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Joining the Choir

When do you meet?

The choir meets for rehearsals on Monday evenings from 7.30pm to 9.30pm from early September until the Christmas Concert in December, then from the first or second Monday in January until the Spring concert. Sometimes there will be a Saturday workshop day as well but these are mainly intended to give people not in the choir a chance to sing with us without feeling they will be expected  to join. However, we hope they will, and some do. 

Where do you meet

We hold our rehearsals in Richmond Methodist Church, entry in Dundas Street. It has flexible, comfortable seating and a good acoustic. There are also good refreshment and toilet facilities and nearby parking. 

What do you sing?

Like most choirs that are called 'Choral Society' or 'Chorus' we sing the major works written for large choir. This includes well known works such as Handel's 'Messiah' and Mozart's 'Requiem' but lesser known and challenging works such as Bach's 'Magnificat' or Vaughan Williams' 'Dona Nobis Pacem'. We also sing arrangements of carols and shorter pieces for choir. We don't sing repertoire such as 'Songs from the Shows' (see Station Singers for this). Not everything we sing is 'religious' music though much of it is because it was written when that was the only music written specifically for choirs. We sing this music not because of its religious significance but because it is beautiful music and enjoyable to sing. However, we do sing carols and Christmas music at the appropriate time of year. Incidentally, we usually perform Handel's 'Messiah' in Spring because we feel it fits in better with the church year then than at Christmas - also it means it's not just one of many 'Messiah' performances on offer.

Do I have to be able to read music or sight sing?

NO! Most of the choir can read music in varying abilities but some don't. Very few people, even professional singers, can truly sight sing with full accuracy. We also offer links from our website to sites where you can find note learning help. 

Do I need to do an audition?

No, we are not an auditioning choir and like to feel that as many people as want to, can sing with us. Having said that we do reserve the right to ask new members to do a short voice test if we feel they are singing in the wrong part or are having real difficulty blending in with the other voices.

Do I have to come to every rehearsal?

Obviously we want you to come to as many rehearsals as possible and we don't expect you to miss them for frivolous reasons but everyone has other claims on their time and if you miss an occasional rehearsal we accept that. It helps us if you can let us know in advance by indicating it on the register but if you are ill that may not be possible. You can always advise us by phone or electronically that you will not be at a practice if you are ill.

Do I have to buy lots of music?

You don't normally* have to buy any music. Our Librarian checks what people want for the coming term and orders music either to buy or to hire. You can let him know in advance from this website. Some people prefer to buy their own copies as then they can write on them as they wish and not worry. (Buying via a choir order means we can often get them on discount and so also helps to put money into choir funds) Others prefer to hire their music which we get from one of several music libraries around the country, and hand it back after the concert.

Occasionally a stock of music comes to the choir from a choral singer who needs to do a clear-out. This music is usually offered in return for a donation to choir funds. This can be a useful, though unreliable, means to acquire copies of works that are likely to be sung frequently. Some charity shops also have sheet music sections that are worth exploring. 

* Very occasionally we will have a very short piece that we particularly want to sing and but can't find from a hire source. We then need to buy it or print it ourselves so we ask choir members to pay for a copy but it will only be a small amount, about £3 at most. If we print it, it may well be a composition by one of our talented choir members.

How much does it cost to join and what does this pay for?

2018/19 Subscriptions for adult members are £50 per term or £90 for the year payable at the start of term by cash, cheque to 'Richmondshire Choral Society' or by internet bank transfer. (Contact us for details) If you pay for the year but do not sing for the second term, we regret that we will not be able to make a refund.

Students in full time education or training pay no subs.

Similarly no one will be denied membership of the choir because of an inability to pay. If paying subs is a problem, please speak in confidence to the Treasurer or Membership Secretary.

The music hire charge is an additional cost but is unlikely to be more than £5 per term. Once again, if it is a problem speak to the Treasurer or Librarian.

Subs are used to pay our Conductor and accompanist, both of whom are talented professional musicians, to pay for room rental for rehearsals etc. and other costs such as publiciy materials, equipment etc. Concerts should cover their costs but sometimes don't when subs also need to subsidise them.

I'd like to join

Come along to our rehearsals and if you are sure you'd like to join, print off and complete this Membership Form. We normally allow you 3 weeks in which to make up your mind.

You may find it best to join at the start of a term or within the first few weeks if you are not an experienced choral singer. However, don't let that advice put you off if you think you'll be OK. We'd love to see you.

A Question we've not answered here?

Get in touch with us and ask.