A choir that works together as a team is enjoyable and responsive to teach, which will improve their overall sound and performance.
In previous articles we’ve looked at teambuilding exercises which can be used in warm-ups to get everyone interacting. We’ve also focused on mixing up singers so that people get to meet each other and hear other voices around them. Another key way in which we can develop relationships and interaction within our choirs is to arrange social events. Not only are these lots of fun, they are also a chance for members to relax and party together in a less formal way than is suitable in rehearsals.
Depending on the location and demographic of your choir there are any number of events you can organise. For our choirs we enjoy arranging a summer picnic with some open mic in the lovely garden at our venue. We also enjoy a more formal dinner with dancing at Christmas time.
Here are some ideas for the types of events you could organise:
- Open mic night
- Theatre trip
- Quiz night
- Weekend walk with dinner at the pub
- Garden party
Whatever type of event you decide to orangise, here are a few top tips we’ve learnt along the way:
How much time?
Once or twice in the past, we put on a formal dinner with a band in the winter for our members, but the amount of work required proved too much at what is already a very busy time of year. We soon realised that the planning was over taking other important choir related work which we needed to get done and causing us quite a bit of stress. Luckily we’ve now found a venue who does most of the work for us, has an excellent sound system and lighting and it makes such a difference meaning we can relax and enjoy the socialising as well.
When embarking on planning a social event, think carefully about the time that will be needed to put it together. Plan well in advance so that you’re not left in a last minute panic. Perhaps bring in some helpers, maybe friends or choir members keen to lend a hand, and divide up some of the planning. Make sure that you can still achieve what you need to do day to day as well as plan your event or else you will just feel too pressurised.
It can be very tempting to try and dazzle your choir with amazing events but if some of them can’t afford the price of a ticket, you may end up defeating the purpose of the whole thing, which is to bring the team together. Again this depends on your choir and you can judge what is or isn’t appropriate cost wise, but it’s perhaps better to create a simple and fun low-cost event that everyone can attend rather than something exclusive which may leave some feeling worried about the price. If you’re choir is doing spectacularly well financially you may wish to foot the bill but probably for most a ticket price will be necessary.
Get the details sorted
Before announcing your event, make sure that you have a venue confirmed and that you know all the costs which will be involved. Think about what provisions are already at the venue and what you will need to bring along. You need to know that it’s all feasible as you don’t want to then have to announce to the choir it’s no longer going ahead or tell them that it will be a down graded version of the first idea! It’s very easy to get over excited and tell everyone your idea straight away but just make sure it’s all viable first.
Get some input
Choir social gatherings are all about teamwork and your choir members. Why not ask them what types of social events they’d enjoy? You could do a quick survey or ask people to email their ideas. You may find this breathes some fresh new ideas into the mix which will give the events a new focus and inspire you to organise them.