“To compete or not to compete” is a question many choir leaders will ask themselves at some stage. It is certainly a question we have asked ourselves at Total Voice and last year we dipped our toe into the competition arena with our Chamber Choir. We canvased opinion and the overall majority said yes. We entered a local talent show that was billed as being aimed at performers of all types and styles. Unfortunately, it turned out to be almost exclusively small girls with big voices (plus some dancing dogs – yes, really). Despite a rousing performance, we were just not cute enough. So there’s our tip number one – take some time to research a competition that will be appropriate for your choir.
We’ve been much more reluctant to take the plunge with our contemporary choir. We are conscious that this choir is a community group that’s all about bringing local people together to sing and have fun. We are worried that getting competitive might put some off and not really reflect what we’re about. So instead we’ve got ourselves involved in a kind of unofficial competition, joining in a project with five other local choirs to perform in a concert together later this year. Each choir will have a fifteen minute slot and then all the choirs will come together at the end. There will be no judging or prizes but no doubt each choir who will want to show off their talent to the others. This is perfect for our contemporary choir as it will stretch us without piling on the pressure.
If you’re thinking about taking the plunge, here are some pros and cons for you to consider:
- Competition creates an exciting event for members to look forward to and encourages them to do their very best.
- It’s a chance to meet other singers and see what other choirs do.
- Doing well in competitions, particularly high profile ones, can lead to exciting performance and recording opportunities.
- Some of the larger competitions can require a high level of commitment for members which might not be practical.
- Some competitions may place you against a variety of acts, not necessarily choirs, which may not offer the challenge you want.
- Morale could be affected by poor competition performance.
We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences on choir competitions, perhaps you can persuade us to pursue them further with our choirs!