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Performances and Rehearsals

Season Concerts and Performances

The North Coast Men’s Chorus presents three main concerts per year:

  1. A Holiday-themed, formal concert (in tux) in December
  2. A Spring concert in March
  3. A Pride-themed concert in June

There will be other non-concert performances throughout the year that will be announced when they are scheduled. Some of these might include:

  • Special performances at other organizations’ fundraising events
  • Publicity appearances on local television
  • A mini-concert during the “Pride in the CLE” festival

While these special performances are not “mandatory,” per se, members are expected to do their best to attend to make a good showing for the Chorus. The more members who attend, the better we sound, and the stronger our public reputation will grow.

Weekly Rehearsals

You will almost certainly spend the majority of your time with the Chorus in rehearsal. There are many explanations and advisories about rehearsals in the Handbook, but this is how the weekly rehearsals go and what they’re like.

We rehearse at the Middleburg Heights Community United Church of Christ:

Arrive early-ish. There’s a lot of social gathering time and energy in the 15 or 30 minutes before rehearsals begin. Those who are dancing in the concert will be having rehearsal before the main rehearsal, and sometimes there are educational programs before rehearsal, but coming early gives you enough time to pick up new music, chat with friends, and in general, just get settled and prepared to work.

The Chorus sits in four sections, according to part, arranged as they will be for concerts. Just ask if you need help finding a seat.

Early in the concert cycle, there will often be new sheet music distributed and old music collected by the Music Librarian at a table in the back of the room. When you join the Chorus, the Librarian will assign you a number, and forever after, you will look for a folder with that number in the stack to collect your music and put it into your rehearsal folder. (Note: Some members rely on digital versions of the sheet music, singing from tablets or other mobile devices. Those PDF files can be found on Dropbox. If you’re interested in getting hooked up with those, ask around for help.)

At the appointed hour, the Artistic Director will call the Chorus to order. There will be a few minutes of warm-up exercise, but the Chorus gets to work right away. For the next half of rehearsal, you’ll be actively and deeply engaged in learning the music.

Early in the concert cycle, the Chorus rehearses for two hours (7-9pm) each Sunday night. Later in the concert cycle, rehearsals shift to begin at 6:30, to add another half-hour to rehearsal time. The change in time is in the rehearsal schedule and will be announced before it happens.

At the half-way point, the Artistic Director will call time for a break, when announcements are made. These are on a variety of subjects, but all are important to the Chorus membership at large. Examples include:

  • New information about the upcoming concert and preparations
  • The restaurant where members are invited to gather after rehearsal for a late-night bite and beverage
  • Introducing new members
  • Plans and requirements for fundraising or other appearances
  • Requests for volunteers to help in various tasks
  • Reminders on any subject

Then the Chorus takes a break for fifteen minutes or so. You can purchase snacks, take care of administrative details, socialize with friends, or spend a few quiet moments with your music. During the break, tickets for the weekly 50/50 raffle are sold, and members of the Chorus leadership and staff will be on hand if you need anything.

The most important thing about break: They end at designated time, and everyone must be seated and ready to go back to work at that time. At the end of rehearsal, the winner of the raffle will be announced, and the chairs will be cleared and restacked before everyone leaves.

Online Availability of Scores and Recordings

As all concerts are performed from memory, the sooner you start to memorize the music, the more solid your performance will be. The Chorus makes online resources available to help learn the music and prepare for the concerts.

  • Preview recordings of the piece that give you an idea of what it sounds like when performed
  • Specific TTBB recordings of each part for each piece, to help you hear your part and memorize the music. (These are created at the “Four Part Recording” session, described here a little later.)
  • PDF versions of all music to be performed in the concert
Links to these resources will be distributed once join.

The Four Part Recording Day

On a particular Saturday, there is a “retreat,” which is an intensive rehearsal and recording session. Attendance is strongly encouraged, but it is understood that some members have work or other commitments that prevent them from participating.

Each section has its own microphone, so that the different voice parts can be recorded on separate tracks. When the digital audio files are uploaded to Dropbox, you can listen to your section’s specific recording, and you’ll hear your part more loudly and clearly than the others, while still hearing them all together. These recordings are vital to learning your music for the concert, and the more members who participate in the session, the better the recordings turn out. (Note: You can request a compact disk with the recordings if you prefer that to streaming from Dropbox.)

It also serves as an extra rehearsal, by the way, which is always helpful in preparing for the concerts. Again, it isn’t required that members attend, but it is much better if you do.

The North Coast Men's Chorus is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. P.O. Box 770664, Cleveland, OH  44107-0664
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