Promoting shows, concerts, and auditions.

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Promoting shows, concerts, and auditions.

Postby mikex » Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:23 pm

Hey everyone.

I'm curious on how the collegiate groups out there advertise and promote their concerts and auditions? I've done as much as I can through print and other means but I've been hitting a wall when it comes to my group.

Here are SUNY Buffalo we have 27,000 grads and undergrads. Every year we struggle to break 15 people when it comes to auditions. This year we had 18, thats rights, 18 out of potentially 15,000 male students.

For our concerts we manage to get around 200 people, mostly family and friends, so still this number is alarmingly low.

We were lucky to find a quality set of guys for the group, but I fear we may soon cease to exist if things keep going the way they are.

The problem is, we barely do any type of advertising on campus by singing. Which is kinda silly since we are a SINGING group, we should advertise by showing people what we do. But the guys in the group feel like this isn't worth it, and that any kind of performing outside our concerts and paid gigs wont really do anything to the general public. They are really nice guys don't get me wrong, its just I wish they would see what could be if we really pushed advertising to the roof.

So I guess what I'm asking is you thoughts and ideas on creative ways to get the student body involved and informed that wouldn't exactly entail the group to go sing somewhere for 30 mins. But also, ways and things I could do that would excite the guys into wanting to get out there and promote the shows.

Any ideas?
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Postby dekesharon » Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:31 pm

You absolutely, positively MUST perform for the incoming freshmen during the first week of school.

This is the #1 way most college groups get new members, and insure everyone at the school knows about them.

Find out what is happening during that orientation week and find a way to get yourself in front of the whole school: sing a couple songs before a big freshmen meeting, or visit dorms when they're having their first gatherings. It takes some work, but it's exciting because they're such an eager audience.

Contact the admissions folks as well, and perform for batches of students who have been accepted that are touring campus again/coming back to decide.

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Postby scooterbo » Tue Apr 15, 2008 4:45 pm

Ah yes, the admissions folks. We LOVE it when groups volunteer to perform for prospective students, especially at Open Houses. Just send an email to one of the admissions officers and let them know you are interested and you will ABSOLUTELY hear back.

Incidently, when I went to my college's open house (many moons ago), one of the choral groups I ended up singing in performed. That simple performance made the decision for me in terms of where I went to school and my desire to perform in that group, so it does work.

Another tried and true event: The Dollar Show. This started as an excuse to perform for the new students and has become an institution at my alma matter. The premise: all the groups on campus get together the second week of school and put on a big concert in a lecture hall or similar free venue. Each group sings for 15 minutes or so (depending on number of groups) and charge $1. All the groups split the proceeds. More importantly, droves of new students looking for something to do before they go looking for the frat party off campus will show up and you will likely find a few interested souls from that. Key to this, hold auditions the next day... college students have short attention spans : )

Good luck!
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Postby such87 » Tue Apr 15, 2008 5:00 pm

At Brandeis, we do 'dorm storming'. One night during the first week of classes, we go to each Freshmen dorm (there are 8 of them), knock on everyone's door, and organize a mini-concert. We sing 3 songs, tell the freshies about auditions, and answer any questions.

It works perfectly. We get guys interested in auditioning, and girls interested in being fans.
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Postby Mahka » Tue Apr 15, 2008 5:40 pm

As everyone has said, those first few weeks of a new school year are an absolute MUST. The year we were invited to perform for Convocation (pretty much the only "mandatory" thing the entire first year class has to go to) we saw a spike in audition numbers and recognition.

Say yes to every possible gig those first few weeks unless they completely overlap. I'm sure every dorm, every big group, department, etc. has something going on.

After that, it's all about getting your name out there to any large campus-wide events. The more name recognition you have, the better things will go. Good luck!
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Postby jared allen » Tue Apr 15, 2008 7:27 pm

Go to your college radio station. Most college radio stations have a local band show that airs once a week. You may want to see if you can get on that and sing some stuff live on the air.

Visit your music department and see if you can perform with them in their spring/fall/winter concerts. Even if it is one or two numbers you are gaining exposure to a crowd who likes and is use to going to music concerts. Use concerts that you will be guaranteed larger audiences like the music department’s concerts, to spring board and help advertise for your self promoted show. You may only do one or two numbers but people will get a taste for what you do.

Plan way ahead…when will your self promoted concerts will be? At every opportunity you have tell people about it by flyers, every paid gig, concert, announce it in all your classes…. A self promoted show will take a minimum of 3 months to get people excited and butts in the seats.
With A Cappellastock we have 3500 to 4000 people at it every year. Even though it is only a one night concert it takes us a full year to pull it off and make it happen.

