What is a Rehearsal like?
Our rehearsals begin at 7:00 pm, with some ladies arriving early for socializing and setting up the room for the chorus rehearsal.
The rehearsal begins with exercises for focus and preparation. In these "warm-ups", the director reinforces healthy vocal
techniques and gets our minds "in the zone" to have the most productive rehearsal possible. We sing through repertoire to keep it fresh, work on learning new music and have sectional rehearsals for the four sections to meet and review trouble areas. Typically we choose two or three songs each week to take 15 minutes or so each, for fine-tuning. In the remaining time we enjoy fun activities throughout the night, involving octetting, quartetting, and watching videos of recent performances by other groups like us. We occasionally bring in coaches - experts in the field of singing and performing a cappella music - from all over the country. Guest groups drop by from time-to-time, too, to entertain us. Of course, no meeting would be complete without "The Afterglow" - once we've broken down the room and cleaned up for the night, a group of us convenes for some refreshing beverage, food and (believe it or not) more singing.
How do I learn my music (i.e., Should I be able to read music?)
As a singing organization, we maintain a simple expectation - learn 100% of your notes and words. To this end, the chapter provides as much support as possible for its members, regardless of their musical background and abilities. In fact, the majority of our members rely solely upon learning tracks. When we introduce a new song to the chorus, we provide the sheet music and a part-predominant learning track - typically on a CD to listen to at your home or in your car. Your part is dominant, while the other three parts are not as loud.
What part should I sing?
The basics: Have you ever sung a harmony part before? If no, just start with Lead (it's the melody - the familiar tune of the song).
Perhaps a harmony part will one day catch your ear. If you do enjoy singing harmony, the Tenor sings high harmonies above the Lead while the Bass sings low harmonies beneath the Lead (you do not need a remarkably low voice to sing Bass effectively). Give one of those parts a shot. We reserve the Baritone part for those who enjoy being challenged by very tricky, not-making-much-sense harmony parts. If you can read music and/or believe you have a good ear for harmony - have at it.
Lead: The Lead sings the melody - the recognizable tune of the song. Leads should have a good sense of "pitch" and be able to maintain it. Leads should be capable also of emoting - telling the story - as he sings. If you like the attention of singing the familiar melody and connecting with an audience, you'll enjoy singing Lead. Usually, a strong alto 1 or soprano 2 voice is needed.
Bass: Basses lay down the low foundation of our sound, beneath the other three parts. If you enjoy singing low, Bass is for you. Unlike choral bass, no basso profundo is necessary here. Basses in our style of music generally set the foundation for the chorus.
Tenor: Harmonizing above the Leads are the Tenors. Usually, tenors are first sopranos. If you like singing the high harmonies with The Beach Boys, Frankie Valli, and 50's doo-wop, you'll enjoy singing Tenor.
Baritone: And finally - the Baritones. A strange breed, though admittedly without whom we could not ring chords the way we love to. There is no rhyme or reason to the Baritone harmony part in our arrangements, as, literally, she sings "whatever note was leftover to complete the chord". If you have a great ear for harmony and a bit of vocal agility then Baritone is the part for you. Usually baritones are alto 2 and lower.