Chorus America Conference 2024 Review: A Tech Vendor’s Perspective


By: Drew McManus

In: Catch All

I found Eric Rubio’s review of the 2024 SphinxConnect conference remarkably helpful and it inspired me to do the same for the conferences I attend. But one twist is where Erik was an attendee, my perspective is from a vendor. As a first-time vendor from UpStage CRM at the 2024 Chorus America Conference, it was an eye-opening experience. Here’s a breakdown of my experience:


  • Engaged Audience: Chorus directors were open to exploring new solutions. Despite being accustomed to traditional methods, they displayed genuine curiosity about how technology could enhance their choirs. Conversations felt enthusiastic and productive.
  • Supportive Ecosystem: The conference staff and fellow vendors fostered a welcoming environment. Staff were readily available to answer questions, and the vendor community offered camaraderie and a sense of shared purpose.
  • Knowledgeable and Attentive Staff: Staff were knowledgeable and attentive, readily available to answer questions and address any concerns. I genuinely felt that my success was their success, which is not as common of an occurrence as it should be.
  • Value Proposition: The conference offered a cost-effective platform to connect with potential clients. Exhibition and sponsorship rates were reasonable, making it very accessible for tech vendors to participate.
  • Reliable Core Technology: Excellent Wi-Fi was essential for showcasing online tools and resources and there were no issues with outages or connectivity.
  • Connecting and Consulting: Conferences offer the unique advantage of meeting clients in person, which is a downright luxury for tech providers. This year, I was able to connect with representatives from several of our current client base and provide them with personalized consultations beyond what we provide over Zoom (not to mention just hanging out and socializing). For example, the conference allowed me to finally meet Stash Bylicki, Executive Director of Chor Leoni, after two years of successful collaboration online. This face-to-face interaction fostered a stronger connection and paved the way for a more collaborative future.

Areas for Optimization

  • Lead Capture: The lack of QR codes on badges made collecting leads cumbersome. I found myself taking handwritten notes and snapping pics of attendee badges (thankfully, text-recognition tools will make that a little less cumbersome). Adopting the common practice of including QR codes on attendee badges to streamline lead capture and allow for easy note-taking would be a welcome addition to the 2025 conference.
  • Table Placement: Uncertain table assignments and last-minute changes on set-up day were a source of stress. A more transparent and streamlined table reservation process would help reduce related anxiety.
  • Business Development Opportunities: Each night of the conference featured planned activities that most attendees participated in. As a result, scheduling in-depth business meetings proved challenging during evenings filled with social activities. Exploring alternative solutions, such as dedicated networking sessions, could facilitate more effective business interactions. Missing were the sort of sponsored happy hours where vendors and attendees could interact outside of the exhibition area.

General Observations

  • Engaged Sessions: Sessions seemed well-attended with minimal session-hopping. Having said that, the conference staff did confirm they neither encourage/discourage session hopping. Typically, I travel with a colleague so one of us can attend sessions while the other remains at the booth. But during this conference, it was only me so I was unable to attend any sessions and can’t provide a first-hand perspective.
  • High-Quality Accommodations: The hotel offered a very comfortable and convenient experience. Multiple nearby hotel options at a variety of price points were a plus and I noticed attendees taking advantage of all options.
  • First-Class Gala: While I’m not used to seeing an annual gala injected into a conference experience,it didprovide a unique networking opportunity.

Unique Considerations for Tech Vendors

  • Limited History of Tech Focused Providers: Compared to other arts and culture service organization conferences, there weren’t many tech vendors. The majority of vendors came from the tour management and music publisher sectors and there were several individual composers with tables. As a result, attendees seemed to be well prepared to engage with those providers but less so with those from the tech sector.
  • Later Stage Sales Cycle: Unlike other conferences where attendees come prepared with questions for tech providers, here, the engagement happened from the first step in the process after attendees saw the exhibitors. This suggests a longer sales cycle.
  • Pre-Conference Communication: If Chorus America continues to attract more tech providers, locking in exhibitors earlier and communicating with attendees about attending tech providers would be beneficial. Providing a “how to come prepared” guide for attendees to maximize their visit would go a long way toward helping them reap the benefits of pre-planning their tech shopping and save them time and effort.

Return on Investment (ROI)

As a vendor, this is the big question. Given the anticipated longer sales cycle, I expect determining ROI will take longer than usual. Compared to other conferences where a higher ratio of attendees arrive armed with a laundry list of questions about the tech platforms they want to investigate, meaningful analysis will have to wait until the longer sales cycle runs its course.


The conference was a very positive experience and some straightforward, but key, refinements would make the 2025 conference even more successful from a vendor perspective.

As a sponsor, I found the conference valuable, and even with then unknown ROI, I would recommend it to other tech vendors and service providers. For those interested, I plan to publish a follow-up article in a few months to provide an update on the ROI once the sales pipeline has had more time to mature.


I’ve always found it is difficult to find videos of what a conference exhibition area looks like. For vendors considering buying a booth or sponsoring, this is extremely helpful to have. As such, I make sure to take a quick time-lapse tour video. Share and enjoy…

YouTube video
Drew McManus
Drew McManus
In addition to my consulting business, I'm also the Principal of Venture Industries Online but don’t let that title fool you into thinking I'm just a tech geek. I bring 20+ years of global broad-based arts consulting experience to the table to help clients break the cycle of choosing one-size-fits-none solutions and instead, deliver options allowing them to get ahead of the tech curve instead of trying to catch up by going slower. With the vision of legacy support strategy and the delights of creative insights, my mission is to deliver a sophisticated next generation technology designed especially for the field of performing arts. The first step in that journey began in 2010 when The Venture Platform was released, a purpose-designed managed website development solution designed especially for arts organizations and artists. For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, lead a team of intrepid arts pros to hack the arts, lead an arts business incubator, and love a good coffee drink.
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