Stick Time: Gimme Rabid Singers
Date: January 14, 2014
The larger the choral ensemble, the harder the director will have to work to create subtle expressiveness and clear details. Not, however, because of the sum of the bodies present and usual "muddiness" of the typical large group delivery, but rather because of the lower ratio of concentrated effort from each individual. (excerpted from the Choral Journal article, “Large Choral Ensembles and Social Loafing,” by David Stocker).
For our friends in the marching band world, bigger probably is better. Where choral music is concerned, this conductor would much rather work with eight singers (balanced, of course) who are rabidly focused on being the best, than to have an 80-voice choir whose response to the idea of accomplishment is a casual, “meh.”
That said, here is a performance from an ACDA national conference. This work could easily have been sung by 50 voices, but there are only eight. Clearly each singer has had to grasp the idea that their individual performance is vital to the success of the ensemble; or to put it another way, if they mess up individually, the performance fails.
How would your choir sound if each of the singers invested that level of personal responsibility in the choral product?