ChoralNet: Colorful concert attire
Two weeks ago I posted a request for suggestions on concert attire:
Cantemus is a semi-professional chamber chorus that begins its 20th season
next Fall. We're thinking about changing our concert attire from black
blouse & skirt (women) and tuxedos (men) to something perhaps a little more
Have you seen any choirs that look really great?
Thanks very much for your ideas.
Here are the responses I received:
One of my Community Choruses performs in three different outfits:
Standard Tuxedo/Black Dress
Black slacks/skirts with white shirts and colorful vest-- singer's choice.
This makes a great 'picture' for a Holiday or Spring concert that is not
quite as formal (pops concert)
If you live in a cold region (I am in Texas ) then maybe colorful sweaters
"Mafia Black"-- this is a solid black outfit: Black shirt, black slacks.
This looks better with a smaller ensemble; a huge choir would look rather
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Yes - I saw the Roger Wagner Chorale perform Handel at D.C.'s Constitution
Hall back in the '60's. The women wore heavily sequined, tight fitting gowns
which caught the stage lights and reflected them in colorful sparkles
throughout the hall during the entire concert.
I don't remember what the men wore - -
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The L.A. Jazz Choir wears black with red accents. Each person has a
different red accent: one has a scarf, another a tie, another a
shirt, another a hat, and so on. The reds all matched so they must
have had them custom made, but it was definitely a striking effect.
They have about 20 singers. If you have a smaller group you could
probably get away with mixing colors; for example, have all the women
wear a different color scarf, all matching. The men could have
colored handkerchiefs in their tuxedos. This allows you to keep the
formality without the dullness of all black.
Allen H Simon
Soli Deo Gloria
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Needs not so big a change. We in Hljómeyki (funnily a semipro chamber
chorus just over 20 yrs old :-) were getting tired of the black/tux attire,
but ended on buying 2 different sets of silken scarves (Accessorize or the
same sort of shop) so we could vary our concert attire. Looks really good,
you can also get matching bow ties and cummerbunds for the men, we didn't
but it'd probably look even better
cheers from Iceland
(president of Hljómeyki)
composer, singer, music teacher email jls(a)vortex.is
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After months of discussions bordering on arguments, we went with a
burgundy/merlot kind of blouse for the women and everyone loves it.
If you go to our website, www.albanypromusica.org, and then click on
recordings, you can see the color on the cover of Amo Amas cd. The
women wear the same long black skirts they use with black blouses when
we sing behind an orch. The men wears tuxes, but you could always
have cummerbunds and ties made to match, as I did (I match, as
conductor, but the singer men are in black).
And we used a pattern for the blouses that everyone is more or less
content with. We have a large variety of sizes and shapes!
228 Placid Drive
Schenectady, NY 12303-5118
518/356-9155; 518/442-4167 (w)
Albany Pro Musica
PO Box 3850
Albany, NY 12203-0850
Ph: (518) 438-6548
Fax: (518) 273-6510
SUNYA Music department fax: 518/442-4182
UAlbany Chamber Singers: www.albany.edu/~singers
UAlbany Chorale: www.albany.edu/music/chorale
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My suggestion isn't really about which color looks best on a choir.
My college choir conductor often judges at festivals, and he recommends white
tops for the ladies, because a white top will reflect light back up onto the
faces of the singers. Often we forget the importance of our visual
presentation; the most important element of that presentation is the face,
which is where the audience connects the beautiful sounds they hear with the
actual performers in its presence. Too often, I see ladies on stage in dark
choir costumes, some with hair covering most of their face, and most of the
faces looking down at their music. No matter how bright the stage lighting
is, these ladies will always look as though they are standing in the dark.
As a result, I can't look into their eyes and feel a deep spiritual
connection with their artistry, a connection that is an important element of
a satisfying choral performance.
I hope this suggestion helps!
* * * * *
Your email reminded me of a group I saw in Chicago at the National
Convention three years ago. I forgot their name, but they were a
professional choir. The women wore very simple black dresses, straight and
long to the floor. Then they wore these beautiful scarves with lots of
gorgeous bright colors. The scarves were draped from the back, over the
shoulders, draped across the front, and draped over the other shoulder and
over the back. Can you see the picture? I tell you, it was gorgeous!
Black is formal and simple, and the scarf brings out the vibrant colors.
Maybe they had a scarf pin to keep the scarves manageable. So there you
go. Keep the men in tuxedos, but maybe change the tie to a nice color (or
a splashy vest?). Good luck! There are tons of catalogs out there, they
will give you a ton of options.
Assistant Choral Director
Gilbert High School
(480) 497-0177 ext. 166
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I am the wardrobe manager for our chorale. We also use all black outfits
and, frankly, I think they are hard to beat ,especially if your singers run
the gamut of body types as ours do. However, what we do is add absolutely
smashing accessories for the various concerts. For example, we have beaded
collars and matching earrings for serious concerts, lame' and rhinestone
scarves with matching rhinestone earrings in a rainbow of colors for the
ladies, brocade vests for the men, red tux accessories for the men, a
variety of seasonal corsages and boutonnieres, etc. These are much more
flexible in application, very flattering and very economical if you have
someone who knows how to make them and buy materials in quantity. So...if
you cannot reach a consensus about a whole new wardrobe, this might be
something you can try.