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I’ve never hosted a festival before, and I’m being asked to host 5th Grade Chorus Fest for next school year.
What all will I need to consider when planning?
How do I select the guest conductor?
Any/all advice is welcome!
Hello, I’m not sure where you are, but I think your first step should be to talk with the previous host(s). Ask around your district and get input from everybody, especially the teachers that have been there for a while. They probably have a list of people they have been trying to get for an honor chorus, and they will be happy that you asked their opinion.
There is an inexpensive book out by Eph Ehly, former Director of Choral Activities at UMKC who conducted hundreds of choral festivals. The book is filled with practical information for running a festival. It is a brief guide more than a book but it does include some checklists that you might find helpful and is a great reference to have. Amazon link below:
good luck! Jamie Spillane
The Eph Ely book is excellent and a great recommendation. Hosting a festival is a detail-intensive task for sure. Always work from big to small:
1. Get the date (in consultation with the participating teachers)
2. Get the venue (maybe do this first to see what dates are available)
3. Get the guest conductor contracted (inform him/her the level of ability and the length of the program and how much time there is to rehearse)
4. Select the literature (or approve the conductor’s choices)
5. Audition the choir (or get recommendations from the teachers)
6. Communicate at every step with everyone
7. Hold the festival
Clearly this is a simple list without much detail, but it helps to guide you through the big decisions that affect the smaller ones. I hope this helps a little. Be Well! Chris Peterson
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