Magic Choral Trick #277 The Chorus Culture
Every chorus, in fact, every established group has a Culture – a way of being with each other, and a way of being with people who are not in the group – like audiences or prospective members.
The trick is to have someone or everyone decide exactly what that culture is. Culture develops gradually, and the best cultures develop as a result of people in leadership roles providing the inspiration and the vision of something wonderful.
For example, it takes a very conscious decision on the part of all members to become a welcoming chorus rather than a ‘we’re going to reserve judgement about how friendly to be until we’ve heard you sing’ group.
In my experience the sulky chorus, the unfriendly chorus, the uncooperative, sullen or complaining group is a result of leaders who have not made a decision and an effort to model the behaviour that they’d prefer to see, and can in fact become part of the problem if their response is just to berate the membership about their attitude.
The Culture also extends to the habit of excellence.
If the director, the choreography team, the music team, the costume team, the publicity people… etc. make the decision to do the very best work possible, the chorus will become inspired and will always give their best in every aspect of chorus life.
When I walk into a rehearsal I expect to create and to have help creating joy, inspiration, and excitement about singing as well as is humanly possible. And when the various team leaders are all in agreement, the chorus gets swept along with the enthusiasm, the excitement of excellence, the kindness and the fun.