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No one can dispute the value of a choir festival – the challenge of preparing the music, the opportunity to perform for an adjudicator, and the feeling of success once it has been accomplished.

Sadly, not all choirs have this opportunity. With travel being limited due to budget constraints, schedule conflicts, and rigorous insurance and medical compliance, many choirs opt out of the festival experience. Many festivals have even started to get cancelled due to widespread viral illness.

How can choirs still have a performance experience?

This year, the International Music Education Summit, which produces live, online, professional development for music teachers, is seeking to change that. The Summit has created an online festival experience for choirs that want to have the benefits of an adjudicated performance, without the hassle and expense of travel.

It is simple, too. Here’s how it works:

Register your choir. The registration is only $19 per choir! Just go to MusicEducationSummit.org and click on “Registration.” When you register you also submit a bit about your group and can provide your school logo as well. Once your registration is complete, they’ll create an entire web page about your choir. You will also get to select your performance time on the festival day.

Select your music. Remember that if you want to publish your video online, like on Vimeo, you’ll want to secure the synchronization license for your songs. Most publisher websites have a simple form to fill out, and you send them payment. Since the World Choir Festival won’t record or save your performance video, it’s considered a one-time performance, which you won’t need a license for if you’re a K-12 school.

Prepare your performance. Just like any other festival, you’ll want to showcase what your choir can do. Unlike other festivals, there aren’t a lot of parameters as to what you can perform or how. If you want your 2nd grade choir to have the experience, they can, right alongside high school show choirs. Any vocal group of any size is welcome to submit their performance to be streamed on festival day.

Submit your performance. Upload your video and pat yourself on the back.

Invite your audience. You will get a custom link to share with anyone you want to watch your performance on festival day. Anyone who clicks on the link will have to enter their name and email, so you’ll have a record of who watched. During the performance the audience will also be able to “chat” and offer their congratulations and feedback to your choir.

Not only will your choir get to watch their own performance streamed on festival day, they can watch other choirs as well, if the timing works out. This can help open their eyes to the other choir cultures around the world, to see both how they are the same and how they are different.

“We are looking forward to participating in this wonderful program. Our school is located up in the northern part of Manitoba, Canada,” said one teacher whose choir is registered for the festival. “Our school is a very challenging school. Our students have experienced traumas and family issues in their lives, and they don’t even have enough food or clothing. This is the very first time that we have the music extracurricular in our school. I hope it will encourage them to sing more and get interested in learning music.”

Whether your choir performs at the festival or not, educators worldwide are invited to participate in a professional development day of workshops curated for choral directors. Like all of the online PD opportunities the Summit provides, these sessions are also recorded and made available for year-round, on-demand viewing. This means you can go back and re-watch a session you missed, or review material you’re implementing.

This year, the clinic day features sessions by composer and conductor Katie O’Connor-Ballantyne, rock star and founder of “Electrify Your Choir” Laura Kaye, author and conductor Christine Bass, and hosts of the Total Choir Resources Podcast Christine Mulgrew and Victoria Hopkins. You wouldn’t typically see all of these presenters on a single workshop day since they based in different states and even different countries, but because the World Choir Festival + Clinic is online, you get unparalleled access to these outstanding presenters.

The World Choir Festival + Clinic runs April 18-19, 2020. Festival registration is just $19 per ensemble. The clinic day is just $19 and includes replays of all workshops and a PD completion certificate. Directors who register their choir to perform get full access to the PD day for free.

To learn more about the International Music Education Summit, or World Choir Festival + Clinic, visit musiceducationsummit.org.

About the International Music Education Summit: The International Music Education Summit is an independent professional development in-service conference founded by Elisa Janson Jones, for music educators and streamed live to attendees across the globe.

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