Sunday, January 17, 2010

Singers should spend more time in the audience

I love my job! I get to stand in front of a bunch of singers and hear wonderful harmonies washing over me. You can’t beat it!

Gormley field

Antony Gormley's Field for the British Isles by Matt Gorecki

But if you’re a singer in the choir, you never really get the full effect, no matter how hard you listen. Time to become an audience member.

Often, especially at this time of year, illness or bad weather can prevent a choir member from attending rehearsals. Or maybe someone breaks a leg just before a concert and isn’t able to perform.

In these cases, many choir members come along to listen to the choir for the first time ever. I get a whole range of responses:

“It was amazing, I didn’t realise we were that good!”

“That song I really hate because the tenor line is boring is actually a beautiful song.”

“I hadn’t realised how all the parts worked together in that song, it’s wonderful.”

“I wish I’d heard the choir before. We’re so good and it makes me proud.”

But given the choice, if a singer is not ill or otherwise committed, they will usually want to be in the concert rather than listening to it.

Yet I would strongly recommend that you resist the temptation at least once, and be in the audience for one of your choir’s concerts. You will get a totally different perspective on the singing. You will get a much better idea of:

  • how songs work,
  • how good your choir is,
  • why keen audience members don’t smile all the time,
  • what audiences respond to and why,
  • why your musical director is always asking the singers to smile
  • how your attention is often drawn to the bored-looking singer on the back row,
  • what an amazing experience live harmony singing can be.

You will return to your next rehearsal proud, refreshed, invigorated, and keen to do even better.


Chris Rowbury's website:

Chris Rowbury


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