Rehearsals currently take place at Holy Rood Church in Abingdon Road, Oxford every Wednesday from 8-10pm with a very short break. We meet all year, with breaks for Christmas and Easter and a longer break over the summer, though we may meet over the summer if we have conference engagements and weddings.
As the Cherwell Singers is quite a small group, it can make a significant difference to a rehearsal if you cannot attend. For this reason we insist that if you cannot come to a rehearsal or concert or other choir engagement, or if you are going to be late, you must inform the conductor and the Membership Secretary by telephone or email. You will be given a choir list with contact details, which enables us to get messages to all the choir members easily.
We ask that you attend all rehearsals, but as it is not always possible to be there all the time, it is up to the conductor to decide if he or she feels you have not attended enough to sing in the concert. The last two rehearsals before a concert are always compulsory if you expect to sing, though again the conductor may use his or her discretion. The conductor may ask a member to leave the choir if it is felt that the voice is not blending or if there are serious tuning or tone problems. Your first term (approx three months) with the choir is treated as a probationary period for this reason. If the conductor feels that there are problems, the member is usually advised to seek the help of a singing teacher first, in the hope that the problem can be resolved without resorting to asking them to leave. We have a reputation for being a friendly choir, so we try to make sure that there is no bad feeling caused while ensuring that a high quality of sound is maintained. We do not re-audition regularly, although a new conductor may wish to do so, and is free to re-select current members or not.
Major concerts take place about three times a year, and we may add less formal occasions to that total. Usually there is an afternoon rehearsal on the day of a concert. It is very important to recognize that the majority of the audience at our concerts consists of members’ friends and relatives. It is expected that each member will take their share of selling tickets. Publicity materials in the form of posters and email advertisements are provided, and we also rely on members to help with distribution.
Dress for concerts and conferences is usually black shirt with black suit/trousers for men and long black (trousers if you wish) with a splash of red for women. Ask a choir member for the exact shade of red.
Choir members pay a subscription of £45 at the beginning of each term (or £110 for a year). The best way to pay your subscription is by internet transfer to the Cherwell Singers bank account; details from the treasurer.
Please let the Treasurer know when you do this, so (s)he knows you have paid. Alternatively, give a cheque to the Treasurer at any rehearsal, made payable to The Cherwell Singers.
Apart from through subscriptions, the choir raises funds for large concerts, sets of music and social events, by performing at weddings and conferences. These are excellent musical occasions singing in a smaller group than usual to a friendly and appreciative audience. Although we don’t expect everybody to turn up to all of these engagements, it is considered part of your commitment to the choir, as it helps us to raise funds.