By Sally K. Albrecht
Musicians are, by nature, creative people. Don’t you enjoy attending concerts where something completely surprising or different happens? I’m always looking for new ideas, fresh tricks, inventive ways to present a song and create a magical, memorable moment. Here are a few ideas.
• Have your singers process in while singing, forming a circle around your audience or singing in the aisles.
• Plan a “preshow” feature with small groups singing in the lobby or in the aisles—great for a cappella training! (Cirque du Soleil does this all the time, creating audience rapport or a special mood before each of their shows.)
• Select a choral that features a special instrumental obbligato or small instrumental group.
• Plan a teacher/student selection or a parent/student selection that requires minimum rehearsal time.
• Program an audience sing-along, clap-along, or play-along. Teach the audience a rhythm if necessary before performing the song, then assign a student to be the audience “leader” and show the audience when it’s their time to participate. I’ve been known to pre-set small rhythm instruments at different seats. I’ve also invited the audience to find keys, tic-tac containers, or two writing utensils from their pockets or purses! Pens that click open even make a neat sound!
• Assign or select individual students to prepare short, concise spoken introductions, especially if the song is in a foreign language, from another country, or features a text written by a famous person/poet. Tell your audience if there’s something special they should listen for during the performance of that song.
• If several groups are performing, connect your concert with featured performers, soloists, or small groups (audition and work with them beforehand).
• Invite a sign-language specialist to your concert to sign an inspirational song.
• Consider hosting a “pyramid concert” with your feeder schools, with each level performing individual selections. Then plan a big group finale with all the participants singing from their seats or on stage. Make sure that siblings sing side by side for an extra touch!
• While performing a special “music” or “friendship” song, project a powerpoint featuring photos of your singers during rehearsals or on a recent trip or music tour.
Add a special touch with Alfred’s two new VideoTrax DVDs. Each VideoTrax DVD provides overlapping photographic images to be projected onto your large screen. Two versions are included, one with overlaid lyrics and one without, and both offer accompaniment orchestrations.
Thank You, Soldiers – By Michael & Angela Souders. Available SATB, 3-part mixed, 2-part, SoundTrax CD, VideoTrax DVD, Orchestration (Concert Band/Orchestra).
These stirring images of men and women in the military will take your audience on an emotional journey. Combine your choirs for an uplifting Veteran’s Day performance (Nov. 11) or use for any patriotic event.
Elementary teacher Karen (MD) writes: What a wonderful idea for concerts. Thank you, once again, for stepping it up for us. I love it!
Light a Candle – By Andy Beck. Available SATB, 3-part mixed/SAB, 2-part, SoundTrax CD, VideoTrax DVD.
Experience a wonderful photo potpourri of candles and candlelight, celebrating the seasons of Advent, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Las Posadas. Music teacher Costa (NC) reports that his singers will also be holding battery-powered candles!