Most choral societies end their seasons by mid-to-late July and then restart in September, but what of those singers that would like to continue singing through the summer, or what about those who cannot commit during the year but who could manage a six-week blast in the summer?
This year in our hometown of Leeds in Yorkshire we have taken the plunge and started a six week summer choir which will culminate in a charity concert right at the beginning of September to cater for just such singers. It was a risk, but they say nothing ventured, nothing gained and we have been rewarded with 30 singers who, at this minute, are busy preparing a menu of Mendelssohn, Dyson (Yorkshire born composer) Bach and Arcadelt (oh, and a little Knight music to end on!).
With the limited number of rehearsals, choosing music which has a balance between the well known (the Mendelssohn choruses are from the Hymn of Praise and Elijah) and the relatively little known (the Dyson is from the Three Songs of Praise) was crucial and has proved a winning formula - giving something to sing that is known to build confidence and then something new to get their teeth into.
By setting a realistic fee for singers which covers the rehearsals and concert, all our costs have easily been covered allowing us to be able to donate all monies received from the concert, (which is free on a 'pay as you feel' basis) to a local Heart Charity which has very personal connections with us.
There are always new opportunities to be sought out and with an 8-week lead in time to gather enough singers, this project will now become an annual event.
In our trilogy of choir and concert 'survivial' books, '365 tips for a more successful choir', 'Seven steps to more successful concerts' and 'Getting the best from your choir', we outline many ideas that can help with looking at new ways to attract singers and audiences. This summer project choir (dismissed by many as unworkable) has proved yet again that, with a little thought, exciting new projects can work.
You can find the trilogy of books on offer on our website or, better still, I am always available to talk to choir committees and anyone who wants to have a go at looking at projects, either with us here at Tim Knight Music or alone - start with an email and lets talk!