HOUSTON SYMPHONY CHORUS

Membership Information

Membership

The Houston Symphony Chorus is a volunteer chorus open to all singers who qualify by audition. Maintaining membership is contingent upon regular attendance at rehearsals and concerts and continued vocal/musical proficiency as determined by the director in annual reauditions.

In addition to regular membership, other categories include provisional membership and on call membership. Members who are admitted or re-admitted on a provisional status must satisfy an "individual testing session" (ITS) prior to each concert series. On call members will be asked to sing as needed for specific concerts during the year (most often in December) and will also be required to sing an ITS before performing with the chorus.

Rehearsal

Rehearsals are held regularly on Tuesday evenings from 7:00 - 10:00 p.m. in the rehearsal room at Jones Hall. An alternate rehearsal location is Christ Church Cathedral, 1117 Texas Avenue. In addition, piano and orchestra rehearsals with the orchestra conductor are held prior to each concert. A complete list of rehearsals is printed in the calendar book at the beginning of each season and will be updated periodically. Weekly rehearsal information can be obtained by calling the chorus line at 224-3247.
  1. Most rehearsal time is spent working on musical goals and style; therefore, it is your responsibility to be sure notes and rhythm are secure. If you discover passages which you feel require attention during rehearsal, write down the information and give it to your section leader or the associate director. Please do not interrupt the rehearsal with a request that a particular note or passage be clarified or rehearsed.

  2. Attendance is recorded at all rehearsals. Please remember to sign in.

  3. Please be in your seat, ready to rehearse, at the appointed time.

  4. Please take great care to copy all marks from the conductor into your score. Careful score-marking is a hallmark of a professional musician. Music is to be marked in pencil only. If you forget your pencil, a limited supply is available at rehearsal. Borrowed pencils are to be returned at the end of rehearsal.

  5. If you must miss a rehearsal, please get all rehearsal markings and other information from your section leader prior to the next rehearsal.

  6. Please confine all individual conversation with the director to after rehearsal (not during the break!).

  7. Accepted rehearsal discipline requires that no talking occur while music is being rehearsed.

  8. Please put any information you wish to convey to the chorus manager in writing.

  9. Please do not frequent the stage area when rehearsing in Jones Hall

    rehearsal room.

  10. Should you arrive late to an orchestral rehearsal, do not enter the stage until a break occurs; then, enter quietly and take your seat.

  11. Water is allowed on stage during rehearsal only. It must, however, be in a closed container that will not spill if tipped over.

  12. Guests are not permitted at conductors' rehearsals (piano and orchestra).


Performance

A performance schedule is published at the beginning of each season. Please reserve these dates on your calendar. You are an invaluable part of our chorus, and we need to be able to know that every member will sing all performances. If you absolutely cannot participate in a performance, then the chorus manager should be notified in writing at least three weeks (3) prior to the performances(s). We know that emergencies do occur, and we try to be understanding in such events. At the risk of stating the obvious, however, membership in the HSC is limited, and members who are unreliable jeopardize their future participation in the chorus.

The performance warm-up call is generally 45 minutes prior to concert time. If you must be late or absent from a performance, an excuse should be filed ahead of time. If an emergency occurs, and you discover that you must be late or absent on the day of the performance, please call the chorus manager at 224-3247 and leave a message. Latecomers arriving less than fifteen minutes before the chorus is due on stage (referred to as "last call") may not be permitted to perform until after intermission, such decision to be communicated by the chorus manager after consultation with the director.

Attendance

The musical quality of our performances, the development of ensemble artistry and the morale of the organization depend upon regular and prompt attendance at all rehearsals and concerts. Therefore, the following regulations have been established:

  1. Attendance at the conductor's piano rehearsal is mandatory. If you miss the piano rehearsal you will not be permitted to perform. There are no exceptions to this rule for regular concert series performances. This is because the piano rehearsal is the only time the conductor has to convey his ideas directly and solely to the chorus. There have been very rare exceptions made for Christmas Pops and Messiah performances, such decision to be communicated by the chorus manager after consultation with the director.

  2. Please check your calendar and make absolutely certain that you keep piano rehearsal dates free. Each season members are horrified to discover that they have devoted hours and hours of time to preparing a work only to miss performing it because they could not make the piano rehearsal.

  3. If you must be absent from a rehearsal, please complete an absence form in advance. In the event of illness or an emergency, call your section leader or the chorus manager prior to rehearsal. You may leave a message for the chorus manager on the chorus line at 224-3247.

  4. Please arrive at rehearsals on time and stay for their entirety. If you must be late or leave early, you should fill out an absence form in advance. If you cannot notify the chorus of your situation in advance, please contact the chorus manager or your section leader as soon as possible.

