It was a very interesting discussion on ChoralNet. There was a choir concerned that they had a concert and only 17 people turned up. They asked for some input on how to do things differently so that they didn't have that happen again.
There were some very great ideas and it really made me think about how and why people schedule their performance times. See what you think.
1. Regularly Scheduled Times - There are many choirs that choose to have specific times for their concerts. For regular attendees that is fine. They always know that your "spring" concert is coming and you will be selling them tickets. the drawbacks to that is that you may get complacent and expect your audience to be there. I think you have to pay very close attention to your ticket sales (if you do that). Your choir members are a good barometer of whether it is getting harder to sell at specific times.
2. As Needed - As our regular readers know, our Embro Thistle Singers sing by invitation. We have sung for special church services, and for fund raisers such as the Relay for Life and the Tsunami Relief. We have sung at seniors' residences and at the Embro Fair and Highland Games. Some we have repeated but none is a "have to". This really works for us. We don't sell tickets but we get donations sometimes. This could work for you if you are willing to borrow music to start and no one is paid. We are able to run on little funding.
3. Time of Day - One of the suggestions that were made to help increase audiences was not to have every concert in the evening. Most community theatres have gone to having matinees on the weekends to accommodate those who don't want to drive in the dark or find getting out in the evenings difficult. This should be considered when planning your choir events as well.
4. Feed Them and They Will Come - Another great way to have a fun concert is to include food. The church choir I belonged to had some wonderful concerts with food. We did a spaghetti supper and sang Fiddler on the Roof songs. We did a chili lunch and sang many songs from popular musicals. The spouses and family of the choir all helped. We raised lots of money for choir robes and music. It was a lot of work but really fun.
I truly believe that it is absolutely essential that you and your choir be in total agreement on the whole idea of concerts. You must also remain flexible because if one way stops working you need to find another or even just change it up. We are all about sharing our music with others. What is the way that works best for you?