Rayburn Review – How to choose a repertoire for your tour

Last updated: Sep 23rd, 2019

We recently sat down with Eleanor Harvey, our Concert Tours Operations Manager, to discuss how to choose an appropriate repertoire for a musical trip.

Following her involvement in a number of community choirs, Eleanor is part of a local musical theatre group where she’s preparing for her next show, My Fair Lady, in October. Her love for music and experience within the world of touring made her the perfect candidate to discuss how and why to choose repertoire for your tour.

One of the first things you should ask yourself is whether your repertoire is suitable for a church. If the answer’s no, then we can consider and plan other venues that you can perform in. This was the first point Eleanor raised during our chat, which quickly led to the discussion about religious venues and how groups should prepare for them before they finalise their repertoire.

Many churches in the UK allow for pop and less traditional music to be played within their walls. However, foreign religious venues are often less lenient, which means groups should account for this during the planning process.

For example, on a standard 5 day, 4 night tour, it’s unlikely you’ll find 3 religious venues where you can play a mix of traditional and modern songs. Therefore, it’s recommended that groups vary their performance venues. That way you get the chance to perform a wide range of pieces, without removing the opportunity to perform in the beautiful churches and cathedrals that prove so popular with our groups.

We moved on to finding the balance between choosing venues and repertoires. Eleanor spoke of how groups in the past have often tailored their repertoires to suit particular venues, which is an effective way of performing in dream locations such as the Montserrat Basilica, where certain pieces are needed if you wish to perform there.

However, choosing a repertoire shouldn’t be solely based on the venue you perform in, as the preferences and abilities of the group are just as important. Your group’s experience and past performances should also determine which venues are best to perform in, as aspects such as musical talent play a part.

Also would you rather play in front of a larger audience or a smaller one? As this may also affect the type of music you choose to play.


When are you travelling?

The time of year you travel can also affect the types of music you perform during your tour. This is especially important for groups who perform sacred music, as many religious venues will only allow pieces that are suited to their place of worship.

Additionally, the church calendar will also play a part. Does your trip fall on a prominent religious date or period within the year? If so, maybe consider adjusting your repertoire accordingly to match these dates. This will not only ensure that your performance is suitable, but it may also attract a larger audience, particularly during Christmas.

The time of year will also determine whether you perform indoor or outdoor, as certain repertoires are more suited to particular surroundings. For example, huge outdoor squares don’t provide the best acoustic environment, whilst indoor ‘boomy’ churches may also be unsuitable if you’re a large brass band that requires bigger spaces for top quality sound.


What type of group are you?

We’re well accustomed to the needs of choirs, bands and orchestras. If you’re an orchestra, then indoor venues are potentially more suited as string instruments don’t cope well with poor weather. On the other hand, outdoor venues can work incredibly well when the weather conditions are good.

Don’t let this worry you! At Rayburn Tours we strive to match the performance venues to your specific musical needs. From prestigious cathedrals and churches to beautiful parks and gardens, we have a range of stunning venues to suit many repertoires and group sizes.


Do you have different ensembles going with you?

It isn’t uncommon to travel with a mix of different musical ensembles which may affect the venues you choose to perform in. Based on the fact that repertoires will vary between brass bands, choral groups and orchestras, it’s unlikely that everyone will be able to perform in every venue.

For example, it’s worth considering the ensembles you’re putting together or taking on tour. Whilst your orchestra may be perfect for religious venues, a rock band probably won’t. We can advise and make this work throughout your trip, but considering whether your musicians would be comfortable with this is an important aspect.


How Rayburn Tours can help you

If you’re still unsure on how to proceed with choosing the perfect repertoire, why not contact one of our experts to determine the best plan of action? Regardless of your sound and style, we cater for all types of youth and adult ensembles. And as singers and musicians ourselves, we’ll work with you to create a truly bespoke tour that meets all your musical needs.