Things to know about NC3

  1. 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 (see below).
  2. Membership - initially by audition/invitation only; thereafter by annual subscription (currently £15). In addition, there is a subscription levied per concert programme (currently £21) plus a variable music hire fee, which is paid by singers participating in that concert programme. Subscription levels are subject to review at the AGM, normally held during November each year.
    • If the annual or per concert subscription (on top of other costs - travel, child care and the like) prevents members from singing with the choir at all or as much as they would like, they are invited to talk confidentially to the treasurer or to the Chairman about arrangements to address their particular situation.
  3. Concerts - the choir currently plans a five concert season, with occasional additional concerts off the programme, e.g. a charity fundraiser. Where funds allow, generally every other year, one concert will involve other musicians, e.g. soloists and a Baroque ensemble/orchestra. Other concerts are a capella or with piano/organ accompaniment.
    • Dress for concerts - generally black top and long black skirt (or trousers) with jewellery for the women, open-necked black shirt and black trousers for the men. Sometimes we wear coloured tops/shirts where all black seems a bit too subdued for the programme.
  4. Rehearsals - no more than six (normally five) per concert programme. Our 'standard' rehearsal pattern is evening rehearsals (8-10pm) in the three weeks immediately before a concert (Monday, Monday, Thursday, Monday, Thursday), with a 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 - according to the constitution, the committee is responsible for choosing who sings in each public performance. Concert and rehearsal dates are distributed to all choir members, by email using the online 'meet-o-matic' meeting schedule for signing up. Singers are chosen according to the following criteria:
    • Availability for rehearsals/concerts. 100% attendance is the norm; the committee, in consultation with the conductor, 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 - when a concert programme requires it, singers will be given the opportunity to be considered for a solo through an audition process and the conductor will choose. If the conductor expresses a clear choice of soloist, solos will be apportioned without auditions.
  7. Committee - according to the constitution, the committee is made up of a Chairman, Treasurer, Secretary, Conductor (ex-officio member) and up to three further members; this necessarily includes a Librarian. In fact, because of the workload and as the choir has become more active and raised its standards, the committee is generally larger than this. The current committee members are as follows, together with a summary of responsibilities:
    • Position Vacant - Chairperson. Rachel Slade acting Chairperson pro-tem. Co-ordinates concert administration, choir fixing, and the function of the committee. Circulation of details of rehearsal and performance dates and responsible for collating all responses and providing lists of available singers to the committee and conductor.
    • Shauni McGregor - Treasurer. Manages the budgets and accounting requirements of the choir; responsible for overseeing all income and expenditure and advising the committee on financial issues. Distribution of tickets to choir and ticket outlets.
    • Rachel Slade - Librarian. Assisted by Sarah Meyrick. Responsible for borrowing, hiring or purchasing music as required. Oversees distribution and collection of music to singers and visiting musicians
    • Gareth Williams - Secretary. Takes minutes at choir and committee meetings.
    • Chris Howell
    • Giles Dawson
    • Eve West - responsible for choir fixing
    • Nick Watkins - website.
    • In addition, John Kay designs posters and the annual brochure and publicises concerts on various online listings. Steve Neasham obtains licences and works with Chris Howell to provide bar facilities at concerts. Sally Despenser is responsible for liaising with the choirs subscribing supporters, the "Heavenly Hosts".
    • New or replacement committee members are elected at each AGM. Choir members are actively encouraged to stand for election to the committee and will be given ample notification of any vacancies. You are welcome to discuss the requirements of any vacant position with the Chairman of relevant committee member.
  8. Repertoire - suggestions for repertoire are welcome at any time from any member of the choir and should be channelled through the Chairman. These suggestions will be forwarded to the conductor and committee for consideration at Concert planning meetings. A season brochure is produced annually in July.
  9. 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.

  10. 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 concerts - 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.

North Cotswold Chamber Choir

Constitution -

  1. The name of the choir is The North Cotswold Chamber Choir is a member of Making Music (the National Federation of Music Societies); its constitution is drawn up in accordance with Federation guidelines.
  2. The purpose of the choir is to promote, improve, develop and maintain public education in and appreciation of the art and science of choral chamber music in all its aspects by presenting public concerts and recitals specialising in high quality and relatively small-scale performances of choral music; and for the general purposes of such charitable bodies or for such other purposes as shall be exclusively charitable as the Committee may from time to time decide
  3. The members of the choir are those who pay the subscription (as determined at the AGM)

    Not withstanding this point, the Committee and Conductor shall have the power to decide which members are invited to participate in the choir's public concerts and recitals.

    Potential choir members are required and existing members may be required to audition before the conductor and one or more Committee members.
  4. The choir is managed by a Committee which consists of the Chairperson, the Secretary, the Treasurer, the Conductor (ex officio) and up to 3 further members.

    All members of the Committee are selected from and elected by the choir's members at the AGM.

    The appointment of the Conductor shall be determined by the Committee.

    Before the appointment of a new Conductor, candidates for the post shall be auditioned by the choir.
  5. Arrangements for concerts, other events and the control of the choir's finances are the responsibility of the Committee.
  6. The choir's financial year ends on 31st August.

    The choir shall maintain an account for its banking and cheques must be signed by 2 members of the Committee.

    Expenses incurred or autorised by the Committee in carrying out the aims of the choir may be repaid out of choir funds.

    No choir or committee members may be paid except in respect of legitimate authorised expenses as above, save that the Conductor may be paid an amount determined by the Committee.

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