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Ideas for honoring perfect attendance

One thing I have noticed as a conductor of two choirs is that there are always those singers who move mountains to be in attendance at every rehearsal and performance.  They are the backbone of my singing groups, and inevitably turn out to be some of the strongest musicians as well.  I'd like to find a way of acknowledging and honoring their commitment to the group, while hopefully encouraging others to follow in their footsteps.   Some ideas I've come up with are:  listing their names in the concert program and/or weekly newsletter, printing out a certificate of acknowledgement, giving them a small prize, or giving them something wearable that could be worn with their chorus uniform at our concerts.  Any other ideas?  
 
 
Replies (4): Threaded | Chronological
on December 7, 2011 6:26am
I direct an adult community chours with about 90 singers.  Toward the end of the season, I send out an email announcement listing all members with perfect attendance, and I allow each of those membersto pick one selection to sit out and listen to the rest of the chours perform.  (They must email me in advance what selection they want, so I can work it into my rehearsal plan and control the number of singers that would not be rehearsing a particular number.) This way, all members see the complete list of members with perfect attendance, as well as seeing those members step out of the group to "watch" their peers sing.  This works really well and I know that my singers strive to see their name on the list so they can listen to the group perform.
 
Eric Brown
 
on December 7, 2011 7:55am
What a neat idea, Eric!
 
One particularly long stretch of rehearsals for a SWACDA appearance, I was particularly proud of a handful of singers who had perfect attendance, so I had some long-sleeved t-shirts printed with "I can't...I have choir practice!"
 
Jena Dickey, Young Voices of Colorado
on December 7, 2011 7:43am
Once a month I give out 'M&M awards'. M&M for us stands for Marvelous and Magnificent. In my classes it is just for anyone who stands out as working hard, perfect posture, good leadership etc. I can pick one a month or a whole section, depends on who I notice. And the winners just get a bag of m&ms.
 
Just an idea, I don't know if it helps or not. I guess it depends on the age group of your choirs. 
on December 7, 2011 8:28am
Hi Karyn,
I conduct a children's choir and I've found that rewarding perfect attendance throughout the year is better than at the end of the year for this age group.  Young children have very little vision or understanding of the "future" and at the end of the year, it's too late for the award to affect any change in their attendance. 
h e
For my senior choir (grades 5-9), I divide the year into 3 trimesters and each trimester ends with a significant performance--Dec.(Winter Concert); March-(Music In Our Schools Month School Tour); and June-(Short Tour).  Everyone who earns perfect attendance at all concerts and rehearsals during one trimester, whichever one, earns a perfect attendance ribbon.  Everyone who earns perfect attendance for a second trimester, whichever two, earns a second award, a framed certificate under glass, acknowledging that this is the child's second trimester with perfect attendance.  Those who earn perfect attendance for all three trimesters, receive a trophy in June!  All awards are presented formally at a pre-concert rehearsal, not in public.  These awards are very motivating and there's a lot of talk about earning perfect attendance  awards (even among the parents!).  Of course at this age, the parents have to buy into it because they are the child's wheels to get to rehearsal.
 
Half of my senior choir meets for weekly rehearsals in one county and the other half meets in a neighboring county and once a month both divisions rehearse together.  This provides an opportunity for the children to "make up" a missed rehearsal at the other location for any reason from illness to a friend's birthday party.  In order to earn a perfect attendance award, all missed rehearsals atthe singer's home location must be made up before the end of the trimester at the other location.  Concerts cannot be made up so anyone who misses a concert cannot earn perfect attendance that trimester.  REMEMBER:  PERFECT attendance doesn't mean you had a good excuse for not attending--it means you were always there!  Be very consistent with this.
 
For my Junior Choir (grades 2-4), I prepare a certificate for each child at the beginning of the year honoring excellent (not perfect) attendance and each month that the child has perfect attendance, a parent helper fixes a gold star to the certificate.  At the end of the year, every child gets this certificate framed under glass at a move up ceremony in front of the senior choir, parents and family friends.  Some children have 3 stars some have all 10 stars, one for each month of the choir year, but every one gets some recognition of his or her efforts to have good attendance.  I pass out the certificates every month for the children to see who has perfect attendance for that month and then re-collect them.  I keep them so that they'll be presentable for framing at the end of the year.  This encourages the children to try to achieve perfect attendance in small segments of time and doesn't discourage anyone from trying again next month.
 
It also teaches them the difference between 'excellent' or 'good' attendance and 'perfect' attendance.
 
Eileen Finley
Pennsylvania Youth Chorale
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