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This business of Concert Promoting! To theme or not to theme?

It’s been several years now since the second book in the series of choir and concert management guides ‘Seven steps to more successful concerts’ came out and got such wonderful reviews in the music press, such as:

"We’ve been crying out for a book like this for years…. An invaluable and much needed resource for any choir, indeed, ideal for anyone preparing for an event"

David Goodwin, Banks Music Publications

The business of promoting choir concerts never gets any easier and one of the questions asked frequently is, 'is it worth theming concerts?' As you can see from some of the sample posters below from one of my choirs, I think it is! And here’s why.

Your choice of music for an event (and, subsequently, your choice of venue) will decide who you are trying to attract. It is also so much easier to market a title on posters and social media to get your theme across than merely a list of music. Over the years, I have used many – 'Best of British', 'A Glimpse of Heaven', 'Hollywood Heroes', 'Mining the music'. Every theme threw up music suggestions that could be linked to make a coherent programme which, in turn, made it easier to attract an audience who would enjoy that sort of music.

Obviously, a theme can be suggested by the time of year the concert is being held, or it can, in the case of 'The Celestial Surgeon', relate to the venue (in that case a local Leeds Hospital Chapel). There are suggestions abounding for music that fits a certain theme – a search through YouTube will reveal some or a google search on images for choral concert programmes will reveal what others have performed with a given theme.

There are many other types of concert formats - here are some tried and tested suggestions:

  • a chronological approach - choosing music based on composer dates;

  • a contrast approach – placing a maybe new and difficult piece at the beginning when the audience is at its freshest;

  • or the opposite – placing easy listening at the beginning and harder works later when the audience is settled.

Whatever your approach, my opinion is that the themed concert offers the listener a cohesive choral journey …. and a fantastic way for your designers to come up with eye catching posters.

This is just one of the many subjects covered in detail in ‘Seven steps to more successful concerts’. Of course, you will need to first get past Step 1, which is 'Why are we actually having a concert' ? If you do, there is advice on planning, marketing, useful resources which all culminate in Step 7, 'Putting it altogether'.

If you haven't got a copy – get one today, available as a printed or digital download...

Tim Knight


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