Looking for a fun, creative way to start the choir year? Consider hosting a kick-off party or retreat.
This is a time to celebrate the start of a new season, welcome both returning and new members, and get a head start on all the music you have picked out for the months ahead (P.S. Christmas is only 19 weeks away!).
Whether you’re hosting a full-day retreat, a Saturday morning workshop, or extending your first midweek rehearsal (perhaps with dinner beforehand), make sure to plan a few hours of dedicated rehearsal time (including warm-ups!) plus some time for fellowship.
If you’ve never planned and hosted one before, there are a few things every good kick-off party should have:
It wouldn’t be a party without it! Think finger food, brunch, sack lunches, or a potluck meal of some kind (depending on the time of day).
Build in time for people to interact, catch up after a summer apart (or get to know someone new), and welcome anyone who might be new to the choir or visiting.
Laughter is such an important part of building community and being in ministry together. Plan something fun and lighthearted to help your choir members relax and enjoy spending time together.
Speaking of fun and lighthearted, icebreakers are a great way to start your kick-off party or event. This is an easy way to get to know each other better, promote teamwork, build camaraderie, and cultivate a fun, relaxed environment.
Plus, researchers indicate that adults learn better when they’re relaxed (source), so taking the time to do something simple like an icebreaker at the beginning of your time together will set your choir up for success in the rehearsal segment of your kick-off party.
Looking for a few new icebreakers to try with your choir? Here’s a go-to list:
10 Icebreakers Your Adult Choir Will Love
Choose a number of familiar songs (half as many songs as people in your group). (Pro tip: Use Christmas songs if this is a Christmas kick-off!) Type up the titles, print two sets, and cut into strips.
When everyone arrives, have them draw a song title and begin humming. The challenge is to move around the room and find the other person humming the same song!
Make a list of items to find (ex. credit card, digital photo of a pet, pair of reading glasses, an address for a specific place). Participants may use phones or any other devices they may have with them. The team that finds the most items in the given amount of time wins! (source)
Divide your choir into groups of 5-10 people. The goal is for each group to reorder themselves as quickly as possible. You can use your own category or one of the following: number of letters in your first name, birthplace (closest to farthest away), number of siblings (least to most), height (shortest to tallest). The first team to reorder themselves correctly wins. (source)
Have players sit in a circle and face each other. One person begins by saying, "Ha!” The next person says, "Ha-ha!” The third says, "Ha-ha-ha!” etc. If someone says the wrong number of "ha’s" or laughs, he or she is out. Begin again and keep playing until only one player is left. (source)
Have everyone write down three thoughtful questions they would like to ask others in the group (e.g. "Where is the most interesting place you've traveled?" or “What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?”).
Give them time to mingle and ask three different people one of their three questions. Come back together as a large group and have each person stand and introduce themself. Then, ask the group to share what they learned about this person. (source)
Similar to Categories above, have everyone start by standing in a straight line, in no particular order. After they are in line, ask them to rearrange based on their birthday, with January 1 on one end and December 31 on the other. The trick is to do all this without talking or writing anything down! (source)
Three in Common
Divide your choir into small groups of three people. Invite each group to find three unique things they have in common - not general things like age, sex, or hair color, but things like allergies or places they’ve lived or experiences they’ve had.
Let the groups discuss for 10-15 minutes, then come back together as a large group and have each small group share the three things they have in common. (source)
All My Neighbors
Invite everyone to sit in a circle with one person in the center. The person in the center begins by saying, “I like all my neighbors who…” and finishes with a characteristic like, “wear something blue” or “have freckles.”
Everyone who has that characteristic will trade places with someone else in the circle and while that’s happening, the person in the center will try to find an empty spot. The person who doesn’t find a spot will move to the center and begin again. (source)
Form groups of 3-5 people. Give each person a sheet of newspaper and ask them to roll it into a tight ball. Have everyone stand at the far end of a room with a basket of some kind laying on its side (open side facing everyone) on the other side of the room.
Take turns rolling the paper balls as close as possible to the basket and assign point values for balls that go in the basket and balls that touch the basket. The group with the most points at the end wins! (source)
This or That
Create a list of personal preferences that are relevant to your group. For instance: waffles or pancakes, sales or customer support, extrovert or introvert, white Christmas lights or multi-colored Christmas lights, morning person or night owl, kindergarteners or high schoolers.
Have everyone stand in the center of the room to start. Name the first set of personal preferences and point to one side of the room or the other for each choice. Invite people to move to one side of the room or the other, based on their personal preferences. Allow a little time for chatting and mingling before moving on to the next personal preference. (source)
What are your favorite icebreaker activities? Leave a comment below.
P.S. Looking for more ideas for your kick-off party? Check out these helpful posts: