Albany Pro Musica & Masterworks
Albany Pro Musica is a tightly knit group of approximately 65 individuals who work together on many levels. In addition to a high level of musicianship, we ask our singers to make a serious commitment to the group. Singers are expected to attend every Tuesday evening rehearsal from September to June (with the occasional exception) and sing all subscription concerts as well as take part as often as possible in additional singing engagements, events and responsibilities that support our fundraising and community efforts.
The Audition Process
The next auditions will be held in the Fall of 2013 (typically late August, early September). Auditions are held on the campus of the University at Albany in Room B78 of the Performing Arts Center (directions appear below). Both the core chorus and the Masterworks chorus will be auditioning at that time. Each auditionee MUST schedule an audition appointment with APM’s Office Manager by calling (518) 438-6548. Walk-ins will not be heard. Each auditionee sings for the artistic director (David Griggs-Janower) and his assistant conductor. Auditions last about ten minutes and do not require a prepared piece. You should arrive with your voice well warmed up and ready to sing.
You will be asked to perform the following:
- Vocalization (scales, patterns and other exercises designed to get an idea of vocal range)
- A sight-reading exercise
- “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” – auditionees sing the melody, accompanied by Maestro Griggs-Janower; words are provided.
Decisions are based on sight-reading ability, musicality and a voice quality that blends with the chorus’ current make-up. Prospective singers MUST be able to sight-read well. We will not accept people who say they can’t sight-read well “but learn fast.”
Singers who do not qualify for admission into the “core” Albany Pro Musica chorus may instead be granted admission to the “Masterworks” chorus.
Directions to UA Performing Arts Center
Once on campus, please park in the Visitors Parking Lot off Collins Circle (may require a small parking fee). Room B78 is below the Performing Arts Center’s ground level, and you will need to walk down stairs or take an elevator.
Rehearsals are held from 7:15 to 9:30 p.m. (with one 10-minute break) every Tuesday night from September through June. Occasionally, it is necessary to schedule an additional rehearsal on a Sunday afternoon or in the days before a performance. The group meets on the campus of the University at Albany in Room B78 of the Performing Arts Center.
- Singers learn their notes at home so that rehearsal time may be spent shaping the music and fine- tuning our collective sound.
- Rehearsals are fast-paced with a focus on serious music-making. We have a lot of fun and laugh a great deal, but there is little time for socializing.
- Group communications are conducted, to a large extent, through e-mail. Singers are expected to check their e-mails at least once a week, and preferably much more often!
The Commitment of Membership
In order to continue bringing great choral music to the Capital District, we ask our singers to make a full commitment to our organization. This will include:
- Attendance at rehearsals every Tuesday (7:15-9:30 p.m.) during our singing season.
- Participation in three subscription-series concerts in addition to the annual APM-sponsored High School Choral Festival (late winter) and one concert where we partner with the Albany Symphony Orchestra.
- Additional singing gigs: During the course of the singing season, we receive numerous invitations to sing. Usually, these events do not require full group participation. We solicit volunteers for each outing, with the goal of sharing the burden amongst all the singers in the group.
- Costs: Each singer pays dues for the season ($75) and must acquire the appropriate concert wardrobe. Women purchase (through APM) the prescribed dress and top (approx. $100). Men wear a black tuxedo, white shirt, black bow tie and cummerbund (purchased on their own). Men are also required to purchase (through APM) an additional colored bow tie and cummerbund for the holiday concert season (approx. $35). There is occasionally a $10-20 fee for music, depending on concert selections.
- Annual Vocal Evaluations(AVEs) are normally held each spring, during which each core singer is asked to sing for the artistic director and assistant conductor (and possibly section leader). These sessions are intended to provide constructive advice rather than to dismiss a singer from the group.
- Sharing in the tasks necessary to run and fund the group: This may involve any of the following: selling/buying Entertainment books, provide food/drink for concert receptions, moving risers and setting up concert spaces, bringing snacks to rehearsal once or twice a season, selling tickets for concerts, serving on the board of directors and spreading the word about upcoming concerts. These are all volunteer activities, but we urge each singer to pull his or her own weight and take full ownership of the commitment to our organization.
The Masterworks Chorus
The Masterworkers are singers who join Albany Pro Musica for special performances when a larger choir is needed. These concerts usually involve a larger “masterwork” and an orchestra. As a Masterworker, your name is added to our Masterworks e-mail distribution list, and you are contacted when a singing opportunity arises. At that point, you may agree to join us based on your availability.
Masterworkers attend regular concert rehearsals (for that concert only), pay dues at a pro-rated amount ($25 per concert) and share the same singing responsibilities as core singers.
Declining an invitation to perform in a Masterworks concert will not preclude you from being invited again in the future. If you desire, you may re-audition for the core group each year. Attire for Masterworkers: For men, a black tuxedo (or near-black suit), white shirt, black bow tie and cummerbund. For women, a floor-length black skirt and long-sleeved black blouse.
Albany Pro Musica periodically goes on foreign tours. Tours usually occur during the summer, and participation is optional. Tours are open to Masterworkers. Expenses are paid by each singer. Family and friends are also welcome, though only auditioned singers may take part in performances.