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Induction

Singers joining Bristol A Cappella go through a process to make getting into the swing of things as smooth as possible. It runs something like this:

Free rehearsals

Every potential singer can come along to two free rehearsalsto decide whether the chorus is right for them. Come along to the pub after rehearsals to have a chat to the other singers!

Greeting

When you arrive, say “hi” to someone running the membership desk, and they will be able to give you a set of music and hook you up with one of the music team to check which section you'd be best singing with for the evening (they should also arrange for someone to check your initial vocal range during the evening). You can always move if the section you're singing with doesn't feel right for your voice, but it's best to do this in the first few rehearsals before you've got too many notes learned :-)

Registration

At your first rehearsal our membership secretary will take an email address to let you log into the website, where we keep teach tracks to help you learn the music.

Voice checks

We're looking for singers who enjoy making good music, whether they're just starting out and have plenty of potential or have been singing for decades. The four things we check during induction are:

Range

Which part should you be singing

Hopefully checked in your first rehearsal; here's the rough process we use.

Vocal

Whether you can reliably pitch notes

In your third week, the director or section leader will listen to you sing a line from our first song away from the chorus and also give you one of the other parts to sing to the same line.

Memory

Whether you can learn a three-minute song in your first few months

Your section leader will listen to you in chorus singing the designated song, listed on the music page, and let you know any notes that need fixing.

Independence

Whether you can keep to your part in a quartet

We check this in rolling quartet about once a month.

When you've got a tick for each of these within a quarter of a year (13 rehearsals), you become a full singing member of Bristol A Cappella chorus.

Each week, the assigned section leaders will work with you on learning the notes and vocal technique, but if you want more support, don't hesitate to ask anyone on the music team (section leaders or musical director).

Some people are worried that they won't be able to do all this in their first 13 rehearsals, but everyone who is currently a full member (plus those who've left over the years) have gone through the same thing. It boils down to learning a song in a quarter of a year, which most people can do. We have had a couple of singers who weren't able to do this, and we've suggested that there are other choirs that might be better-suited to them at that moment in time, but we would always welcome them back if they develop their voice a year or so later to try again.

Paying for rehearsals

Once you've passed your vocal check, we do ask that you start paying a monthly contribution to the chorus to help with our costs like music, venue rental, etc., as detailed on the fees page. At this point, you also automatically become a member of the BAC Singers Association, which represents you to the committee and promotes the social side of the chorus. The membership secretary will let the treasurer know to have a chat with you about setting up payments.

Gigs

For busking-style gigs, we welcome all singers, no matter how many songs you know. For our more formal shows, we invite all those singers who've passed their voice checks.

Membership

Once you've passed all four voice checks, you'll become a full singing member of the Bristol A Cappella chorus. The next step is to let the Wardrobe department have your measurements, and you get to do all the gigs. You also have some bragging rights as a member of one of the first and best mixed barbershop choruses in Britain.

Wardrobe

We wear different outfits depending on the gig, from denim and a coloured top to formal suits and dresses for the glitziest shows. The chorus buys and owns most of the uniform, then charges a deposit which is returned when you leave the chorus, currently around £50 for men and £55 for ladies. Check the wardrobe page for other bits that we need you to supply.

Song sign-off

Not yet implemented.