Find a choir that sings your kind of music: 19 different types of repertoire listed on Choirslist

If you're thinking about joining a choir for the first time, you might be curious about the kind of music different choirs sing. That's what we call "repertoire," by the way.

Or maybe you’ve previously sung in a choir, and are now keen to find and try a choir which sings a particular repertoire?

Either way, we've got you covered! At Choirslist, we've got a list of over 19 different choir repertoires on our directories. This means that you can easily find a choir that sings the type of music you're looking for, or you can just browse through the different repertoires to see what's out there.

In this article, we'll explore the history and types of choir repertoire that are available to sing in choirs. We'll also give you some things to think about when choosing a choir based on its choice of repertoire.

Evolution of choir repertoire through the ages

Choral music has endured for centuries, having originated in ancient times when individuals engaged in singing during religious ceremonies and similar gatherings. Its evolution over time has encompassed the incorporation of diverse musical styles, as songs have adapted to align with prevalent preferences and tastes of composers, performers and audiences.

Throughout its evolution composers and arrangers have formalised their melodies through written scores, facilitating incremental modifications over time. Furthermore, singers have exerted a significant influence on these melodies, as many individuals acquire them solely through the act of listening.

In recent decades, community choirs specialising in singing arrangements of popular music have gained popularity. They welcome singers of all levels, embracing various music genres and creating dynamic performances. They contribute to the growth of the choral repertoire by commissioning new arrangements, and some choirs publish their own arrangements of songs by your favourite contemporary music artists.

Search up 19 types of choir repertoire on Choirslist

To date, our team has identified nineteen distinct genres of music that choirs sing. It is likely that there are numerous additional, intriguing, and uncommon genres that we’ve missed from this list, but, let's investigate these nineteen genres more closely.

A Cappella

A Cappella is a purely vocal music without instrumental accompaniment, a cappella showcases the raw power of the human voice. Groups such as Kitsch In Sync, and The Pop-Up Choir create dynamic and exciting a cappella renditions of popular songs.

Barbershop

Barbershop is a more specific type of a cappella singing; characterised by its distinctive four-part harmonies and synonymous with 1950s gents and pin striped suits in pastel colours, classic tunes such as "Sweet Adeline" capture the nostalgic charm of this style - think Disneyland’s the Dapper Dans!

Choral

Choral music is the traditional term for a group of many voices singing music, however this broad category now tends to include everything from sacred works like Handel's "Messiah" to secular compositions such as Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana," performed by choirs of all sizes. 

Chamber

If you’re looking for a traditional choir experience and would like to sing with a small group of people then a choir which predominantly performs Chamber Music may suit you best. This type of music is performed by smaller ensembles, usually numbering less than 40 singers and often featuring complex compositions by masters such as Brahms. 

Classical

If you’d like to have a go at singing Classical choir music you can expect to come across towering works by Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven, whose compositions continue to be performed in concert halls and churches around the world. 

Madrigals 

Madrigals are a form of renaissance music known for their expressive texts and intricate counterpoints, with classics such as "Now is the Month of Maying."

Folk Music

Choirs often bring Folk music into their repertoire, celebrating cultural heritage as well as international folk tunes. Many folk choirs encourage their musical members to accompany them if they play an instrument, so if that’s you and you have a penchant for ‘Trad’ music then a folk choir may be just what you’re looking for. 

World Music

Of course music is celebrated all over the world and many choirs like to explore World music as a way of celebrating global sounds, singing pieces from various cultures to create a tapestry of international music.

Jazz Music

Maybe you’re looking for a choir that sings Jazz music - choirs that swing with renditions of standards by Gershwin or Ellington. Perhaps now is your chance to find a group which incorporates scat singing and syncopated rhythms into their performances.

Soul Music

Choirs that sing Soul often deliver heartfelt performances of soul music classics, using their voices to convey deep emotions and get everyone swaying to the rhythm.

Contemporary Music

The term Contemporary is used as a broad term for choir repertoire. A whopping 48 of London Choislist’s choirs incorporate contemporary music as part of what they rehearse. This includes both contemporary classical music as well as other forms of contemporary music. Modern composers often contribute to this genre by blending traditional techniques with innovative new musical ideas. 

Pop Music

Though if you’re looking to just be singing the current hits, Pop choirs often cover the charts and classic pop songs - always lively and sometimes even accompanied by vibrant choreography. 

