When I was at Preston last week, one of the Red Rosettes remarked to me how seeing the way their new members were so excited about what they were doing had made her feel excited again too. It got me thinking about what bringing new members is does for a choir. We usually think about this in terms of numbers and choir survival - if we don't replace those that leave (which is inevitable for reasons of health, work and family, however healthy the choir is in spirit), you eventually run out of singers.
But this conversation got me thinking about the more intangible benefits a choir gets from new members. On the face of it, inducting new people carries something of an overhead. However experienced the new recruit may be, they still need to learn this choir's particular habits, routines and - in the case of repertoire groups - music. But I tend to think not merely that this overhead is worth it for the gain of new members, but that going through this process periodically itself benefits the group.