Expectations of Choir Members

In order to maintain the standards and professionalism of the choir, there is an expectation that all members will abide by some simple choir rules which are as follows:

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.


Attendance is expected at all rehearsals and major performances listed below. Please inform the Membership Secretary of any unavoidable absence, preferably in advance. She can be contacted by email using members@sheffieldbachchoir.org.uk or by telephone on 07960 523 911. A note on the previous week’s attendance sheet is also adequate.

A forward planning sheet is available at rehearsals for members to signal if they are unable to sing in a particular concert. It is essential that the conductor has this information in good time to enable him to plan the rehearsal schedule and identify if any additional singers will be invited through the Sheffield Choirs Voice Exchange Scheme of which SBS is a member.


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.

For concert performances, most members of the choir use black folders available to purchase from the Secretary.  Alternatively, music for concerts can be covered in black paper. This ensures the choir ‘looks’ as well as ‘sounds’ professional.


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

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.

If you have any queries about these expectations of members, please do not hesitate to speak to the Membership Secretary or another member of the Committee.

Revised June 2018