FAQ: I wish I'd thought to ask...

What is the MasterWorks Chorale concert season?
Our season begins with open rehearsals, starting the first Tuesday after Labor Day. No audition is necessary; just a simple exercise for vocal placement. Singers have a few weeks to decide whether to become members by paying the annual membership dues. From September through May, we learn music for a series of concerts held during late fall, winter, and spring. We rehearse weekly, and usually add a Saturday morning session before each concert. Our season concludes in mid-May with our Annual Gala, a fundraising dinner-concert event. 

Is there a cost to join? 
Annual membership dues, set each year by the Board of Directors, cover less than half of our operating expenses. The rest is funded by concert admission, our annual donation campaign, grants from foundations and arts organizations, and our Annual Gala fundraising event. 
Membership dues are $65 per person for the current season. If payment poses a financial hardship, please contact the director about assistance through our scholarship fund. 

Is rehearsal attendance mandatory?  
Please make every practical effort to attend all rehearsals and arrive promptly. Remember to check in on the attendance sheet. If you must miss a rehearsal, please let the director know in advance. Excessive absences (more than two per concert) are addressed at the director's discretion,  and may result in being excused from a concert performance. 
Other than in case of a storm emergency, rehearsals are not cancelled for inclement weather; please attend if you can do so safely. Your judgment will be respected. 


What should I bring to rehearsal? What does the Chorale provide?
The Chorale loans members a numbered set of sheet music for each concert.
You will need to provide a black three-ring binder, a pencil; a water bottle is a good idea, too.
Sheet music must be returned after the concert; a fine may be charged if music is not returned. 
Some singers prefer to use their own Messiah scores; these can be ordered through MasterWorks at cost, if desired. 
Tobacco fumes are prohibited at rehearsals and concerts.

May I mark my music?
Yes, please mark your music as directed by the conductor. Pencils only – no ink.

May I punch binder holes in my music? 
That depends. Some music belongs to MasterWorks Chorale; some is on loan from another source. Before punching holes, please make sure the music is MasterWorks property. 
For sheet music in booklet form, the Chorale provides 3-hole inserts to slip into the booklet to accommodate a 3-ring binder. Most singers find these preferable to punching holes in booklets. 

Is there additional help for learning or practicing my part?
Many singers find YouTube a good resource to hear our arrangements performed, sometimes in single parts. 
Cyberbass.org offers audio tracks and downloadable mp3 files of individual vocal parts for many classic choral works, including Handel's Messiah
As available, links to other online choral resources will be provided. 


What is concert dress? 
For November, December and March concerts:
- Men wear a tuxedo or black suit with bow tie (red bow ties are loaned by the Chorale for the Christmas concert). 
- Women's outfits are full length, all-black, either pants or skirt, with 3/4-length or longer sleeves. Note: solid fabric, not lace or sheer; no sequins, beading or other decorative effects. Accessorize with white pearl necklace (faux is fine) – except for the Christmas concert, when women wear brightly colored Christmas scarves.
- All singers wear comfortable black shoes.  
For the Annual Gala: attire is determined by the planning committee.
For all concerts: no perfume or other highly scented products. Tobacco fumes are prohibited. 

Must I perform in the concerts?
Performance in all concerts is an assumed responsibility for all members, barring illness or other special circumstances. A well-rehearsed blend of voices in harmony creates the marvelous choral sound that audiences appreciate. If you are unable to participate, please let the director know as far in advance as possible. Membership dues, however, do not change.

How are soloists chosen for concerts? 
Soloists for our concert programs are chosen by the music director. They may be Chorale members, guest singers, or paid professionals.

Who are the MasterWorks Chorale Chamber Singers? 
The Chamber Singers, a smaller ensemble drawn from MasterWorks Chorale members, act as ambassadors for the group as a whole. Performing at events outside the regular concert schedule, they offer an additional repertoire ranging from classical to contemporary selections. Singers are selected to achieve a desired blend of voices. They are expected to learn their music independently, with one Sunday rehearsal a month and a brief practice session following each full choir rehearsal. 
Interested Chorale members should let the conductor know of their availability to audition. 


How is Masterworks Chorale governed? 
Masterworks Chorale is governed by an all-volunteer Board of Directors who serve two-year terms. Directors are selected by a nominating committee and elected by membership at the Annual Meeting in May. Any member who has completed one calendar-year membership with the Chorale is eligible to serve on the Board of Directors. 
The Board is managed by a president, elected by the Directors, and minutes of the monthly Board meetings are kept by a secretary, also elected. Responsibilities assigned to Board members include membership, fund development, music care, publicity, concert logistics, and special projects/Gala. Directors may recruit committee members to assist in these areas of responsibility. 

May I serve on a committee?  
We encourage you to. Please speak with any of the Board members about how you can assist.  

How Is Masterworks Chorale funded? 
Our operations are funded by an annual appeal, grants from private foundations and state entities, concert ticket sales, donations, membership dues and the Annual Gala fundraiser. 
The Annual Gala – a dinner, themed concert and silent auction – generates approximately 23% of our annual revenue. Members may purchase discounted tickets to participate, and are encouraged to sell tickets to the event, as well as solicit or contribute items for the silent auction.