No matter the size of your chorus there is always going to be a moment when you say, “We need people!” From trying to balance voice parts, to building your chorus from small to medium to large, to working on your diversity and inclusion goals, there are all kinds of reasons singer recruitment is an important goal for choruses of all types.
So, how do you address specific recruitment challenges for your chorus in 2020? Here are some common issues that choruses can run into, and some intentional strategies that may help you with your recruitment in the coming year.
Challenge #1: Getting the Word Out Externally
Any time singer recruitment comes to mind, the first thing that pops up is likely advertising. Ok, so just throw a quick message on social media and voilà! New people walk through the doors, right? If only it were that easy! Here are some tips on getting the word out.
- Let your chorus know what you are looking for. Word of mouth is the best form of advertisement for organizations large and small, so let your chorus members go to work for you.
- Be specific about what you need on any advertising platforms. A general “all call for singers” might yield much different results than a message saying “How low can you go? We’re looking for basses!”
- Announce your singer requirements at your performances. You might have ten audience members who are so inspired by your concerts, but don’t know you have open seats waiting for them to add their voices. Make it part of your concert announcements that you are actively looking for new singers.
- Advertise in the right places. It’s one thing to create advertising for recruitment, and another entirely to spread the word in the places that will attract the singers you are looking for. Ask yourself where you should advertise to help attract the right people for your chorus.
- Establish recruitment deadlines. This sense of urgency, that people can only join during a specific period of time, may help bring out new folks that you wouldn’t have seen otherwise. With deadlines in place, you'll also be able to assess whether you have met your goals, and then plan your next recruitment period accordingly.
Challenge #2: Managing Internal Resistance
It’s perfectly normal for your existing singers to have some resistance to recruitment. As human beings we tend to be resistant to change, and therefore it can be hard for chorus members to want to welcome new faces and new voices. So, how do you combat this internal resistance?
- Remember, it’s not personal. Especially if you have a well-established group of people who have been singing together a long time, they may have concerns about how recruitment will affect them. Some members may even feel like they are being replaced! Let your chorus members know that recruitment is important for the continuation of the choir and that all voices, established and new, are important.
- Get your chorus members on board. As mentioned before, if you let your chorus know what you need, they can become a part of the process and not just bystanders. If you ask your chorus members to help with fundraising, why not also include them in your recruitment strategy? Getting their buy-in will help make recruitment a success.
Challenge #3: Assessing Your Recruitment Strategies
It’s very easy to do some advertising, hold a recruitment period, take what newness you get for your chorus and move on – but if this process leaves you wondering whether you actually achieved your goals, you may need to do a true assessment of what worked and what didn’t.
Here are some questions you should ask after the recruitment period is over:
- Were we specific about the types of singers we needed to add?
- Did we advertise in the right places?
- Were our chorus members on board and did they help with the recruitment process?
- Did we stick to a recruitment deadline or are we still accepting new members?
- What was successful about recruitment and what will we do differently next time?
Recruitment is a little different for every chorus, and that’s the beauty of it all. Recruitment can be as flexible or as stringent as you need it to be to meet the needs of your ensemble. Build a singer recruitment strategy that works for you, do assessments, and then adjust as your chorus changes over time. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to step out of your recruitment box to try something new.
What are some of your chorus recruitment strategies for the new year? Share them in the comments below!
Amanda Carroll currently teaches middle school chorus and general music in North Carolina. She also directs a small women’s chorus and is a member of Sweet Adelines International. She has a Master of Music and Master of Public Administration from Appalachian State University. Her background includes singing with large and small ensembles, as well as solo work and teaching private lessons. She is passionate about creating meaningful concerts and connecting with the community through performance.