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/ministers -Rosters and staffing -Performing Rights (Permits and Permissions) -Publicity -Timing and Location -Venue -Tickets sales and price (vii) (viii) (ix) The concert proper After the concert Conclusion
DEFINITION Am sure you have been hearing of the term „concert‟ and that doesn‟t sound strange to you. You probably see a concert as a programme or event that brings together people to watch a musical performance. Well that is true, but let me elucidate a bit more on what a concert; a gospel concert is. A concert is a live performance (typically of music) before an audience. The live performance may be by a single singer/musician, or by a musical ensemble, such as an orchestra, a choir, or a musical band. The former is often referred to as a recital. Unlike a lot of secular concerts that are usually held in private houses and night clubs, Gospel concerts are held in concert halls, entertainment centres, parks, multipurpose buildings, and often times, our local churches. Regardless of the venue, the performances are usually done on a stage. The reason why we can‟t refer to a Gospel Concert as a show or a gig is because shows and gigs are mainly entertainment events where people usually pay to get in and get entertained by the performers. Hmm! This is definitely not the kind of concert you want to organise. Various types of concerts exist. The nature of a concert will vary by the genre and the individual performances. Theatrical Concerts Just as the name implies, these concerts relate to the characteristics of a theatre. Some performers or groups put on very elaborate and expensive attire. In order to create a memorable and exciting atmosphere and increase the spectacle, additional entertainment devices are usually included within this category of concerts. Some of these entertainment devices include elaborate stage lighting; an image magnification (IMAG) system and/or pre-recorded video; inflatable‟s, artwork or other set pieces; various special effects such as theatrical smoke and fog and pyrotechnics; and unusual costumes or wardrobe. Some singers/groups, especially in genres of popular music, augment the sound of their concerts with pre-recorded accompaniment, back-up dancers, and even broadcast vocal tracks of the singer's own voice. Activities which may take place during these concerts include dancing and sing-alongs.
Festivals Concerts involving a greater number of artists, especially those that last for multiple days, are known as festivals. Unlike other concerts, which typically remain in a single genre of music or work of a particular artist, festivals often cover a broad scope of music and arts. Due to their size, festivals are almost exclusively held outdoors. A few examples of the hundreds of festivals that exist include the JAM (Jesus And Me) mega festival held annually in Abuja, Nigeria. Concert Tour A concert tour is a series of concerts by an artist or group of artists in different cities or locations. Oftentimes concert tours are named, to differentiate different tours by the same artist and associate a specific tour with a particular album or product (for example: Kirk Franklin‟s Nu Nation Tour). Especially in the popular music world, such tours can become large-scale enterprises that last for several months or even years, are seen by hundreds of thousands or millions of people, and bring in a lot of cash especially when they are intended for profit purposes. Different segments of longer concert tours are known as "legs". The different legs of a tour are denoted in different ways, dependant on the artist and type of tour, but the most common means of separating legs are dates (especially if there is a long break at some point), countries and/or continents, or different opening acts. In the largest concert tours it is becoming more common for different legs to employ separate touring production crews and equipment, local to each geographical region. Concert tours are often administered on the local level by concert promoters or by performing arts presenters.
Looking back at the last six years, I can say that organizing a musical concert is fun, energy-tasking, spiritually demanding and above all vision-fulfilling. I said vision fulfilling because several people have organized concerts for different reasons other than a God-given vision to accomplish a specific mission. Apart from the MGP concert that I and my crew, the PM crew put together every first day of the October month, and a few other concerts that God instructs my company, SPY entertainment to put together, I have had reason to organize some concerts for the purpose of skill-showing. However, I thank God that when such thoughts come, they are always conquered with the power of vision that I have held on to for years now. It‟s the vision that drives you into organising an event that would pull people together to be blessed of God. If this is absent, any other thing is sheer noise, and yes I have been to a lot of concerts that turned out to be noise. “Weren‟t the performances „hot‟?” you would ask. Well, to be honest with you, most of them were, but did they bless lives? “No”. What then is the purpose of organising a gospel concert without a soul being saved, being healed or being encouraged by your song. I thought the word gospel means „good news‟? By God‟s grace, the MGP concert has really been a blessing to all those who have attended with an intention of being transformed by God. I remember vividly major testimonies I got from one of the concerts we organised in 2007. An elderly youth who was a music director in his church walked up to me after the concert and told me how much he was inspired by seeing little teenagers putting together a successful concert like that. He thanked me so much for opening his eyes to see what he had failed to do as a music minister and by December that same year, he and the choir in his church started hosting a very powerful annual
