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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.

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San Francisco Girls Chorus

Qualitative Research

Presentation / Report

21 April 2008

research background
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.
  • One important aspect of this program involves increasing attendance of SFGC by classical music patrons.
    • To better inform its planning efforts in this regard, SFGC wished to undertake qualitative research to gain insights into perceptions of SFGC by classical music patrons and to explore means to cultivate this potential audience.
research objectives
Research Objectives
  • Specific objectives of the research were to explore and understand:
    • Depth of awareness of SFGC and what image and perceptions -- rational and emotional -- exist based on actual knowledge of the organization and/or associations with its name and genre.
    • Barriers to attendance of choral events in general and SFGC in particular.
    • How SFGC fits within the broader cultural landscape of San Francisco Bay Area classical music and performing arts organizations.
    • What kinds of programming or messaging would ameliorate barriers and attract classical music audiences to SFGC.
    • Reaction to current marketing materials for SFGC to understand their ability to engage and compel the classical music attendee.
research method
Research Method
  • Three focus groups were conducted at Fleishman Field Research in downtown San Francisco on 11 March 2008.
  • Respondents were recruited from lists provided by the San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Performances, San Francisco Symphony and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra.
  • Respondents were screened to meet the following specifications:
    • Current music patrons who have attended at least two classical music performances in the past year at venues in the San Francisco Bay Area.
    • The decision maker with regard to attendance at these classical music events.
    • None had attended a San Francisco Girls Chorus event unless it was in conjunction with a sponsoring organization (e.g. SF Symphony, SF Opera).
    • All had to express an openness to attending choral music (non-rejecters).
    • All had to have incomes of $50,000 plus (singles) or household income of $100,000 plus (married or living with partner), with a range of incomes represented.
    • A mix of genders (skewing female), ages 25–64, education (college grad or better), ethnicity and household types were represented in each group.
discussion flow
Discussion Flow

Discussion in the groups covered the following:

  • Introductions by respondents (who they are, what they do, type of performing arts events they attend).
  • Sources of information respondents use to stay current with the arts and to aid in their decision-making on events to attend.
  • Respondents’ perceptions of choral music and choral groups in general and experience with particular organizations.
  • Level of awareness of the San Francisco Girls Chorus and image and perceptions based on actual knowledge of the organization and/or associations with its name and genre.
    • A guided visualization exercise was used to allow each respondent the opportunity to explore his or her own perceptions – rational and emotional – of what a SFGC concert might be like and their feelings about attending.
    • This exercise served as a springboard to a discussion of the appeal of and barriers to attending as well as of specific expectations around the performance, repertoire, audience, venue, etc. of the San Francisco Girls Chorus.
discussion flow continued
Discussion Flow (continued)
  • Reaction to potential positioning statements or ideas.
    • Respondents were each give a sheet with 10 different positioning statements for SFGC. Respondents were asked to think of these as messages or different ways that SFGC might talk about itself.
    • After recording their individual reactions to each statement (in terms of how each left them feeling about SFGC), respondents then shared their reactions with the group.
  • Reaction to the SFGC Home page.
    • Respondents were given color copies of the Home page to view, and it was also shown on a monitor.
    • After recording their individual reactions to the Home page, respondents then discussed these reactions and the Home page with the group.
  • Reaction to the SFGC Brochure.
    • Respondents were each given a copy of the 2007-2008 SFGC Brochure to review.
    • After recording their individual reactions to the piece, respondents then discussed their reactions and the brochure with the group.
detailed findings
Detailed Findings

Choruses and Choral Music

In General

choruses choral music
Choruses / choral music

When asked about choruses and choral music, many respondents expressed enjoying them.

  • Most had attended choral music at other organizations – PBO, SF Symphony, SF Performances and as part of works at SF Opera.
  • Some had sung in choruses in their youth.
  • For virtually all, choral music brought to mind a range of feelings and emotions: seasonal joy, contemplation, feelings of being moved or inspired, nostalgia, fun, boredom, restlessness, etc.
choruses choral music1
Choruses / choral music

When asked about choruses and choral music a frequent question to emerge quickly was, “What type of choral music?”

