FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
If you are thinking of joining or have recently joined the Harrow Apollo Choir you may want to ask...
Why join a choir?
The joy of song! Singing is good for you. It improves memory. It exercises the heart and lungs, synchronising your breathing and your heat beats. This creates a calming effect and helps improve fitness. it boosts your mental health. Singing with others increases your social life. Read this article for more information: Singing in a choir could be the new exercise.
Why join a male choir, isn't this a bit non-PC these days?
A male choir produces a unique sound, which is enjoyed by many whatever their gender. HAMC is not an exclusive "boys club": we actively encourage our associate members to play a full and active role in the choir and its events. Associate members have full voting rights and the opportunity to be part of the Executive Committee. Many of our associate members are wives/partners of choristers, who are given automatic associate membership at no extra cost.
We even encourage some audience participation, when appropriate, so females get to sing too! We have performed jointly with Ladies’ or Mixed Choirs and often invite female soloists to perform with us. For over 50 years our principal accompanists have been female.
Why join the Harrow Apollo Male Choir?
This is what some of our choristers said about why they joined.
How much does it cost?
Subscriptions £100 p.a. (May – Apr) including free Associate membership for your partner. Pro-rata in the first year, depending on when you join.
See information on uniform below. Sweatshirts £21; Polo shirts £19 but there is no requirement to buy these immediately. Jackets, waistcoats and bow tie are provided for a refundable deposit of £25. If you already have the rest of the uniform (white shirt, black trousers, black shoes and socks), there should be no additional outlay, until you join a tour, when there will be travel and accommodation fees.
Do I need previous singing experience?
Enthusiasm and a willingness to learn are the most important attributes. Previous experience is not necessary, although can be helpful. There are plenty of experienced choristers, who will be willing to guide the inexperienced newcomer. Some of our choristers had not sung since leaving school before they joined us.
Do I need to be able to read music?
It is helpful but not essential as we can teach you., Written scores are used but new music may be learnt from audio teach tracks, which are provided for each singing part. These can be downloaded from the Members’ Area of this website. Support will be given to help you to gradually learn the key symbols so you can follow the score and develop an understanding of the written music,
What other support will I be given?
All new members are allocated a buddy, whom they sit next to in rehearsals, and who will guide them through the score, help them to pitch the note, and answer any questions they may have. The four parts of the choir each has its own section leader, who is responsible for ensuring the section knows what is happening, when! They also help with induction of new members within their section. The choir's recruitment manager will 'check-in' with you at each rehearsal and help you to settle in.
Will I have to audition?
No, there is no formal audition. The Music Director will listen to how your voice blends in during rehearsal and he will check in with you and members of your section to find out how you are progressing.
What do I need to bring to rehearsals?
Three things – a willingness to learn, a sharp pencil (ideally with a soft rubber attached) and a bottle of water. Plus your music, once it has been allocated to you.
Where will I sit?
Unless you already have a good idea of your vocal range when you come to your first practice, the Music Director will usually put you in the baritone section which for most men is the natural range for singing, especially if you have not sung for a while. You will then sit with your section, next to the buddy that the Music Director has assigned to you. After a few weeks, the Music Director will consult you and decide where your vocal range will be most comfortable - which might be a bass, tenor 1 or 2, or it could remain as a baritone. You will then sit with your assigned section, next to your induction buddy. Potential recruits and new members are usually sat in the front row of their section so the Music Director can ensure that they are receiving any support needed.
Will I be expected to perform in concerts straight away?
You decide when you are ready, in discussion with the Music Director, who will invite you to join the choir at a concert, when appropriate. Performing is the best way for you to judge your progress and it is never too early to start, once you are familiar with the tunes and the words.
What happens if I can’t make a rehearsal or a concert date?
No problem. Just let the chairman and/or Music Director know if you can’t make a rehearsal. The Stage Manager keeps a list of availability for each performance. Once you have committed to a date, you are expected to honour that, unless exceptional, unforeseen circumstances arise, in which case, you should let the Stage Manager, MD and Chairman know, as soon as possible.
Do I have to provide my own uniform?
On payment of a £25 deposit, you will be provided with a white tuxedo jacket, burgundy waistcoat and bow tie, which you are responsible for keeping clean and in good repair. On leaving the choir, the deposit will be refunded when you return the uniform in good condition. You will be required to provide your own long sleeve white collared shirt, black trousers, black socks and patent black shoes. Blue polo shirts (£19) and sweatshirts (£21), sporting the choir logo are worn at rehearsal, some less formal events and on tours. These can be ordered via the Treasurer.
Where do I get the required music from?
All musical scores are provided by the choir on a loan basis. As the repertoire changes, some new scores will be issued, and others handed back to the Music Librarian.
Do I need to memorise the words?
Yes, as we mostly perform without copies. However, you will also need a black folder for times when we do sing with music, such as at Christmas time. The Music Director will provide advice on the best way to learn words.
How much time will the choir take up?
Weekly rehearsals last for a maximum of 2 hours, including a short break. Concerts length varies, depending on the event. However, there will be a short rehearsal beforehand, and choristers are expected to arrive in good time to find the changing rooms and familiarise themselves with the venue. Instructions vary slightly from concert to concert and are published in advance. In addition, time needs to be set aside each week for learning words and personal practice. If you decide to join the Ensemble that will require additional time, although the songs are predominantly the same as the main choir.
What if I am unable to go on tour?
Tours are optional and incur an additional cost, although the tour manager will always do their best to negotiate the best group rates. HAMC offers members the option of paying into a personal tour savings account to help spread the cost over time. Tours are usually organised over a long weekend to try to minimize disruption to the working week. Members are encouraged to take part in tours as they provide a valuable opportunity for team building and socialising as well as for learning and developing choral skills.