10 things to know about NC3

  1. Auditioning - we're always keen to hear from new singers, especially Tenors and Basses. Auditions are arranged at a time to suit individual singers, who we ask to prepare an audition piece of their choice. We will also ask you to sight-read a piece, and will ask you to read or sing music in various languages. We are looking for good musicianship and the ability to sing and 'blend' effectively in a small choir, rather than more soloistic attributes.
  2. Singing with the choir - entry is by audition/invitation only; thereafter by annual subscription (currently £15). In addition, there is a subscription levied per concert programme (currently £20), which is only paid by singers participating in that concert programme.
  3. Concerts - the choir performs at least five different concert programmes a year. Occasional repeat performances may bring the total number of concerts to between six and ten a year.  At least one of these concerts will involve other musicians; the choir regularly stages a major choral work with choir, soloists and consort/orchestra.
    • Dress for concerts - usually black top and long black skirt (or trousers) with jewellery for the women, open-necked black shirt for the men. But we like to ring the changes every now and then!
  4. Rehearsals - Concert and rehearsal dates are distributed to all choir members by email. Our 'standard' rehearsal pattern is five evening rehearsals (8-10pm) in the three weeks immediately before a concert, with a full rehearsal on the day. Rehearsals are normally held in Hook Norton or Chipping Norton, but sometimes elsewhere in the north Cotswolds. We occasionally depart from our 'standard' pattern and have had some very successful half day and day long rehearsals.
    Where possible, music is distributed to participating choir members prior to the first rehearsal. Singers are expected to study the music beforehand, and to work on the music between rehearsals. Rehearsals are primarily for the purposes of interpretation, not note-learning.
  5. Selection of singers - the choir committee is responsible for choosing who sings in each concert. We choose singers for each concert according to the following criteria:
    • Availability for rehearsals/concerts. 100% attendance is the norm; the committee is responsible for deciding whether or not singers should participate if they cannot attend all the rehearsals.
    • Balance between voice parts based on the requirements of each concert programme. Again, this is ultimately at the committee's discretion, after due consultation with the conductor. This may mean that singers are precluded from singing even if they are fully available for a concert programme.
  6. Selection of soloists - singers will be considered for concert solos; these will be apportioned according to the demands of the repertoire on the understanding that not all choir members have the necessary ability required to perform more difficult or substantial solos convincingly, or to the standard expected of the choir overall. Where there is not, in the opinion of the conductor or the committee, a clear choice of soloist then singers will be expected to audition for a solo. In these cases the ultimate decision lies with the conductor.
  7. Repertoire - suggestions for repertoire are welcome at any time from any member of the choir. These suggestions will be forwarded to the conductor and committee for consideration at Concert planning meetings. These take place at least once a year (usually in the spring) to agree provisional concert programmes a twelve-month period running from September to August.  We produce a season brochure annually in August/September.
  8. Getting involved - there's a huge amount of work involved in putting on any NC3 concert and choir members will be asked, and expected, to 'pull their weight' in the following areas:
    • Selling tickets - we all have a network of friends and contacts whose life would be immeasurably enhanced by attending every single NC3 concert. Don't let them miss out! As there aren't many of us, every additional ticket sale helps offset the costs of professional-standard performances, which can be considerable
    • Publicising concerts - reputation helps, posters and other publicity material help, newspaper articles help, but word of mouth is best
    • Knowing your music - don't let your fellow singers down
    • Concert admin duties 'on the day' - collecting and putting up staging before a concert; dismantling and putting away staging after a concert; selling tickets and programmes on the door; catering (both for visiting musicians and audience); being in the right place at the right time! We have a concert checklist and we're not afraid to use it...

    We also sing at weddings and other events when invited to raise some essential additional income. These additional 'gigs' are generally not onerous in terms of music and rehearsals, are usually great fun (sometimes there's food and drink) and choir members are asked to support them when they can.

  9. Social life - because there's more to life than music! There will always be a contingent who recognise that singing is enhanced by liquid refreshment so don't be shy, buy the first round... Favourite post-rehearsal pubs are:
    • Hook Norton - The Sun Inn
    • Chipping Norton - The Fox or The Chequers
    • Bloxham - The Joiner's Arms

    We also try and celebrate after each concert, and have a social event after each AGM - and at any other time we can think of! If you would like to host a choir party or have ideas for choir social functions please speak one of the committee.

  10. Constitution - the choir is a member of Making Music (the National Federation of Music Societies); its constitution is drawn up in accordance with Federation guidelines.