What is the Sooke Community Choir all about?

SCC was formed in 1989 to provide choral entertainment for our community. We sing for the pure joy and pleasure it gives us, in an atmosphere that is fun, relaxed and accepting. Our mission statement:

The purpose of the Sooke Community Choir Society is to promote, develop and enhance the artistic life of our community through music.

To achieve this, SCC brings together people of all ages, backgrounds and lifestyles to enjoy singing a wide variety of musical styles. We connect to the community through concerts and performances. We connect with youth through sponsoring the Spring Sing Out with individual performances from each of the Sooke elementary school choirs.

SCC is a four voice (Soprano-Alto-Tenor-Bass) choir that welcomes members 15 years and up. We sing a wide variety of songs including classical, folk, jazz, musical theater, pop and more. You are not required to read music although it is helpful.

What does a year in the choir look like?

July / AugustThe Artistic Director, Accompanist, executive and volunteers are hard at work preparing for the upcoming Fall and Spring sessions. Newspaper articles are written, the calendar is updated on our website, new member recruitment is underway, and music is ordered and prepped.

September: Choir starts on the Wednesday after school commences. The first rehearsal is a trial night. You will be assisted with voice placement if needed.

October / November: Several performances will be given before the Winter concerts such as Remembrance Day, Community Sing-along, and a traditional seasonal Singalong at Ayre Manor.

December: The Fall/Winter session wraps up with three performances of the Winter concert locally.  Most sessions we also have an away performance.  We wrap up with a PARTY!

January: We start the Spring session the Wednesday after school commences with new member recruitment, rehearsals, music tracks and session calendar (see above).

March: SCC sponsors the Spring Sing Out Festival, with individual performances from each of the Sooke elementary school choirs as well as the Sooke Community Choir. The finale will be performed by all choirs together.

May: We sometimes sing at the Legion for VE Day.  The Spring session wraps up with three performances of the Spring concerts and usually we have an away concert.

June: The Annual General Meeting is held, a new executive is elected, we have another PARTY…..and it begins all over again!

What is the fee arrangement?

The first rehearsal is without obligation. Session fees of $125 are due by the beginning of the second session. A $50 cheque is required as a deposit for music packages and binders. It will be deposited and held for as long as you remain in the choir. Upon leaving, it will be returned provided all music and your binder have been returned. If you have difficulty meeting the fee requirement, please speak with the Treasurer privately about temporary arrangements. Membership fees cover music costs, practice and performance space rental, Artistic Director and Accompanist fees, insurance, promotion and other expenses.

How are the practices set up?

We practice Wednesday evenings from 7:00 PM until 9:30 PM. Please arrive by 6:45 to ensure that rehearsals start promptly at 7:00. Additional rehearsals are occasionally scheduled on Monday evenings. Regular attendance is expected, particularly the weeks prior to any performance. If you are unable to attend, please let your section leader know. Also note that additional section practices may be arranged as needed. Choir members are encouraged to use the time before and after rehearsals and during the 15 minute break to visit with friends and to get to know choir members. You are encouraged to bring water, as singing is ‘thirsty work’. Cell phones and pagers should be turned to quiet mode during practices. Please refrain from wearing scents (perfumes, lotions, aftershaves, hair products, etc) to practices and performances.

Is sheet music provided?

Yes, all sheet music is provided. Please use pencil to make notations in your music: no pens or highlighters! If you feel you must highlight, photocopy the music and mark the photocopy. It is helpful to keep your music in alphabetical order in your binder so that you can find the next piece quickly during practices. Put your name and phone number on the card inside your binder. Once the concert order is announced, put your music in concert order. Practice tracks are made available for each section (Soprano, Alto, Tenor or Bass) as well as combined tracks with all four parts and accompaniment. Members are expected to practice at home. We are striving to perform without the need for written music, so memorization of a portion of the music may be requested.

How is the choir run?

We are a non-profit society run by volunteers, and we employ an Artistic Director, and Accompanist, and occasional musical guests. The foundation of the choir is run by an executive consisting of President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and several Directors at large, and there are over 40 volunteer positions. You will be encouraged to volunteer your time throughout the year.  To check out who is leading each volunteer area, see About Us.

Is there a performance wardrobe?

Yes. This wardrobe changes from performance to performance. The SCC vests we sometimes wear were designed by Carey Newman. The First Nations’ dolphin design represents sound, rhythm, breath, communication, playfulness, love and social conduct – all characteristics that help to make a successful community choir. The red colour stands for life, black for strength and the white buttons stand for harmony. The vests were made by choir members under the direction of Edith Newman. Additional vests were made in 2010, with a grant from the Sooke District.

What expectations are there around performances?

All choir members are expected to be available for concert dates. Please arrive 15 minutes prior to call time. Watch the director. Make sure you have an unobstructed view and hold your music so you can always see the director. Smile. Not only does it look good, but it helps keep us on pitch. Hold binders in the right hand by your side as we walk on and off stage, and do not open until director gives cue.

How do I join?

To get more information about joining please Contact Us.

Do you have any other helpful hints?

Regular breathing practice will allow you to minimize the number of breaths you require and help you to breathe correctly in accordance with the music phrasing of each piece. Practice breath control, especially diaphragm breathing, to increase your lung capacity. Perhaps use the drive to rehearsals to warm up with voice exercises. Think about the meaning of the words in a song and try to match the feeling with the melody. If questions or problems arise, please talk to your section leader during the break or before or after rehearsal. If the problem is still not resolved, talk to the music director or a member of the executive after practice. Above all, have fun!