musical concert. I also by God‟s mercies was privileged to meet a young youth who was probably about three or four years older than me. He narrated to me how he got saved during the concert. He reminded me of the altar call that was made after a short message that was given by my mom, and told me how he had made a final decision of making Christ his role model. In all of our concerts, we make an altar call during or after our performances and to the glory of God, we have always had people repent of their sins and turn back to God. Even within the team, we have had reason to celebrate with crew and choir members, who got delivered from an addiction, miraculously got admission into schools of their choice, and had God meet them at particular points of their needs. You see, you cannot serve God and be tormented by the devil. You can‟t win souls over to his kingdom and struggle on a daily basis with sin. Beloved, I am sharing a few of these testimonies with you to encourage you to have in mind, the most important thing in organising a gospel musical concert - SALVATION. Whatever type of concert you have in mind, even if it is a fund-raising concert for a building project in your church, make Jesus the centre of it. I and my crew have been privileged to minister at a dance that concert that changed the lives of so many people for good. Every dance step and every word they spoke was about putting godly dance steps on the screens of our televisions. You could see the passion they had and that reflected in their performance. I almost even shed tears in one of their dance that talked about a lost girl trying to find her way back home to her father (Jesus). In as much as this book will help those organising secular concerts, I didn‟t write it for them. I wrote this book to inspire as many as have a clear passion to do something for the sake of the gospel. Think of organising a concert as organising a crusade. Now you see what I‟m talking of. Don‟t take with levity and flippancy a musical event that can
tell a lot about Jesus and the kingdom of heaven. Don‟t take for granted an event that can make the blind eyes to see and the supernatural to take place. Most of the songs we sing as ministers of the gospel talk about thanksgiving, our love for Christ, his love for us, peace, joy, fulfilment, blessings, healing, and salvation. They contradict the world‟s songs that preach money, fame, girls, romance and sex. It is often said that “what is worth doing is worth doing well”. So don‟t start something that won‟t be a blessing to yourself and those that are part of it. Infact, you can organise a concert that will end up bringing a curse on you and your generation. Imagine squandering funds given to you by sponsors on your own personal needs when the sole purpose for which they where disbursed are starving and suffering. You need to also make sure that you are physically and medically fit for the task ahead of you. There are so many run around and mental jobs you will be doing. You need to also be financially prepared. So many times we start projects of this kind with faith that God would provide. Read this: ...................................................................................... God would only multiply what you already have. So make sure you have something. One major question you also need to ask yourself if this: “am I organising this concert for profit?” Well, you can organise a gospel concert (am not talking of a fund raising concert) that causes a transformation in the lives of people and yes, still make profit, or at least raise up a substantial amount for what you have spent. This is very necessary when you are planning a very large concert that would be running into hundreds of thousands or millions of your local currency. Often time, a lot of borrowing is done to meet demands. Once the concert is over, the people retire to their homes blessed and saturated with God‟s anointing, and you are left with the heartache of paying back the debts. So when you can‟t get adequate funds from sponsors to
organise your concert, you can put up tickets for sale or collect a token/fee at the venue of the concert from those attending. So how do you know if you are breaking even? Well, that very simple. Make a budget of your expenses. Get a few artists that the people love to listen to. The kind of crowd I would pull together would be different from that an already established artist would do. That‟s what makes for the difference in our charging fees. With your budget in hand and the number of people you are expecting in mind, you can do a simple math to calculate the price you‟ll be charging for the concert tickets or gate fee. However, when God has already provided all you need, why charge people to be blessed of him? We never read anywhere in the bible that talked about Jesus selling tickets for his crusades or that he collected gate fees at the entrance of the temple. Nonetheless, I had to talk about the issue of finance because that‟s the reason why Gospel music is lacking behind. According to Pastor Aniekan Essien, the CEO of NAGOC (National Gospel Concerts and Awards) “inadequate recognition and low motivation” are the major problems confronting gospel music especially in African countries. According to him, a lot of gospel artistes are delving into secular songs because they are not well compensated and motivated by Christians, hence they go secular. In the secular world, musicians are flourishing because they are making money from their passion. This is not the case in Christendom. When we are called to minister in churches, we do not get any honorarium; rather they tell us “bless you.” If you by chance, ask for it, you are considered „carnal‟. Personally, what has encouraged me has been my vision and passion; and then when I see other ministers who have every reason to go secular still doing gospel, I just tell myself “what‟s the excuse?” I guess the testimonies I get and the joy on the faces of people I minister to, keeps me going. Because God has always provided, I and my crew have not had reason to organise a concert where we had to collect a gate fee or print tickets; and profit? I strongly believe that the business of God is
not a profit-making business. It is one that that when you do wholeheatedly, God preserves and blesses you. Hezekiah did God‟s business without care for profit, but when he needed an intervention from the throne of mercy, the seed he had sown in God‟s vineyard, paid-up for him. So which ever, you desire, make that choice now.
