Policies and Requirements for Solo Passages and Song-Length Solos
Revised March 14, 2018
We want to provide the opportunity for our more experienced members to perform designated solo passages in our pieces if interested in doing so. Solo passages will be performed using a handheld wireless microphone from wherever you are standing on the stage (i.e., you will not step forward).
If you are interested in auditioning for one or more solo passages, you must do the following, and must meet the following requirements:
- You must complete an electronic application in which you specify the passages for which you want to audition. It will be sent early in the season.
- If auditioning for a duet passage in which one part sings melody and the other sings harmony, you must be able to hold down your part, and not get pulled by the other part being sung. You must be able and willing to make time to practice with the duetist to whom you are assigned.
- You must be able to completely master your part on your own. It will only be briefly demoed during a prior rehearsal.
- You must be accurate in pitch, rhythm, counting yourself in, and aspects of musicality such as dynamics and phrasing.
- Tasteful and interpretive “artistic license” is acceptable provided you know how the passage should sound as written.
- You must memorize your solo passage to the extent that you can make eye contact with the audience while you sing, and so that it is very apparent who is singing.
- At the end of the fourth rehearsal, applicants will audition per the process outlined by the director. Members who are not auditioning will be invited to stay and listen.
- You must demonstrate during your audition that you can effectively use a wireless microphone. Information and instructions are provided below.
- As we revisit our songs, the soloist who is assigned to each passage in a song is expected to sing his/her assigned passage in context. Soloists who miss their cue (with the exception of a "fluke") will be replaced by an alternate soloist.
- Note: You may audition for one or more solo passages as well as one song-length solo if you wish.
A committee will determine and announce which soloists will sing which solo passages. Not all applicants will be assigned a solo passage, and some applicants may be assigned more than one solo passage.
SONG-LENGTH SOLOS (DUETS, SMALL ENSEMBLES, ETC):
We want to provide the opportunity for our more experienced members to perform an entire piece by themselves (or as part of a duet or small ensemble) if they are interested in doing so. The piece may be performed with piano accompaniment or a cappella. Soloists (or small ensembles) will step forward to the front of the stage during the performance of their piece.
The piece must:
- Fit with the theme of the current season, and work well in the program in relation to the other pieces
- Be at most four minutes long. Applicants may omit measures of an arrangement provided that clear instruction is given to the accompanist.
If you are interested in auditioning, you must do the following, and must meet the following requirements:
- Select your piece on your own, find a suitable arrangement in a suitable key (first ask our director if he already has the music), and discuss your idea with the director for approval of concept by the second rehearsal.
- Submit a copy of the sheet music to the director for approval of arrangement no later than the third rehearsal.
- Be able to learn the piece completely on your own, and be ready to audition without any assistance (e.g., being cued and conducted).
- You must schedule 15 minutes of prep time with our accompanist per his availability
- Be ready to audition at the end of the fifth rehearsal. Members who are not auditioning will be invited to stay and listen.
- Be able to sing the piece with melodic/rhythmic accuracy, and with adherence to aspects of musicality such as dynamics, phrasing, and diction.
- Be able to be heard loudly and clearly at the back of a medium-sized venue without the use of a microphone. In some cases, soloists may be asked to use a handheld wireless microphone.
- Be able to sing the song with appropriate expressiveness.
- Be able to understand and incorporate guidance and suggestions provided by the director.
- Note: You may audition for one or more solo passages as well as a song-length solo if you wish.
The piece will be approved at the sole discretion of a committee.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR USING OUR HANDHELD WIRELESS MICROPHONES:
- The microphone has an on/off switch along the side. Flip it up to turn it on. A colored light will flicker on briefly, and then turn off. (If the light stays on, it means the battery is low).
- The microphone should be turned off when it is passed to you. If it is passed to you before the song containing your solo passage, make sure the microphone stays turned off until the start of your passage.
- After your passage, turn the microphone off. We will choreograph and practice the logistics of what to do with the mic. Options may be setting it on a table (the mic has been modified to not roll), or putting it in your pocket, or holding it until the end of the song. In songs with more than two soloists, you may need to quickly pass the mic to someone else during the song.
- The microphone must be angled directly at your mouth. If you hold it upright, it will barely pick up your voice.
- Depending on how loud you project, the microphone must be positioned between 1/8" and 2" away from your mouth. Be ready to make small adjustments as you sing. Even a small adjustment can make a huge difference in volume. If it the mic is too close, your voice will sound distorted, and if it is too far, it will barely pick up your voice if it does so at all.
- We do not have a monitor so you'll have gauge the volume of your voice as it comes out of the forward-facing amp at the front of the stage.
- If for any reason there is feedback coming out of the amp, and/or if you seem to be in a wireless dead spot, be ready to instantly change the position of the microphone (e.g, moving and/or rotating slightly, or changing the angle). The problem will not resolve itself on its own.
- Be careful to not over-articulate plosive consonants such as /p/ and /t/.