Chorus Handbook

The Santa Fe Symphony Chorus (Chorus) has a considerable history of musical excellence in choral performance. The Chorus of Santa Fe was founded in 1979, five years before The Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra. In 1986, that group joined The Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra to form the present organization known as The Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra & Chorus. As a result, The Symphony gained a choral component, and the choir acquired an orchestra to provide symphonic settings to choral music.

A communication tool for current singers, accompanists, and conductors, these pages comprise the Chorus Handbook. Also available are the Chorus Rules of Operation, and the current season schedule, which include information, allowed absences, and rehearsal recordings. Also provided is a contact list containing contact information for the Choral Director (Director), Chorus Council members (Council), and the Chorus Manager.

Chorus Mission Statement:

The Santa Fe Symphony Chorus is dedicated to creating a musical community rich with cultural and intellectual diversity, performing selected choral works to the highest level of mastery. We accomplish this in partnership with the Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra, performing major choral symphonic works.

Section 1—General.

1a.  The chorus and its leadership are committed to polished, well-rehearsed performances meeting the very highest of professional standards. Membership in the Chorus is voluntary. Membership is by audition with the Director, and members re-audition every year to remain in the chorus. The Director has the final word about the participation of any singer.

1b.  The Council,) comprised of seven members, is elected by chorus members at the Chorus Annual Meeting usually held on the first Tuesday of May. Either two or three Council members are elected each year as appropriate. The Council handles the general business of the Chorus including determination of annual member dues.

1c.  The cost of music, vocal workshops, study aids, etc. is defrayed by annual dues and payable to the Council Treasurer by the third rehearsal unless other arrangements have been made.

1d.  Performances generally require standing for extended periods, sometimes longer than an hour. If thisor any other physical issuepresents a challenge for you, please discuss the subject with the Director at your audition or as early as possible in the concert season.

Section 2—Attendance.

2a  The most important commitment you have made by joining the chorus is to attend all required rehearsals. When you miss rehearsals it is difficult to achieve ensemble sound, balance, or uniform interpretation of music and text.

2b.  Regularly scheduled rehearsals are held on Tuesday evenings, at a time and venue to be announced at the beginning of every season. Typically sopranos and altos alternate weeks with tenors and basses arriving at 5:30pm for a one hour sectional, with the full chorus rehearsal beginning at 6:30pm and ending at 8:30pm.

2c  Rehearsal and performance schedulesas well as concert week rehearsal dates that may be changed laterare issued at the beginning of the season. The schedule also shows the order in which music will be covered in rehearsals.

2d.  For each performance a minimum number of required rehearsals is listed on the rehearsal schedule. Failure to attend those rehearsals, plus all concert week rehearsals, may make a singer ineligible to sing in a performance. “Make-up” rehearsals that can count for missed rehearsals may be allowed by the Director.

2e.  Notify the Chorus Manager prior to rehearsal if you are going to be absent or late, and get in touch with someone in your section later for updates concerning musical performance matters, preparation for next rehearsal, schedule changes, etc.

2f.  Please inform the Chorus Manager in writing (email is OK) if you are going to miss a performance or leave the group.

2g.  Prepare your music prior to rehearsals (e.g., insert measure numbers, highlight your part, insert tabs, etc.). Spend some time with your music each week in order to be prepared for the next rehearsal.

Section 3—Rehearsal.

3a.  The Director has full discretion in all matters of rehearsal in preparation for performance.  Note that changes to rehearsal practice may later be made by the Performance Conductor.

3b.  Be earlyin your seat 5 minutes before the rehearsal call. Arrive for rehearsals musically prepared to the best of your ability, seated and ready to begin at either 5:30pm or 6:30pm weekly. Enter (or leave) quietly if others are rehearsing in sectional.

3c.  Upon arrival, sign in on the appropriate attendance sheet. Attendance is taken at all rehearsals. Members who fail to meet the minimum number of required rehearsal hours for a given program may not be eligible to perform, and may be required to audition again to demonstrate mastery of the material to be performed.

3d.  Review the seating chart at the beginning of each rehearsal.

