For Barbershop choruses, who have most of their repertoire memorized, standing on risers for most of the rehearsal is optimal – especially since visual presentation is so much a part of the style.
Even my Med school choir stands for the entire rehearsal, because they’re young, it’s good for the energy in the sound and also, there aren’t enough chairs.
However, when my Barbershop choruses are working on songs that are not yet off the page, they sit.
The mental engagement is less, the sound is less vital, and tuning suffers.
Here are some things that help.
1. In flat seated chairs with no arm rests, you can sit with the lower spine against the back of the chair, one foot on the floor in front of the chair, and one foot on the floor slightly to the side of the chair. (Yep – I hear you – not great in a short skirt. So unless a short skirt is a vital part of your choir social life, something more practical would be better.)
2. Church pews are really difficult. They seem to be designed to slide you back into a somnolent posture. Perching the sit bones on the front edge seems to work best.
3. Fold down theatre style seats also seem designed to encourage a kind of passive apathy – and there’s really no room to sit on the front edge if you’re holding music. This is the kind of seating that we have in my women’s chorus rehearsal space.
What worked really well the other night was using the ballet/pilates imagery of thinking of pulling the belly button in and back and attaching it to the spine. Instant improvement in the sound. This at least helps straighten out the torso in seats where this does not happen naturally.