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Choral Folders

I am looking to purchase new choral folders. What types of folders would you recommend? 
Replies (7): Threaded | Chronological
on June 14, 2015 11:20pm
Dear Ben,
 
I am happy to respond for you and all similarly interested, but to answer best, one first needs to know the nature of your group: children, youth, university, community choir? Seniors? I know what each finds important and can help to guide your selection knowing those details.  I've been selling and designing improvements to choir folders since 1993.
 
Secondly, do you hole-punch your music? If so, sometimes? Usually? Or almost never?
Lastly, do they need to open their folders flat ie. on a stand or choir stalls.  And is your budget extremely limited or can you justify to those funding the purchase, the long-lasting value of ergonomic, feature, organization, and comfort benefits? We focus on making the best possible folders that can be made, but have added more classroom-oriented and 'basic' but ergonomic, ringbinder options too, at price points people need and with volume discounts.
 
I like to tell people that our folders (check profile!) generally cost about the equivalent of ONE cup of coffee a year for the life they can get out of them. That cup might be a large latte for college students who jam them in full backpacks and are in several choirs, or a very small coffee for church choirs, in which they can last generations.
 
I suggest you cross-reference the question asked earlier here where you'll see some photos with this link: http://www.choralnet.org/view/417786 and various people's ideas.
We also have 25% and 50% discounted factory seconds from time to time, like clothing imperfects, as we do make them here on this continent... a few yards from my desk :-) Call in to check for 'seconds'.
 
But don't just take my word for it - check what's approaching 1000 customer reviews across our USA, Canada, and 'International' web sites, and others will surely chime in here, from those who always buy the very cheap ring binders with the seams that split and will not be dissuaded, to those who swear they'll never go back to those same folders after buying our Choir RingBinder, and "don't know why they waited".
Applauded by an audience of 1
on June 15, 2015 9:14am
Mr. Hanson, yes, in order to determine the best folder requires more knowlege of your needs.  Please visit our website and contact us to discuss
all our fine folders.   http://www.valiantmusic.com/folios.htm
 
We have 35 years of experience serving school, church, & professional choirs.  Our excellent folders are made in the USA and are most affordable.
on June 16, 2015 4:34am
Hello Ben  I can certainly endorse Ian’s comments about his black folder
My Adult Community choir in Australia  purchased a set of Choral Ring binders ( factory 2nds) about 3 years ago and they are used for every performance ( approx. once a month) They are robust and  versatile as they can take single sheets in the ring binder or full scores using the elastic holders
One small criticism they don’t open very wide, so for older folk that can be a little problem
However I can really recommend them
Joy Porter
on June 16, 2015 8:20am
I purchased 110 black folders from Ian when I taught junior high in Boise. They were 3 ring, slight flaw in cutting, no one ever new. Well worth the discount. So cool to keep things all in one place. We used the straps all the time but I liked the option of laying them flat.  Once I had to use them in concert and it looks very uniform with the straps holding them all at the same angle.  I highly recommend them. Paul Olson
on June 17, 2015 12:37pm
There have been several responses, but I'll add my 2¢....
 
I taught high school and and middle school chorus for over 30 years, and eventually learned that you truly do get what you pay for.  After many years of ordering new "cheap" folders every September, I decided to try the top of the line -- the ones that look like leatherette, and have bound and sewn edges, with metal-reinforced corners.  Even with the middle school kids, the results were terrific -- those folders were still in service (when I retired) after 10 years of daily hard use. 
 
I ordered all generic black folders at both schools, and did not have them imprinted.  Imprinting is a nice touch, but not necessary, and adds to the cost.  As numbers between the schools fluctuated from year to year, I could bring what I needed from one school to another and everything remained consistent.  As the program grew, I would order additional new ones as needed -- picking a generic product from a reputable supplier ensures that your folders will always look uniform.
 
Because we performed from memory most of the time, our folders did not have the strap, nor anything inside except the two expandable pockets, which held an amazing number of octavos.  When we did need music for performance, the students managed fine by just bringing onstage the song(s) they needed, and holding the music open inside the folder with one hand.  From the audience, everything looked very uniform.
 
One of my brainiac students offered to do a cost analysis for me, comparing the cost of buying cheap folders every year (heavy paper, with or without a sewn binding) versus the cost of the leatherette folders.  Not surprisingly, over the long haul, the leatherette folders were way more economical.
 
Bottom line, if you can afford the up-front investment, you will not have to buy folders again for a very long time.   
 
 
on June 18, 2015 4:01pm
Thank you all for the great information. I will take this to my department. 
 
Much appreciated,
Ben
on June 19, 2015 8:04am
I can vouch first-hand for Ian Bullen's MUSICFOLDER (The Black Folder). I obtained one from him when I first met him at a music conference almost 20 years ago. I've used it a great deal since, and it shows little sign of wear. Of course there have been many improvements made over the years but the original quality and durability appear to have remained. Highly recommended. (Canadian dollar is to US advantage right now!).
 
I am impressed that Mr. Bullen sings (from his folder!) in choirs around the world.
 
Donald  
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