We are always looking for new recruits in all voice parts, especially in the lower voices. We are a friendly, accessible and sociable group with a notably wide age range.
At the beginning of each term (typically the beginning of September & January, and immediately after the Spring concert), the first two rehearsals are designated as open rehearsals
where potential new members are invited to come along and join in singing with us to hear what we're like and to get a feel for what the choir is all about. You would be joining us at the beginning of rehearsing for the next concert so we would all be in the same boat starting to learn the music. These open rehearsals
are currently the only opportunities to become a member of the choir as joining mid-term would mean you not having been to enough rehearsals to qualify for singing in the concert itself. Please make yourself known to the Membership Secretary
, Laura, on arrival. If you would like to know more about the choir before coming along then please do contact Laura as she will be pleased to answer any questions you may have. Please see the note below about auditions.
Rehearsals & Venue
The Society's season starts on the first Monday evening of September and goes through to the final concert in early June of the following year. Occasionally we get invited to participate in festivals and other events which may fall outside this period.
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Rehearsals take place on Monday evenings from 7.30-9.45 pm and are held usually in the St Mark's Church
. The venue is only about a 2-3 minute walk from Wimbledon's main rail and tube station and on the route of several buses. There is only some limited parking in the local side roads. Alternatively there are pay car parks in St. George's Road (closes 11pm) and some spaces in the Sainsbury’s car park in Worple Road (closes 10.30pm). On some occasions we may use other venues if the Merton Arts Space is not available or we need to split the rehearsal by voice parts.
There is a usually a 10-15 minute break in the rehearsal for a chance to have a drink and catch up with fellow members, and for any notices to be given out.
There are no fixed seating arrangements – members take the first available seats wherever their respective voice parts happen to be located. This can vary from concert to concert, and sometimes week to week, depending on the works being rehearsed. Every voice part has one or two voice representatives and you will be introduced to your assigned voice representative the first time you come along, to ensure you are sitting with someone who supposedly knows what they’re doing!
Wimbledon Choral Society is an auditioned choir. This means you are required to have a short voice test with our Music Director before being admitted as a Society member. This is typically arranged via the Membership Secretary a week or two after your first rehearsal with us. The reason for being auditioned on application to join, and notwithstanding we are a relatively large choir of 180+, is simply to ensure we maintain an acceptable minimum standard in our choral performances.
Although sight reading is not a prerequisite for joining, and does not form part of the audition, a reasonable ability to read and follow music is assumed as well as being able to sing in tune. You will not be asked to prepare anything for the initial audition but may be asked to do so for the periodic re-auditions that occur after you’ve been a member for a few years.
The principal purpose of the audition is for the Music Director to determine your vocal suitability for joining the choir and the voice part most suited to your vocal range. It really is as simple as that and there is nothing about it of which to be concerned.
Many other auditioned choirs require you to prepare pieces to sing and some include sight-reading. We don’t as we wish to maintain a balance between attracting and retaining good singers as well as being a choir that people of all musical abilities feel they can approach to be considered for membership. We’d rather be your choir of choice.
WCS relies heavily on the income it receives from its membership subscriptions. The amounts are proposed on an annual basis as part of the budget calculations and ratified (or amended) at the Annual General Meeting in early October of each year. They are payable by every member before participating in the next event or concert. There are three levels of subscription rate depending on your personal circumstances. The rates for the current season can be found here
Membership lasts for the whole season or remaining part of it if joining for the first time after the start. Likewise the subscriptions paid cover the same period, whether participating in the concerts or not. Unlike some other choirs, membership is not on a concert-by-concert basis.
For most of the music we perform you will have the option either to purchase the scores or to hire them from the Librarian. There is the odd occasion when either one option or the other cannot be offered but this is rare. The hire rates will vary as they are subject to the costs of WCS hiring them in the first place but are typically only a few pounds each time.
As with any organisation like ours there are a few basic rules
that all members are required and expected to abide by. There are not that many and the key ones are noted below:
- Must attend a minimum number of rehearsals to be eligible to participate in a concert – this will vary from concert to concert
Sell a minimum of two tickets for every WCS-promoted concert (or make a donation to the equivalent value if you really can’t sell two)
- Adhere to the agreed concert dress code for the concert in question
- Ensure you abide by the rules and are aware of the Society’s Constitution
- Support the Society’s AGM if at all possible. This takes place in early October and usually occupies one half of a Monday rehearsal night.
In return for this, you will:
- Get to sing in four concerts a year with dynamic programmes, performing alongside professional musicians and singers of the highest calibre in a diverse list of venues
- Have the opportunity to participate in other special events to which the choir (in part or whole) is invited
Receive excellent vocal tuition at rehearsals
- Take part in a workshop day (usually a Saturday) to learn new voice techniques from professionals
- Be able to join other members in various social events organised during the year, and sometimes outside of the season