What type of choir is Supertonic?
Supertonic is first and foremost a traditional, classical-style choir predominantly singing in a classical style. We do occasionally make significant departures into musical theatre, pop and rock music, but this is a smaller part of what we do. There is a focus on singing in and developing classical vocal technique. The choir always learns music by reading sheet music; although audio learning tracks are provided, the music is far too complex to learn entirely by ear (especially since we sing often in a range of European languages).
As well as being a music outlet, the choir is a social outlet for those who choose to attend the various activities organised by the committee and choir members outside of regular rehearsals.
When do auditions take place?
Auditions for Supertonic happen will be happening from January 29 - February 2018. For prospective sopranos and altos, this is the only opportunity to audition for the choir, as any spots that are vacated during the year are filled by the reserve lists created from these auditions. You can however still email your details to firstname.lastname@example.org to be put on our waiting list so that you can be informed as soon as the next year’s audition form goes live.
The tenor and bass reserve lists are generally shorter, so it is possible that spots may open up during the year; you can email email@example.com to arrange an audition through the year. However, because there is a high interest in the choir membership, we are generally always operating at capacity (56 singers, with 14 in each voice part). If your audition is successful it’s likely you will need to wait until we begin a new project before you will be able to join us for rehearsals (usually 1 or 2 months).
Who can audition? What is the standard?
While anyone is welcome to audition, the audition standard is generally quite high, and successful auditionees will nearly always demonstrate one or more of the following attributes:
- Previous classical choral experience (such as a national choir, opera chorus or a number of years with a high-level community choir)
- Previous instrumental experience (classically trained in an instrument, usually Grade 7 and above)
- Classical vocal training, with a competent to advanced level of technique (or a natural classical tone with well-formed vowels, a consistent vibrato, and control over registral transitions)
- Experience reading music with a range of sight-singing techniques (such as interval pitching, solfege/scale degrees, harmonic analysis, or perfect pitch)
- Grade 5/NCEA Level 3 music theory knowledge (or higher)
- Demonstration of commitment, enthusiasm, dedication and reliability (particularly in regards to returning members)
What’s in the audition?
The auditions will last for around 10 minutes. Singers are selected based on a marking system (a total out of 65) and the music director’s professional judgement.
You will be asked to sing the English verse of the New Zealand National Anthem in any key that is comfortable for you. If you are not native to New Zealand, you can sing the National Anthem from your home country, or an unaccompanied folk song in English. Popular styles of singing are not recommended for the audition.
You will be scored on:
- Intonation (how well in tune you sing): 5 marks
- Line (how well you sustain a note; a natural, unforced vibrato is desirable): 5 marks
- Vowels (how well-formed, tall, and classical your vowels are): 5 marks
- Projection (how loud you can sing while maintaining a quality sound): 5 marks
- Technique (how good your overall classical singing technique is, eg breathing, strength of head register in soprano/alto voices, maintaining a relaxed jaw and tongue in the upper register for tenor/bass voices, etc): 5 marks
You will be asked to sight-sing short extracts (available to you 10 minutes before the audition). 15 marks
You will be asked to sing Happy Birthday without the third phrase (to test if you can hold a tune through silence) 5 marks
You will be asked to sing the melody of Mary Had A Little Lamb (to test if you can hold a tune against a harmony) 5 marks
Your range will be tested to assess your most suitable voice part. This part is not scored.
What’s the commitment?
A full list of commitments will be available when you sign up for an audition.
Rehearsals are every Monday night from 6:45 - 8:45 in the Wellington CBD. Rehearsals occur nearly all weeks of the year from early February to early December; at most there are gaps of 2 weeks directly following a concert. There are 3 major concert series in a year - one in mid-late May, one in early-mid September and one in late November/early December. There is also a weekend rehearsal and social retreat from March 2 - 4.
Attendance is strictly monitored and the singers are expected to attend at least 80% of rehearsals or risk being asked step down from a concert.
Every member of the choir re-auditions each year, although if a returning singer has participated fully in all 3 major concerts in the previous year and has attended at least 80% of rehearsals, the director will award them automatic entry into the following year (if they choose to re-audition). This policy encourages and rewards high levels of attendance and commitment. It is coming under review in 2018.
The choir is a highly focused environment and is extremely rewarding. It provides an artistic and social outlet in the lives of busy post-graduate students, young professionals and those with young families. In general, it is difficult to maintain the necessary rehearsal and concert commitments alongside many other co-curricular activities, so if you are already involved in a number of other projects, you may find the choir is too time intensive. With that said, all dates for the year are provided by the time of the audition and there are very rarely any changes, so very organised members can and do manage to juggle various commitments.
Are there any costs involved?
Yes - there is a subscription fee each year of $80 - $100, and a similar amount for the retreat. These fees make it possible for us to run the choir, which has high operating costs. As a choir we are lucky enough to cover most of our running costs through concert revenue and community grants, which allows us to keep subs at a reasonable level, and the choir is financially very well-managed. At the same time, we do not want money to be barrier to participation and will always try to come to an individual arrangement where there are issues.
Any questions around the audition process, the choir or anything at all are welcome - please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll get back to you.