Frequently Asked Questions


 

Q. What is a cappella singing?
A. The term a cappella means “singing without instrumental accompaniment”; a cappella music uses only the human voice to produce the sounds
you sing. We sing in four parts: 

• Leads (soprano II) - sing the melody line (the tune); 
• Tenors (soprano I) - sing above the melody line and should be able to sing to top G;
• Baritone (alto I) - the same vocal range as the leads. This part is often the most interesting and challenging;
• Bass (alto II) - the lowest range.

Our Musical Director, Emma, will help you find which part is best suited to your voice.

Q. How often do you meet and where?
A. We meet every Wednesday evening (with a one week break at Christmas) from 7.30pm till 10pm at St Nicolas Church, Sutcliffe Avenue, Earley, Reading, RG6 7JN.

Q. Is there an age limit?
A. We have a minimum age of 18 but no upper age limit – our current members range in age from 30 – 80!

Q. What type of music do you sing?
A. The short answer is “a bit of everything”.  Currently in our repertoire are songs ranging from ‘The Boars Head Carol’ to ‘Good Vibrations’ and most recently ‘Holding Out For A Hero’.What all the songs we sing have in common is that they are all sung a cappella.

Q. Do I need to have singing experience?
A. No. We welcome new members from novices right through to experienced singers. You need to be able to learn music (as we perform without sheet music), and you must be able to regularly attend rehearsals in order to participate in singouts. 

Q. Do I need to know how to read music?
A. No. In fact, many of our members cannot read music. All you need is to be able to sing in tune. Once you become a member you will be able to access the audio tracks of your part so that you can learn them by ear. You will also have a copy of the music so that if you can read music, you can choose which way to learn. 

Q. Will I need to practice in between rehearsals?
A. You will be expected to learn your notes between rehearsals using the teaching tracks and/or the sheet music - this helps us make the most of our rehearsal time. Each of the four voice parts has a section leader who will also be able to help you and arrange separate section rehearsals if needed. 

Q. Do I need to be able to dance?
A. Whilst a few of our songs do have choreography they are easy to pick up and not too taxing. Our main priority is ensuring that our singing is of high standards.

Q. Is there an audition?
A. The simple answer is Yes! - though we make every effort to ensure this is not a daunting experience for our new members. Don’t worry, there’s no big solo audition in front of the whole chorus! Nonetheless, as a performing group, we need to ensure all our singers can hold a tune and are in the correct part for their voice. Once you are confident you know the audition song you join Emma and the section leaders for a private assessment.

Q. I’m not sure how often I would be able to attend rehearsals, will this be a problem?
A. Although we realise that members may not be able to make every rehearsal during the year (e.g. due to holidays and work commitments), the more rehearsals you are able to attend the quicker new songs can be learnt and added to our singout list. If you do miss any rehearsals, then we ask that you get in touch with your section leader/other members to find out what you have missed so you are able to catch up at home and come in the next week ready to move on with the chorus. 

Q. Do you pay regular membership fees?
A. Yes. The current fees are £20 per month. 

Q. Are there any other costs that I will have to pay for?
A. There is also a one-off initial payment of £54 (£27 for those under 25) to join the Ladies Association of British Barbershop Singers (LABBS) who are our over-arching association of barbershop choruses.

Q. What are singouts?
A. Singouts are our name for any events where we have been asked to sing at. We are first and foremost a performing group. We have sung at weddings, charity events, concerts, competitions and shopping centres!

Q Will I need to provide my own stage costume and music folder?
A. No. Once you become a member you will be provided with a full set of our full uniform. You will also be provided with your copy of the music folder which will contain the current repertoire. Should you ever leave (which you won’t as you’ll love it so much you’ll want to stay for good!) then the full uniform and music folders will need to be returned.

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