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What Are the Duties of a Choir Director?

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Choirs, an organized group of singers, of all sizes rehearse and perform around the globe. While some are professional or organized by a professional organization such as the Metropolitan Opera Chorus and others such as church choirs are made up of volunteers, each are lead by a choir director. This individual performs a variety of musical and administrative duties needed to assist a choir in the preparation and performance of their music. While volunteer choirs tend to have minimal education requirements for these individuals, professional chorus will only consider those who possess college degrees within music.

Musical Knowledge

Choirs come in all sizes. Additionally, they may specialize in one or more types of music such as liturgical, classical or popular. In addition to maintaining a strong knowledge of music in general, it is important for a choir director to have a deep understanding of the style of music the choir will perform. This includes a history of the style and knowledge of the repertoire that encompasses it. This knowledge affords the choir director the opportunity to guide and educate members of the choir to perform the material to the best of their ability.

Preparation and Performance

A choir director spends most of his time preparing the choir for performances of the season. This begins with the director auditioning singers and selecting new members from those who interview. Once a core group has been selected, the director decides upon a program of music for this season. He may do this independently or in tandem with a board of directors or committee, depending on the structure of the group.

Once the musical selection has been decided upon, rehearsals commence. Throughout the rehearsal process, a choir director both teaches his singers the music and finesses their interpretation of the delivery of it. Additionally, the director ensures that the appearance of the choir meets the organizations standards. This includes communicating and enforcing a performance dress code. Once the music has been perfected, he leads the group in performance.

Administrative Duties

In most instances, a choir director serves as the face of the choir. During performances, she often greets the audience. She may also represent the chorus throughout the community in an effort to raise funds or the profile of the group. Additionally, the choir director manages the annual budget of the chorus. From this budget, she procures a variety of goods that the choir may need such as robes and sheet music as well as making payments to auxiliary musicians.


KJ Henderson has more than a decade of HR and talent acquisition experience. He has held roles at a Fortune 100 investment bank, a media conglomerate and at one of NYC's largest executive staffing firms. He currently heads recruitment sourcing at a major movie studio. He read literature at Oxford.

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