Q. How often do you meet and where?
A. We meet every Monday evening (with the exception of bank holidays) at 7.30 pm.
Our normal meeting place is now (from July 2021) is Otterbourne Village Hall, Cranbourne Drive, Otterbourne, Winchester SO21 2ET
Over the last year we have mostly been meeting via Zoom.
Q. What type of songs do you sing?
A. We sing a wide range of songs, including many that you’ll recognise. All are sung in 4-part harmony a-cappella (unaccompanied with no backing music). Many of our songs are arranged in the barbershop style.
Our repertoire is continually evolving and is selected by our MD and music team to be fun, entertaining and to help us develop and perform to our best ability.
Why not come along to a concert or rehearsal and find out for yourself?
Q. Do I need to have previous experience of singing in a group or choir?
That is not essential. Just a smile and a sense of fun and adventure! We love to welcome new members and you’ll quickly feel at home.
As you settle in, you’ll learn how to sing in tune and be able to sing your part when others around you may be singing something different. However, when you begin you will stand near people who are singing the same notes as you, to help you to grow in confidence.
Q. Do I need to know how to read music?
In fact, many of our members cannot read music. You will normally be given learning audio tracks of all your notes so that you can learn it by ear. You will also have a copy of the music so that if you can read music, you can choose which way to learn.
Q. What Are The Four Voice Parts?
A. The four parts are Tenor, Lead, Bass and Baritone. In barbershop-style arrangements, the leads sing the melody with the other three parts harmonising.
Our MD will help you find which part is best suited to your voice.
For those of you who can read music:
TENORS sing above the melody line and should be able to sing to Top G.
LEADS sing the melody line (the tune) which usually has a mid vocal range starting from just below Middle C (G) to the D an octave above Middle C.
BASSES have the lowest range with the lowest note being the D below Middle C.
BARITONES have the same vocal range as the Leads – some members think they sing the left-over notes! But this part is often the most interesting and challenging.
Q. Will I need to practice in between rehearsals?
You will be expected to learn your notes between rehearsals using the audio tracks or by following your music. This helps us make the most of our rehearsal time and is fun. Each of the four voice parts has a section leader who will also be able to help you and also arrange section rehearsals.
We learn all our songs so that we can sing them without music. This allows us to be more engaged with our audience and be more entertaining. It also allows us to entertain an audience by conveying the story and emotions of the song both vocally and visually. This makes our singing so much more rewarding, enjoyable and fun.
Q How long will I need to wait before joining?
A. If, after coming along for a few weeks, you decide you would like to become a member, then when you are ready we will ask you to have a simple private audition. This takes the form of singing your part of one of the chorus songs that you have already learnt together with 4 members of the music team in private. Once you have successfully completed the audition, you will be able to join us as a member.
Q. I’m not sure how often I would be able to attend rehearsals, will this be a problem?
A. Although we realise that members may not be able to make every rehearsal during the year (e.g. due to holidays and work commitments) we hope that everybody will love the singing, achievement, fun and friendship of our rehearsals and so will not want to miss one! If you know that you can’t make a rehearsal, then please let Helen, our membership secretary, know. You can also get in touch with your Section leader for help.
Between rehearsals you will usually receive an update on what is planned for the next rehearsal so that you can catch up.
Q. Do you pay regular membership fees?
However the first 3 rehearsals are free. After that, before you have your audition, you will be asked to pay £3 per rehearsal.
Once you have passed your audition and have joined as a member you will be asked to pay a regular monthly subscription by standing order. This will cover the costs of your membership of our national organisation (LABBS), hall hire, music, coaching at weekly rehearsals and with guest educators and refreshments together with the general running expenses of the chorus. The current fees are £30 per month (£15 for 25s and under). From time to time, you may also be asked to contribute to other costs such as transport/accommodation for competitions and costumes.