Creating Performance Opportunities
Peter Cunningham outlines the different ways in which your ensemble can begin creating additional opportunities to rehearse and perform together.
Many groups spend hours upon hours rehearsing only to perform once or twice for an audience. Want to perform more and become integral to your community? Want more people to enjoy your talents and hard work? Some of these ideas can help.
Perform during Chapter Meetings
Quartets, ask your chorus director’s permission to sing a song at rehearsal. Or, travel to a nearby chorus—it doesn’t have to be BHS!—and sing for them. This fosters camaraderie and may result in a formal invitation to sing on their show. Choruses, don’t make your families and friends wait until just before competition for send-off: invite your friends and family to a chapter meeting for a “VIP” performance!
Take Your Show on the Road
Get more mileage from your hard work—and bigger total audiences—by performing your annual scripted show(s) in both your hometown and in neighboring towns or communities. Carpooling and spending time together with your singing pals is an added bonus! To get started, team up with another town’s chapter and do a double feature. One chorus sings the first act, the host chorus closes the show. Then swap towns the next weekend.
Visit Another Area Rehearsal
Meet up with another group for a weekly rehearsal and sing for each other, followed by the most awesome afterglow. Have a couple Barberpole Cats ready to sing together. Encourage and support the other barbershop groups in your area that you don’t get to sing with every week.
Look Outside of Barbershop
There is a whole world of a cappella (and accompanied!) groups that would love to sing with you. The goal is to get the whole world singing, while showcasing barbershop. Consider reaching out to a contemporary or more classical a cappella group in town for a get together, or to share the stage for a song or two on their next show and them on yours.
Competitive singing is enormous, and barbershop is just one genre we love to sing. Organize a cross-genre “competition” where the only judge is the audience’s applause. Make each genre a “round.” Barbershop is one round, followed by contemporary a cappella, then madrigals, then covers of ’70s tunes...whatever you want it to be!
Build It, and They Will Come
However you decide to create performance opportunities for your groups, don’t quit when the first time is just okay. Keep at it, keep promoting, keep inviting, keep reaching out, keep improving. And most important of all...
Keep the Whole World Singing!
About the Author
Peter Cunningham teaches choir in San Antonio, Texas, in a program of 200 students and nine performing ensembles. He sings with The Marcsmen and Southern Stride.
As seen in The Harmonizer, March/April 2019 "Harmony University" issue, pg. 30