A choral consortium is an association that brings choral organizations together for an opportunity to network, share resources, garner community support for the arts, and gain new ideas for each organization’s growth and development.
Most choral consortia are born from scheduling conflicts between two or more choral groups. According to Bob Slon, President of the Greater Rochester Choral Consortium, their organization was created after the incident of 1997 where two organizations scheduled Mozart's Mass in C minor... on the same date... merely two hours apart! It’s not just coincidence. This is a real challenge facing choirs in strong choral communities.
While this may be a main reason why choral consortia are implemented, it certainly isn’t the only reason they stick around. Check out this comprehensive list of benefits a choral consortium can bring to your community!
Eliminate Concert Conflicts
If you regularly run into scheduling conflicts with other choruses in your area, then a choral consortium event calendar can be just the thing you need. By eliminating concert conflicts, you allow the community more chances to engage with choral arts while simultaneously helping choral organizations build a strong audience. Plus, this allows singers the opportunity to participate in multiple choral organizations without the worry of date conflicts.
Network with Fellow Choral Leaders & Foster Artistic Collaborations
Members of choral consortia have an additional opportunity to network with other choral leaders in the area during their regular meetings. This can result in artistic collaborations and further support for each other's programs. The consortium's closed social forums, such as a group Facebook page, may also offer a chance to network, communicate effectively, ask questions, or share ideas with each other.
Want to borrow music, risers, or choir folders? The consortium's email distribution lists allow for choirs to share resources with each other, helping each organization save more time and money.
Enhance Concert Promotions
While each organization is busy promoting their own concerts, the choral consortium will help promote all member concerts in the community. They do this through a variety of ways such as an online event calendar, linkbacks from their website to yours, print advertising with an annual calendar listing, or social ads on your organization's behalf. Choral consortia can also help put together concerts from different organizations into a "concert ticket package" where members of the community can purchase one package and attend a variety of performances held by different organizations. And finally, member choruses can directly cross-promote their concerts together.
Recruit Singers and Fill Choral Staff Positions
Like the concert promotions, a choral consortium can help you promote any auditions or staff positions you have available through their various marketing channels or email distribution lists.
Provide Ticket Exchanges and Discounts for Singers
Members of the consortium may choose to share unique ticket discount codes with each other. This gives added value to your singing members who are interested in attending other choral performances. Groups may also choose to share or exchange free tickets with each other.
Choral Seminars and Workshops
Many choral consortia offer educational speakers during meetings who present on a variety of topics from recruiting singers, to applying for grants, to fundraising, to marketing your chorus, and more. They also may host special events such as directing workshops for artistic leaders!
Strengthen Arts Advocacy in the Community
While many choirs stay involved with arts advocacy in their communities, umbrella organizations, like choral consortia, can add their voice to the cause. A choral consortium can help conduct research into the choral impact on the community, can attend government meetings in which they help craft arts legislature, and can help organize petitions and protests in their network.
Creates a Vibrant Arts Community
A choral consortium will help plan large-scale choral events and choral programming in the community. Programs like "Big Sings," sing-alongs, and international cultural exchanges are more plausible with a consortium's backing. This helps foster an appreciation for the arts in the community, shows the value of group singing, and creates a strong, vibrant arts community.
Tori Cook is the former Director of Sales & Marketing at Chorus Connection. She sings with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and is a board member of the Greater Boston Choral Consortium. In a past life, she was the Music Director of the Harborlight Show Chorus and President of Chorus pro Musica in Boston. When not making music, she daydreams about adopting a golden retriever puppy and scuba diving to exotic locations around the world.