DONT BE AFRAID TO START. Like most ideas that come into our minds, we are always afraid of starting. Men are always afraid of taking risks. We are afraid of starting that business we have carried in our hearts for a long time. “Would it be profitable?” we often ask. We are afraid of starting a serious relationship. “Would it work perfectly this time?”, “Is he/she really serious about me?” We are also afraid of going into the studio to produce our albums. Many have their songs produced but are afraid of allowing the public to hear them. “Would my album sell?”, “Would my fans love it?” Hmm! It‟s like am describing just how you feel. You know, John Mason said “the best place to start is from the scratch, and just keep scratching; you‟ll soon stand at the top”. People who have made outstanding achievements in any facet of life are those who made a choice to start. They dared the risks that poked them in the face and made up their minds to be outstanding. The first concert I ever organised was in 2006. I was just few months away from turning sixteen. I had no experience whatsoever. I had never been part of an organising team for a concert. Infact, I barely knew about music. If I remember vividly, I was yet to know the difference between the pitch levels, what it meant to transpose a key, parts of a drum and so many other basic things that any singer should know. So if you are reading this book and you fall in this category that I once
belonged to, you now know that you are not alone. Some of us have journeyed down that part before. However, I would strongly advise you to know what it takes to be a musician and how to successfully organise a musical concert before venturing into one. Not to worry, the book in your hand covers a part of the former and a whole lot on the latter. Not every person can organise a concert. That you are the pastor of a church does not mean you should do the organising of the church‟s concert. Why then do you have a choir and a music director? I am not a dance artist so I would not be able to organise a successful dance concert. This is because I have a limited knowledge about the dance ministry. The dance ministry is also not my calling and so, I have no business organising one. God would not send you on a mission when he has not yet given you the vision. If for any reason I have to organise such a concert, I would need a planning committee that would be headed by dance artists and ministers. So you see, organising a gospel concert is not planning a wedding, or a organising a party. You have to strike a balance between the spiritual, the musical and the financial. I had so many discouraging factors lurking in my thoughts after I organised my first concert. I really wanted to quit. Or at least, “until I big enough”, so I thought. Then my uncle called me and asked me if what I had was passion that was birth out of a vision. I replied in the affirmative. Right there he told me that I was going to organise that same concert on an annual basis. He chose October 1 as the date, bearing in mind that it was a public holiday, and encouraged me never to miss organising it in a year for whatever reason. Six years and still counting, the MGP concert has been held successfully as an annual concert. Are we there yet? “No”. But are we getting there? “Yes” The power of vision is so enormous that it can cause a dead, battered and discouraged seed to sprout up again. This is what hope does, and it is a well-defined vision that births hope.
The first two or three years were great years with very powerful testimonies; however I was really discouraged because most of what I desired was not achieved. I had wanted a concert with a population of thousands of people. Did I get a venue to carry that amount? “No”. I was of very little faith. I had watched several videos of foreign artists and I had seen their wonderful stage, gorgeous costumes, perfect lightening, intriguing sound; and I wanted my own concert to be just that way. Gush! It often turned out with poor sound, little or no stage lights and poor costuming. I guess I needed to learn a lot about what it took to organise a concert and believe me, there was no book out there that talked about such. So holding this book in your hand right now is actually an encounter arranged by God to give you the necessary information and encouragement you need in putting together that concert you have carried on your inside for a very long time now. Knowledge they say, is power but on the contrary, it is knowledge applied that produces power. This is wisdom. Even if you have organised one or several concerts before now, you‟ll still find the book in your hands very useful. You may find out that there are some many things you have been doing before now that is wrong, or that there are very important factors that you have not yet taken into consideration. Don‟t forget to send me an email or give me a call when it‟s time to testify. Bless you. Bako Praise Yohanna
BEGIN HERE Now, I want you to get a sheet of paper and a pen. Make sure you do not continue reading this book until you have done just that. With your pen and paper in your hand, I want you to honestly answer the questions below. It‟s now a matter of you and your self, so be as honest as you can. My mom would always say that “you can deceive people but you cannot deceive yourself.” Only a fool will. So truthfully answer these: 1. Why am I organising this concert? 2. Who will be the stakeholders in this concert? (that is, those who will be interested or involved in the concert; teenagers, youths, the elderly or a combination of all.) 3. When will the concert take place? 4. What are the kinds of activities that will be taking place; comedy, dance etc.
