Kings Chorale

Information Sheet

The Choir Year — The ‘choir year’ is divided into two terms – September through Christmas, and January through April, extending some years into May – with concerts usually at Christmas and in the Spring. The choir rehearses weekly at the Berwick Baptist Church, 265 Commercial Street, Berwick. Rehearsals run from 7:00 to 9:00.

Organization — The choir is ‘unauditioned’, with a current membership throughout the Annapolis Valley, welcoming potential new members who wish to try their voices at the challenges of choral singing. It is governed by a Board of Directors elected from the choir membership. All musical decisions remain the prerogative of the Artistic Director who welcomes suggestions from the singers. Members are asked to provide an email address at which they can receive information about rehearsals, and notices of cancellation in the event of bad weather.

Registration — A registration fee of $100 per year or $50 per term per singer is charged The registration fee pays for membership in the Nova Scotia Choral Federation (a major source of music for the choir), music that must be purchased, honoraria for the conductor and accompanist, as well as incidental expenses incurred throughout the year, particularly in relation to concerts. Rhonda Sawlor, treasurer, is responsible for collecting registration fees.  New members may wish to sing with the choir for a couple of weeks before committing to membership and paying the registration fee.

Music — Each singer receives a package of music when s/he joins the choir. Each package is numbered and all pieces of music within that package should bear the same number. Please check your music carefully when you obtain your package to ensure that this is so and report any discrepancies immediately to Phyllis Bennett, librarian. Each singer is responsible for her/his own music.

All music must be returned at the end of the term. The librarian will pursue any singer with outstanding music until it is returned or paid for! Your music number also corresponds to a folder number. When folders are distributed near concert time, be sure to get the proper one. When music is collected at the end of the term, please return all music and your folder, empty of any garbage (e.g., Kleenex and lozenges). Ruth Foster is in charge of folders.

We will do everything we can to ensure that you have a copy of everything to be rehearsed. Sometimes you may be short a copy of a piece because we have not received a complete shipment from the distributor. That is not the fault of the librarian (who has usually noted such shortages on the outside of the envelopes). We ask that you share music until the complete shipment is received, knowing that as soon as the music is received it will be passed on to you.

Outfits (Uniforms) — Many years ago the choir adopted a uniform look for its performances. While that look may not suit every individual in style and/or taste, it provides the choir with a “look” which works on stage.

Men: Tuxedos preferred (but black suit acceptable), white shirts, black bow ties, black socks and black shoes.

Women: Choir dresses and black shoes. A dress, which remains the property of the choir, will be issued to new choir members.  Sonya Jones, the choir seamstress, has made each of these dresses and will take care of fitting new members. Sonya has put in an amazing amount of time and effort into these dresses, so please treat them carefully! They must be returned, in good condition, laundered and on a hanger, when you leave the choir.

Fundraising — The majority of our money comes to us through the registration charged each choir member. Revenue is generated through concert receipts. Members of the choir will be called on to sell tickets to concerts. This is crucial to our financial stability and singers are asked to take this responsibility seriously. Our very best advertising is through the excitement and enthusiasm of our singers.

Kings Chorale regularly purchases Grocery Gift Cards for the Atlantic Superstore. Rhonda graciously looks after this. The choir, in conjunction with other choirs in the Valley and Halifax, does a bulk order of these cards. By ordering in bulk, we receive a discount on the cards. You, however, receive the face value of the card. If the face value is $100, you have $100 to spend at any Loblaws location, nationally, but the choir only pays $95 for the card. We all have to eat, and these cards make great gifts, so this is a painless way to raise money for the choir without having to do bake sales and the like.

Etiquette — Choir is a “team” activity. There is no ‘I’ in team and each of us is equally important in the process of producing the best possible music. Please be encouraging, helpful, and patient with each other during the process. New members will initially be seated alongside a more ‘experienced’ member to help them ‘learn the ropes’. Please inform the Director in advance of any possible absence from rehearsals.

The Director provides, in advance of each rehearsal, a list of the music to be rehearsed. Since the director is committed to finishing promptly at 9:00, choir members should commit themselves to being prompt for the start of rehearsal, seated, with the music in order.  During rehearsal, please turn pages quietly and pay close attention to the conductor, watching for rhythm and listening carefully to instructions. Bring a pencil to rehearsal and use it liberally to mark things you need to remember! That will save on rehearsal time and allow us to create a better performance.

If you find it necessary to ask a question during rehearsal (and you may well!) please be ready to state the page number, system (top, middle, or bottom), measure number, part, and problem. This minimizes the time to remedy a problem. Too many questions can quickly side-track the rehearsal. Post-It notes are included in your music package. If something continues to be unclear or you would like to go over it again, please leave a Post-It Note on the director’s music stand at break or at the end of rehearsal.  Indicate the part (Soprano/Alto/Tenor/Bass), the page number, the measure number, and the problem. Please use a separate note for each problem. The Director will address your concern in planning for the next rehearsal.

While we all recognize that choir is a social activity, it is important that personal conversations do not interrupt rehearsals. Save them for the short break in mid-rehearsal or afterwards. Please do not chatter or practice your own part when a section other than yours is being rehearsed. Members are asked to be ready to restart the rehearsal promptly when the Director calls a close to the mid-rehearsal break.

One final note, at the opening of a performance, stand up together when instructed by the conductor, and open folders on his/her cue.  A ‘ragged’ (uncoordinated) opening gives a poor impression.