When I was in high school, I worked on my senior yearbook, and ended up with the thankless job of doing the index. Turns out, I loved all that fine detail work, and the challenge of laying it out in a pleasing manner. Which probably explains why I enjoy doing concert programs.
Programs are an interesting beast. The temptation is to make them very full of great information. And yet, they are very expensive to produce, especially if you go the full-color route.
When I was in Sacred Music Chorale, we generally had a budget of 8 pages. I would take the flyer design (done by another chorister) and use that as the basis for the cover of the program. Inside I would present the concert order, followed by the text of all our pieces, with a concise introductory paragraph offering one or two interesting tidbits. (I explicitly refrained from providing boring biographical information since that was always easy enough to come by elsewhere.)
After the song texts, we would feature a donor list. Then on the back cover we’d have a list of singers, a photo, the director bio, and an invite to the next concert.
Recently I have had the opportunity to start doing programs for the Seattle Bach Choir as well. These are done very much in the same style as my Sacred Music Chorale programs, though we tend to have all our program notes together rather than scattered throughout the program.
For Summer Fling Singers, our program budget is even more minimal: I print them at home on my laser printer, so we’re limited to 8½ × 14" paper and black & white only! For our first year I folded the legal size paper in half and created an 8-page booklet. Our second-year program was even more minimal, being a single sheet (two-sided).
Below you can check out a few examples of my programs. Click to download full PDFs with all inner pages. Note that some are very large!