Whatever you are doing, all events need lots of hard work and people power. Putting together your concert is no different. What I tried to do in the chapter that contained my introduction was to open your understanding about following your vision to gather together a group of people and deliver to them a message given to you by God and sent to them by him. You can never be sent on a mission that you have not been given a clear and defined vision. It is obedience to this mission that causes an abundant provision for the fulfilment of the vision. So what do you do before embarking on your mission? “Goal-Setting”. After you‟ve successfully written what you want to achieve before and after the concert, what you need is to put together a team. I won't be talking much on this because I have said so much on team building in my book „building a worship team‟. I remember that my uncle would always say to me, “no one can carry your vision like you until they see what you see”. That true! They can‟t be loyal and committed until they catch the passion and fire that drives you. So in putting together a team, make sure that they are people who
see what you see. Am sure you know just what I mean by that. If it‟s a concert you are organising with your local church choir, make sure that the people heading the planning team are those that understand you are pressing towards a mark. This does not affect the positions already held in the choir. You can never do without people. Even the people we celebrate today are where they are because of some few people who support and pray for them. The vision God gave me years back is flourishing today because of the few and godly friends I have around me. I tell you, there is no MGP concert without the whole Anointed Praise team. Let me just pause here and say a big thank you to all the team members because, without you guys, the PM crew alone cannot carry the demanding task of her concerts. Moses needed Aaron and ...... to hold his hands for the Israelites to win their battle against....... DEVELOPING YOUR BAND For God‟s sake, its music we are talking of here. Good music is a result of good rehearsals. Be sure to rehearse with your choir or group or your back-up singers, if it‟s just you. Private proper preparation prevents public poor performance. Don‟t bring us to your concert and sing musical blunders into our ears. Rehearse on a convenient key and get your back-up singers to memorise the lyrics of the songs and their flow. If it is a dance concert, get together your dancers and make sure you perfect your steps before the D-day. Nobody knows you yet or at least, only a very few people. Probably, there are still a lot of your friends and family members that are yet to know you are into organising events like concerts, and hmm!, a gospel concert for that matter. It‟s very important that a lot of time is maximised to develop the skills of the band. People all over the world want to hear good music, and they don‟t have to be musicians themselves for them to know one when they hear it. Your first impression matters a lot. It will create a lot of awareness and respect for
you and by the time you need to organise a second concert, you wouldn‟t need to „shout‟ so much before you get an audience who are eagerly waiting to hear the good and quality music you have given to them before. You know, for a very long time, I kept asking myself so many questions. I listen to good music a lot and I wanted to produce and sing such but that wasn‟t just possible. I had on so many occasions made my crew members go out of their way to be able to produce the kind of sound they did. I knew I had what it took to sing like so many of the artists I loved listening to but why wasn‟t I able to sound like them? If we are musically good, why doesn't our music sound like the tape? Why don't we sound as good as the special groups and choir that come in and minster as guests in our concerts? We have good musicians amongst ourselves, but why does the standard of our music not reflect that?
The things I had to look for, to answer the above questions were as follows:
o o o o o o o o
Contrast through use of dynamics Change of rhythm or style etc. Change of sound of the instrument and instrumentation What pattern the drums and bass will play and if they are playing the same pattern. Physical location of the band members Clear and definite signals Use of proper accents and appropriate diction Remembering the principal rule that simple is best
o Listening closely to each other and thinking how we can complement the overall sound o Clear lines of communication – Who is playing the intro? How will the song end? Are there any key changes, rhythm changes or anything unexpected? Not until you get solution to these, you won‟t be able to put together a successful musical team for the concert you wish to organise. Let‟s talk about some other prominent issues that determine the success of a musical concert. They are very important issues that I have ignored in the past. I still go to a lot of concerts either as a guest artist or as an invitee, and see a lot of these errors being committed, even by people I believe ought to have known. This among a few other things gave the prompt to write this book. Some of these very vital issues that we over look are:
1. Drums and Bass The bass player & drummer are the foundation upon which everything hinges. They should talk about what they are going to do in a song. They should get together and analyse songs etc. Listen to each other. Look for variation on snare and cymbals from verse to chorus e.g. Depending on the song - Hi hats first section then ride cymbal second section, or Rim shot first then snare second. The principle should be to build the song so that everything isn‟t happening at once. 2. When you are changing styles in a song but wanting to keep the same meter, make sure that the meter doesn't change even though the rhythm may change. This is important especially when moving from half time to double time and vice versa. Eg. “God is Great” (Hillsongs) (Chorus into Bridge then back to
Chorus) or going from “God is Great” into “All Of My Days” (Hillsongs).
3. It is important to practice with a metronome or drum machine to develop good time. This is especially important for drummers. The drummer carries the responsibility for the time. The drummer also controls the intensity of the music. It is often noticed that drummers can lose time when they play softly, especially if they are not used to playing softly.
4. When going into a rhythm change whether faster or slower, it is usually best if one person leads it in (usually the drums). Whoever leads in the change must do it confidently.
5. The whole band (especially bass & drums) should be physically located close to each other so that acoustically, each band member can clearly hear those around them. It is important that the bass player sets up his amp behind the drummer slightly to his left or right.
6. The bass player is also responsible for keeping time. A good bass player is not noticed until he is not playing.
7. Keys and Guitar Lead guitar or other front line players must not play too much over the vocal line. If accompanying vocals, a lot of your licks & fills should be confined to the ends of vocal phrases. This is
in contrast to what we hear when we go for concerts. The instrumentals are often times always louder than the vocals that we hardly even hear what the vocalist or the choir, in whichever case, is saying.
