Types of choirs
We have a great choral tradition in Britain and today people are re-discovering community singing. Think about the kind of music you would like to be involved in and try to find a choir that has a repertoire that appeals to you. Some types of choirs include:
- Classical concert choirs and choral societies
These are often large choirs which put on several concerts through the year, sometimes with an orchestra, and they may perform concert works like Mozart's Requiem or Handel's Messiah.
- Church choirs
If you like religious music, singing in church might appeal to you. Many church choirs do traditional sacred music — listen to Choral Evensong on Radio 3 for examples of beautiful church singing. Other churches prefer a Gospel style of music, which goes with more of a swing!
- Community choirs and other singing groups
There is now a wider range of choirs than ever before - gospel, rock, church, barbershop, beatbox - so you don't have to go to church if you don't want to! You can find choirs who do popular chart hits arranged for choir, songs from the shows, or traditional folk music. There are Welsh-language choirs, Gaelic singing groups… something for everyone!
- I've not done this before. Will I be good enough?
- There are choirs to suit all levels of ability — some are for singers with a lot of experience, others welcome singers of all levels, including beginners. If you're a bit nervous, don't worry if you make mistakes because you learn as a group to get the right notes when you rehearse.
- What if I can't read music?
- Some choirs need you to read music but many other choirs don't require this - they learn the notes as a group without music.
- Do I need to audition? I'm nervous!
- Not all choirs ask you to audition, so if the thought terrfies you, don't worry. You should be able to find a chorus that does not audition. If they do ask you to audition, what usually happens is that you take a piece which you know to sing to the choir director. It is nothing like the X-Factor!
There's something to suit everybody, but you have to get out there and find what's right for you. Contact the choir director to find out what standard they are looking for. Even if you don't join up, they may be able to put you in touch with another local choir.
Where to find a choir:
- British Choirs on the Net is a website with contact details for choirs all over the UK
- Find a Choir - search your local area with Making Music
- Your local church may have a choir - if you like sacred music, look out for sung services or gospel choirs
- Find out if your local authority offers group singing workshops
- Arts centres and colleges often have music education programmes that include singing workshops
Choirs in London
If you live in London, there is a huge choral music scene. Some of the larger choirs in London include:
- The London Symphony Chorus - a symphonic concert choir; auditions required
- The London Philharmonic Choir - a symphonic concert choir; auditions required
- The London Youth Choir - for young people aged 8-21; auditions required
There are many more choirs of different sizes and levels of ability - search on Making Music to find something suitable near you.
Oh, and the very best of luck! Let me know how you get on.
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