Rehearsals currently take place at Holy Rood Church in Abingdon Road, Oxford every Wednesday from 8-10pm with a very short break. We typically do 10 or 11 weekly rehearsals and then a concert, three times a year aligned roughly with the school terms. This allows for breaks at 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 email. You will be invited to join an email group, which helps us all to stay in touch outside rehearsals and for communicating important information.
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.
We aim to produce a good vocal blend, with high musical standards. We foster this through positive rehearsals and maintaining a friendly environment. Your first term (approx three months) is considered a probationary period. Occasionally the conductor may identify a voice that is consistently not blending tonally or suffering tuning issues. In this case the conductor will have a private word, setting out a period to improve. This can typically be achieved with the help of a singing teacher, but if unsuccessful they would be asked to leave the choir. 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:
Choir members pay a subscription to support the choir’s activities, which is requested at the start of each term. Payment should be by bank transfer - details provided by the Treasurer.
Amounts for 2022/23:
There’s a discount if you’re able to pay for the year up-front in September, because it helps the choir in a few ways. There’s a reduced rate for those 25 and under, to make things easier for those that are just starting out in their working life - training, PhDs, first jobs etc. It’s important to say that if anyone struggles to pay, please do contact our treasurer privately to discuss.
Apart from through these 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.