8. Try accenting the 2nd and 4th in ballads. The guitar should play a different thing to what the keys are doing, not the same thing.
9. When you have two keyboards and a guitar you have three strings instruments and a more difficult task of achieving balance. So that they don't all get in the way of each other, each of the instrument should be doing something different or one of them drop out for part of the song. With two keyboards you should try to aim for 2 different sounds i.e. Not 2 piano sounds or 2 pad sound. Let‟s say piano & strings or piano & brass etc. or a single string line over the top.
10. As a keyboard player, get familiar with the sounds available to you. Don‟t use the same sound all the time. Variety they say, is the spice of music. Here, it is even a key.
11. Beware of the style of song and adjust your sound to suit. E.g. Change of guitar from a rock number to a jazz number or a hard attacking sound on keys for rock to a soft Rhodes sound for jazz. You must have an appreciation for what sound your favourite guitar or keyboard player would use in that particular situation (listening is important).
12. With more than one keyboard, set up a sound with higher frequency so that the bass doesn't conflict. Lay off playing too heavily in the left hand. 13. When guitar & piano are both playing depending on the style of the song (whether suiting guitar or piano) one instrument will play a stronger part and the other a lesser part. That way they don't feel as if they are fighting against each other.
14. If keyboards are playing busily, guitar should perhaps play long sustained notes. As a keyboard player, keep it simple. Leave room for the melody to be heard and appreciated by your listeners. Don‟t be afraid or to proud to be in the background.
15. If you have 2 keyboards and one is playing strings make sure they play like a string player. Interpret correctly the instrument you are trying to duplicate. Attack on the strings is important.
16. As a guitarist or keyboard player, work on creating a solid beat. The most important thing you can contribute, even more so than getting every chord right, is a predictable rhythmic foundation.
Other important tips
17. Members of the band should always watch each other. Good eye contact is important. Don't be afraid to communicate with each other. Remember not to rely too heavily on feedback. Anything could go wrong. If you have someone coordinating or conducting the song, then all eyes should be on that person, nit permanently but from time to time.
18. Know your songs, know the way the song works and where you can bring in changes. Try to learn songs (including all the chord changes) so that you can play them by ear. If you are caught up with reading chords, you won't be able to feel the song as well or flow with the other musicians.
19. Listen to what the others in the band are playing. If too much is happening cut out until there is a bit more space. Do not feel as if you should play in every song ( keys especially). Make sure too as a keyboard player that you don't fill every available space or don't play too much in the mid range when there is say, a piano player and a guitarist. In a worship service when the anointing comes, one of the dangers is that we explode in notes. Leave plenty of space especially for the vocals. Play together with unity, passion & colour.
20. Always look for dynamics in the music - shadows of contrast. In times of free worship, aim for crescendos & diminuendos through instruments (drums & other instruments entering & dropping out). When you build a crescendo, realise that you don't have to add notes, you just add weight. From the
start to the finish of a song try and make it build. E.g. 'I Give You My Heart' or „Worthy Is The Lamb'. There seems to often be a problem with playing dynamics. Why? It is because very few people can really play technically the same at all dynamic levels because they don‟t practice at all dynamic levels. You must practice how you play. Tempo varies too much, especially during dynamic changes. As mentioned earlier, practice with a metronome at different speeds.
21. The sound man can make or break the music. He needs to know what you are trying to achieve in the music. He needs to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit.
22. Don't feel that because you are playing a rock song that it needs to be loud. You can still achieve the same energy without volume. This is where it is important that you communicate with your sound man and have good feedback. In many situations the problem comes when one band member can't hear and turns up his volume. Before long everyone turns up to hear themselves.
Don't feel you have to play the melody line.
24. If using a brass section with winds, make sure the woodwinds are mixed well and written up high so that their part cuts through.
25. Direct the frontline instruments as to when to play, especially if you don't have written changes for them.
26. When given a piece of music remember it's only an indication of what is required. Do not try and play it note for note. Play according to your ability and look for your own style in it. The most important part is that you pick up important accents, dynamics etc. Don't be afraid to add to or play less than what is written depending on the chart.
PLANNING There are many interlinked and sometimes conflicting factors which come into play when organising a gospel concert; classical, jazz, dance or just an evening of worship. The overriding one is, of course, finance, i.e. balancing the cost of staging the event against the income from ticket sales(if you are selling tickets) and any other associated sources (raffle, sale of refreshments, etc.). We will discuss more on finance later. Whatever you are planning, a large or small concert, the secret to success is in the planning. A well detailed and realistic plan will help you to coordinate your decisions and activities in organising the event. That way, you can keep track of your progress. Ensure to communicate your plan to everyone involved on your team. They all need to understand what part they will play. One way to do this is to write a manual for your concert. It should just be a one or two pages that you can print and distribute to them. A timetable may also be useful to show everyone what needs to be done and when. Other issues in planning are Venue hire, Publicity (including printing of posters, flyers and tickets), Honorarium for your guest artistes, and other possible ancillary costs like refreshments, raffle prizes, etc. Other considerations will be likely audience size. This will help you determine how large your venue should be, the parking space available for vehicles and motorcycles, etc. Alright, lets treat them carefully, one after the other.