Rock Music

If you’re looking for something with a smidge more edge, then a Rock choir may suit you better. With powerful renditions of songs by bands like Queen, often accompanied by live bands, these choirs often have great energy.

Musical Theatre Music

Though if that’s not your cup of tea and you’re more of a Musical Theatre baby, fear not! There are several choirs who predominantly sing songs from musicals, for example West End Musical Choir and a new choir The Stage Door Choir. Songs from beloved musicals like "Les Misérables" come to life in the voices of choirs, blending drama with music. 


Religious Music

Religious choirs perform music across various faiths, with repertoire that includes hymns, sacred music, and spiritual songs. 

Gospel Music

Gospel music is a very popular genre of music for choirs. The singers in Gospel choirs raise their voices in powerful, emotive performances of songs like "Oh Happy Day," blending spiritual messages with soul-stirring melodies. Gospel choirs are a very popular booking for weddings and other special occasions.

Sea Shanties

Sea Shanties have enjoyed a resurgence, with choirs embracing these rhythmic work songs that were once sung aboard ships. Although on the niche end of the spectrum, you can find choirs that still sing them!

Seasonal Music

From Christmas carols to Halloween tunes, choirs which celebrate the spirit of the holidays with Seasonal music specific to each occasion. This type of music is usually incorporated into the choir’s yearly calendar so don’t worry, you won’t have to sing Christmas songs in July!


Mixed

Although, if you’re looking for something with a bit of everything, a choir that offers a Mixed repertoire will serve you best. These choirs perform a mix of genres, providing a rich and varied auditory experience that can include classical, jazz, pop, and more in a single performance. Many choirs listed on Choirslist choose to categorise themselves as having a mixed repertoire so as not to limit themselves - after all, variety is the spice of life!

Which repertoire is right for you?

What kind of music would your ideal choir sing?

Most people have a good idea of the music they like to listen to, but that doesn't always mean they know what they want to sing.

Familiarity with the music can be a big factor, but sometimes trying something new or different can be even more rewarding.

So, how do you decide what's right for you? Let's take a look at some of your options.


Fixed repertoire choirs

Some choirs like to stick to one kind of music, while others mix it up. If you pick a choir that focuses on one type of music, you'll probably get really good at it.

Some choirs in this group aim to be the best at one particular type of music. That can be a lot of fun, especially if you're into that kind of music. It takes a lot of practice and dedication, but it's worth it when you finally nail it.

Mixed repertoire choirs

If you're into diversity, picking a choir with a mix of songs could be your thing. You'll get to learn different skills for each type of music. The bottom line is that joining any choir, no matter what type it is brings lots of perks.

On Choirslist you’ll find ‘Mixed’ is used by choirs who like to explore a lot of different kinds of music with their members.

How Choirslist can help you find a choir that sings your kind of music.

At Choirslist, we understand that choosing a choir isn't just about the location, the rehearsal times or the people. 

It's also about finding a group that sings the music you love. 

That's why we've made it super easy for you to explore different choir repertoires that are available to sing. Choirslist London is our first region to launch its directory, with a search filter where you can pick the kind of music you want to sing, from classical to contemporary and everything in between. 

(So, if you're ready to join a choir in London that sings your kind of music, hop on over to Choirslist London, and check out the amazing choice on offer).

Conclusion

With singers' diverse preferences and tastes, a choir's repertoire can encompass a wide range of music genres, offering something for everyone. Whether you like the classic elegance of classical pieces, the soulful rhythms of gospel, or the energetic power of rock, there's likely a choir out there that aligns with your preferences, perhaps closer than you realise.

The most important consideration however is always to look for a choir where you feel inspired, challenged, and uplifted. And investing in your connection to your choir will make your weekly rehearsals a joyful experience.

Remember, the strength of group singing extends beyond the notes themselves—it's also about the shared experience of making music with others, such as friends, neighbours, and colleagues. Therefore, it's crucial to find a choir or singing group where you feel comfortable and capable of expressing your musical interests.

Find a choir on London Choirslist.

If you’re looking to join a choir in London, visit london.choirslist.com to search for choirs based on repertoire, and with luck you’ll find a group singing the type of music you want to sing. 

Written by
Lily Whiteside

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