We want the choir to be a community resource, but it’s not possible to operate a completely open-door policy whilst maintaining a good musical standard and an adventurous programme, so we do have a basic musical requirement. The voice test is very straightforward and we’re not trying to catch you out!
If you would prefer to attend rehearsals for a time while you build up confidence before attending a voice assessment session, that is fine but you will not be able to participate in a concert performance until after the assessment.
Assessments will be arranged to take place in a private room during the rehearsals interval and each one will only last 7 or 8 minutes. The only people present will be the musical director, the assistant conductor and the accompanist. If you’d like to bring someone with you to the assessment to sing your own piece with you, you are welcome to do so. Don’t worry – everyone is nervous!
The test consists of four components, all of which will be accompanied on the piano.
1. To sing up and down a scale. This will establish your vocal range.
a) To sing either the upper or lower of two notes, as directed, after two notes have been played simultaneously.
b) To listen to a short tune that will be played twice, and then sing it as accurately as possible, unaccompanied. This tests your musical ear.
3. To sing an extract,(about a page), from an accompanied piece of your own choice. It could be a hymn, a popular song or a folksong, or something more complicated if you wish. If you can supply two copies of the music for this it will be helpful but it is not essential. This shows what your voice can do when you’re singing something you know well.
4. To sing your own voice part (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) in a short, straightforward passage from something we rehearsed earlier in the evening. This shows whether you can hold a vocal line on your own.
You will be told immediately whether or not you have passed. Most people pass. Occasionally we feel that an individual would benefit from a little more experience so we invite them to continue attending rehearsals and attend again on the next assessment date. Sometimes we feel it would be better if a person gains some experience in a choir performing less demanding pieces before they reconsider joining the FPC. Some choirs re-assess their singers every few years. Currently we do not.