Magic Choral Trick #301 Concentric Circles

Introduced to my women’s chorus last week by our coach Wendy McCoole – this is a terrific tool for bumping up the presentation level of a song.

Of course, this only works well when the song is memorized. (For choirs that use music even working one phrase at a time like this will make a difference)

Two concentric circles:

The inside one facing outwards, and the outside one facing inwards. Equal number of people in each circle.

Every person sings directly to the person opposite them in the other circle.

1. Try to perform with more emotion than the person opposite
2. After a couple of phrases, the outside circle people move one place to the left
and sing the next couple of phrases to their new partners opposite
3. If there’s a big enough space for this exercise, you’ll be able to hear
your partner well enough to sing as if the song was just a duet for the
two of you

I tried this also with my men’s chorus – with the same result as with the women – much, much more emotional involvement in both face and body from everyone, but it was especially noticeable with the people who are usually the most restrained.

There were some tears with the women, and initially some hamming it up from the men. In our culture we tend to shy away from expressing emotion to one another, so the exercise was an emotional stretch for both groups. However, its difficulty makes it worth doing, and the power of the result speaks for itself.


About janetkidd

I've been waving my arms in front of choirs now for more than 35 years - and these are descriptions of all the very best things I've learned. I direct a Women's Competitive Barbershop Chorus, a Men's Competitive Barbershop Chorus, a Med School choir, and for a few weeks each year - Big Choir (about 100 voices) - which performs at an annual fundraising concert. Hope at least some of these Choral Magic Tricks will be useful to you - and thanks for reading. Janet

Posted on March 29, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. margaret kresse

    Thank you, Thank you Thank you for sharing this. I direct a Sw.eet Adeline group of about 30 ages 58-88. I have had problems with them giving facial expressions I tried this today and the results were wonderful. The sound improved, faces improved and they told me how much fun they had, I think being across from each other instead of side by side gave them the courage to emote more. Please keep on giving us suggestions. You are the greatest

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