San Francisco Girls Chorus Qualitative Research. Presentation / Report. 21 April 2008 . Research Background. With a grant from the Wallace Foundation, San Francisco Girls Chorus (SFGC) has initiated a process focused on building new audiences and increasing participation.
Presentation / Report
21 April 2008
Discussion in the groups covered the following:
Choruses and Choral Music
When asked about choruses and choral music, many respondents expressed enjoying them.
When asked about choruses and choral music a frequent question to emerge quickly was, “What type of choral music?”
Contributing to an even richer, fuller sound
Visually interesting – orchestra or opera + chorus
A lively, engaging experience
Potentially very moving and/or inspirational
Something sought out as an experience
Some had made a point to attend PBO, SF Symphony when the chorus is performing.Choruses / choral music
As part of a larger work, choruses were considered as:
While the idea of choral music did not excite – or was a turn off – reaction was quite different when respondents spoke in specifics of choruses or choral music they had enjoyed.
Choruses and choral groups mentioned most often during the research included the following (in alphabetic order):
Interestingly, the choruses that came up most often seemed to fall into these categories:
Chanticleer, Gay Men’s Chorus
Moving or fun
Chorus as a part of larger work
Another “instrument” in the piece, adding richness to the overall work.
Glide, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Jubilee
Energetic, moving, lively, gospel, jazz, blues
Period Ensemble Choruses
PBO, American Bach Soloists
Period music – baroque, early music, oratorios
SF Boys Chorus, Vienna Boys Choir, Harlem Boys Chorus
Long tradition of boys’ choirs, special-ness of pre-pubescent voices, strong reputation, esp. VBC
*Based on the organizations mentioned, not actual respondent groupings
Girls choruses, and the SFGC in particular, were not top of mind.
Boys’ choruses seemed more prominent in respondents’ minds.
Images & Perceptions
San Francisco Girls Chorus
A “guided visualization” exercise allowed each respondent to imagine for themselves what the experience of being invited to and attending a SFGC concert would be like.
When asked to imagine that they were invited to attend a SFGC concert, some looked forward to it, but most did not.
Many imagined that they had been invited to the event by the parent of a SFGC chorister.
Lacking familiarity, respondents were unclear what to expect in terms of the quality of the chorus.
Without really knowing, there was an assumption that the Chorus was more of a youthful training ground -- more “amateur” than “professional”.
These respondents mostly imagined a rather static and bland event.
It was hard for respondents to imagine that there would be anything to really engage their ears or eyes
Most imagined the program as a series of short pieces or songs drawn from various genres.
Respondents imagined what some described as “typical choral fare,” but wished for something that would be more engaging.
The SFGC concert was imagined as a matinee event in a smaller and less professional venue.
The wish of many respondents was for an intimate venue, but one that was more professional.
Unknown or smaller churches
Churches not familiar as performing arts venues
More credible / professional / more challenging repertoire
SF Conservatory of Music
Legion of Honor
Yerba Buena Center
Grace Cathedral, St. Ignatius Church
First Congregational Church, Berkeley
Yoshi’sSan Francisco Girls Chorus
Different venues communicated different messages:
Respondents thought SFGC concerts would gain credibility by being offered at performing arts venues like Herbst and SF Conservatory as well as larger church venues (e.g. Grace Cathedral) or “established” performing arts church venues (First Congregational).
As they imagined the concert, few respondents thought they would feel compelled to attend again.
Respondents needed to know that there would be something truly different to engage them the next time.
What respondents wanted to know to be really interested in the Chorus was:
As they got hints about some of these things – through the materials and stimuli shown – interest increased.
A number of rough positioning ideas or statements were shared with respondents.
Some statements were very positive to one group or another, depending on their musical tastes.
Finally, there were some statements (or parts thereof) that received a more mixed response.
Finally, there were some statements (or parts thereof) that were not well received.
The Home page reinforced stereotypes of a “Girls Chorus”.
Respondents did like seeing the left side navigational links and the logos of the sponsoring organizations.
Reaction to the brochure was much more positive.
Some of the concerts showed a potential to engage this audience.
Respondents liked seeing the girls in smaller groups and less “in formation”.
The quotes were very powerful.
Some of the programs were appealing to respondents.
Hear for yourselfA New Standard for Girls’ Voices
This piece, shown only in the last group, received a very positive reaction.
Sources of Information
Respondents, across groups, discovered performing arts opportunities through various and diverse means.
Going forward, if SFGC wants to engage the classical music audience, it will need to:
If SFGC wants to engage the classical music audience, it will need to: