Community Publications

Research Report on Community Choirs in Australia

Advocacy Resources, Research

December 02, 2013
Survey design: Alex Masso and Tina Broad
Analysis and report prepared by Alex Masso

Community Choirs in Australia is a report which looks at various aspects of community group singing in Australia. This report was published by the Music in Communities Network which was an initiative of Music Australia.

The second in a series of surveys focuses on community choirs. This report goes into more detail than our previous report, on community orchestras, in relation to support from community and government, leaders, contributions to the local community, budgets, and so on.

Key findings:

  • Almost all Australian community choirs sing Australian music
  • Most Australian community-based choirs have been running for less than 10 years
  • There is a gradual increase in choir participation with each age bracket, 45-54 year olds being most likely to sing in a choir
  • Over 80% of choirs are ‘mixed’ but only 30% of singers in community choirs are male
  • Almost two thirds of choir directors/leaders have a degree related to music and most of those have a degree in music education
  • The number of choirs where ‘singers must be able to read music’ is only 8%, in 57% reading is ‘useful but not required’, and in 36% of choirs ‘singers don’t need to be able to read music’
  • Almost all community choirs give their time to the local community, with three quarters giving free concerts and even more performing at community events
  • About a quarter of Australian community choirs have annual expenses of under $1000 (27%), a further 10% have between $1000 and $2500 in their annual budget.
  • Besides the choir director or leader, the highest expenses for community choirs are Venue Hire, Sheet music, Public Liability Insurance and Accompanists
  • More than half of all community choirs receive some form of support from local government, 13% receive support from state governments and 5% from the federal government
  • Besides local government, the next highest level of support for choirs comes from churches and religious organisations

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