There are many different ways to arrange a choir, based on how the conductor determines the best choral sound can be achieved. This can lead to many variations in performer placement.
#1. In a more traditional choir formation, the lowest voices are usually found in the middle section of the choir. This can be the tenor and bass section in an adult choir, or just the alto voices in a children’s choir arrangement.
#2. It is often helpful to have the strongest voices in the back, and on the ends of rows. This makes their sound carry forward, to provide support for other choristers. In a children’s choir this is especially effective since often the more experienced singers are usually the older choristers!
#3. The choir formation is generally curved for a couple of reasons:
i) It allows the conductor to see, and be able to make eye contact with every single chorister. This is crucial for musical connection and synchronicity.
ii) It allows the sound to come to a focal point, so that first the conductor, and then the audience can hear a blended choral sound.
#4. Since blend is one of the highest priorities of choral sound, some choirs will blend their sections. In blended choirs, singers often stand next to choristers from completely different sections. This allows them to hear the way their part sounds with the other parts, and adjust their own sound accordingly!
If you’re interested in learning more about performer placement, this blog post offers some interesting insights on choir formations.
What is your preferred performer placement? Tell us in the comments below!