3e.  Bring a pencil to rehearsal. The Director will provide many details concerning musical interpretation, pronunciation of text, etc. Mark your music carefully and thoroughly; do not rely on your memory! Internalizing this information will enable you to keep your eyes on the conductor.  Musical markings may be shared by the Chorus Manager via e-mail for members to mark their music prior to the next rehearsal.

3f.  Know the meaning and pronunciation of foreign texts.

3g.  If you want to make an announcement or leave handouts, get approval from the Director before rehearsal begins. Leave approved information/ handouts at the sign-in table(s).

3h.  Break periods are 5 to 10 minutes after each 60 minutes of rehearsal.

3i.  Return to your seat promptly after break is over. As a matter of courtesy, wait until after rehearsal for individual consultation with the Director.

3j.  Refrain from chatting with your neighbors. This is a particularly common problem in choruses, taking precious time away from rehearsal.

3k.  Do not come to rehearsal if you have a fever, even if taking medication.  If there is any chance you remain contagious from a recent illness, do not come to rehearsal. If you feel ill, weak, or faint during a rehearsal (or performance), sit immediately. At the next opportunity, your nearby seatmates will help you move out of the chorus seating area and take any other necessary actions to assist you.

3l.  Do not wear any scented grooming products to rehearsals or performance.

3m.  If you have any issue with another chorister that affects your ability to sing your best contact the Chorus Manager or the Director.

Section 4 Concert Dress

4a.  Unless otherwise instructed, our dress code is:

Ladies:  Black formal attire. A one or two-piece ankle-length dress—or black pants and top—with conservative neckline and long sleeves, black shoes and black hose. Conservative jewelry is acceptable. Glittery or lacy fabrics, glittery accessories and jewelry are not acceptable.

Gentlemen:  Black formal attire. Black tuxedos (not tails) or appropriate black suit, black bow tie, long-sleeved white shirt (not necessarily tux shirt), black shoes and socks. Cummerbunds and conservative (but not glittery) shirt studs and cuff links may be worn.

Section 5 Performance Protocol

5a.  Arrive in the chorus staging area at least 5 minutes prior to the designated call time, ready to line up in accordance with the Director’s instructions.

5b.  Your music should be enclosed in s black folder unless otherwise instructed. Carry your music as instructed when entering or leaving the stage.

5c.  You may bring water on stage, in a container with a secured lid.

5d.  Feel free to smile at family and friends, however refrain from waving!

5e.  Turn pages carefully and quietly.

5f.  Stand up and sit down as quickly and quietly as possible. Whether sitting or standing, be still—resist fidgeting, foot-tapping, or any other unnecessary distraction.

5g.  While soloists are singing hold your folder in your lap open to your next performance instruction.

5h.  When leaving the stage, follow the same instructions as entering.

Section 6 Other Issues

6a.  The Chorus Manager and Council members are there for you in the event you have suggestions, complaints, or personal needs to be met.

6b.  Encourage your family, friends and associates to attend concerts. If you can contribute to fund drives, it will be gratefully received.  Now and then you may be asked to help with fund raising activities. If you know of choral singers who might like to join, ask them to contact the Director.

6c.  Nominal discounts may be available to you for our season performances by calling the Symphony office at 505 983-3530. Call well in advance—at a minimum, prior to 4:00pm on the Friday before the concert—and earlier for less expensive tickets, as they sell out quickly.

6d.  The Symphony has an unlimited need for volunteers and will appreciate any time you can volunteer. Contact The Symphony business office, 505 983-3530.

6e.  We hope you will participate fully in all chorus activities, especially in the annual election process. Get to know your fellow choristers. Ask questions. Make suggestions. The chorus can only grow and improve with your active participation.

Section 7 Disciplinary Action

7a.  For information on disciplinary action, refer to the Rules of Operation.

Section 8 Annual Meetings

8a.  Annual meetings and election of the seven members of the Council are described in the Rules of Operation governing The Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra & Chorus.

As revised the 15th day of October, 2019

© 2022 The Santa Fe Symphony & Chorus