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As choirs ramp up for the various upcoming competitions in the coming months, we wanted to dedicate an article on how to prepare your choir for an online competition. Read along to know more about what to keep in mind, from technical details to rehearsals.
Choir competitions are different from live performances for audiences, in that your repertoire should include songs that you can perform well and showcase your choir’s range. If you can showcase versatility in your performances, you will impress the judges. For example, judges from Canada’s Top Choirs were impressed with the range in dynamics that some of the participating choirs had. When performing for a live audience, your focus is on entertaining and can include popular songs which may not necessarily showcase your musical skills.
You should pick out songs to perform that showcase the strength of different choir members, from the sopranos to the violinist to the body percussion, and the composer should try to play to these strengths. A balance should also be given to all parts of the choir. Even if a pianist has a lesser time, it could be an important part and make up for it through their performance. Dynamic contrasts can make for an even more exciting performance.
If you are submitting a pre-recorded video for the competition, ensure that your lighting is adjusted so as to bring out the best in the performance. This could mean changing the focus on choir members when they are performing to showcase their facial expressions, or even adjusting the lighting with the highs and lows of the performance. Also, ensure that your microphones’ placement is set to pick up the sound from the musical instruments and the singers. Choreography and editing should be given importance too, along with sound mixing. Remember that it is not just about the singing, but also about the presentation.
You should also try to keep your entry inclusive by including sign language. This adds a lot of power to your performance, live or pre-recorded.
You should always reserve your best performance for later rounds of the competition. However, if it is a competition that only requires a single performance, showcases your best one. This includes the singing, acoustics, lighting, rhythm, tuning, sync between the choir members, and every aspect that makes your choir performance whole.
Always pay attention to detail. For example, if you are singing in an accent because the song demands such, write down the lyrics in the accent too. Ensure that the breath breaks are taken at the same time for the choir members. You can do this by marking all breaths. This will help you with your performance, and make your interpretation lively and uplifting.
Be authentic in your performance. While the choir members should always strive to be better, they should also play to their strengths. For example, a sensitive choir showing a lot of emotion in their performance is a good sign.
Always focus on the choir members’ tuning. This includes the unification of the vowels, energizing consonants with breaths, and opening and closing of the performance.
Lastly, a basic tip but important nonetheless - When preparing for a choir competition, ensure that you follow all the steps of registration and keep in mind the important dates. This ensures that you don’t miss out on important information from the competition organizers, and you can also get tips from the registration documents or previous editions, on what the judges may look for in a good performance.
This article also includes tips from judges of Canada’s Top Choirs and America’s Top Choirs, organized by FeelitLIVE. See the winning performances of these competitions here. To know more about upcoming competitions from FeelitLIVE, visit our website at www.feelitlive.com.