As leaders of your singing group, new or established, choosing a name for your choir can be a difficult and apprehensive time. See our guide on how to choose a name for your vocal group.
The nerves often set in when people start overthinking. You might not want to sound too trendy, or you really want the name to roll off the tongue. It might be you want the name to be memorable, but not too crazy, but unique enough to stand out.
Just as you would prepare to sing a note fortissimo … BREATHE!
And try not to go straight for the first automatic vocal name generator you find on Google.
Using a name generator can be good for inspiration, but those names can often lack personality and take the fun and passion out of the entire choir naming process.
Remember, your choir’s name must embody your choir’s spirit. So if it’s appropriate, get your choir involved!
Back to Choir Name Basics
When you first choose a name for your choir, you’ll need to decide whether you want to make it descriptive or non-descriptive. Making this choice will help focus your naming efforts.
Descriptive Choir Names
Descriptive names are those that are accurate and clearly describe what your choir does. They can be seen as quite functional and simple. The advantages of these names include a sense of pride of place especially if you are from a well-known city like Cambridge. Or if you want to people to know that you only perform a particular genre, like a capella. Some Examples of descriptive choir names are:
- Cambridge University Symphony Chorus
- Bristol A Cappella
- Jazz Choir Scotland
- Camden Voices
As simple as descriptive names might be for your choir, there is a variety of different ways you can express it. Have a go at phrasing your choir in as many ways as possible and circle the ones you like.
Non-Descriptive Choir Names
Another different option can come in choosing a non-descriptive name. These names are not so straightforward however do make up the majority of choir names chosen. This is likely due to the creative freedom and wanting a memorable or catchy name that will stick in the minds of your audience.
When choosing names such as these, it’s important to make sure ‘outsiders’ will understand that your name is actually a choir. In other words, make sure people understand the context.
Non-descriptive names can be further categorised. If this is the route you want to use for your choir, an idea would be to brainstorm around each of these categories:
Suggestive Choir Names
These types of names are those that would evoke or suggest a characteristic of your choir. You can draw on the power of metaphor and analogy to create positive associations about your choir in the minds of your audience.
These names are a little tougher to create but if you make sure your listeners understand your choir’s name context, you are onto a winner.
A great example was put together by Nadine Cooper, who heads up the Tuneless Choir– Nadine Cooper put together the choir after years of being told she could not sing, and the result is a musical experience quite unlike any other.
Arbitrary Choir Names
These names are “real” (dictionary) words used out of context. Similarly to suggestive choir names they require more storytelling to make their case.
Some examples of choir names look odd and could be a name for anything out of context. However, when a story is added, it makes sense;
The Sixteen – Originally an unnamed choir of sixteen good friends, this UK choir is now one of the best in the world.
Polyphony – this literally means ‘the style of simultaneously combining a number of parts, each forming an individual melody and harmonizing with each other’. This name makes perfect sense for a choir!
Les Arts Florissants– French for ‘The Arts Flourishing’, this is an acclaimed and worldwide early music group.
Fanciful Choir Names
A favourite for barbershop and a capella groups, fanciful names are coined (invented) or are phrases put together that could have no inherent meaning other than the one assigned to them. See if you can spot the clever wordplay below:
There are a few options you can take with the non-descriptive route however, it’s not unusual to combine the two methods.
Have a brainstorming session with a few members of the choir and see what you come up with.
Give your Choir Names a Test
Once you have a list of your top three or so it’s time to test it on the public. It’s important to see how both singers and non-singers alike react.
Moreover, you need to see if the name is already taken of which the importance will vary on the individual choir.
Do people get your chosen choir name?
It’s crucial not to assume everyone will know the story or connotations of your name. Run your main choices by a range of different people and see what they think.
How does the name resonate with them and does it reflect your original thoughts?
Is the name available?
After this stage, there are other practical considerations before you go ahead before the final decision. For example, is there already a choir with the same name (there are lots of Global Harmonies out there for instance) and does that matter (they might be at the other end of the country)?
Have you checked if a suitable website domain name is available?
As mentioned before these decisions are based on your choir and vocal groups own goals and objectives. If you are looking to be a professional choir, then this final stage needs a lot of attention.
On the other hand, if your name is for a temporary summer school children’s choir, the importance of this final stage reduces.
How to Finally Choose A Name for your Choir
Avoid using a generator! Discuss what type of name you think most suits your choir brand. Golden Nugget – Use your singers to help you with this following exercise: Idea: Run a competition for your singers, whoever wins gets a prize of your choice.
1. Get everyone to suggest a name each, use this article to help with brainstorming
2. Have them all write them down (or email you) and post into an ideas box/kitty.
3. Email or pin up all the names for everyone to see
4. Give everyone three votes and get them to vote for their favourite 3
5. The top three with the most votes get voted on again
6. The majority wins!
7. The choir member whose name it was, gets the prize.
This way can be a fun and inclusive way to involve the entire choir in choosing a name. It will allow for full, open conversations and discussions among the members about why people like or dislike certain types of names.
It can be a somewhat tedious process but everybody gets really invested and it helps build group cohesion.
Hopefully, these guidelines provide a more genuine and creative way you choir leaders and vocal group leaders can think of a name without using a quick name generator.
If you are also on the lookout for a set of choir robes, check out our colourful range. We also offer a bespoke service to personalise your robes with a name to remember.