Notes For Choir Members and Concert Instructions

General notes for choir members regarding rehearsals, required attendance at rehearsals, concert instructions and other matters connected to the choir. A pdf copy can be downloaded here.

Rehearsals

These normally take place at the Queen's School, City Walls Road, Chester. You will be informed of any change in venue, if necessary. Please be seated ready for a prompt start at 7.30 p.m. There is a 15 minute interval when drinks are served. Rehearsals will finish at 21.30; if you must leave before then, please speak to the Musical Director beforehand. Latecomers must not disrupt rehearsals by walking in front of the Director.

Attendance

Please tick the register each week to confirm your attendance. To sing in a concert you must not have missed any more than three rehearsals for that programme. Attendance at the Saturday afternoon rehearsal prior to a concert is obligatory. It is expected that every choir member is committed to sing in all concerts and will do necessary home practice between rehearsals. Rehearsal resources such as Cyberbass - and others - can be found readily on the Web. YouTube usually provides several video performances of works you are rehearsing.

Music

You can either hire or buy scores from the librarian who will send you a request form by email before each concert. If you do not mark the list for purchased music, or respond to the librarian's email questionnaire, you will be deemed to have agreed to hire, and will be charged accordingly.
Hired copies must be returned within the week following the concert in good condition with all pencil markings erased. If you hand them in late, damaged or marked other than in pencil you may be liable for the full cost of the copy.

Funding

Annual subscriptions are determined each year by the committee. Payment for either a full year or half year is due not later than the second rehearsal in September. Those not paying promptly may lose their places to new applicants. Members who have allowed their subs to lapse for more than one season will be asked to re-audition if they wish to resume membership; however no priority over new applicants will be given.
Interval drinks are sold and there is a weekly raffle: income from these is essential to the choir budget.  Please volunteer to help when it is the turn of your voice part on the rota.
Our biggest source of income is ticket sales. Choir members are expected to sell at least two tickets for each concert.

Publicity

Please make every effort to publicise concerts by helping to distribute/place publicity material in your area, informing the Publicity Secretary and ticking the distribution list to show the area you are covering.

Detailed notes for Choir Members singing in a concert:

Confirm that you are singing in the concert

As soon as possible during rehearsals, and in any event not later than three weeks before each concert, inform your voice rep and mark in the register whether or not you intend to sing.

Dress Code

Ladies wear long-sleeved white blouses (tucked in), black fabric jackets, ankle-length black skirts or trousers, black tights and shoes. No sparkling jewellery should be worn. Only very small handbags should be taken on stage.  
Gentlemen wear a dress suit, black socks and shoes, white shirt and black bow-tie.
A lapel flower will be provided on the night of the concert.

Folders

You will need a plain black music folder for the performance. These can be bought from a Committee member if required.

Rehearsals and Performances in the Cathedral

We rehearse in the Cathedral on the Thursday before the concert from 19.30 to 21.30. Enter by the Visitors' Entrance after 19.00, and find a place in your section seating in the South Transept by 19.15. You should make every effort to attend this rehearsal and it is essential that you let the Concert Manager know if you cannot be there.

On concert day, the rehearsal is in the cathedral from 12.15 to 15.15, and you must be in your place in the South Transept by 12.00. Attendance at this rehearsal is obligatory.

For the evening performance arrive in good time, leave coats and bags in the Chapter House Vestibule (off the North Transept) and collect your lapel flower (which you must return after the concert). The performance starts at 19.30 and you should take your place in the South Transept by 19.15 at the latest. It is important to remain quiet at all times after we assemble and once on the stage so as to present a professional appearance. File onto the stage to the directions of the Concert Manager.

Drink refreshments will be provided in the Chapter House Vestibule during the interval. Return to the South Transept 10 minutes after the start of the interval (10 minutes before the commencement of the second half of the performance.) Wait quietly again. Please remember that toilet facilities are limited: make sure you allow enough time without being late back to the South Transept.

Eating and drinking - other than bottled water - is not permitted in the Cathedral (Nave and Transepts). Drinks should not be taken onto the platform during the performance.

Concert Deportment

1. Upon going onto the stage, hold the folder in the left hand. No bags etc.
2. When onstage, sit quietly and do not talk to your neighbours (and especially to the singers behind you)
3. Do not wave to friends in the audience
4. The Choir stands altogether (as one unit) as the conductor comes onto the platform
5. No head-turning to look behind when on the platform. It is easily noticed by the audience
6. Turn pages quietly by grasping the bottom right corner of the music between thumb and finger and turn deliberately. Do not flick the page and do not turn the page until you reach the end. Do not turn when your part ends.
7. Remember to LOOK at the conductor and hold the vocal score lower in front of you.
8. In especially quiet and sensitive sections at the end of a passage or movement, do not turn the page at all until the conductor’s body language indicates “OK”. Similarly, do not fold or close the score at the end of the work until it is clearly over and the audience has started to applaud.
9. At the end of the performance remain standing until direceted otherwise by the conductor. When seated at the end of the performance you may applaud the soloists and orchestra.

Getting on and off the stage: 'Stands and Sits'

Take great care accessing and leaving the stage. Hold your folder in your left hand and hold onto any handrails with your right hand. Always use the steps at the side of the stage, and do not clamber down the stage levels. Leave the stage in the reverse order from which you entered. Take your music with you when you leave the platform during the interval. If you have any difficulty in accessing the stage or in standing, please speak to the Concert Manager.

When you reach your place on the staging, sit down. When the conductor enters, stand as he reaches the centre of the Nave and turns towards the choir and thereafter follow his cues. Sit when he leaves the platform. During the performance stand smartly and quietly as indicated. (You should take care to mark stands and sits in your score as directed during the final rehearsals.)

After the Performance

After the performance hired music should be put into the appropriate box at the side of the stage. If you forget, it is your responsibility to return it to the Librarian. Return lapel flowers to the vestibule.

It is important that we restore the Cathedral to its normal state before we leave. This includes packing music stands, removing chairs from the stage and platform and helping to return the choir stalls and altar to the platform. Also, if required, help remove seat labels and folding chairs from the Nave. Your help in this is appreciated. This few minutes of support gains the Choir immeasurable goodwill form the Cathedral staff and ensures their continued support for the choir.