Chorale Handbook

The Blue Ridge Chorale

Blue Ridge Chorale
of Culpeper, Inc.
Member’s Handbook
(Updated 2016)

Welcome to the Blue Ridge Chorale!
We are delighted to have you as a member. Whether this is your first season or you are a returning member, we welcome you to our community chorus. Our Chorale singers join together in the spirit of dedication, patience and goodwill to work toward a goal of excellence in our musical performances. Our desire is for the rehearsals to be enjoyable experiences for all. Promptness, minimum chatter, attentive eyes and ears, friendly attitudes and hard work accomplish this, and a feeling of satisfaction for each of us!!

CONCERT SEASONS:
The Blue Ridge Chorale (BRC), previously known as Culpeper Piedmont Choral Society, has been providing music to the central Virginia area since 1967, with two concert seasons yearly.
The FALL/WINTER Concert Season begins rehearsals the last Monday night in August, and culminates in two or three scheduled performances held in early December.
The SPRING Concert Season begins rehearsals the second (or 3rd) Monday night in January, culminating in two or three scheduled performances held in early May.
Concert participation is required of all Chorale members.

Some other events occur each season, such as:
Community Christmas Tree Lighting – Caroling at The Depot in Culpeper, usually on the Sunday before Thanksgiving.Reading of the Declaration of Independence – Performing patriotic songs on July 4 at the Courthouse in Culpeper.
Various other events may occur in a chorale season.

MEMBERSHIP:
Any individual is welcomed to join the choir regardless of race, creed, religion, handicap, gender, or national origin.
Members will be accepted during the first three weeks of Fall rehearsal, or first three weeks of Spring rehearsals. Only the music director has the authority to make exceptions to this membership policy.
The only requirements for membership are an ability to sing and a willingness to abide by BRC policies. A brief audition may be requested to determine voice quality, range and capability of blending in the chorus.
Registration fee $35 per person per season for Adult choir (or $50 per couple) and $10 for Youth choir. All fees are subject to change at the beginning of each concert season.
BRC has both an Adult (SATB) choir and a Youth choir (ages 7 – 14). All BRC policies pertain to both choirs unless otherwise stated.
BRC reserves the right to also form smaller more specialized groups within the larger choir. These groups are by invitation/audition only. The choir consists of volunteer singers. However, the executive board and music director reserve the right to pay professional musicians to enhance concerts.
All solo parts will be posted well in advance of required audition schedules. To maintain a balanced sound among sections it may become necessary to form a membership waiting list. The music director will determine when a waiting list becomes necessary. (As of January 2016, the choir has opportunities for all voice types, with a particular need for tenors to maintain balance with other sections.)

YOUTH CHOIR:
* Abides by all the BRC policies
* Ages 7 to 14 years
* $10 membership dues per season
* Black and White concert attire
* Opportunity for Summer Youth Music Workshop – Fee and dates TBD
* Youth Director – Cathy ter Weele
* Contact Cathy for additional information 540-829-8798

REHEARSALS:
Day of Week: Monday Evenings
Location: Open Door Baptist Church, Culpeper, VA.
Times: Youth Choir 5:45 – 6:15 pm
Adult Choir 6: 30 – 8:30 pm
Registration and Attendance @ 6:15 pm
Additional rehearsal time may be required as concert time approaches.
Adult choir rehearsals begin each week at 6:30 pm. If you arrive late please wait for a break in the warm-ups or song before taking your place quietly in your section.
Please stay focused on the director’s instructions and limit unnecessary talking. Our time is very precious.

ATTENDANCE:
Attendance is taken each week. Members may miss no more than two rehearsals in the concert season without consulting the Music Director. If you are to be late or absent, please contact your Section Leader or Chorale President, Phone: 540-219-8837 or
Email: info@brcsings.com

In the event of inclement weather, emails/calls will also be sent out in an attempt to contact all members.

CONCERT ATTIRE and POLICIES:
* All members of the choir are expected to participate in all concerts. They must notify the director if there is a conflict.
* Women will wear long black dress uniforms, black shoes, black nylons, a uniform pearl 16-18 inch
necklace and modest earrings. The dress and necklace must be purchased through the Chorale Manager.
* Men will wear ONLY black suits, white shirts, matching bowties (provided by the chorus), black
shoes and black socks. Men must provide their own black and white concert attire.
* Be certain that rehearsal and concert sites are left as we found them. The facilities are often loaned to us by the good graces of the organization or church and we want to maintain a good relationship with them.
* Assume professional attitude during performances. This includes watching the conductor and not the
audience, being uniform in handling music, and not talking between numbers. Maintain composure if
the chorus makes a mistake!
* Be ready to help when needed. This includes “set up” and “take down” for rehearsals and concerts alike.

