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The age-old issue of recruitment in traditional church choir

Hello,
 
I direct a small and currently shrinking adult choir in a small town. I believe I have only one singer who is younger than 50. All my current choir members are pretty good singers, so that's a blessing.
 
I've lost 2 altos to age and illness in the last couple of years. And just learned I am losing a soprano as well.  We have begun a contemporary service that is drawing families and younger adults. I am involved in some of the music in that service, but I do not direct it. My Chancel Choir sings only for the traditional service.
 
Thanks in advance for your input on this perrenial issue.
 
Amalie Hinson
Replies (6): Threaded | Chronological
on June 5, 2009 6:52am
I hate to be a nay-sayer. But in my 6 years at my church I've tried every "gimmick" to recruit singers. They had small responses, but nothing lasting. The truly committed singers that I had, were the truly committed singers of the church. Anyone else I persuaded to join, often fell out of touch due to scheduling conflicts, or whatever reason. Meanwhile, if we ever got a new church member who was into singing, they sought US out. I didn't need to recruit. That being said, try all of the suggestions listed here, at best, you can say that you tried, but they didn't respond.
 
My approach to recruiting...  just be awesome. Choose music, and choral experiences that attract singers to your program. If you perform it, they will come.
 
Another warning. As you recruit, be mindful of WHO you are recruiting. Are you recruiting people who are going to become long term lovers of choral music, or are you just filling the risers (Or loft) with bodies? I love my choir of 15 people who are totally committed, over my other choir of 125, 15 of whom are committed.
on June 5, 2009 10:58am
Carl wrote:
"I hate to be a nay-sayer. But in my 6 years at my church I've tried every "gimmick" to recruit singers. They had small responses, but nothing lasting. The truly committed singers that I had, were the truly committed singers of the church. Anyone else I persuaded to join, often fell out of touch due to scheduling conflicts, or whatever reason. Meanwhile, if we ever got a new church member who was into singing, they sought US out. I didn't need to recruit."
 
Beautifully said, Carl!  But you left out one class of people, the ones who ARE good singers but don't want to commit, but who want to show up on Christmas and Easter to have their guaranteed seats in the choirloft!  Some of our choir directors accepted that; my late wife did NOT!
 
John
 
 
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