SmarterGuide: The art of song selection

Also plays songs that people know, like Sweet Home Alabama.

Also plays songs that people know, like Sweet Home Alabama.

Song selection is tricky business. It might not make or break your group, and each individual song choice might not matter that much, but a group’s audience and reputation are largely determined by the catalog of music they present. So before you decide on your group’s lineup for the year, or the semester, mull over your priorities.

Who are you singing for?

As a case study, when I was in my second year with the UNC Loreleis, we won a great battle: Major Sponsorship. The UNC General Alumni Association decided to sponsor us, giving us a lump sum of money every year, full access to their printer, free labor of their webmaster, and rehearsal space. In exchange, we would sing at many GAA-held events for “free.” This meant singing for a lot of old people with old memories and deep pockets. It was in our interests to make them smile, so I tried to include a couple songs in the set list that they were feasibly familiar with, as well as a few newer songs that would at least make them smile.

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