SHEET MUSIC POLICY:
All music used by BRC is either property of BRC or is on loan to BRC. Music is only on loan to members. Therefore, we ask that you treat it with care, making erasable marks only and never using any permanent markings. It is unlawful to copy BRC music.
You will be provided with a folder and assigned music at the first rehearsal, and may take it home as soon as membership fees are paid.
Until that time, please return all music to the librarians before leaving the rehearsal hall. Additional music may be introduced later in the rehearsal season. You will receive a performance list prior to the concerts.
Your BRC music folder should be turned in immediately following our last concert. There will be a charge for any music not returned. Should personal circumstances warrant you leaving the chorus midseason, you should notify the director and contact the librarians to make arrangements for returning
your music and folder.

SOCIAL
One of the benefits of chorale membership is contact with like-minded music lovers.
AT REHEARSALS: There will be a 10 minute break during each rehearsal, and, once each month, we set aside time for a social gathering with refreshments. Members from two sections will provide light refreshments once each season to share with the group. Many members meet before or after rehearsal to get to know each other better. A contact sheet for members is available each season.
ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING AND SUPPER: All members and supporters are welcome and encouraged to take part in our annual membership meeting and covered dish meal. This meeting is usually held on the third Monday of May. The date, time and location will be announced as part of the Spring schedule. A typical Annual Meeting schedule is:
Pot Luck Supper – 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm
Annual Meeting – 7:30 pm to 8:45 pm. Meeting Agenda: Annual Minutes, Treasurer Report, Election of Officers, Director’s Report, Old and New Business.

DONATIONS AND FUNDRAISING
The Blue Ridge Chorale provides a professional, well-supported environment in which, under skilled professional direction, singers grow their skills, sing beautiful and sophisticated music, both unique and traditional, and enjoy fellowship with other music lovers. This costs considerable money and time.
REGISTRATION FEES: A goal of the Chorale is to make membership available to all interested participants, so the Chorale Board strives to keep the cost of Chorale registration modest. Typically, member registration covers only about 12% of the Chorale’s budget, even with 40 singers enrolled each season. If Chorale costs were covered only by membership dues, these dues would cost almost $300 per member.
CONCERT TICKETS: Chorale music performance is, and should be, a benefit to the community, and so the Board’s aim is to keep the cost of concert attendance within popular range. Concert tickets usually provide at best 15-20% of the Chorale’s annual budget. If the Chorale budget was covered only ticket sales, those tickets could cost $80-90 per audience member.
MAKING ENDS MEET: The balance of the budget (68% or more of the budget) comes from fund raising activities and donations. The Chorale usually stages one or more major fund raising activities each season, under the direction of the Fund Raising Chair.
Chorale members’ assistance is critical to making fund raising activities successful. We need volunteers in a wide variety of roles, and every Chorale member is expected to do his or her share. We also need our members to make our seasonal fund raising and concert ticket sales successful.

EXECUTIVE BOARD
The Executive Board oversees the Chorale’s functions: hiring, evaluating and replacing staff, developing each season’s schedule, managing the Chorale budget, organizing concerts and fundraising events and performing other executive operations as indicated in the By-Laws and according to Chorale needs. A Board position term is one year, renewable, starting July 1 and ending June 30. Board officers are voted in by the Chorale Membership at the Annual Meeting.
Executive Board positions are:
President – Patti Christie (Beth Aitcheson beginning Jan. 2018)
Treasurer – Wanda Osborn
Secretary – Geniene Zinn (Alto Section Leader)
Fund Raising – Peggy Carpenter
Librarian – Diana Cmeyla
Programs – Lisa Zinn (Soprano Section Leader)
Concert Master – Jerry Baker
Production Setup – Katie Hutchins
Publicity – Joyce Calhoun
Social Affairs – Patti Christie

PROFESSIONAL STAFF POSITIONS
Music Director Bob Burnet (retiring in Jan. 2018)
Youth Director Cathy ter Weele
Chorale Accompanist Brittany Bache

CONTACT INFORMATION
Blue Ridge Chorale of Culpeper, Inc.
PO Box 1871
Culpeper, VA 22701
Web site: www.brcsings.com
Email: info@brcsings.com