  5. We expect that you will attend all rehearsals. If, however, you must be absent and miss more than 20% of the rehearsals (including workshop or extra rehearsals) for any work, then you must sing an Individual Testing Session (ITS). For example, if ten rehearsals are devoted to a particular work, a member may miss two without penalty. After the third absence, however, the member should expect to sing an ITS. The ITS is generally held immediately before the rehearsal prior to piano rehearsal.

  6. Attendance at ALL conductor orchestra rehearsals is required. In extreme cases, permission to attend one (1) of two (2) rehearsals, or two (2) of three (3) rehearsals may be granted , such permission to be communicated by the chorus manager after consultation with the director. [All requests should be made in writing to the chorus manager.]

    The member will be responsible for getting all markings given at the orchestra rehearsal.

  7. If you must leave the chorus for a period of time, please send a leave of absence request to the Chorus Manager, Houston Symphony, 615 Louisiana, Houston, Texas 77002-2798. Let us know how long you expect to be absent from chorus activities and when you expect to return. It is difficult for the chorus to meet its musical commitments if a member simply drops out of sight without notifying us in advance.

    Change of Address

    Any change of address/phone number must be received by the chorus manager in writing in order to ensure proper correction. This information is needed so that you will not fail to receive valuable chorus communications.


    Music

    Each member will be assigned music from the chorus library. When new music is distributed you will be asked to check out your copies prior to the rehearsal. Please write your name on your music.

    Be prepared to mark your music in pencil with rehearsal notes and reminders. This technique is essential for retention and rehearsal progress.

    A one-time music deposit of $15.00 will be collected from each member, and will be returned upon written request when the member leaves the chorus. You will be charged the current market price for any unreturned or damaged music.

    Members failing to return music will not receive music for the next performance until that music is paid for or returned.

    Non-rental music may be purchased by chorus members.

    Dues

    Chorus dues are $7.50 per year. They are payable to your section leader by October 1995, or when membership commences. These funds will be used for chorus activities throughout the season, such as sending flowers to members who are ill or have experienced loss of a family member, making charitable contributions in lieu of flowers and buying pencils and other chorus supplies. In addition, from time to time dues money is spent on chorus entertainment.

    Tickets

    Each chorus member who participates in a subscription performance will receive one complimentary ticket for Monday's concert. Additional tickets may be purchased for any night of a chorus performance at 20% discount. Forms will be provided for ordering these tickets and all orders must be accompanied by check or cash. The deadline for all of the above will be Wednesday noon of the week of the performance.

    Complimentary tickets for Christmas concerts will be given if available. However, you may still purchase tickets to these performances at 20% discount.

    Concert Dress

    Men: Black tuxedo

    White shirt with standard collar (no wing collar)
    Regulation bow tie (available for purchase from the wardrobe manager)
    Black shoes

    Women: White blouse and black skirt (to be made by our dressmaker)

    Hair ornaments which cannot be seen from the front (plain, black and non-reflective)
    No jewlery of any kind (except inconspicuous watches)
    Black shoes

    NOTE: In addition to standard dress, women and men should not wear scents of any kind.

    Concert Behavior

    1. Plan restroom visits BEFORE we move to the stage for lining up.

    2. No purses are allowed on stage. Lock box is provided.

    3. Carry music in hand that is upstage from audience.

    4. While back stage and on stage please do not touch orchestra instruments.

    5. Remain standing after reaching your seat.

    6. Watch designated person for signal to sit.

    7. While on stage please do not cross legs, talk, wave or chew gum.

    8. Good posture is expected while sitting as well as standing.

    9. Keep movement to a minimum at all times.

    10. Watch for cue to stand; music should be open as you stand and at "singing level."

    11. Only music should be brought on stage; other materials are inappropriate.

    12. Paper clip music to next choral entrance; avoid following the soloists.
    13. Turn pages quietly.

    14. Music should be taken off-stage at intermission.

    15. At end of work, close music after conductor lays down baton, and return it to your right side.

    16. Sit quietly as CONDUCTOR leaves through exit door.

    17. You may applaud (DO NOT STOMP) as the conductor, soloists, and orchestra are acknowledged.

    18. You may leave after most of the orchestra has cleared the stage.

    Houston Symphony Chorus Staff

    Artistic

    Dr. Charles S. Hausmann Director

    Betsy Weber Associate Director

    Scott Holshouser Accompanist

    Assistant Accompanist

    Administration and Production

    Marilyn Dyess Chorus Manager

    Tony Sessions Librarian

    Stage Manager

    Orchard Corl Wardrobe Manager

    Becky Browning Treasurer