There are many details to keep in mind when creating a youth chorus. The information below is specifically about youth choruses. Also be sure to check out the GALA Resource Center topics on Fund Development, Marketing, Personnel and Planning.
An ideal rehearsal space is centrally located on a bus/train line, large enough for movement as well as singing, and one that feels comfortable for the youth attending.
- Centralized location: find a space with free parking (if possible) that young people can reach by public transportation. If you are in a small town or rural area, gather some young people together and ask them for a good location: school, church or synagogue, performance venue or dance studio, or a meeting room in a community center can all work well.
- Safety: look for a space where youth feel physically safe and welcome.
- Consistency of space: It is important to stay in one place so that new young people can easily find your chorus.
Be open-minded and creative. You never know who will support your work through donating space.
Many cities have programs that offer bus/transit vouchers to non-profit organizations serving youth. Ask for vouchers to help your youth get to rehearsals and performances. If your city has no such program, research the cost and ask an individual or business to support this part of your mission. For performances that occur late at night or out of town you will likely need to provide car-pooling and adult drivers. See Templates for information on transportation and liability.
Most GALA youth choruses are open to any youth that wants to participate but a few require an audition. For ideas and resources on auditions, recruitment and singer retention see Auditions.
Get advice from a team of youth in selecting your chorus rehearsal time. Evening may be the best option for youth who have after-school activities. Many youth in GALA choruses are in transition in terms of home life and education so scheduling and attending rehearsals consistently can be an issue. Make your attendance expectations clear and also leave room for flexibility. For chorus member contracts of understanding see Templates.
Feed your youth! Snacks during rehearsals are important. Plan ahead to provide meals for chorus travel, performances or retreats. Invite adult volunteers to make or provide food for the chorus. Youth may arrive at rehearsal hungry so make sure you are providing food that is nutritious and will sustain them through the rehearsal and beyond. Fruit and nuts are a perfect snack. Avoid sweets and soda. When advertising your chorus be sure to include: "Food and transportation included!"