in touch as these are really good points you make. Although we may choose a tired older venue over a brand new one based on room hire price, there are also other important factors to consider in terms of how the venue will make our singer’s feel. The venue I use has many benefits in that it is centrally located in our village, it is very affordable and has a comfortable, homely feel to it. However, it has the old style strip lighting which isn’t too pleasant, particularly on dark winter nights and it also fluctuates greatly in terms of heat so one end of the room can be freezing whilst the other is boiling hot! As you can imagine this causes many a conflict as to whether the windows need opening or whether we should be padding the place out with draught excluders! Often there is going to be an element of compromise in any venue but these things are definitely worth taking into account, particularly if you have a wide choice of venues on offer.

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