JOHN ROSSER, New Zealand
Choral theatre or how to win an audience and keep it!
In an era of increasingly visual, interactive and rapid-fire entertainment – typically consumed at home – the traditional choral concert model is under severe threat. Choirs need to find a response to the falling audience numbers that have beset live music performance almost everywhere.
Most choral people spend a large proportion of their time together in the rehearsal room, focusing inward on the many challenges and rewards involved in building a happy choir. It is easy, even tempting, to forget that in the end we have an audience to entertain… and in such a compelling way that they will want to keep coming back.
Drawing inspiration from the original Greek meanings of ‘choral’ and ‘theatre’, this talk explores with conductors, choristers and administrators what we as choirs have to sell, how to engage our audiences more fully, where our concert styles should be heading and what the barriers are to our getting there.
John Rosser MA (Doub Hons), LTCLtrained as a choral conductor under Professor Peter Godfrey, was a founder member of both the NZ National Youth Choir and the New Zealand Singers, and sang as a baritone soloist. In 1985 he formed the chamber choir Viva Voce, which he has now led in some 350 concerts, broadcasts, and recordings, while appearing as guest conductor for many other choirs and orchestras. Since 1996 he has worked as Associate Conductor and Chorus Director for New Zealand Opera, preparing over 50 operas for the company and conducting five. Chair of the New Zealand Choral Federation and Artistic Director of Sing Aotearoa(NZ’s national choir festival), John devised and directed the National Anthem Project for the 2011 Rugby World Cup and has led NZ’s successful bid to host the next World Symposium on Choral Music – in Auckland in 2020.
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