Expectations of Choir Members


In order to maintain the standards and professionalism of the choir, there is
an expectation that all members will attend regularly and abide by some
simple choir protocols. Adherence to these by all choir members and visiting
singers ensures that all rehearsals can be a positive experience for singers,
accompanist and conductor, enabling everyone to feel well-prepared and
confident to make every concert a success and a really professional event in
the eyes of our audiences.


  • Members are expected, wherever possible, to attend all rehearsals and major
    performances in each season’s brochure. Taking part in a concert where
    fewer than 75% of rehearsals have been attended will be at the discretion of
    the Conductor.
  • You are asked to mark your attendance on the register on arrival at every
    rehearsal. Please also inform the Secretary and Chairman of any unavoidable
    absence, wherever possible in advance, preferably by text message on 07720
    571 851(Secretary) and 07733 343 377 (Chairman). You may want to save
    these numbers to your ‘Contacts’ for ease of access.
  • It is essential that the conductor knows in good time, if any singers will be
    absent from any rehearsals or unable to sing in a concert. This enables him
    to plan the rehearsal schedule and identify if any additional singers will be
    invited to join the choir through the Sheffield Choirs Voice Exchange Scheme
    of which SBS is a member. The register/forward planning sheet is available
    at all rehearsals for members to signal if they are unable to sing in a particular
    concert. Even if you cannot sing in a concert, please still make every effort to
    attend all rehearsals. Sometimes the conductor will rehearse works for later
    concerts so please don’t assume that the rehearsals immediately prior to a
    concert will only be for the next concert.

  • Where performance instruction sheets are provided in advance, please
    ensure that your copy is fully marked up which in turn saves valuable singing
    time in rehearsals.
  • Please bring a pencil and rubber to all rehearsals and promptly mark your
    copy with all instructions given by the conductor.
  • Avoid discussing instructions during the rehearsal as this makes it difficult for
    others to hear – if any instructions are not clear or not heard, please raise
    your hand to ask for clarification OR make a note to ask at the interval or next
  • Always look up so the conductor can see that everyone is ready to start
  • We want to be a friendly choir that helps each other to give the best possible
    performances. If any singers become aware that a neighbour has for
    example, not shortened the length of a note value or not modified the text
    as instructed previously by the conductor, all singers are encouraged to assist
    each other by quickly pointing this out with as little disruption as possible and
    continuing to observing the ‘not chatting’ rule!
  • Sheffield Bach Society prides itself on performing more concerts during a season than many other choirs. Some concerts include major and often complex works, which can only be successful if every member is committed to attending rehearsals
    having already familiarised themselves with the music to be performed.
    YouTube or other internet links are provided to ensure members can do
    ‘homework’ on works they may not have sung before. Links and other
    supportive information can be found at Preparing for concerts
  • If you do need to miss a rehearsal, please make sure you have not missed any
    performance details/instructions by speaking to another person in your voice
    part before the rehearsal or at the interval. Reducing the number of
    instructions that have to be repeated increases the amount of time spent
    singing which is in everyone’s interests.
  • Announcements in rehearsal are deliberately kept to a minimum to maximise
    singing time. This approach does rely heavily on all member’s commitment
    carefully to read and observe all ‘logistical’ arrangements circulated by email
    throughout the season and especially in advance of concerts.
  • Instructions for concert days are designed to ensure the professionalism and smooth running of our performance. When seating plans are circulated in advance, the Committee must reserve the right to ask people to move to a different seat
    if necessary.

ENTRY to the Choir is by audition. Re-auditions are held at five-yearly intervals.

  • All members pay an ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION, currently at a rate of £125 for full membership. There is a reduced rate of £20 for students and a proportionate fee will be calculated for members joining mid-season. Subscriptions are reviewed annually, although not necessarily increased.
  • Members are asked to pay the subscription promptly at the start of each season – payment slips will be provided at the first rehearsal of the season. Subscriptions may be paid in instalments or by monthly standing order by arrangement with the Treasurer.


  • Rehearsals are held weekly on Mondays from 7.30 – 9.30 p.m. in the Hall of Cemetery Road Baptist Church, 11 Napier Street, S11 8HA (opposite Waitrose car park where you can park your car without charge). Final rehearsals for Saturday performances are held in the afternoon at the concert venue. There is no afternoon rehearsal for the choir when performing Messiah on a Monday evening.
  • Information about rehearsals will be communicated by email, but generally the choir starts the season on the first Monday in September and does not hold rehearsals on Bank Holiday Mondays.
  • Please make every effort to attend all rehearsals including when not able to sing in the concert. Sometimes the conductor will rehearse works for later concerts so please don’t assume that the rehearsals prior to a concert will only be for the next concert.
  • Please bring a pencil and eraser to all rehearsals.


  • Major performances in Sheffield are given on Saturdays (usually five per season).
  • Messiah is performed on the first or occasionally the second Monday in December.
  • Other performances may be given from time to time for example as part of Classical Sheffield Festivals. Although the success of these additional events needs strong support from members, attendance at these performances is not compulsory.


  • Members are expected to provide their own copies of the following works:
    • Messiah by Handel (any edition – in English)
    • Mass in B minor by J S Bach (any edition – in Latin)
    • St Matthew Passion by J S Bach (Novello edition – in English), and
    • St John Passion by J S Bach (Novello edition – in English)
  • Please note that the Novello editions for the two Passions are those by Edward Elgar and Ivor Atkins (St Matthew) and Sir Ivor alone (St John). Though soloists occasionally make use of other versions of certain aria texts, the Chorus verbal texts are NOT those of Neil Jenkins’s versions in the so-called “New Novello Edition”. This is most important. In case of any query, please discuss any impending purchases of vocal scores directly with the Librarian and or Conductor.
  • Other music is owned by the society or hired for particular concerts. Members are required to pay a small fee when collecting hire copies from the librarians. Hired copies that are lost or damaged must be paid for and fines may be imposed for late return as this could incur additional hire costs. Pencil markings on music are essential but members are asked where possible to erase markings on hire copies and remove any paperclips, before these are returned.
  • Concert music – for concert performances, singers are required to have their
    music inside a plain black folder or alternatively to cover music in black paper.
    Black folders are available to purchase from the Secretary.


In order that the choir ‘looks’ as well as ‘sounds’ professional, all members
are asked to follow our concert dress code.

For women

  • long black ankle length skirt OR ankle length smart black trousers (please
    no jeans or leggings)
  • long sleeved and high-necked black top
  • ladies are asked to keep jewellery to an absolute minimum

For men

  • black dinner jackets and black trousers, white shirt and black bow tie.

In the unlikely event that any member of the choir fails to comply with these
expectations, or whose conduct at a rehearsal or concert or in any other way,
is deemed by the committee to be unacceptable, the Committee reserves the
right to ask a member to leave the choir. If you have any queries about these
expectations of members, please do not hesitate to speak to a member of
the Committee.

The Committee hope that everyone understands the need for these
protocols and will abide by them to ensure everyone involved enjoys singing
with Sheffield Bach Choir.

Thank you

Sheffield Bach Society Committee

January 2020