FINANCE (BUDGETING AND FUNDING) Let‟s be frank. This is a major resource in organising your concert. Infact, without money, u can hardly go far. You create greater stress for yourself and your team. So when you are developing a list of your prayer points, don‟t forget to add financial favour to the list. In putting together your concert, you need money to rent or hire musical equipments and stage lights. If you are doing an outdoor concert, you need to construct a stage or hire one. You need money for your publicity. You need to print posters, banners and handbills. You may need to go on air. You need money to accommodate and fed your guests especially if they are from a different geographical location from your venue. So you see, organising a concert is also tasking on your pocket. Let me share a few things that you can do to reduce your expenses, especially since it‟s your first. You are supposed to be starting small. You can tell the pastor at your local church to plead with his other pastor friends to release some of their equipments for you. A lot of ministries would hardly do this because of failed integrity on the part of those they have favoured before you. So if it turns out well for you, don‟t abuse it. Make sure you make use of the equipments with utmost care and return them as at when due. Most time, you will not be the person mounting and running these equipments so endeavour to hand them over to trustworthy and skilled persons and ensure strict supervision. With this, you would be able to cut down your expenses on sound and lightening and remove one or more zero‟s from your budget. Also seek for persons and organisations to sponsor your concert. Sponsorships do not mean that you need to sell out on what you believe or what you are trying to achieve. You need money for your event and sponsors benefit from making contributions to the community. You can pursue two types of sponsorship: in-kind and cash. In-kind is in the form of goods and services, the sponsor will provide for free instead of giving you money.
When looking for sponsors for your concert, contact other artist and groups that have similar aims to yours or that appeal to the type of people that your organisation or event caters for. Keep your communications personal. Phone rather than email or write letters and meet with potential sponsors in person if possible. They are less likely to say no if they have to say it to your face. Sponsors want to get their organisation's name out there. What you offer them in return for their financial or in-kind support depends on the level of their sponsorship. You can thank your sponsors in a speech at the event and acknowledge them in event advertisements and publications. If they are a major sponsor you may also consider giving them naming rights to the event or listing them as a partner in your event. Get creative, think of new ways to promote your sponsors and they will be more likely to support your future events.
GUEST ARTISTS/MINISTERS Except when you are planning a solo concert where only you or your choir/group get to do all the act, it very paramount that you carefully select one or a few persons/groups that perform along side with you on stage. Your guest artist(s) goes a long way to determine the success of your concert. They will either bring more fun, excitement and anointing to it or bore the whole thing and leave the stage without blessing anyone‟s life. What I did when I first started was this: because I knew that I and my team were not musically skilled, I had very skilful artists as my guest, while I and my team would focus more on praying and allowing God to have his way during the event. But as I grew in my musical skills as well as knowledge, I sought after men who were not only skilful but sprit-filled. Infact that prompted my inspiration into writing the book I called „Sprit and Skill‟.
Never give your guest a treatment that you would not want to receive from others. Saying “thank you” is a must before (when your invitation has been accepted) and after the concert. If feeding and accommodating him or them, whichever case, is part of the parameters you are working with, ensure that the food is of good quality and quantity. Get a nice hotel or guest house with functioning and state of the art facilities to accommodate your guest(s). If you are accommodating them at your place or at the house of one of your team members, ensure that the guest(s) are aware of that. Guests are meant to be treated well. Draw out the menu of your program and send your guest artist(s) a copy. This would help them to have an idea how the program would be like, and prepare in that direction. They should know the time allocated to them to minister, as well as the number times they are appearing on the stage. Other details of your concert that your guest artist(s) is supposed to know include: the venue of the concert, time it begins and ends, other guest ministering at the concert (if any), and the theme of the concert. The artist should not rehearse a song on authoritarianism when your theme is about transformation; or rehearse a song on salvation when they are going to be attending a fund raising concert to is raising money to help send children to school.
