Dennis’ Guide to Choir Participation

I believe that every person who walks into rehearsal, including myself, should learn something every rehearsal. Below are some rehearsal guidelines:

  1. Be Prepared
    1. Be prepared to have fun
    2. Be prepared to learn something at every rehearsal
    3. Be prepared to be proud of what you do here
    4. It might not hurt to look over things during the week
  2. Be Open
    1. Be open to new ideas
    2. Try ideas that are presented
  3. Be Respectful
    1. Be respectful of everyone in the room
    2. Be on time and respect the time of others
    3. Try not to talk—I know this is a difficult one!
    4. We all have opinions and I value yours, but please don’t get upset if I don’t use your suggestions, you never know, I do change my mind or they may be used elsewhere. Be respectful in your presentation and remember that timing is everything.
  4. Have a problem? Let me know. I am always available for phone calls, emails, visits, dinner, coffee, a drink; whatever, but you need to communicate with me, not at me or behind me.
  5. Leave the trials of the day at the door. You are here to have fun, learn and sing. You have the gift of rehearsal time to leave all the cares of the day somewhere else and just immerse yourself in music for a couple of hours. Take the gift!
  6. Do your part to make rehearsals what they should be.

Take a few minutes during the week and go over your music. This will help rehearsal time to be more productive.

Sight reading is an important choral technique. I know we have many different skill levels in the chorus but this is something all of us can work on. But remember we can’t fix what we can’t hear! The only way to improve your sight singing skills is to just suck it up and do it — right, wrong or out of tune. You will find that with practice you will be sight singing with the best of them in no time at all.

I strongly suggest that if you want to really be successful and you really want to learn your music well you should record each rehearsal and sectional practice and then just listen to it during the week. You will find your learning skills will improve dramatically. You can purchase a small tape recorder, or use your smart phone.

Pencils in your folders are a must. Don’t make the director and section leaders repeat things every week because you didn’t make a note in your music. I use a lot of imaging when we start working on interpretation, and notes in your music are vital in helping you remember what the desired interpretation is. So mark away!

And on a personal note: I am excited to be here and be a part of this great choir.  I look forward to great times, great friendships and great music together and hope you do too.

Thanks for this opportunity.

— Dennis McCracken, Artistic Director