FAQs


HOW DO I JOIN? DO I HAVE TO AUDITION?

We do not have a formal “audition” but ask each prospective member to spend a few minutes with our director, sing a simple tune (such as “Happy Birthday”) to help establish the vocal range and determine the best assignment within the chorus. Our sole requirement is that you are able to sing on pitch. Our music is in 3 or 4 parts, so we try to achieve balance among first and second sopranos, and first and second altos. If you are unsure of your placement, don’t worry – our director will help you find a place where you are comfortable!


WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE A LOT OF EXPERIENCE?

Our members come from all kinds of musical backgrounds. Some have formal training or play an instrument; others have less experience. Some read music, some don’t. Members have different learning styles; we welcome everyone and help them play to their strengths. Each member also receives a CD with her part played by the accompanist; files are also available on line.


WHAT IF I’M NOT SURE I WANT TO JOIN? WHAT IF I HAVE QUESTIONS?

No problem! Sit in on a rehearsal or two, and get a sense of how we work. Every prospective member and every new member gets a “buddy” who is there to help guide you through the initial stages. Our officers and director will be available at the end of rehearsals, and are also listed below, so please feel free to follow up with any of them.


WHEN ARE THE REHEARSALS AND WHAT DO THEY INVOLVE?

HTC rehearses Wednesday mornings any time that school is in session during the school year, 9:30-11:00 AM – convenient “mothers’ hours”. We meet in the sanctuary of Congregation B’nai Shalom. HTC is unaffiliated with the synagogue, which graciously donates space and a keyboard for our use. We do not rehearse on snow days or during vacations or the summer. Rehearsals consist of:

  • Vocal warm-ups of various types, and some stretching exercises to loosen muscles, improve singing posture and develop breathing capacity

  • Sight-singing work to build skills

  • Group singing and individual section work to help with problem areas. If you feel “lost” after a run-through of a piece, don’t worry! The director reviews each part as many times as necessary during each season. Remember that some members may have sung a particular piece before, or may be more skilled at sight-reading. Other members really blossom when they work with the CDs or digital files. The chorus incorporates all learning styles and musical abilities.


WHAT IS EXPECTED OF MEMBERS?

  • Regular attendance at rehearsals and concerts is very important. We ask you to make every effort to come on time and to let us know if you will be absent for any reason.

  • Read your email from the chorus director and officers; if you don’t have email, a buddy and some printed information will be provided. Just let the secretary know.

  • At-home practice via your computer or with the CD, which we will provide.,

  • There is no fundraising or selling involved. No tickets for concerts or selling ads.


WHERE AND WHEN ARE THE PERFORMANCES?

We generally have 4 concerts in December (primarily holiday songs and winter-themed pieces) and 4 concerts in May (a mix of show tunes, American classics, patriotic songs, and others). Our Concert Committee investigates various suitable nursing homes and rest homes, generally within 30 minutes’ drive of Westborough. Carpools are arranged for those who wish, and chairs are provided for those who cannot stand during the performance. Concerts are on Wednesday mornings during the same general hours as rehearsals, so once you clear your schedule for Wednesdays, you don’t have to make other arrangements for concerts.


ARE THERE COSTS TO JOIN?

  • Members are asked to pay dues of $10 per season, or $20 per year. This can be paid all at once, or in two payments in September and January. A sight-singing book is used to teach new skills to those who don’t read music well, and to reinforce skills for more experience singers. The cost is $7.95 and can be paid for with dues or separately.

  • We hold 1 luncheon during each concert season to celebrate our successes and build social relationships. These are generally held in moderately-priced restaurants close to one of our concert venues, with members ordering as they wish from the menu and paying their own costs.

  • Dues cover the purchase of sheet music, costume items, instruments, luncheon costs and thank you gifts for director and accompanist(s), director education, a token donation to the synagogue, and miscellaneous office supplies.


DO I NEED TO DO ANYTHING ELSE?

Not much! You’ll need:

  • A black 3-ring binder for performances, and a pencil with an eraser for rehearsals.

  • Black slacks or a long black skirt and a white blouse for performances.