For this month’s blog I am returning to my “recruiting and marketing” assignment—just for this month—since we are all thinking about beefing up our recruiting efforts for the Fall.
Here is the question—Does everyone you know-know that you direct a great youth choir?
The question is so basic, but it is often something that we forget to mention. When prompted, we often give our title at the church, which probably doesn’t mention anything about youth choirs or student choirs. (mine doesn’t)
The reason this is coming up for me his month is that, unfortunately, many of the larger churches in Houston no longer offer a student choir experience. When I began in this “calling” many years ago, it was understood that if there was a church, then, there would be a “youth choir.”
But that is no longer the case.
Very likely, the same is happening where you are. These days, when I tell people in a grocery store, or restaurant that I direct youth choirs, they are surprised. Some even comment, “I didn’t know churches did that any more.” I make sure that I inform them.
Sometimes the question comes from an unlikely source.
A few years ago the choral director from the middle school across the street asked if it would be OK if she recommended some of her younger singers to come be a part of our junior high choir. Some of her singers really needed more singing time to develop their ear training and reading skills.
The answer to THAT question is always “YES!” We would love to have them! And some of them came.
In subsequent conversations she commented that it was good for her singers (especially the boys) to have a male director, from time to time, just to hear that male voice leading.
If I hadn’t sought out that relationship, I doubt she would have come up with the idea.
Do the choral directors near you know that you direct a student choir at your church?
Make sure that they do!
You might even suggest—“if you have any singers who could really benefit from more singing opportunities, we only sing on Wednesday nights (or Sunday afternoon), but we sing well and we would love to have them”
You may have the opportunity to play the “gender card” if you happen to be the opposite from the directors in your area.
At the very least, let them know that you are available to lead sectionals during the day if that would ever help them out.
I know some directors who serve as the “emergency accompanist” at the school when there is a sudden illness. (That would never be ME, but you might be the perfect one for this.)
But don’t limit your conversations to other choral directors.
Especially this time of year there are new people who have moved into the area. Sometimes you can pick up on conversations at fast food places, even gasoline stations and grocery stores that let you know folks are new to your area.
In Texas we talk to strangers all the time, so it is easy to strike up a conversation of “welcoming.”
Short conversations about where they moved from, what brought them to town, and by the way, we have a great church with a great student choir for your kids (that are walking with them).
A disclaimer here (as you, perhaps, roll your eyes at all of this)—it is true that you have to kiss a lot of frogs before discovering your prince or princess. And you will TALK about youth choirs more than people step up and actually attend a rehearsal.
But, I think it is worth it.
Sometimes, a person comes who hears from someone else about your choir and what great things you are doing.
The ripple effects can go out from any conversation that you have.
You can never know who is listening and who is looking for JUST what you have to offer.
So I go back to the original question:
Do your neighbors on your street know?
Does the check-out guy at the grocery store know?
Does your dry cleaner know?
Do the school teachers near your church know?
Does your kid’s dance/soccer/akido/cheer teacher know?
Talk it up—it really works!
Oh, so what does the picture on this blog have to do with anything? Nothing at all, just trying to let people know that Student Choirs are great!