When do we meet?
The choir meets for rehearsals on Monday evenings from 7.30pm to 9.30pm from early September until our concert at the end of November. There may then also be some less formal rehearsal and performance of Christmas Carols to take to sing in local care homes and in the Christmas Cracker Concert in aid of St Teresa's Hospice after the November concert. Then we start in January until our concert at the end of April or early May.
Sometimes there will be a Saturday workshop day as well but these are mainly intended to give people not in the choir a chance to meet us and sing with us without feeling they will be expected to join. However, we hope they will, and some do.
Where do we meet
We hold our rehearsals this term (Autumn 2023) in Richmond Methodist Church. Please use the Dundas Street entrance opposite the library. You may need to park in the Market Square as spaces nearer the church are needed by those with additional things to carry.
What do we sing?
Like most choirs that are called 'Choral Society' or 'Chorus' we sing the major works written for large choir. This includes well known works such as Handel's 'Messiah' and Mozart's 'Requiem' but lesser known and challenging works such as Bach's 'Magnificat' or Vaughan Williams' 'Dona Nobis Pacem' but also modern choral music We also sing arrangements of carols and shorter pieces for choir. We don't sing repertoire such as 'Songs from the Shows' (see Station Singers for this). Not everything we sing is 'religious' music though much of it is because it was written when that was the only music written specifically for choirs. We sing this music not because of its religious significance but because it is beautiful music and enjoyable to sing. However, we do sing carols and Christmas music at the appropriate time of year. Incidentally, we usually perform Handel's 'Messiah' in Spring because we feel it fits in better with the church year then than at Christmas - also it means it's not just one of many 'Messiah' performances on offer.
Do I have to be able to read music or sight sing?
NO! Most of the choir can read music in varying abilities but some don't. Very few people, even professional singers, can truly sight sing with full accuracy. We also offer links from our website to sites where you can find note learning help.
Do I need to do an audition?
No, we are not an auditioning choir and like to feel that as many people as want to, can sing with us. Having said that we do reserve the right to ask new members to do a short voice test if we feel they are singing in the wrong part or are having real difficulty blending in with the other voices.
Do I have to come to every rehearsal?
Obviously we want you to come to as many rehearsals as possible and we don't expect you to miss them for frivolous reasons but everyone has other claims on their time and if you miss an occasional rehearsal we accept that. It helps us if you can let us know in advance by indicating it on the register but if you are ill that may not be possible. You can always advise us by phone or electronically that you will not be at a practice if you are ill or unable to come at short notice.
Do I have to buy lots of music?
You don't normally* have to buy any music. Our Librarian checks what people want for the coming term and orders music either to buy or to hire. You can let him know in advance from this webpage. Some people prefer to buy their own copies as then they can write on them as they wish and not worry. (Buying via a choir order means we can often get them on discount and so also helps to put money into choir funds) Others prefer to hire their music which we get from one of several music libraries around the country, and hand it back after the concert. There is usually a charge for this but the total is unlikely to be more than £8.
Occasionally a stock of music comes to the choir from a choral singer who needs to do a clear-out. This music is usually offered in return for a donation to choir funds. This can be a useful, though unreliable, means to acquire copies of works that are likely to be sung frequently. Some charity shops also have sheet music sections that are worth exploring.
* Very occasionally we will have a very short piece that we particularly want to sing but can't find from a hire source. We then need to buy it or print it ourselves so we ask choir members to pay for a copy but it will only be a small amount, about £3 at most. If we print it, it may well be a composition by one of our talented choir members.
How much does it cost to join and what does this pay for?
2023/24 Subscriptions for adult members are £55 per term or £110 for the year, payable at the start of term preferably by internet bank transfer. Sort code code 40 52 40, account number 00016006. If you pay for the year but do not sing for the second term, we regret that we will not normally be able to make a refund. Payment by cash or cheque is still acceptable but the Treasurer tries to minimise visits to the bank as it now requires a drive from Richmond to Darlington. We are also charged for making cash and cheque payments. If you pay by cheque please be sure to make it out to Richmondshire Choral Society, not just Richmond Choral Society, as the bank may refuse to accept them in the wrong name.
Those under 21 or Students in full time education or training pay no subs.
Similarly no one will be denied membership of the choir because of an inability to pay. If paying subs is a problem, please speak in confidence to the Treasurer or Membership Secretary.
The music hire charge is an additional cost but is unlikely to be more than £8 per term. Once again, if it is a problem speak to the Treasurer or Librarian.
Subs are used to pay our Conductor and accompanist, both of whom are talented professional musicians, to pay for room rental for rehearsals, and other costs such as insurance, publiciy materials, equipment etc. Concerts should cover their costs but sometimes don't, especially when there are 4 soloists and/or several instrumentalists, when subs also need to subsidise them.
Whilst we were unable to rehearse during covid we paid our Conductor and Accompanist a small retainer fee and were grateful to a number of choir members who made donations to funds to help cover that cost. As a registered charity, donations to our funds also attract Gift Aid which is another vital source of income.
I'd like to join
You may find it best to join at the start of a term or within the first few weeks if you are not an experienced choral singer. However, don't let that advice put you off if you think you'll be OK and want to come later. We'd love to see you.
A Question we've not answered here?
Get in touch with us and ask.