  • Respondents quickly drew a distinction between a cappella or accompanied choruses and choral performances which were part of a larger orchestral or operatic work.
    • In their minds, these were two distinctive genres, each with their own set of associations and feelings.
choruses choral music2
Functioning like another instrument

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:

choruses choral music3
Structured and boring

Lacking in energy, intensity and variation

Not visually engaging

Potential amateurish

Seasonal concerts and sing-a-longs at performing arts and church venues

Choruses / choral music

On their own, a cappella choruses were considered as potentially interesting but more likely:

choruses choral music4
Choruses / Choral music

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.

  • They did get excited about:
    • Hearing music they enjoy, such as:
      • Seasonal works (e.g. Messiah, Christmas concerts, sing-a-longs)
      • Classical/religious works (e.g. an oratorio, requiem, magnificat)
      • Gospel music
    • A chorus with a strong identity or reputation
    • A seasonal event at a venue they enjoy
choruses choral music5
Choruses / choral music

Choruses and choral groups mentioned most often during the research included the following (in alphabetic order):

  • American Bach Soloists – baroque music
  • Chanticleer – strong, even international reputation, choreographed movements, candlelight processions, “put on a show”, seasonal concerts at Grace Cathedral, Mission Delores, First Congregational Church
  • Gay Men’s Chorus – very talented, lively, fun
  • Philharmonia Baroque Chorus – highly regarded, period music, oratorios
  • SF Boys Chorus – been around a long time, well thought of, St. Ignatius Church performances
  • SF Opera Chorus – adds to the richness of the performance, draws from other organizations like the SF Boys Chorus
  • SF Symphony Chorus – phenomenal chorus, sings as one voice, adds dimension to a performance
  • Vienna Boys Choir – strong reputation, uplifting, energetic, fun
choruses choral music6
Choruses / choral music
  • Other choral organizations mentioned included (in alphabetic order):
    • Berkeley Community Chorus
    • Berkeley Men’s Choir
    • Edwin Hawkins Singers
    • Glide Memorial Choir
    • Golden Gate Boys Choir
    • Harlem Boys Choir
    • Jubilee Singers – at Davies
    • Mormon Tabernacle Choir
    • SF Bach Choir
    • SF Girls Chorus
    • Sweet Honey in the Rock
    • The Nylons
choruses choral music7
Choruses / choral music

Interestingly, the choruses that came up most often seemed to fall into these categories:

Men’s Choruses

Chanticleer, Gay Men’s Chorus

Strong reputations

Moving or fun

Chorus as a part of larger work

SF Symphony

SF Opera

Another “instrument” in the piece, adding richness to the overall work.

Gospel Choirs

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

Boys’ Choruses

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

choruses choral music8
Choruses / choral music

Girls choruses, and the SFGC in particular, were not top of mind.

  • Few seemed aware of girls choruses or SFGC.
  • Among those who were aware of SFGC, the depth of awareness was low.
    • Respondents knew little about the SF Girls Chorus, other than its name.
    • Some mentioned that they had – or at least thought they might have – seen the Girls Chorus perform with SF Opera or SF Symphony.
  • This discussion often prompted a transition to boys’ choruses and, in particular, SF Boys Chorus.
    • Respondents volunteered that SFBC had been around longer than the SFGC and seemed more established.
    • Performances at the Opera and Symphony, as well as at St. Ignatius Church, were mentioned
choruses choral music9
Choruses / choral music

Boys’ choruses seemed more prominent in respondents’ minds.

  • The following were mentioned by some:
    • The long tradition of boys’ choruses
    • The transitory quality of the pre-pubescent male voice, which made it interesting and special
    • Well known boys’ choral groups (e.g. Vienna Boys Choir, Harlem Boys Choir)
detailed findings1
Detailed Findings

Images & Perceptions

of the

San Francisco Girls Chorus

san francisco girls chorus
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.

  • As they imagined this, they were asked to note:
    • Who invited them
    • Their reaction to the invitation
    • The performance venue
    • What they noticed on arrival
    • The program
    • What they saw on stage
    • The performance
    • Feelings after the event
    • Desire or not to attend again
san francisco girls chorus1
San Francisco Girls Chorus

When asked to imagine that they were invited to attend a SFGC concert, some looked forward to it, but most did not.

