Anyone who has sung as part of a choir will know that often there are several weeks of rehearsals spent perfecting the music in order to go out in to the wide world to perform to an unsuspecting public or in a more formal concert situation. This is the way it’s been done for hundreds of years and is a perfectly sensible way of forming and running a choir.
There is, however, another way. I was recently asked to put together a choir for a new initiative in Pewsey. The deal was very simple. A number of children aged between 13-17 would turn up for a 2 hour rehearsal followed immediately by a public performance of whatever it is they have learnt in that two hour period. Obviously I took the usual line of “Just how hard can it be?”. Look out for a blog post on or just after 14 September for the answer to this!
Here are some reasons why I am fairly confident this idea will work well:
1. Chance to Perform
I know it sounds obvious but actually there’s a lot to be said for having a performance pre arranged. A lot of people are inspired to participate for that opportunity to be part of a show, concert or other type of public performance even if its just to their friends and family. For choirs this is a great inspiration and, certainly when time is limited, is also a great way of focussing minds during rehearsals.
2. No on going commitment
Being in a choir can be quite a big commitment for many people. Most choirs will rehearse once a week usually in the evening for a couple of hours. It doesn’t sound a lot but thats actually quite a big commitment particularly when you have family, work and other exciting things competing for your attention.
3. Sense of achievement
Because everything is compacted into a few hours there is a great sense of achievement for all involved. In return for a few hours of your time, you will have “joined” a choir, rehearsed and sung in a concert. This can also be a good way of finding out if a choir is right for you in the long term.
4. Team work
A choir is the ultimate in collaboration & team work. In a scratch choir there often isnt a lot of time to get to know everyone that well and usually there is little in the way of solo work. It does mean that everyone is thrown in together and has to start working as a team in order to deliver the performance at the end.
5. Yes, you can sing
It amazes me how many people out there who claim they can’t sing! Ok, so some people may genuinely be tone deaf but those aside singing isn’t really that different from talking! The main thing is to have a go. It may not be everyone’s idea of fun, but it’s got to at least be worth trying.
Of course a scratch choir will never, for me at any rate, replace a regular choir which meets weekly to prepare for concerts. In fact there are now more choirs than ever before all offering a slightly different take on group singing. The most important thing is to find something which is right for you and enjoy singing.
Do please share your experiences with me about scratch choirs. Did you enjoy it? Would you do it again? What was the best (or worst) thing about it?