Sunday, July 22, 2007

Who is our audience?

WorldSong’s 10th anniversary concert last Saturday was a triumph — even if I do say so myself! At least in our terms it was a huge success and a big leap forward.
  • we had an audience three times our normal size (which made our 650-seat theatre look comfortably full)
  • we ended up with the biggest choir we’ve ever had on stage (all but two of the choir managed to be at the concert: two members volunteered to help front of house, whilst two others had already booked holidays)
  • we had a wide range of different configurations on stage (solos, men-only, women-only, conductorless, small groups, a big group filling the stage)
  • the vast majority of choir members had risen to the challenge and learnt the words to pretty much all of the 33 songs that we sang (the Welsh one was quite hard!)
  • we pulled off several challenging moves (entering from the back of the auditorium whilst singing, dancing to South African songs, being accompanied by drums)
  • several songs were sung without me having to conduct them

We had a varied and mixed audience including quite a few ex-choir members, and a few singers from our sister choirs Woven Chords and Global Harmony. In the interval I met some people from Swaziland, Slovakia and Uganda, and I know there were audience members from Poland, Lithuania and South Africa.

However, the most noticeable thing for me when the house lights went up at the end of the concert (I taught the audience a song as usual) was that the vast majority of the audience seemed to be well over 60 and mostly women! This is quite common and is often reflected in the choir itself and in the workshops that I run. Several of the choir had managed to persuade their children to come along, and almost without exception, they thoroughly enjoyed themselves. So why can’t we attract a younger audience? There’s nothing wrong, of course, with having an older audience, but it would be nice to have a wide spread of ages, genders and nationalities. (This also applies to the choir and workshops: we sing songs from many different countries and cultures, and yet we attract mainly white, British singers).

Is it perhaps the words “choir” or “concert” which put younger people off? Do they simply have something better to do on a Saturday night? Is the make-up of our audience simply a reflection of the make-up of the choir? In which case, why can’t the choir attract younger people and people from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds?

go to Chris Rowbury's website

Chris Rowbury


Get more posts like this delivered straight to your inbox!

Click to subscribe by email.


found this helpful?

I provide this content free of charge, because I like to be helpful. If you have found it useful, you may like to ...

... to say thank you.





Monthly Music Round-up: