Clare Edwards our Creative Producer is on BBC Radio 3’s The Choir today at 4pm to discuss the survey we plan to undertake in a few weeks.
The Purpose of the Survey
Choir-singing is amazingly fragmented. Choirs from different backgrounds and musical genres have their own central membership bodies, whether they are Barbershop groups, Gospel choirs, or huge choral societies, but there are quite literally thousands of choirs out there who are just doing it on their own.
Yet nobody knows The full picture of what sort of choirs, where they are or even how many there are. We think that previous research into UK choirs has not been sufficient and we think current estimates are too low.
The evidence for the benefits of singing in a choir grows all the time. It is hugely beneficial for physical and mental health, helps to build strong communities and often has transformative effects on those who take part. If, as we think, there are many millions of people singing in choirs every week in the UK, that’s a massive contribution to national well-being and potentially saves the country a considerable amount of money from health and communities budgets.
In order to promote choir singing and improve access for every adult in the UK we need the supporting data. We can raise then the profile of choral singing on all platforms showcasing the breadth of the genre and raising the sights of the thousands of choirs to do even more amazing work. This survey will find the missing numbers and create a compelling piece of evidence for advocacy across all choir organisations. Collecting evidence such as whether people audition or not is vital to contradicting the common media portrayal of singing linked to competition, stressful auditions and tales of jeopardy.
Voices Now continually receive requests for statistics about choir singing in the UK and being able to provide this will support the work of the various choral membership organisations as well as our own. There is a huge gap in the data that needs to be filled to support all choirs across the entire spectrum of choral activity in the uk.
By creating an open database of choirs and their contact details Voices Now will build a platform for choirs and future choir singers to connect. This will improve access to choirs for everyone in the UK.
Why Voices Now?
Voices Now gives choirs a voice. We drive the movement that encourages and enables all people regardless of background and previous experience to sing and enjoy listening to choirs. Through our Festivals at the Roundhouse, we have successfully created collaborations with choirs from different backgrounds and got them working with professional artists in different fields. But we know we’re only scratching the surface. We want to build on the movement we have created that celebrates singing, by improving access, encouraging participation, developing skills and repertoire, facilitating collaborative artistic endeavours and get the whole country singing. Our festivals help to do that, but in order to fully achieve these aims, we need to find out just how many people are already singing, so we know the strength, breadth and depth of what is already happening. Voices Now put choirs at the forefront and are perfectly positioned to host a place where choirs can promote themselves, and potential singers can go to find choirs.