Q. How often do you meet and where?
A. We meet every Monday evening throughout the year (with the exception of bank holidays) at 7.30 pm until about 10 pm with a tea/coffee break in the middle.
Our normal meeting place is Otterbourne Village Hall, Cranbourne Drive, Otterbourne, Winchester SO21 2ET
Q. Do you have special precautions at your rehearsals concerning the risk of COVID?
Both the venue and chorus have conducted risk assessments.
The chorus also has its own health and safety guidelines for attendance and conduct of rehearsals and events. These are reviewed on a regular basis.
If you are interested in joining us and have any specific questions, please contact our membership secretary using the form on the Join us page.
Q. What type of songs do you sing?
A. We sing a wide variety of songs, including many that you’ll be familiar with and will love. All are sung in 4-part harmony a-cappella (unaccompanied with no backing music). Many of our songs are arranged in the barbershop style. You can listen to a selection of these on YouTube.
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 contact us to arrange to come to a rehearsal and find out for yourself?
Q. Do I need to know how to read music?
In fact, many of our members cannot read music. You will 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 that 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 a 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 our membership secretary, know. You can also get in touch with your Section leader for help.
A rehearsal schedule is always available so that you will know what is planned for the next rehearsal and can catch up.
Q. Do you pay regular membership fees?
Our ‘Sing in harmony’ courses, which we run from time to time, are free.
After that, or if you come along at another time, the first 4 rehearsals are free.
After that, before you become a full member, you will be asked to pay a small fee per rehearsal.
Once you have passed your audition and have joined as a member you will be asked to pay a regular monthly subscription throughout the year 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). Subscriptions are reviewed annually at our AGM in January.
The committee also has discretion to agree a reduced subscription rate with any member for whom the full rate is not affordable.
From time to time, you may also be asked to contribute to other costs such as transport/accommodation for competitions and costumes.