Lots of Posters for Little Singers

Winter Concert 2004About a decade ago my sister-in-law, Virginia Hill, was hired as the choral music director at the upper elementary school in our shared hometown. Virginia had abundant skills as a vocalist and musician, but she had no previous teaching experience. I remember being just a little bit worried about how this would all go. It turned out to be a rocky year with over-sized classes and a fair number of high energy kids who were not accustomed to the focus and concentration required for choral singing. I wasn’t sure Virginia was going to make it to her first concert with this rambunctious bunch, but she did.

And as that first concert approached, she asked me to design her a poster and concert program to help generate interest. It was nice opportunity to contribute something to her daring new venture, so I said yes. The result was the Winter Concert Poster above. Simple, but effective.

That poster was printed on a color laser printer and the program was photocopied. In 2004, those were the only reproduction technologies that made sense on a limited budget. Today, through the magic of digital color printing, we can economically print these materials in full-color despite the small quantities (thank you T&N Printing).

To make a long story short, we are now looking back over ten years of posters and programs for two concerts each year. It’s been fun, but more importantly, it has felt great to support Virginia’s efforts as well as arts education in the public schools.

A lot of positive energy has grown up around this project …

  • Parents and friends are much more interested in what Virginia’s students are doing. The concerts have become very well attended.
  • The young singers themselves have grown more enthusiastic about their efforts. I see many of them claim a souvenir program right after they perform. I even suggested that Ginny use the poster as a central part of their motivation. If they attend all the rehearsals and perform at the concert, they get the honor of signing a special copy of the poster that hangs in the rehearsal space to honor their participation.
  • Virginia has become a very confident teacher who now builds a group of 60-90 fifth- and sixth-grade students into a talented chorus each year. She has been so  successful with the Upper Elementary School group that this year she was asked to begin teaching the Middle School chorus as well.

Here is a sampling of the posters we’ve designed for the chorus over the last ten years …


JIM GIBSON earned his BA in English (yes, English) from the University of Virginia. Nevertheless, he has enjoyed a long career in the graphic arts that spans a broad set of technologies, skills, and interests. Since the early 1980s he has operated his own design studio with an impressive list of satisfied clients.

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