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 purpose statement is:
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 are the mission, vision and values of the choir?
Vision: A leading ensemble of singers and musicians committed to performance excellence in our community and beyond
Mission: To engage singers and captivate audiences with fabulous music
- Respect: We treat others with dignity and show consideration of their needs and feelings
- Contribution: We believe it is important for all members to add extra value to our choir by contributing their time, effort and skill according to their ability
- Commitment: We prepare for rehearsals by practicing at home, and we attend rehearsals so that our fellow singers can benefit from us all being together
- Trust: We are a community of singers who have faith in each other’s abilities, and even when we feel vulnerable, we know we are emotionally safe as trust underpins every relationship we have with each other
- Growth: We encourage each other to be better singers by learning in community with one another, and we celebrate our successes as we learn more about music and our voices
- Support: In all that we do, we are welcoming, friendly and kind
What does a year in the choir look like?
July / August: The Artistic Director, Accompanist, singers, volunteers and board are hard at work preparing for the upcoming Fall and Spring sessions.
September: Choir starts on the Tuesday after school starts. The first rehearsal is a trial night so new singers can try us out. You will be assisted with voice placement.
October / November: We give 1-2 additional short performances before the Winter concerts, such as at Remembrance Day ceremonies and at Ayre Manor.
December: We perform two concerts in Sooke and often one “away” concert in Victoria. We have a music preview night to sneak a peek at the music for the upcoming Spring session.
January: We start the Spring session the Tuesday after school starts. The first rehearsal of the Spring session is a trial night so new singers can try us out. You will be assisted with voice placement.
March: We sponsor the Spring Sing Out Festival, with individual performances from each of the Sooke elementary school choirs as well as our own choir. The finale will be performed by all choirs together.
May: We perform two concerts in Sooke and often one “away” concert somewhere other than Sooke. The AGM is held, a new board is elected, and we have a music preview night to sneak a peek at the music for the upcoming Winter session.
What is the fee arrangement?
The first rehearsal is without obligation. An annual membership fee of $20 is required to join, and then a session fee of $100 is due by the beginning of the third rehearsal, for each of the Winter and Spring Sessions.
A $50 cheque is also 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.
Where and when do we rehearse?
We practice Tuesday evenings from 7:00 PM until 9:00 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 rehearsals. Please refrain from wearing scents (perfumes, lotions, aftershaves, hair products, etc) to rehearsals and performances.
We meet at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church, 1962 Murray Rd.
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 a board consisting of President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Daily Treasurer, and several Directors at large, and there are over 40 volunteer positions. You will be encouraged to volunteer your time throughout the year.
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.
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!