  • Some were curious to discover what this group was about and what it might have to offer them.
    • Depending on what was being performed and the assumed quality of the group, they could imagine a potentially enjoyable experience.
  • Some, however, dreaded the event.
    • If possible, their choice would be to reject the invitation. They couldn’t envision that there would be anything engaging or entertaining for them.
  • Overall, most just anticipated it would be a boring, if endurable, event.
    • Not really knowing anything about the SFGC or what to expect, they found it hard to imagine anything compelling about it.
san francisco girls chorus2
San Francisco Girls Chorus

Many imagined that they had been invited to the event by the parent of a SFGC chorister.

  • In fact, those who had attended choral events in the past had often been invited by friends who sang in a chorus themselves or by parents of children who sang in a chorus.
  • The audience was imagined to be filled with family and friends.
san francisco girls chorus3
San Francisco Girls Chorus

Lacking familiarity, respondents were unclear what to expect in terms of the quality of the chorus.

  • Was this just an “after-school” activity or something more accomplished?
  • Did this chorus have different levels, like some choruses do, and what would be the quality of the level(s) performing?
  • Was the chorus comprised of a range of ages or just younger girls? (Most seemed to imagine a range of ages 8-18)

Without really knowing, there was an assumption that the Chorus was more of a youthful training ground -- more “amateur” than “professional”.

san francisco girls chorus4
San Francisco Girls Chorus

These respondents mostly imagined a rather static and bland event.

  • The visual image was of a symmetrical block of girls, standing and singing as one.
    • The image lacked energy.
    • Few imagined the girls showing any expression.
    • No one imagined the girls moving about the stage or venue.
  • Musically, the performance was one without dramatic contrast.
    • Most imagined the girls singing as “one voice”, a harmonic blending.
    • Few imagined a solo performance or any sort of dramatic intensity in the performance.
    • They imagined little or no accompaniment.

It was hard for respondents to imagine that there would be anything to really engage their ears or eyes

san francisco girls chorus5
San Francisco Girls Chorus

Most imagined the program as a series of short pieces or songs drawn from various genres.

  • The expectation was of a program inclusive of a wide variety of music allowing the chorus to demonstrate their ability to sing across genres.
  • A concern was that the group might not be able to do longer, more challenging classical pieces.

Respondents imagined what some described as “typical choral fare,” but wished for something that would be more engaging.

san francisco girls chorus6
San Francisco Girls Chorus

The SFGC concert was imagined as a matinee event in a smaller and less professional venue.

  • Not knowing the age of the girls or the professionalism of the group, the expectation was of a matinee (or weeknight event).
    • It was hard for respondents to imagine the concert being enough of an “event” for a serious concert going crowd.
  • Most often, respondents envisioned the performance taking place in a church or a school auditorium. These felt “realistic” in terms of being:
    • The kind of venues that a group such as the Chorus might be able to affordably rent (or which might be made available to them free of charge)
    • Of a size that they might be able to fill in terms of the audience.
    • Intimate enough to allow them to be heard.
  • These school or church venues reflected the perception of this being an “amateurish” group.
    • And, they were not perceived as comfortable or desirable environments in which to attend a concert.
san francisco girls chorus7
San Francisco Girls Chorus

The wish of many respondents was for an intimate venue, but one that was more professional.

  • Often mentioned, in this regard, were venues such as Herbst Theater and the SF Conservatory of Music.
    • These were felt to cast the expectation of a higher caliber group.
  • Also mentioned were certain church venues, namely First Congregational Church in Berkeley, Grace Cathedral and St. Ignatius Church.
    • It was very clear that not all church venues are perceived equally, and that some are more appealing for various reasons.
      • First Congregational was known as a established arts venue and, in that regard, carried a perception of “high quality”.
      • Grace Cathedral and St. Ignatius were regarded as special and beautiful venues and were often associated with holiday concerts.
san francisco girls chorus8
Less credible / more amateurish / less challenging repertoire

School Auditoriums

Unknown or smaller churches

Churches not familiar as performing arts venues

More credible / professional / more challenging repertoire

Herbst Theater

SF Conservatory of Music

Legion of Honor

Yerba Buena Center

Grace Cathedral, St. Ignatius Church

First Congregational Church, Berkeley

Orpheum Theater


San 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).

san francisco girls chorus9
San Francisco Girls Chorus

As they imagined the concert, few respondents thought they would feel compelled to attend again.

  • While some imagined the SFGC concert as a pleasant enough experience, it would not compete for their cultural time.
  • Additionally, some noted the expectation that these types of concerts were all “more or less the same” – so there would be no need or compelling reason to return.

