Starting a choir and keeping it going.

In the ANCA office we get many requests from people who would like to or who has just begun the journey to starting a choir – we celebrate when we hear this! We are asked for advice and what steps to take – we are asking members to help flesh out this information and help others – we will add these starting thoughts to the website and make additions as it comes to hand. Please email your thoughts to the office.

Steps to think about in starting a choir:

 Think about what kind of choir you would like to start – is it a specific agegroup, area of interest, location and the like

  1. What is the purpose for getting together – to sing a particular type of music, just for fun, want to perform?
  2. Visit another choir (or multiple) and observe the routines and culture to get some starting ideas.
  3. Meet with a director and pick their brains. Ask if they could be a mentor for the first year or more to support you in the process. 
  4. Consider the demands of the repertoire with the skills of the singers
  5. Consider an audition or not
  6. Consider if you would like to perform, how many times a year, where and why
  7. What will you call your group?
  8. How often will you meet to rehearse and for how long?
  9. What will be the costs involved – venue, conductor, accompanies, insurance, APRA/AMCOS licences as a start
  10. Given the costs, what will you charge to belong to your group – is there funding available to help?
  11. Is your financial model based on choir membership fees or on concert ticket generation
  12. Seek out local grants from councils. This can kick start your group in terms of repertoire or equipment (eg if your venue doesn’t have a keyboard). 
  13. What is your long term viability of using volunteers only against engaging professional services of conductors, accompanist, librarians
  14. What skill areas as a director do you need which might be different to your performance background ie the skills to run a group, might be different to the artistic skills to lead a group
  15. How is the administration of the group handled differently to the artistic skills
  16. If your choir is associated with another organisation, what is the relationship between the choirs purpose and the other organisations purpose
  17. Form a committee
  18. Ask a small group of friends to commit to being core members for the first year - a consistent dependable group. This may be different to your committee.
  19. Advertise! Newspaper, fliers, social media, whatever it takes
  20. Register as an incorporated association in your state, this is recommended and gives a structure to work around
  21. Join ANCA!
  22. Insurance for public liability – as an ANCA member discount insurance can be obtained through AON who is our official partner
  23. Pick songs that are easy to learn to gain confidence early on. Set a goal to perform and make it happen.
  24. Set a date, promote it and get started.
  25. Start singing!
Many choirs suffered big membership losses due to COVID and are now looking for ideas to "pick themselves up and dust themselves off and start again".  We have put some suggestions below which we hope will assist.
  • Advertise your choir on the ANCA website
  • Host regular 'bring a friend/family member' nights
  • Have a supper after performances with the audience to mingle and softly promote the choir
  • Advertise on community bulletin boards and in free/local publications
  • Arrange a photo opportunity/interview with your council magazine
  • Register as a community group on any council/community online sites
  • Seek sponsorship from a local organisation who can promote you in their own publications
  • Contact local aged care living centres to see how you could promote the choir through their therapy/activities team
  • Think of ways to reach new arrivals to your area (real estate agents?)
  • Create a flyer in CANVA or other free site to post in shop windows, community centres, mens sheds etc
  • When performing, brazenly promote the benefits of singing, the choir and that you are keen to build membership
  • Consider how your choir director, accompanist and members could connect with their own social/work/musical networks to spread the word