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Wouldn't It Be Nice?

Wouldn't it be nice if someone (like Chorus America, maybe) commissioned a similar study for choral audiences?
DanceUSA commissioned WolfBrown to do a study on dance audiences to find out what they want.
I hate to hurt anyone's feelings at CA, but studies about what good citizens choral singers are does not get more audience, and probably gets more grant funding only for children's choirs.
Gail Mrozak
Board Member and Ordinary Soprano
Elmhurst Choral Union
Replies (3): Threaded | Chronological
on July 13, 2011 3:37pm
From my point of view as a composer, I would love to see such a study done because I think the results would be just as useful for composers as for choirs.  Every time I attend a concert by a community-based choir, no matter what the venue, I am struck by the proportion of audience members who appear to be around my age (50-something) or older.  They seem to comprise the vast majority of people who attend choir concerts, at least all the concerts I have attended over the years as well as the concerts by choirs in which I sang alto some years ago.  It would be particularly interesting if such a study were done and separated responses by age of responder; I often wonder if younger people would enjoy hearing more "new" music (new meaning contemporary, by living composers), and/or if older audience members would be just as receptive to pieces that they have not already heard many times before.  If you and some colleagues get brave and suggest that such a study be undertaken, please be sure to let everyone here know about it?
Another thought:  Have any individual choirs out there done a similar study of their own audiences?  Perhaps by using a simple questionnaire that was made available during concerts?  If you have, please let us know what your results were.
on July 13, 2011 6:56pm
I have talked to Chorus America about it, pleading that even if everyone who sang joined a chorus, we still need to sing TO people.
I've also talked with them about the surveys done by National Endowment for the Arts.  NEA's survey (last one done in 2008) asks folks about their arts attendance and arts participation.  The results can be searched to see the correlation between answers to any two questions (are those who attend ballet more likely to attend opera or classical concerts, etc.).
Great, right?  Since the last one also asked folks which types of music they like--huge list, including choir/glee club--we'd get great info, right?  Wrong.  They ask people if they have participated in a choir in the last 12 months.  But they don't ask people if they have attended a choral concert in the last 12 months...although they ask everything else under the sun, including art shows and outdoor craft fairs!
A staffer at CA said she knew the person at NEA who worked on these surveys, and would pass along my remarks.  Cross your fingers.
on July 13, 2011 7:05pm
We stuff an audience survey into our printed programs at every concert.  Yes, the audience is older, and in most respects it is like classical music audiences.  (I should add here that we generally perform larger choral/orchestral repertoire, so we might get a more typical classical audience than say, an avant-garde or a cappella group.)
I'd guess that audience surveys are likely to tell you that they want more of what they are already there to hear.  That's why they came.
Far and away, our audience tells us that their primary factor in deciding to attend a concert is what is being performed, and that squares with everything I've read on performing arts marketing.  They may or may not already know the music, but what's being performed is the first consideration.  If it's new music or a new composer, then you'd do well to tell a potential audience what the music is like.
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