In the news this week, we are being told that more houses need to be built.  This is obviously exciting news, because all the Westminster puppets are jumping up and down in an attempt to promise more houses than their counterparts.   Apparently the Blue puppets will build lots of houses which can be bought for about £1 by anyone under 40.  In order to counteract this, the Red puppets have said they will build 5 times more houses than anyone else, whilst the Purple puppets will apparently give free houses to all the homeless people.

I’m afraid I’m a bit of a skeptic when it comes to politics and, particularly as we approach a General Election, I tend to ignore all the empty promises which are bandied about. No doubt the Great British Public will make their choice when the opportunity arises and everything will then continue for another 5 years.   Depending on what happens, we may get another  Coalition Government where people who have previously hated each other, suddenly find themselves working together. Or at least pretending to.

I often wonder what it would be like to start a choir made up of Politicians in Westminster. In fact I’m surprised Gareth Malone hasn’t already done that!  All the ingredients are there.  The Cabinet would make an ideal Committee. They could pretend they were running the choir, whilst in fact just sitting in a room on their own making decisions which no one else takes any notice of.  Then you have the party leaders; They could take the solos, completely oblivious to the fact that there were plenty of better people who could have filled that role if only they were given the chance.  The rest of the choir would be made up of the Backbench MP’s. The more I think about that, the more I think Gareth Malone is welcome to the idea!  I couldn’t imagine anything worse.

Anyone who has been involved in a choir, particularly some of the larger choirs, will have encountered the ‘politics’ which go on in such organisations.   Personally, I am a great fan of choir committees – although some of my choir committee members might venture to tell you otherwise!  The point is this.  A choir, like any organisation needs to have someone who is in overall charge – i.e the Musical Director!  But more importantly you do need a committee, or at least a group of people who are prepared to help out with the day to day running of the choir.

This includes looking after the money, investigating opportunities for concerts, sorting out the admin, booking rehearsal and concert venues, and keeping a register of who is attending each event to try and ensure that you don’t end up giving a concert with 30 sopranos 25 altos 2 tenors and 1 bass.  Although having said that, I currently have one choir where that is the approximate balance of membership!

If you currently sing in a choir and you’ve never volunteered to be on the ‘Committee’, I would actually highly recommend it.  Usually it’s not a massive commitment and it’s only for a year at the most.  But it does give you a chance to be involved and make a difference.   I am always conscious that not only do my choir members pay for the chance to be part of the choir, but they also give up a lot of time to learn the music and help run and organise the choir.  It is this spirit of working together which, for me, makes running choirs one of the best things I have ever done.   Perhaps if our politicians did actually form a choir the world might be a better place?

2 Replies to “The Politics of Choirs and Places where they Sing”

  1. I think the ‘benign dictatorship’ model for a choir isn’t a very good one in most cases (exceptions possibly being invitation-only choirs which are very much their MD’s baby). I have seen a number of unfortunate situations which could have been easily resolved if someone had felt able to stand up to the MD and say what was wrong. The model where the choir is run by the MD’s other half (far from unknown!) isn’t necessarily an improvement, for various reasons.

  2. I agree provided that someone is in overall charge and obviously is making sensible decisions. I work hard for all my choirs and always remember that members have a choice. My job is to make people want to continue being in my choirs. Mostly this seems to work!

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