ROSTERS AND STAFFING Spread the load. Let‟s face it. You can‟t do it all, so you need to delegate. Once your goals are in place, share out roles and tasks to members of your group according to their skills and availability. This way, everyone knows what they need to do and there‟s less risk of doubling up on work. If your planning team is large, divide them into committees. Set up a committee that will take care of publicity, another that will be in charge of picking out a venue and a date, etc. Keep track of progress. It‟s quite possible that someone who has been committed to helping you out may, for some reason or another, pull out
closer to the date. If you are regularly following up with people, you‟ll find out about changes sooner rather than later. With this you will avoid disappointments. So long as we are humans, we are all liable to disappoint people. Nonetheless, our integrity must remain. You know, in my little experience, I have seen people who have been so committed drop out when you need them most, usually few days to the concert. And then God has this way of compensating you by rising up someone who has never been resourceful to do the task even better! PERFORMING RIGHTS (PERMITS AND PERMISSIONS) The choir‟s repertoire includes many items which are still within copyright and for which royalties are payable whenever they are performed publicly (during the lifetime of the composer / arranger and for 70 years after their death). Royalties are collected by a renowned body on an agency basis and distributed to the composers /arrangers concerned. Recently, there has been some publicity regarding tightening up of these bodies especially here in Nigeria, in order to protect the rights of composers and arrangers to their royalties. So as promoters of a concert you need to be aware of the situation regarding this. Very little of this is concerned for now since it‟s your first, and of course, since it‟s a Gospel concert. PUBLICITY The size of the task of your publicity will depend on whether the targeted audience is mainly registered or known supporters of your organisation (in which case you may well have a newsletter and other communication channels already available), or whether you are mainly aiming at the general public, in which case you will need to produce posters and flyers and notify the local media of the event. I strongly recommend that the design of your posters should be eye-catching and „uncluttered‟, with just the basic information - choir name, your name, date, time, venue, ticket price / gate fee (if you are demanding that) and source - prominently displayed. A 'template' and a little but very important advice on your design will be discussed later.
Where posters are being displayed or flyers handed out make sure that you have any necessary permission to do so. Don‟t paste your posters in front of people‟s gates without their consent or walk into a church service and begin to share your flyers. Protocols need to be observed. For the local churches in your area, discuss your concert with the resident pastor before time. Let him introduce you to the music director, the youth pastor and the chief usher. Once these three people have fallen in love with your vision, you can be sure that the whole church would be sited at your venue when the day finally arrives. Attend other concerts and gatherings, especially where the youths are involved. If it is possible, ask the organisers to put you and your team on the list of performing guests. Do a very powerful and suspense filled performance that will leave the people wanting for more. Then tell the organisers to announce that your own event is just around the corner, with the right details of when and how it is happening. If your venue is located in an area or city that you are not yet familiar with, be sure to have on your planning /organising team, a few person(s) who have an in-depth knowledge of that area. Publicity material should be available at least four weeks before the concert, preferably earlier. Begin radio and television advertisements not later than twelve days to the D-day. Produce a printed programme for sale or free distribution at the concert so that your audience can follow you all way through. More of this will be discussed in the next chapter. Put together a short demo CD. Ask each guest performing in your concert to submit one recorded song from their latest albums. Burn the songs on inexpensive CDs that can be handed out alongside your flyers to give people an opportunity to learn more about the style of your concert. These days, I hardly get myself worked up over distributing handbills and flyers for my concerts. I just sit in front of my computer and do all the publicity I need, and guess what? I get a better result! With the
advent of these sms hosting sites, you can send bulk sms (Short Message Service) to as many as over a million people. All you need is get your friends, members of your team and members of your family to send you the mobile numbers of their friends, and friends of friends. Compose an inviting message to inform them of your concert. It should be as simple as this: Live Music with the Shabach Singers Date: 31st November 1987 Time: 5:00pm prompt Venue: Asaba town hall, Asaba. Don’t miss it!!!! If you are using a social site like „twitter‟, „hi5‟, „naijapals‟, „linkedin‟ or the now-popular „facebook‟, you can create and event and invite all the friends on your network. You can also paste concise and vital information about your concert on your wall. If you have very few friends, you can paste this information on the walls of your friends that have thousands of friends. Using the media is another effective way of publicising your concert. It is expensive, yet effective. Almost every one listens to radio, watch the TV, or read newspapers and magazines. If you do not want to go national or even international, then you can try the local radio and TV stations and local newspaper companies around you. You can talk to a radio presenter to do an interview with you on radio where you get to talk about what led you into organising the concert. With a good vision, a lot of listeners would want to be part of a concert that is product of a fantastic vision. Do not also forget the effectiveness of word of mouth invitations. Telling me about your concert and getting me to promise I‟ll be there puts me in a position of commitment; a situation which I would definitely not want to become a disappointment. Same goes for so many people. So get your team members and their friends to be free to tell as many people as come their way about the up-coming concert. If you get twenty people to talk to a group of another twenty persons and get confirmations that those twenty persons each will be attending, you are
sure of twenty times twenty (four hundred) people who will be attending your concert. If you have sufficient funds, you can print details of your concert on teeshirts and distribute them to members of your team as well as your local church. Wearing these tee-shirts to their schools and work places, you are sure to raise the intensity of your awareness. TIMING AND LOCATION Usually, I and my crew members try everything within our power to spread our concert performances as evenly as possible throughout the year. You too, should try as much as possible to choose a timing that is convenient. You know you are looking for trouble by putting your concert on a Monday morning. So many people would want to attend but would not just be able to. Come off it! They have jobs to seeking their attention, and others need to go to school. Also, for a community where coming out at night is not safe, fixing an all-night concert that would not last till dawn would also not work. No one wants to put their life at risk because of your concert. Wait till you become a celebrity at least. Fix the date of your concert during weekends. Weekends are just the time when people are looking for the „happening place‟ to hang out and relax with friends, and no other place would be better than the presence of God which you‟ll be making available. Also try to fix the time in the evening. By this time a lot of people would have gotten back from their work places and schools. Late evenings usually work better, since you would have given them enough time to eat, take a shower, and rest. Technically, some cities and towns are more musically inclined to music than others. Spending the same amount on publicity for two different towns would always yield different results. So a town with eager people waiting to attend a gospel concert would be a perfect host for your concert. If you are an African and you are reading this book, you must ensure that you start your concert at the time scheduled to start. Integrity should be your watch word. You have told the public through the radio, your flyers and word of mouth that you are starting at so-and-so time, so keep it that way. Avoid like a wild fire, this issue of African time. Also,
do not keep the people more than the expected time. If for any reason you do, make sure it does not exceed the duration of fifteen minutes. Note that there could be certain situations where the move of the Holy Ghost becomes so evident that you want to, but cannot close the service. In such cases, say something about it to the people and let those who cannot wait be free to go. Others who can should stay and enjoy the warmth of his presence. Didn‟t we call it a gospel concert?
