Planning the season ahead is no mean feat! MD, Roy consults with the Committee to choose the music for our concert plan a year or more in advance; this makes sure we can hire scores, soloists, venues and try to avoid overlapping repertoire with other local music groups.
Choir members are always invited to put forward suggestions for music and these suggestions, coupled with information on special events e.g. anniversary of a composer's birth, anniversary of a coronation, are taken into account when choosing a balanced and financially viable programme.
As a charity, we do not run with the intention of making a profit as such, so we tend to balance the annual programme with at least one big, ambitious concert each year, to complement the more traditional time-honoured favourites (like the Carol Concert). There are often opportunities to link up with other local choirs for one-off performances, as well as with Roy’s other Choir, the Chantry Singers, based in Guildford – all of this ensures we are never bored!!
As our experience and reputation grows, we are able to invite ever more renowned professionals to perform with us – although we provide plenty of opportunities for soloists from within the ranks of the choir! Depending on the nature of the music, Roy will either ask & audition soloists individually or, more often, he’ll invite volunteers to come forward if they’d like the opportunity. With such a wide variety of music in our programme, you never quite know when the chance will arise to shine (if you want to!).
Normal Concert Dress for ladies is a smart (evening dress standard) black dress, skirt & top or trousers & top. Long sleeves are preferred. We would ask that it is as smart as possible. Normal Concert Dress for gents is a smart black open necked shirt, black trousers and black shoes.
Occasionally we may decide to change the dress code slightly, to add a bit of glitz or glamour depending on the repertoire, but you will always need the standard black outfit to perform in Hart Voices concerts.
We also always use our lovely Red Leather Folders which provide a vibrant splash of red! These are available to purchase from the Treasurer.
Whether you’ve had years of performance experience or are a relative novice to the ways of a choir, we don’t think it hurts to remind members of some general concert etiquette;
As an amateur choir, we don’t have a massive promotional budget and rely very much on the hard work of our Committee and Members to promote the choir and each concert.
We do require every member to take an active part in promotional activities, providing posters, flyers and web resources to give/send to friends, family, work colleagues and anyone else you can think of. Put a poster up in your local church, supermarket, community centre, pub, coffee shop, golf club or workplace and email our stunning promotional leaflets (normally designed by our very talented MD himself!) to everyone you know who might come to a concert.
If you’ve got a Facebook profile or Twitter account, link to the Hart Voices page and invite your friends to do the same, and share our events with them too, it’s a great way to get the choir noticed!
Also, if you have any connections at all (the company you work for, a friend in a local business, your daughter’s company’s biggest client or your wife’s company’s suppliers – whatever the connection!) encourage them to sponsor the choir either by sponsoring a concert or by advertising in our programmes – this helps us to cover the cost of production of our marketing materials and to ensure they are ever better quality to match the quality of the performances! It’s a great opportunity for local businesses to increase their exposure and get their logo seen by our audiences!
And finally, if you have any contacts in the press or media, talk to our Publicity Manager, Clare Thomas about getting the word about for our concerts!
During the year we normally perform four concerts and we ask that you try to make sure you can perform as many as possible. Leading up to concerts, we sometimes have extra rehearsals and there will ALWAYS be a rehearsal on the day of the concert, usually between 2-5pm.
If you are going to miss any of the last three rehearsals before a concert, you must let the Musical Director know direct; we generally say that if you’re going to miss the final afternoon rehearsal before the concert then you won’t be permitted to perform on the night – extenuating circumstances aside, this will always be at the discretion of the MD.
Stay standing until the last singer is on stage, then sit.
Once on stage, please remember you are in “performance mode” so don’t chat to your neighbour and don’t wave to friends in the audience!
If you need to take water on stage with you, please try to ensure it is a small bottle. Please do drink discreetly if you feel it is absolutely necessary.
Sometimes we won’t have lockable facilities in performance venues, therefore ladies please try to remember to bring a smallish black handbag for any valuables, which can be discreetly stowed under your chair.
Stand when the conductor and soloists enter. From that point follow the conductor's directions, or the sits and stands in your music.
Be conscious of turning the pages quietly and standing and sitting all together on the precise beat indicated.
As a piece of music finishes, please remain completely still and don’t lower your music – stay in performance mode until the Conductor indicates you can relax.
Leave the stage in an orderly manner at the interval and be ready lined up in good time to return to the stage.
At the end of the concert flowers or other tokens will be presented to the soloists and conductor.
Generally, you should clap the soloists, musicians and the conductor but try to remember not to clap when the Choir is being applauded!
Leave the stage in an orderly manner at the end of the concert and hand back any hired music to the librarians.