Monday, November 21, 2022

A concert is coming, but singers have missed rehearsals and not done their homework! What to do?

We’ve all been there: a big concert is coming up, but the singers just aren’t ready.

photo by Allan Harris

What can you do?

Whether yours is an auditioned or non-auditioned choir, there will be times when singers have to miss some rehearsals. Also, they might not have done the homework that has been expected of them outside rehearsals.

The upshot is that many songs will be under-rehearsed and the singers won’t be ready for the concert.

Is there anything that can be done about this?

I think the short answer is: no!

Choir leaders need to remember that most choir members are there to enjoy themselves and to leave cares and responsibilities behind.

It is inevitable that life will intervene from time to time (illness, family commitments, other social engagements, etc.) and singers will miss a few rehearsals. This isn’t the end of the world if you can help them to catch up by repeating songs from time to time.

Singers may love coming to choir as an escape from the outside world, but they simply may not have the time or resources to do homework outside rehearsals. That doesn’t mean that they don’t take the work seriously.

Choir leaders can easily lose perspective when focusing on forthcoming concerts. Yes, in an ideal world, all the singers would have 100% attendance and be up to speed with all the songs. But singing in a choir once a week is just a small part of the singers’ lives.

There are ways around two of the biggest problems:

don’t require singers to do homework – make sure all the work is done in rehearsals. Don’t rely on singers doing work at home on their own. It might mean longer rehearsal periods, or a less ambitious programme.

create resources for singers to catch up – these will be useful if singers have to miss a rehearsal, or are new to the choir and don’t know some of the older songs. Resources could be separate recorded parts on the choir’s website, allocating buddies to make sure singers don’t fall behind too much, full details (including lyrics and maybe sheet music) of all songs in the concert with plenty of advance notice.

And if you think these issues are unique to community or non-auditioned choirs, you’re wrong! It can happen with professional choruses too – we’re all human.

Chris Rowbury


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