VENUE The ideal venue for a choral concert, of course, would be a highceilinged , un-curtained and un-carpeted hall to provide a splendidly „live‟ acoustic, with a raised, tiered performance platform for a choir of 40 -50 singers so that the audience can see them all and they can all see their conductor; comfortable seats for the audience; and a foyer area for ticket sales/collection(if attendance/invitations are by tickets); an adjacent assembly and changing area for the choir (sometimes this can be a room located backstage); separate refreshment and toilet facilities for choir and audience and adequate parking for all! In reality these high ideals are unlikely to be achieved with the choice of public venues available for most local Gospel concerts. A lot of our local churches even lack most of these facilities. However, it is helpful to bear them in mind when thinking about a venue for your event. The choice is often between public, school or church halls, or churches themselves. Most halls tend to have a flat, relatively low ceiling (although there are notable exceptions) which results in a rather dead choral sound, and a curtained „proscenium arch‟ style stage which, unless large enough to accommodate tiered staging, tends to restrict the projection of the music – and makes it very hard work for the choir!
Ok! I‟m sure most of what I just said sounded strange to you. Don‟t get discouraged. If you have very little idea of sound engineering, then you definitely need a sound engineer around you whenever you are making venue and sound-related decisions. As I told you earlier, I didn‟t even know what it took to produce a good sound even for a small gathering of fifty people. Not until my experience began to grow through close contact with other sound engineers and my uncle who was a sound engineer and a lot of books and video clips on sound that I studied, I myself knew very little on sound engineering. A very important thing to consider when choosing your venue should be the number of people you are expecting. If you are expecting between five hundred to a thousand people and your venue is one that can conveniently accommodate three thousand persons, you can be sure that your concert would look unsuccessful. Minimum requirements for a suitable venue are: (i) (ii) Audience capacity of at least 100 Adequate platform / staging area to accommodate your backup singers, choir members, instrumentalists, and/or dancers as the case may be, with space for the conductor‟s podium.
(iii) A separate room or hall for your crew to assemble and line up and in most cases, rehearse. (iv) Adjacent access for your vehicle for unloading and loading equipments. (v) Adjacent or nearby parking for vehicles and motorcycles (except if you are expecting everybody to come and go back on foot).
If you are selling tickets to the public, tickets should be available for sale as soon as publicity commences. Make sure that the venue (make sure that a concise, precise, and well detailed description of the address is given.), date, time and admission price are all included on the tickets. They should be printed on card preferably, and of reasonable size – no more than eight to an A4 sheet before cutting – to prevent them being mislaid before the event once sold and also to allow for easier handling at the door on the d-day. You should aim to sell (and receive payment for!) as many tickets in advance as possible so that you have a reasonable idea of committed audience size before the concert. Unless you are hiring a venue with an advance Box Office facility (in which case you will probably be charged commission on sales) the best method of sale is by face-to-face transaction, e.g. in a shop, at a church, or at your organisation‟s normal meeting place if you have one. If the only possible avenue of sale is by telephone or surface mail/email order, remember to budget for the cost of posting out purchased tickets. Alternatively you could leave them for collection on the door on the concert night, provided this does not overcomplicate the task of your front-of-house personnel. Incidentally, don‟t forget to give them a reasonable „float‟ of change for tickets sold to „on spec‟ customers on the night. Ticket price will need to be determined by the size and quality of the venue, likely achievable audience size, whether any refreshments are included, the total costs to be covered and the target surplus to be achieved.
[projector,do tins that are suspence filled and really enteratianing]
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