Monday, December 10, 2018

Choir anniversaries – and how you might celebrate them

I’ve just realised that this blog is 12 years’ old! Amazing how time flies. I was wondering how I might mark the occasion.


Then I realised that I’ve been hearing a lot recently about choirs who have been celebrating their own anniversaries. Which got me thinking: what’s the best way to celebrate a choir anniversary?

There are many ways to celebrate a choir anniversary. I’m not about to tell you exactly how you might do it as every choir is different.

But I can suggest some questions you might ask yourself. The answers can help you to create exactly the right celebration for you.

  • how long have you been going? — 1 year? 5 years? 20 years? The longer you’ve been going, the bigger the celebration. You might also use the number of years to suggest ideas. Five concerts for five years. 10 new songs for a 10th anniversary. It may be that the bigger the anniversary, the longer the celebrations – weeks instead of days!
  • what are you celebrating? — there are many reasons to celebrate. You might just want to mark the occasion in order to reflect on the passing years and to have something to remember in the future. But you also might want to celebrate something in particular, e.g. the fact that you’ve survived so far against all the odds; to remind yourselves how far you’ve come since you first started; to reward the commitment of your choir members; to celebrate the amazing growth in numbers.
  • who do you want to celebrate with? — is the celebration going to be just for choir members? Maybe for past choir members too? Or would you like to share your celebration with the wider public? If you do a performance will it be just your choir or will you invite guests?
  • do you want a lasting legacy? — are you just planning an event as something in the calendar or do you want to have a tangible result that will exist in its own right afterwards? This could be a statue, a CD, a plaque, a new song, a book, a website.
  • can you exploit the occasion? — there might be something that you, as a choir, have been meaning to do for ages. You can use the energy around an anniversary to finally make it happen. e.g. record a CD (or make a compilation of past recordings); commission a song specially for the choir; go on a choir exchange; hire a large local venue and try to fill it. You might also use your anniversary celebrations as a way of recruiting new choir members.
  • how to assess success? — assuming that your choir will continue to flourish over the years, there will be plenty more anniversaries in the future. It will be useful to assess how this particular celebration has gone in order to learn from your mistakes and successes for the next time. You might also learn useful things about publicity, recruitment, etc. How will you measure and assess the success of your anniversary celebrations?
  • what if you don’t celebrate? — most choirs will celebrate important anniversaries. However, it’s not necessary to have an anniversary celebration every single year. It can be stressful and take a lot of time and effort to get a celebration right. Think carefully whether it’s something you really want to do. What are the downsides of not celebrating?
I hope these questions help you to create the anniversary celebration that’s right for you. I’d love to hear from you about your own choir anniversaries and what you did.

For me, I’m just going to have a time of reflection and get on with thinking of post ideas for the next 12 years!

If you’re interested, here is my very first blog post from December 2006: Choirs are becoming cool!

Happy anniversary!!

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Chris Rowbury



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