Audition Guide

Please arrive at the Rehearsal Hall, 269 State Road, West Bath, Maine, vocally warmed up. It is advisable to be informed about the rehearsal and performance calendar by perusing our website so we can discuss your participation. There are calendar pages with information on the attendance requirements for each choir on our website. This will facilitate our conversation about your ability to commit to the season.

GENERAL PORTION

The audition itself is designed to begin with something that will be easy for and complimentary to the singer, a simple, unison singing example as an introductory exercise. As is tradition all over the country, we choose one that has a range of less than an octave and which you can easily prepare: My Country Tis of Thee. By singing a simple song from memory, you are able to demonstrate any number of skills:

1) singing the correct words and being prepared on the material
2) singing from memory (if for some reason this song is unfamiliar to you)
3) singing proper phrases and using breath support
4) singing with beautiful tone quality
5) singing in tune with accurate intervals from beginning to end
6) singing with musicality (i.e., not all loud, not too soft)
7) demonstrating singer’s diction (articulation of consonants and clear enunciation of vowels)
8) overcoming nervousness and performance anxiety

So, there is much to be learned by watching and listening to a simple song. The audition requirements become more advanced as you progress. And, there are tests of your musicianship as well as tests of your ability to resourcefully and adequately prepare. Both are fundamental to the music process. In ensembles, we learn new music together and develop our performance in context. And, yet we are also soloists within the choir who must demonstrate musical knowledge, vocal technique and ear training.

In an ensemble, each singer is placed on a part and given divisi assignments according to his her range, tessitura, and vocal quality, but also according to the needs of ensemble as determined by the director. So, we are listening to you to determine your qualifications, yes, but we are also listening to how and where you would fit within the ensemble. If we think we may like your voice for a certain placement, we may ask you to sing My Country Tis of Thee several times in different keys to help us make that determination.

Also, we select a key and range that pertains to choral singing in a Vox choir. Most people do not sing common folk or patriotic songs in a high range even if they are tenors or sopranos because public and school singing (where these songs are most often sung by the general public) typically hover in a generalized, low key that suits any population. That would obviously not show how your voice sustains in a choral singing range appropriate for placement in a choir. So, we have carefully selected a key for each voice category that will allow you to demonstrate proficiency singing in the upper 1/2 or 1/3 of your register.

Voice Classification and Tessitura
You will be asked to sing the first verse of My Country, ‘Tis Of Thee in a range-appropriate key for your choral classification. You may be asked to sing the first verse in two different keys if need be. If My Country, ‘Tis Of Thee is not a song you are familiar with, Happy Birthday will be used. Happy Birthday starts on the 5th scale degree (sol) below tonic.

S1 – C major
S2 – B-Flat major
A1 – G major
A2 – D major
T1 – B-Flat major
T2 – A-Flat major
B1 – F major
B2 – E-Flat major

Tonal Memory and Aural SKills
Short melodies will be played or sung for you, and you will sing them back, using correct pitch and rhythm. We will play several intervals or chords and ask you to sing the bottom, top or middle note according to what you hear, etc.

Sight-Reading
There will be two examples of sight-reading, one that is to be sung a cappella in a major key (on la, solfege or numbers – your preference) and one in a minor key that will be accompanied by piano.

Vocal Control and Magntiude
You will be asked to sing major scales and patterns according to your voice classification (i.e., tessitura and range). You will be asked to demonstrate varied dynamics, timbre, and tone quality with each scale. For example, the first scale may be sung with full voice and vibrato with a decrescendo as you descend while the second may be sung senza vibrato and pianissimo.

ADVANCED PORTION

To be completed for acceptance into INTIMA and/or VOX NOVA CHAMBER CHOIR only. Adult singers who want to sing in Consort Singers (Sunday nights) do not have to complete the advanced portion!

Prepared choral singing is prescribed uniquely to each choir. It features repertoire that you will have to learn for performance should you join a choir. If you are successful you will find yourself performing this music in concert in just a few months! Linked below are two choral pieces from the Vox Nova Chamber Choir and INTIMA repertory. We especially want to know if singers are resourceful enough to learn their part independently in preparation for rehearsals and if you will use whatever resources are available to you to be successful.

Prepare the divisi part you are typically assigned in choir or with which you are most comfortable and be ready to sing along to the recording. We will provide an iPad with the score so you will not need to bring printed music of any kind to the audition. The scores you will access below are intended solely for your at-home perusal.

We are aware that it is perhaps more convenient or preferred to be provided a purchased score, however, legally we are required to use free perusal scores for auditions (and for pre-season perusal of upcoming concert repertoire). When you become a member of the choir, you will purchase a folder of music and receive the printed scores. In order to make auditions open to all and materials instantly and widely available to anyone who wants to audition, we use electronic resources only.

For Come to the Woods by Jake Runestad, you will not be able to purchase a single copy on the website, however, it IS possible to print the perusal of Always Singing by Dale Warland. It is FREE, so there are watermarks, but if you look closely you will be able to see all the markings and interpret the score proficiently. Both scores can be made full-screen on a smart tv, computer, lap top, tablet (iPad, Amazon Fire, etc.) or phone. You may scroll through all the pages easily using forward and backward arrows. Be sure to click on the VIEW THE SCORE link to access this complete score.

If you prefer working with a printed score, there are certainly methods for creating one, such as creating a screen shot of each page you want to print and then printing those images. Again, this is not necessary nor required but purely according to your preference for at home study. Please do not email us requesting a printed score. We do not have them available for the audition process or for pre-season at home score study. Thank you.

How best to prepare? We recommend that you listen to the provided audio links and follow the scores through several times, becoming familiar with them. Then, listen wearing ear phones or buds so that you may easily hear both the recorded choir and your own voice as you sing. If you play piano, you can sit down and practice the traditional way as well but you don’t need to have piano skills to learn music nowadays (although they do come in handy)!

Free online practice tracks are also available here: http://jakerunestad.com/practice-tracks/.

Title: Come to the Woods
Jake Runestad
Score & Audio: CLICK HERE
Free online practice tracks: http://jakerunestad.com/practice-tracks/
Note: This score, for legal reasons, is to be viewed online ONLY and is not meant to be purchased for the purpose of the audition.

Title: Always Singing
Dale Warland
Score: CLICK HERE
Audio: CLICK HERE