Respondents needed to know that there would be something truly different to engage them the next time.

san francisco girls chorus10
San Francisco Girls Chorus

What respondents wanted to know to be really interested in the Chorus was:

  • Does it offer a high quality musical experience?
  • What would be performed?
  • Would it be visually and musically engaging?
  • What is compelling or unique about girls’ voices?
  • Where does it perform?

As they got hints about some of these things – through the materials and stimuli shown – interest increased.

detailed findings2
Detailed Findings

Positioning Statements

positioning statements
Positioning Statements

A number of rough positioning ideas or statements were shared with respondents.

  • These were used as “stimuli” for respondents to react to and to provoke further discussion about SFGC.
  • Respondents noted their individual reaction to statements before discussing these reactions in the group.
positioning statements1
Positioning Statements
  • The statements (or parts thereof) that resonated most were those that began to chip away at the stereotypical notion of what a “chorus”, and particularly a “girls chorus,” is:
    • That notion being a large group of singers planted immobile on a stage, singing with one voice in harmony, offering little auditory or visual engagement.
  • These statements held out the promise of -- or at least began to hint at -- something more active, engaging, varied and entertaining. Phrases and ideas in these statements that resonated most were:
    • “Spirited performances” and “Engages its audiences” made the performances sound more lively.
    • “Innovator in the creation and performance…” made the chorus sound more interesting and accomplished.
    • “…to showcase the young female voice” sounded more intimate, implied solos and conveyed something special about the young female voice.
    • “Performs with accomplished guest artists to deliver rich and satisfying performances that feature solo and choral voices” (discussed next page)
positioning statements2
Positioning Statements
  • The most appealing statement, “…performs with accomplished guest artists to deliver rich and satisfying performances that feature solo and choral voices,” lead to some interesting discussion.
    • Respondents thought use of solo artists from the Chorus itself would add musical and visual interest.
    • The idea of “guest artists” held even greater appeal. Respondents could imagine:
      • Vocal artists from a contrasting musical tradition (e.g. a jazz artist)
      • Instrumental artists or ensembles (e.g. percussion, gamelan, etc.)
      • Classical vocal artists - “up and comers” or local established artists.
        • Some did comment that bringing in too big a name might overshadow the chorus and detract from its reputation rather than enhance it.
        • Some also expressed that a voice that complemented the register of the girls’ voices rather than duplicated it, might be more interesting.
positioning statements3
Positioning Statements

Some statements were very positive to one group or another, depending on their musical tastes.

  • Those more into classical music or serious about choral music loved the idea of “a deep and rich exploration of the classical vocal repertoire”.
    • But, even some of these found “classical musical repertoire” vague and hoped that it would be something too mainstream or “KCFC”.
  • Others seemed to prefer “a rich exploration of the choral repertoire from classically based choral works to folk songs to contemporary fare”.
    • Still, the fear of many was that this might be a “sample pack” or “a lot of shorter works” that would leave them feeling unsatisfied.
    • Some liked the idea of this statement simply because it seemed to offer a way to liven up what they perceived as an otherwise dull event.
  • Some found “new music” compelling, but most did not.
positioning statements4
Positioning Statements

Finally, there were some statements (or parts thereof) that received a more mixed response.

  • “Professionally choreographed movements”
    • Appealed to some as enlivening and engaging but others were leery, and thought these might be corny or silly – a lot depended on the specifics.
  • “Inspires audiences with its uplifting performances”
    • While many respondents liked the idea of being inspired by a performance, they felt that whether they were inspired or not was highly dependent on what was being performed (and if it was the kind of music they enjoyed) and the quality of the performance.
  • “Recognized for its musical excellence though…international tours…world-class competitions…expanding discography”
    • Some found this impressive – it helped to establish the credentials of the group for them – but it still left them with doubts, not knowing what the chorus performs.
    • Other expressed that any group can tour or record and the kinds of choral events they compete in wouldn’t necessarily make them a group this audience would want to hear.
positioning statements5
Positioning Statements

Finally, there were some statements (or parts thereof) that were not well received.

