RECIPE- Choir Curry: Seasoning for Success


Choir Curry: Seasoning for Success

Michael Jothen


Choirs, in different styles, shapes, and forms, exist for different purposes and reasons. The Bach Singers, Chancel Choir, Symphonic Chorus, The Renaissance Motet Choir, Sanctuary Choir, The Schola Cantorum, Children’s Choir, The New Music Ensemble, Adult Choir, The Avant Garde Singers, The Motivational Singers, The Seniorizors, Youth Choir, Chorale, Glee Club, and A Cappella Choir are just some of the varied names used by choirs. Some names reflect historical connections. Others derive from a parricular musical mission or purpose. There are also those deriving from the physical setting in which they perform or a descriptive quality of the parricipants. Still others denote geographical considerations or characteristics associated with the leader.

Although choirs may have different names, each choir has one thing in common-each strives for success in achieving its purpose. Externally, although choirs may appear different in ways such as size, presentation characteristics, format, literature, and vocal characteristics, internally successfui choirs are “seasoned’ with just rhe right mix of spices. A well-curried choir is one step in achieving choral success.



Purpose: An understood and consistenrly evident and implemented rationale underlying a choir’s existence-embraced, shared, and valued by leader and members, and facilitated fairly and consistently through overt and covert actions of leader.

Leader: An individual primarily responsible for facilitating purpose; actions demonstrate concern with member growth and development; consistently sensitive to personal and musical needs and concerns of members; exhibits qualities including valuing and seeking a balance between personal needs and interests with those of members.

Members: Diverse group exhibiting a wide range of tndividual and collective knowledge, understandings, skills, and attirudes; willing to take risks under the guidance of the leader; seek success in terms of purpose; desire rc be of indiviclual value.

Rehearsals: A laboratory where vocal sounds are experienced ancl explored; primary setting in which leader and members interact; place where purpose can be realized.

Music: Human qualities that can be explored, revealed, and experienced within rehearsals; item capturing and presenting potential insights into rhe diversity of rhe human condition; means through which leader and members can unire in pursuit of purpose.

Performance: Experiences where the characteristics of music and purpose are realized to the fullest for members and leader; realized primarily within rehearsals; the magnitude and depth of rehearsal experiences are shared through public performances.

Choir: Group of members with leader, organized in pursuit of purpose; exist in a wide variety of sizes; has varying member of expectations; meets according to attaining purpose; seeks success in terms of purpose.



For all choirs regardless of style, shape, form, name, age, or purpose. An unlimited variety of servings are possible through combining rehearsal performances of music in differrent combinations. In this manner, the unique seasoning contributions of members of choir can be even more evident.

Select a leader who establishes, revisits, and reaffirms the purpose of the ensemble, who describes, analyzes, and reviews the characteristics of members, and identifies and evaluates music appropiiate to the members and purpose.

Prepare members, music, and leader for a daily, weekly, or rnutr.rally agteed upon scheduled rehearsal for not less than one half hour nor more than three hours. Note: Plan ahead so that purpose is evident throughout the rehearsal.

Place members, music, and leader in rehearsal setting with low heat. lmmediate and initial emphasis should be on identifying, sharing, and affirming individual members’ personal and musical characteristics as important to overall choir success.

Combine choir, leader, and music in a rehearsal with increasing heat. Engage choir with music so that performances are seasoned with the unique flavor brought to the choir by each individual member. (Note: Use of members’ chracteristics in this manner should be done with appropriate care, as strengths may vary widely.)

Garnish each rehearsal’s music continuously through the contriburions of individual members of the choir. Continue to stir and mix rehearsals in this manner until the resulting “choir curry” solidifies inro varied successful performances.

Transfer to public setting(s) ofyour choice.

Serve with programs, commentary, staging, performance variations, etc. appropriate to helping audience members connect with members’ experiences in rehearsals.