Monday, January 06, 2020

Opening your choir to new members – who? when? how?

Even if you don’t recruit regularly, there will come a time when you’ll invite new members join your choir.

But who, when and how?

When a choir starts out, recruitment is a big factor. But at some point your choir may end up being full (if you’re lucky).

I’ve written about this in three recent posts:
  1. Can you have too many singers in your choir?
  2. Strategies for coping with too many singers in your choir
  3. How to manage when your choir becomes too popular: waiting list or new choir?
As I pointed out in the last of these posts, if your choir gets too popular, you have two basic choices:
  1. close the choir; or
  2. start a new one
If you’ve decided to close the choir there will probably come a time – maybe not for a few years – when you’ll need to open it up again to new members.

Numbers will drop due to age, other commitments, boredom, singers moving and so on.

When you decide to start recruitment again, you’ll have three basic questions to consider:
  1. who – which singers will you take on and how do you choose them?
  2. when – when is the best time to let new members join?
  3. how – will you audition and will you have some kind of induction process?
Let’s look at each of these in turn.

1. who?

If your choir has been closed for a while, you will probably have a waiting list of singers wanting to join.

You could invite singers to join on the basis of when they went on the waiting list. But that may result in an imbalanced choir. For example, you may be short of altos, but all the women on the waiting list are sopranos.

If you’re low on members, but don’t have a waiting list, you’ll need to put the word out to get new recruits. You might find these posts useful:

How to recruit singers to truly reflect your local community?

How to use your audience to recruit choir members

Effective ways to recruit more men for your choir

2. when?

It’s hard to integrate new singers if you take them on one at a time at random intervals. A better strategy might be to limit new members to the start of a term/ season or at the beginning of each choir year.

Obviously, filling vacancies in your choir is a positive thing, but there are some possible downsides. See Fresh blood: the pros and cons of letting new singers join your choir

3. how

When you first started your choir it may have been open to anyone, but over the years you might have reached a certain standard and only want singers of a particular level. In which case you might need to audition. See Beginners choir or established choir: time to re-evaluate?

How will you integrate new members? New members joining can be disruptive to the current group dynamic. See Integrating new choir members: a guide for new singers, existing members and choir leaders
Will you have an induction process? It can be quite scary for new singers joining an established group. See How to prepare new choir members for their first visit

What about old repertoire? Wil you expect new singers to learn your whole back catalogue of songs? See Helping new choir members learn the old songs

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Chris Rowbury




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