  • “Fresh interpretations of choral masterworks”
    • This didn’t sound credible or desirable.
    • Amateurs shouldn’t “interpret” until they’ve mastered.
    • Some didn’t want masterworks interpreted.
  • “Premier young female choral ensemble”
    • Was perceived as having too many qualifiers to be meaningful – who else is out there?
  • “Youthful voices performing at a near professional level”
    • While respondents liked the idea that the chorus would perform at a very high level, the modifier “near” was a turnoff.
detailed findings3
Detailed Findings

SFGC Homepage

SFGC Brochure

sfgc home page1
SFGC Home Page

The Home page reinforced stereotypes of a “Girls Chorus”.

  • The photograph of the girls, communicated a pleasant and happy group, but not an accomplished chorus.
    • With the girls in their uniforms and the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco in the background, it appeared as more like a “field trip” or “Girl Scout outing”.
    • The SFGC logo was also noted as being similar to the Girls Scout logo (pictured left).
  • The photograph reinforced the expectation respondents had of a static group singing with one voice – not a group capable of a more vocally interesting and visually engaging performance.
  • While some liked the red coloration of the uniforms and page, others found it overwhelming.
sfgc home page2
SFGC Home Page

Respondents did like seeing the left side navigational links and the logos of the sponsoring organizations.

  • These helped to establish credibility for the SFGC.
    • The links conveyed this as a organization with some depth.
  • Approaching the site as a “potential audience” member, rather than as a parent, respondents wished that “Featured events” were more prominent on the page – at the top, rather than the bottom.
sfgc 2007 2008 brochure1
SFGC 2007-2008 Brochure

Reaction to the brochure was much more positive.

  • It conveyed a lot of information about the Chorus, some surprising to respondents:
    • The girls were older than some had expected – and just older girls (no younger ones).
    • They did appear as more professional than amateur.
    • Some of the concerts and guest artists sounded interesting.
  • The quotes in the piece, when noticed, were very powerful in establishing the high caliber of the group.
    • Most powerful were the quotes from Michael Tilson Thomas, Kent Nagano and SF Magazine.
    • Frederica von Stade was a well-regarded source, but her quote didn’t establish the credentials of the group.
  • Some wished for a little description and history of the Chorus to further establish its credentials.
sfgc 2007 2008 brochure2
SFGC 2007-2008 Brochure

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.

sfgc 2007 2008 brochure3
SFGC 2007-2008 Brochure

Some of the programs were appealing to respondents.

  • “Music Fit for a Queen” intrigued many with its title, visual and description.
  • The “Silver Bells” Christmas concert held appeal as a holiday event.
  • “Premiers With Brazilian Jazz Artist Luciana Souza” struck many as a highly appealing use of a guest artist.
  • “With ODC/Dance at YBC” intrigued a number of respondents.
  • “Enchanted April” and “Dance On, My Heart” drew little interest – titles and visuals did not engage most respondents and were a turn-off to many.
sfgc 2001 2002 brochure
SFGC 2001-2002 Brochure

Hear for yourselfA New Standard for Girls’ Voices

sfgc 2000 2001 brochure
SFGC 2000-2001 Brochure

This piece, shown only in the last group, received a very positive reaction.

  • It communicated a very different image of the SF Girls Chorus – older, mature, sophisticated.
    • The inference was that their music-making would be more sophisticated as well.
  • Contributing to these perceptions were:
    • The colors used in the brochure
    • The black outfits
    • Their appearance as a collection of individuals rather than a static block of girls
  • “Sacred Landscapes” struck some respondents in this group as a potentially interesting concert.
detailed findings4
Detailed Findings

Sources of Information

sources of information
Sources of Information

Respondents, across groups, discovered performing arts opportunities through various and diverse means.

