The Cost of Running a Choir

How Much Does a Choir Cost?

When a choir performs in front of an audience, it is the moment that all their practice drills and expertise are distilled into one shining moment. It is the moment that their director’s vision comes to life before the audience’s eyes.

Choral groups have different costs depending on the type of event they sing at. Some of these costs are fixed, such as venue hire, accompanist fee, and choir leader’s fee.

Rehearsal space

When looking for rehearsal space it is important to consider the location and how accessible it will be to singers. It’s also worth checking how much the venue costs and what facilities are included in the price. The best option is to go with a venue that is a little tired and in a central location rather than a brand new building with all the mod cons.

If you are planning on commissioning music for your choir it will be important to factor in the cost of a composer’s base fee. This will vary depending on the size of your group and the length of the piece.

Many choruses find it difficult to secure suitable performance venues. Traditionally, churches have been the venue of choice, but as rents and competition for space increase, this is becoming less viable. One solution that many choirs are finding is to take up residence in local schools. This can save money as well as ensuring that there is adequate backstage space for costume changes.


Some costs are the same regardless of the number of choir members – your rehearsal venue, the accompanist’s fee, and any equipment that you might need. These are called fixed overheads.

Other costs vary with the activity. For example, you will likely need to pay for tea, coffee and biscuits to keep everyone going during a session. You may also need to cover travel expenses for choir trips both near and far.

Some choirs will be asked to perform for free – at festivals, for example. Others will be offered a fee for performing at weddings or other private events. It’s important to consider these opportunities carefully, and work out whether they will bring in enough money to cover your choir’s running costs. If not, you will need to find other sources of income. This could include local businesses or individuals who have connections to the choir and want to support it. Or, it could be a grant from a local authority or charity organisation.


It’s tempting to push the nuts-and-bolts aspects of choir-running to the back of your mind, but it’s important to do a bit of methodical planning so that you know what costs are involved. Even relatively inconsequential costs can add up and make a difference between financial viability and an expensive hobby that can’t be sustained.

Other choir expenses include travel costs and performance fees. These costs vary according to the length of the event, type of music and the size of the group. A smaller group will typically cost less than a larger ensemble.

Choruses can also seek monetary support from individuals or organizations with an interest in the arts. Donors can provide money to cover membership fees, and can help fund other choral activities. They may also help fund a scholarship to assist students or retired people on fixed incomes. This can be a great way to ensure that no one is left out of the choir experience.


Depending on the size of the choir and what they do, you may need to pay for membership fees. Often these fees cover the costs of venue hire, accompanists, sheet music and tea and biscuits. You might also need to pay for singers’ robes. If you have a large enough group, it is possible that you can join a national or local choral association which provides central marketing and programme support.

Members will need to pay their rehearsal fee each term, preferably paid as a lump sum at the beginning of each session or on a week-by-week basis through Trybooking. They will also need to pay their annual membership fee to the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). ACDA connects you to choral colleagues, gives you access to tools and resources that help you and your choirs thrive, and supports your professional development as a conductor or educator.

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