Posts Tagged 'performance'

Making Connections & Creating Community In an Overscheduled World

Guest post by Susan Eernisse, Children’s Music Editor for Jubilate Music Group

One of the things we as children’s choir directors deal with is the competition for a spot on the weekly family schedule. I believe there are some fantastic things going on every week in our choir rooms, yet how do we get the word out to families? And how do we get children there – and keep them coming back week after week?

I believe that making connections with the parents as well as the children is key. Here are a few things I have tried with some success.  

  1. Advertise choir through all ministries of the church – music ministry, children’s ministry, even senior adult ministry – often grandparents are the ones tasked with transporting the children. 
  2. Make regular contact: send weekly emails to the parents telling the important things happening in choir that week; provide a calendar with key dates before the beginning of each semester; follow up on absentees – first with a text or email to the parents, and then with a handwritten note to the child. It is amazing how appreciative parents are when you notice their child is missing from rehearsals! 
  3. Send purposeful greetings. Birthday cards are always a great touch. Send thank you notes, get-well cards, holiday cards – address them to the child, but the parents will notice and appreciate your time and attention. Last year I sent Thanksgiving cards to the children timed to arrive during the holiday break. I included a hymn story for the children to share with their families and tucked in a card listing all the remaining choir dates through December.        
  4. Involve children in worship leading in addition to singing in the choir. Children can pray, collect the offering, light candles, read scripture, and even serve on your worship team on occasion. Budding instrumentalists can play preludes or offertories. 
  5. Offer elective/auxiliary groups for your early arrivers. We began a handchime choir for our older children that meets between our family night supper and choir time because we noticed many finished eating quickly and had nothing to do until choir time. Consider Orff ensembles, drama groups, percussion ensembles – even bucket drumming!
  6. Create a social media page for your choir.  We have a separate page that is connected to our church account. You can make the page private to allay parent’s privacy concerns. Post video snippets of rehearsals, photos of activities and announcements regarding performances and special events. Enlist some parent volunteers to “market” your group, or have a rotation of parent helpers to attend choir, take pictures, write cards to absentees, etc. 
  7. Involve families in music making. Enlist parents or older siblings to play instrument parts, sing harmony parts, read narrations, or add percussion instruments. Think of your choir as a family activity, not just something else to fill the children’s weekly calendar. 
  8. Plan public performances each year. As an outreach of your children’s choir program, explore offering programs for service clubs, senior living facilities, non-profit agencies, and more. Even musicals can be mobile events if you plan with simple sets and portable props.

As your choir begins to transform from choral group to more of a family, consider the new musical, Family Tree by Ellen Woods Bryce from Jubilate Music Group.

It has simple casting, easy set, and important themes of concern for children and families in today’s world: how to become part of God’s Family Tree, communication, adoption, divorce, and forgiveness.  It teaches important lessons not only for children, but for their parents as well. As is so often the case, music is a means of ministry to and through the children you faithfully serve week after week.

Susan Eernisse is Children’s Music Editor for Jubilate Music Group. She serves as Associate Music Minister and Director of the Performing Arts Academy for First Baptist Church Gainesille (GA).  She is also a published writer.  


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