  • Newspapers and magazines
    • Most noted - The SF Chronicle and its Sunday “Pink Section”
    • SF Weekly and The Guardian
    • For some, the Sunday NY Times or special fall arts edition.
  • Emails seemed very influential
    • Emails from performing arts organizations (e.g. SF Opera, ACT) and emails from other organizations (Goldstar, Flavorpill, Theatre Bay Area)
    • Emails called interest to immediately upcoming events and caused people to consider attending things they may not have known about or considered.
    • Some looked forward to their weekly Goldstar or Flavorpill emails to see what was going on for the current week.
      • Flavorpill was noted for its more “off beat” events.
      • Discounted tickets (e.g. through Goldstar) encourage more risk taking.
    • Plus emails generate WOM – they get passed along!
sources of information1
Sources of Information
  • Postcards
    • Like emails, they were persuasive as well, calling attention to an near term event and grabbing interest.
      • But, with less chance of being passed along.
  • Websites
    • Those of performing arts organizations (e.g. SF Symphony, ACT, were visited.
    • But, also general entertainment or ticketing sites
      • SFGate was often mentioned
      • Ticketmaster
      • But also, MySpace, Tribe, Yelp!
      • Radio station websites
  • Search
    • Mainly used to get to a venue’s site or that of a specific artist or performer.
sources of information2
Sources of Information
  • Word of mouth
    • The recommendations of friends and associates held a great deal of importance as a way to hear about events and in deciding which events to attend.
  • Banners, posters, marquees on or near arts venues
    • These seemed to be noticed quite a lot, successfully calling attention to events.
  • Radio Stations
    • Some mentioned KDFC.
    • Others mentioned KCSM, KPOO, KUSF, KFOG, KQED.
    • Some went the radio station’s websites as well.
  • Billboards
    • The PBO billboard was mentioned.
  • Signage on buses, shelters
sources of information3
Sources of Information
  • Reviews
    • Some paid attention to reviews, but most appeared not to.
    • Some did note, however, that reviews do call attention to an event, even if you don’t read them or buy into what they are saying.
    • Most preferred to rely on the recommendations of friends or people they knew with similar tastes/interests.
summary conclusions1
Summary & Conclusions
  • The San Francisco Girls Chorus is not top of mind with classical music audiences.
    • They are either unaware or, if aware, have a low level of awareness. They “feel” they’ve heard of SFGC or “think” they might have seen it perform, but are not certain.
  • Choral music (both accompanied and a cappella) is not something these classical music patrons are seeking out.
    • They look forward to choral music when it is part of a larger orchestral work, but think of a cappella as not stimulating or satisfying as a performance.
  • Within this perceptual framework, SFGC faces the additional hurdle of being perceived as a “girls chorus”, with the attendant image of an “after-school” group performing song recitals for parents.
    • There is nothing classical music patrons can ascribe to SFGC, based on the name or its associations, that would compel consideration.
summary conclusions2
Summary & Conclusions
  • The irony is that many of these classical music patrons do appear to attend and even enjoy a cappella groups and concerts.
  • While they may not seek out the genre, they have embraced particular organizations or performances and find them highly appealing.
  • Classical music patrons do get excited about:
    • Hearing choral music they know and enjoy
      • E.g. Messiah, a requiem, gospel music
    • Hearing a chorus with a strong identity or reputation
      • E.g. Chanticleer, Gay Men’s Chorus
    • Attending a seasonal event at a venue they enjoy
      • E.g. SF Boys Chorus at St. Ignatius, Chanticleer at First Congregational
summary conclusions3
Summary & Conclusions
  • It is clear that to be considered, a chorus must meet certain criteria:
    • Be professional or of very high quality – not an amateur chorus.
    • Offer programming that classical music audiences want to hear – substantial, interesting and challenging works.
    • Offer the hope of something more visually engaging – soloists or guest artists, staging.
    • Offer contrast – dynamic piece, soloist, instrumental or vocal guest artist.
    • Perform at a venue classical audiences enjoy and that enhances the credibility to the group performing.
    • Have a clear and compelling identity that makes the organization stand out and be noticed.

Going forward, if SFGC wants to engage the classical music audience, it will need to:

  • Establish this target as a priority for the Chorus.
    • The classical music audience’s needs are very different from family and friends who come to see their girls and be entertained.
    • The classical music patron will come only if they feel they will be entertained.
  • Identify for this audience who the SFGC is and what it has to offer them.
    • What makes girls voices’ special and compelling? What repertoire makes SFGC distinctive and compelling? What type of “experience” does SFGC offer its audience?
    • They will need to receive a bold and clear message about SFGC to break though preconceived notions.

If SFGC wants to engage the classical music audience, it will need to:

  • Express its identity consistently across everything it does – speaking with one voice to deliver a compelling message.
    • From its logo to its brochures and website to its uniforms.
  • Deliver programs and concerts that this audience will enjoy.
    • Music and performances that will engage them.
  • Consider some experimentation with tailoring one program each season to this audience and marketing it through organizations to whose audiences it might appeal -- a kind of “test market”.