New member’s information from Geoffrey

Rehearsals

The choir meets regularly in one of the large meeting rooms on the first floor
of the Carnegie Library. We rehearse for about 90 minutes, usually with a short break halfway.
Occasionally, the library is not available, and we meet in a choir member’s home.
(Keep an eye on our Google rehearsal calendar)

Not sure what voice part suits you? Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass, Kalathumpian?

Don't worry. We'll just start off with a few simple vocal exercises, singing altogether, and we'll work it out as we go along. We don't have any sort of audition process.
If you turn up, you can sing!

How do we rehearse?

Most of our songs are arranged as traditional sheet music (by me) and can be downloaded as PDFs along with audio recordings (MP3s) of your harmony parts from this website.
Don’t worry if you can’t “officially” read sheet music. Most of our members are not very experienced sheet music readers. Follow the sheet music with your eyes as you listen to the recordings and you will end up sort of reading the sheet music without realising you are doing it!
Sometimes, we work with just a lyric sheet.
Occasionally we make up harmony parts on the spot as an exercise in improvisation.

The day after each rehearsal, keep an eye out for an email from me with suggestions
as to what to practice for the following rehearsal or info about new sheet music
or recordings to download.

Are the recordings important / necessary? "I'm not sure I'll have time to listen to them"

Experienced choir people often talk about "note-bashing". Sounds like fun, doesn't it?
This is where somebody will sing or play a harmony part over and over to help one group of singers "get" their part. It is a bit boring for the rest of the choir waiting around to hear THEIR part so ! make recordings to help you learn your part in your own time before you get to rehearsal. Less "note bashing!"

On your part recording, you will usually hear the piano playing the accompaniment in the background, and your part played quite loudly on a voice-like synthesised instrument.
(I have found that this is the easiest way for people to really “hear” their part.
It may sound pretty! - but it is clear)

Now, I’m not saying you have to sit around for hours carefully studying the sheet music
while you listen. Many people have discovered that by simply having these practice recordings playing in the background while they do the dishes, exercise, drive to work, whatever, even just humming along with them as best they can, it DOES help them learn their part faster.

HINT: I usually post recordings of EVERYBODY'S parts all together too, so you can sort of 'test' yourself, before you get to rehearsal, seeing if you can hold to your part with the other parts happening around you.
The more everybody listens to those recordings in between rehearsal times, the faster we ALL progress!

Website

At the bottom of the choir group emails that you have probably already received, you will see a link to the Carnegie Choir Home Page. (It is part of my personal website)

Lots of useful information here!
Look at the Google rehearsal calendar to find out when and where our next rehearsal is happening and how to download goodies from the website. We use some dedicated Dropbox folders for this purpose. If you are not experienced with downloading from Dropbox, printing PDFs and working with MP3s, DO read the explanatory information carefully.
Feel free to contact LINK me directly if you have problems, or your resident computer nerd.

TIP: If you’re preparing to come to your first rehearsal, have a go at downloading a rehearsal recording MP3 and sheet music for one of the songs, just so you know you have got the technology organised. You may have to ask someone to help you. I would suggest the “Babylon ROUND” or the “Donna Nobis Pacem ROUND” - two songs we regularly use as warm-ups. BEGIN HERE

Some Bits and Pieces

I suggest you organise a dedicated folder for your sheet music and bring it all with you.

By the way! If you have a spare music stand hanging around,
it might be a good idea to bring it along. We never seem to have enough!

PS: Not everything we work on is new. Occasionally we will run through one of our old favourites. Obviously as a new member, you won’t know the arrangement. I suggest you just follow along with your eyes as best you can and see what you can pick up. I will give you all a bit of warning as to which one of those old favourites we are going to look at to give everybody time to download sheet music and recordings.

Feel free to contact me with ANY questions
Geoffrey - Choir Leader