Make Your Performances Better

Either as a quartet or a chorus, we are always striving to make our performances better, of a higher quality, and more enjoyable for both the audience and the performers. ¬†There are several ways to do this… the first is to practice as often as you can, but that can even lead to some issues… So, here are ten things you can do, both in preparation for a sing-out and in considering a sing-out…

10.) Make sure the performance is a good fit for your group

Take the venue and the audience demographic into account when making this decision. ¬†If you are being asked to perform at a church but have no gospel pieces in your repertoire, you may want to reconsider the gig. ¬†Have they had you multiple times and want you again, but you don’t have any new material yet… consider postponing the gig until you have a few new pieces.

9.) For Choruses, never sing in public without risers…

In fact, don’t even practice without them. ¬†Directors always hound on practicing like you will perform and this should be true in every aspect of the performance. ¬†Coaches will even tell you that if you plan to have costumes, you should practice in those. ¬†Without being in “Performance Mode” we risk the performance becoming a “Gang Sing” which will impress no one… Singing quality will be effected as well when the guys are not “In the Zone”…

8.) Choruses, make sure a majority of the guys can be there – Quartets, make sure all your guys can be there…

Nothing can effect your performance more than missing guys from the risers. ¬†Becoming accustomed to hearing a certain singer beside you can make you sing a certain way. ¬†This will be dramatically altered, as will the sound of the entire ensemble, if you have key members not present. ¬†Quartets – if you have to have a sub, make sure it is someone you can trust to work with your sound, not against it. ¬†If you have the chance to rehearse with them prior to the event, do it – multiple times…

7.) Don’t take gigs where the audience has come to do something other than listen to you

We have such a need and want to perform that often we take gigs where we are not the point of the event. ¬†If the audience has the opportunity to “check out” when you are singing if something is not going well, they will do so. ¬†Malls, fairs, markets, “strolling gigs”…these will always leave you feeling like you sang just ok and not feel great about a well done performance.

6.) Leave some of your material at home

Some songs we do are ones that we do for ourselves or for other barbershoppers – consider leaving those song in the rehearsal room for certain events. ¬†Contest sets that require a lot of schtick or specific costuming or props do not make good pieces for a community sing-out. ¬†Sing the popular songs, the ones they will know or at least might be familiar with, and that will make your performance more attractive for the audience. ¬†Even if some of these songs are sung well, if the audience cannot connect with it, it won’t matter.

5.) Rehearse everything for the performance in order

This includes all of your songs, with emcee work and quartets, and entrances and exits. ¬†Doing all of it will get your guys used to the amount of time they need to be on risers, which songs comes next, and how long the quartet songs are. ¬†This will also clue you in to anything that may not be working well, for one reason or another, and gives you time to fix it before taking the stage. ¬†Professionalism is a key to all of this – I know we are an amateur organization and amateur singers but that doesn’t mean we cant take pride in it and make it the best it can be.

4.) Segue for sing-outs are important

Do not wait for applause to die before approaching the microphone. ¬†You need to be ready to go the moment the applause wavers to keep the audience interested and wondering what is coming next. ¬†However, keep these short and directed at the audience, not the chorus. ¬†If you happen to have a chorus where guys might like to shout out from the plead with them not to this as it shows a real lack of professionalism. ¬†Practice your segues before hand, because even if you think you are very good at coming up with these in the heat of the moment, the audience can tell that you are making it up…

3.) If using an emcee for your big show, get a professional…

Too many times we have all sat through shows where the emcee is causing problems with timing and mood. ¬†Make sure your emcee is someone who has done the job before, knows how to work an audience, and is confident. ¬†Don’t let someone do it who is from your chorus just because they want to it will be very hard for the audience to take if they are trying to cut their teeth on this performance.

2.) Always vet performances ahead of time

Keep a certain quality to your performances.  Consider having a bench mark for quartets to sing before they are allowed on your chapter show or sing-out.  Remember, whether or not the guys in the quartet are members of your chorus or not, they will have an impact on the audiences impression of your chorus.  Alway be positive and offer help and suggestion, but do not be afraid to deny  them the performance and ask that they continue to work.  This will only serve to make the quality of singing at your shows better in the future.

1.) Show the fun

I know before every time on stage and every performance we say have fun, but its true. ¬†if you have fun and show the audience you are having ¬†fun singing, then they will have fun too. ¬†That energy can effect everything else you are supposed to do to performa well if you can simply smile during the songs…

 

That’s it… work on those things and you will be well on your way to a better performance every time you are on stage. ¬† Oh, and all of these things are items that your chorus can be reviewed on during a performance by a Certified SOP Reviewer. ¬†We have a few in the district and would love to give you the information you need to help your show be better in the future. ¬†If you are someone who likes to attend shows and these are areas you like to comment on as well as others, you might be a good fit as a Certified SOP Reviewer. ¬†We are having a Certificaition Session during falll convention, so please sign up and let me know if you have question about it!