On another note about your group not wanting to perform…I bet that if you are performing in front of larger audiences your group would not mind performing. It is like a drug, once you have sung in front of a 1000 plus screaming people you want more and more…you just can’t get enough. It is the small audiences that are harder to get up for and have a desire to perform for.

BTW never have tried any kind of drugs so it is all hear say for me :-)

Jared Allen T Minus 5 Entertainment A Cappellastock 801-643-5057

jared allen
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Postby dherriges » Tue Apr 15, 2008 9:38 pm

There are a ton of things you can do to promote auditions... it's much easier at a school that has a very large a cappella scene, of course. I also suspect it's easier at a smaller school, where everyone's less anonymous and a popular a cappella group can be campus celebrities of a sort in a way that'll never happen at an enormous state school.

But I think it all boils down to:

1) Sing for incoming freshmen, every opportunity you can possibly find.

2) Take the time to design an attention-grabbing publicity campaign, and then go absolutely all out with it. Every group at Stanford puts up hundreds of flyers and posters for their auditions; some get as many as 1000 color posters. You want every single student to be seeing them regularly. Same goes for concert promotion. This year, an Intro to Humanities guest lecturer brought up Mixed Company's "Love Sucks" concert flyers as an example of some point she was trying to make in one lecture. She'd apparently seen enough of them around campus that they made an impression. That's how visible you've got to be.

3) Facebook is a beautiful recruiting tool in several ways. Use it.

4) If you do audition signups in public (at Stanford, groups get tables and hang out in a central gathering place on campus to recruit): Be noticed. Get a large prominent banner. Get a loud boombox to play your CDs. Have as many group members as you can there at one time. Stage an impromptu performance or two. Get your best schmoozers out there to work the crowd. Don't underestimate sex appeal: look hot while you're doing it.

5) In all of this, the more enthusiastic your group is about auditions and about getting its name out, the more positive an impression you'll make. Even in a "rebuilding" year when you're losing a lot of talent and just hoping to get enough decent auditionees to hang on, approach the process as though you're an elite group of ridiculously talented and awesome people that every freshman should be dying to be a part of. Without being cocky about it, of course, but if you're in love with what you do and you show it, people will form a positive impression of you even if they've never heard you sing.

I've seen ample confirmation of this; in fact, I've seen it work for Mixed Company while I was a member. In a year in which we had no claim to being one of the better a cappella groups on Stanford's campus, we simply made a conscious decision to approach auditions as though we were. Not in terms of being deceptive in any way, but in terms of presenting an air of confidence and professionalism. We succeeded in making the group seem like a desirable thing to be a part of, and got better singers that year (and the next two) than we ever could have if auditionees were choosing a group to join based on musical merit alone. Luckily, they're not. (Mixed Co's musicality has now caught up to its reputation, but my point is we decided the reputation had to come first, and that strategy worked.)
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Postby chadberg » Wed Apr 16, 2008 6:29 pm

You're an all guy group, so you gotta show the other guys why they *want* to be in your group. Yeah, you can show them photos from your last trip to sing with another school, show them the CD you recorded over summer break, blah, blah, blah.

You gotta organize even a quick and dirty concert where they can see the ladies (and maybe some guys) swooning over you while you sing! Especially before they fill up their social lives with other activities and non-singing friends.

Chad Bergeron The Acapodcast

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Postby Mahka » Wed Apr 16, 2008 8:46 pm

The points about not just having flyers and posters during those first few weeks and having actual PEOPLE out there is also a definite must. Every connection is a personal one, looking people in the eye, doing something a little wacky and spontaneous. Having conversations on the side. It helps build things up. To pull from all those career seminars, it's all about the networking. First, they need to know about you, then in the auditions, you need to know them.

As for concerts...I'm impressed that some people plan a year or even three months ahead. I think this will be more dependent on your campus's personality. While at my undergrad, the concert may have been in the planning stages for a few months, we only publicized two, maybe three weeks in advance, because any earlier and people would forget about it or get distracted by one of the other 200 things happening each day. Then again, flyering was the primary pupblicity method, so asking members to give up every waking hour they're not in class/at work to be on BruinWalk to flyer was a big deal.

So, do what seems to work for your campus, copy what other successful organizations (not necessarily a cappella groups) do.
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Postby mikex » Thu Apr 17, 2008 7:21 am

Great ideas everyone... most of what was mentioned here is what I advise groups who come to me for PR advice. I only wish my group saw the value of these opportunities!
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Re: Promoting shows, concerts, and auditions.

Postby DouglasDiebold » Sat Oct 13, 2018 5:06 am

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