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2 or 3 concert, concert season?

Our chorale ensemble is currently performing 3 concert preps per year - early November,mid- February, early-May.   We are considering scaling back to two concerts giving the singers and the organizers a break over the busy holiday season, then resuming rehearsals in late January for our spring concerts.  
 
I'm wondering how many other ensembles currently do this and what the experience has been both for the singers and the concert planners.
 
Thanks,
 
Dan Digre 
on January 20, 2013 2:53pm
My auditioned chamber choir has two concerts a  calender year.  When we formed, we didn't want to overwhelm the kinds of people we wanted to sing with us--busy church choir directors and school music teachers/choir directors--and decided to have two concerts a year.  One is in early-ish November and the other is in late May/early June and it seems to work out HOWEVER, we also have one or two break out performances before/during/after our two concert cycles.  Being a chamber choir, those *extra* performances are easier for us than a large group and also, depending on the kinds of extra gigs, not everyone is required to do them. 
 
I will tell you--especially this last December--we do miss having a winter holiday/Christmas concert.  We do get a winter holiday gig every once in a while but it isn't the same.  Still, my singers do appreciate not having to do a concert at the busiest time of year for them.
 
Marie
Applauded by an audience of 1
on January 20, 2013 3:31pm
We are about 55 singers and we rehearse weekly for two concert/year. The first is mid-jJanuary and is a Christmas Concert. The second is the week after Mother's Day and we begin rehearsals the week after Martin Luther King, Jr Day. That gives us 14 Monday rehearsals and one Saturday"dress" rehearsal.
Kathy
Applauded by an audience of 1
on January 20, 2013 6:15pm
The choir that I direct, Voices In Harmony, has three concerts in our regular concert series:  one in early November, a Sing-Along-Messiah in December and a middle or end of April or beginning of May (when Easter falls is the caveat here).  Our November concert is often a collaboration with another choir, an instrumental ensemble, an instrumental soloist, or some similar thing.  This lessens the need to have a full concert by our choir alone, which is a good thing at the beginning of the concert year.  The Sing-Along-Messiah at this point requires relatively little preparation, since the singers are very familiar with it.  The April program has often been a "major work" concert, often with orchestra.
 
We also sing a fourth concert every year in the end of June associated with July 4.  For this we have a summer festival chorus that meets for six rehearsals in June.  It is given at the band shell at the beach on Crystal Lake (out-of-doors) and is a free concert.  This program tends to be an Americana/Patriotic concert.
 
There is also an auditioned ensemble (from the larger group) that sings other repertoire, and rehearses apart from the full chorus, and helps to fill out the concerts, especially in the summer.
 
Last year, due to a scheduling issue, we sang the December Sing-Along-Messiah, then in mid-January we performed Vaughn-Williams "Hodie".  We still had two concerts a month apart, but they were Dec/Jan instead of Nov/Dec.  It actually worked out pretty well, and most members wouldn't be adverse to doing that again.
 
SJS
Applauded by an audience of 1
on January 24, 2013 11:48am
Living as I do in the Languedoc, apart from a few major centres (Carcassonne, Narbonne, Montpellier, Béziers), we live mainly in villages and small towns.  This means that life, more often than not, is centred around one's village.  The knock-on from this is that there is a demand from neighbouring villages for concerts.  This is particularly so around the holiday season of Christmas.  Easter also, but to a lesser extent.  I went along with this until it became clear that preparations for these concerts was eating into time that should really have been given over to exploring and learning new repertoire.  We were always presenting material that we had already sung many times.  Accordingly, I am in the process of cutting back on concerts to two main events - one at Christmas and the Concert Fin d'Année - the end of choral year.  This is not because we do not enjoy singing, but rather because we found that we were falling into the trap of concerts vs learning new material.  If there is a particular reason, we will look carefully to see if we should or should not participate.
 
For me, what it comes down to is this: choirs need to work consistently towards new material.  Old material is simply not good enough, in the context I have outlined.  For me the equation is too many concerts = not enough learning of new material.
 
David Monks
Le Choeur d'Alzonne
France
Applauded by an audience of 1
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