There are a few different views about the issue of performing in public – some
choirs just like to gather together and sing for the joy of it without any of the stress and adrenalin that comes along with performing for external people.
Other choirs really enjoy performing, and thrive on the excitement and gratification of a job well done and the obvious enjoyment of an audience.
So which is the best sort of choir for you?
Remember that this might not be an “either/or” kind of decision – some choirs may be performing choirs, but be perfectly happy for certain members to bow out of concerts and appearances. It is always worth asking to see what their policy on this is.
I would also suggest that it is worth asking yourself why you want or don’t want to perform. What are the underlying reasons? For many people, singing is a very personal thing, and singing in public can feel very exposed – an uncomfortable feeling. If this is the case, then do bear in mind that singing in a choir is a very different thing to singing on your own. You will be part of a section – a number of people all singing the same thing as you – and the aim of the performance is to blend your voices together to make them sound as much like a single voice as possible. Nobody is going to be listening to your voice on your own, unless you ask to do a solo. Also remember that when you are surrounded by people all singing the same thing as you, it is much harder to get lost and sing the wrong thing. If you do all go spectacularly wrong at the same time, then nobody will be blaming you on your own, and the choir leader will gently figure out where you’ve gone wrong and try to find a way to make it easier to stick to the part you should be singing (if you have a choir leader who shouts or makes you feel bad about either the music or your own skill, LEAVE IMMEDIATELY, OK? Nobody should have to put up with that sort of behaviour.)
Of course, what it is impossible to describe is the high that one gets from singing in public for an appreciative audience. Yes, there can be nerves, butterflies in the stomach, and an adrenalin rush (whether you enjoy the adrenalin is a very personal thing – personally I detest it – it makes my fingers go very cold, I feel sick and I need many trips to the bathroom, but other people absolutely adore that “riding a rollercoaster” feeling.)
The thing that it is almost impossible to understand until you’ve experienced it is the feeling of being a part of something much bigger than oneself, losing oneself in the music and creating something utterly spellbinding. And when you’ve finished? When you are standing there in the spotlight, having performed the very best that you could, and listening to the crowd clapping just for *you*… Well, it’s the best feeling in the world, bar none.
Personally, I love performing, and enabling others to perform is the thing that motivates me, and makes me want to get up in the morning and start my day. I’d love everyone to have the opportunity to feel that incredible buzz. Even if singing solo is not your thing, give a choir a try, it is less scary, less pressure and all of the happy buzz, along with the pleasure of companionship with your other choir members. What’s not to like?