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Suggestions for choir retention?

    This has been my first year at a smallish/medium Methodist church.  We have the same problem that a lot of smaller town churches have, which is that the same great people do everything.  I have a small but very competent sanctuary choir who's pretty dedicated to getting an anthem performed each week.  However, I would love to get more members in (I KNOW other people in the congregation sing...) so that this responsibility doesn't rest so heavily on my 8 person choir.  
Also, there's been a children's choir on and off at the church for a while and it's been tasked to me to make this a really solid institution.  The Christmas musical is over and went extremely well, and I really need some help keeping things fun and exciting so the kids don't lose interest.  I've already had a couple of kids drop now that Christmas is over and I don't want the "drop out disease" to become contagious.  I'm decent with the kids, but I'm FAR better with the adults.  
So two pretty different questions:  
1.  How do I convince more adults to be involved?
2.  How to I keep my elementary age kids entertained enough to make choir "cool?"  
on January 12, 2013 7:30am
Relationships are key. I've stopped focusing as much on music, and focusing on people. Whenever I get a text or an e-mail from participants who can't be at rehearsal for whatever reason, they are sad, because they look forward to it. I concur wholeheartedly with what Julie said, say thank you. These folks are choosing to be there. They've got plenty of other things they could be doing in their lives. Also, and this has been a huge struggle for me, but be thankful for the people you have, work with them to make them be the best they can, and if they're growing, enjoying it, and feeling connected, they'll want others to be connected. There's no magic bullet at all, otherwise, our choirs and ministries would be so full of people, we would run out of space! Over and above all of these things, pray. Pray that God works through you, pray that God speaks to the hearts of the people involved and the potential people involved!
on January 13, 2013 11:36am
I've started a children's choir 4 years ago in my parish and have maintained the memership at 30 kids of various ages- kinder to 8th grade. Kids will drop off membership when they reach HS due to schedule conflict but new members are added throughout the year. We rehearse for 2 hours every Saturday and minister 1x a month at mass. Attendance has to be very flexible due to their various activities during the weekends. I believe the key is to keep listening to what they want and need and adjust plans acoordingly. I formed a subgroup, a cooler group within the choir after hearing complains from the older kids about the younger ones. This subgroup sings 1 harder song during mass and they rehearse extra after the regular rehearsals. The boys will tend to refuse to sing once they hit middle school so I keep them in the choir by making them the choir's instrumentalists. That's how the band was formed! I also involve the parents, bec they really are the ones who you are asking to commit to the group. There is a scheduled parent-child ministry 2x a year. Some volunteer to assist during rehearsal. Some voluneteer to be the librarian. Memership will drop after the Xmas musical, but I start rehearsing in the summer and require regular attendance for them to be able to a part of the musical. The musical is a great advertising tool to attract new members.
The parents take their kids to a free weekend activity where they make lasting friendships, deepen their understanding of their faith, and have fun singing and learning music. That is the objective of this group!
Hope this helps.
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