UBC A Cappella Auditions!
Auditions are closed for the 2016/2017 school year, however this page will provide you with all the answers you need to keep up to prepare yourself for auditions when they occur again in September 2017. Follow us on Facebook to make sure you’re up to date.
**Audition sign ups are first come first serve. Once all slots are full we cannot facilitate additional spots**
The questions below pertain to the audition process specifically, if you have more general questions about our club please refer to our FAQ page.
Q: What are auditions like?
A: Our auditions are meant to be as stress-free as possible and are only ten minutes long! For us, the main objective is to get to know you and your voice so that we can see where you would best fit within our various groups.
For the initial audition, we ask that you come prepared with a verse & chorus of a song of your choice (to be sung a cappella, please!). We’ve had people sing everything from Bob Marley to Les Mis show tunes; pick something you think will show off your voice but that you also enjoy and feel comfortable singing.
Following your brief rendition, we will work on the technical aspects of singing which include testing your vocal range, sight reading, ear training, pitch matching (triads), and harmony.
The entire process has been designed to be fair & efficient. If you feel nervous, remember that those running the auditions were in your shoes not long ago, and that you are more capable than you likely realize! After your audition, we will contact you within a couple days via e-mail.
Q: If I have preference towards a particular group (of the four), will that be considered?
A: Yes–your preference will certainly be taken into account. Prior to the audition process, we ask auditionees to fill out an Audition Form that outlines their year, program, musical experience, singing part, group preference, and availability. Please note that when we place members, we not only take into consideration auditionees’ preferences, but equally consider their ability and personality; this ensures that everyone’s individual placement is the best fit in terms of availability, attitude, and ability.
Q: What are callbacks for?
A: Out of the 100+ auditionees we see every year, we narrow down this pool to ~40 members for callbacks, which is essentially a second audition for members. At the callbacks, you get to meet current members of the smaller groups in a more personal setting. We will split you all into voice parts and teach you sections of two songs. Afterwards, you will form small performance groups to present so we can listen for two components: one song marks your individuality and ability to hold your own in a song, while the second demonstrates your ability to blend with the rest of the group. After that, we’ll contact you within a couple days.
- An important note on callbacks: If you are unable to attend callbacks we CANNOT provide you a spot in one of our small groups for the 2016/17 year. Callbacks are an essential part of our audition process and help us see if you are the right fight for one of our smaller groups. We have so many incredible people that audition for our club every year that it would be impossible to select people for smaller groups based solely on their initial 10-minute audition.
Q: Do I have to be able to read sheet music in order to join?
A: While we have a strong preference towards those who are able to sight read at a beginner level, we also encourage those with good musicality (good ear for harmony, rhythm, pitch, technique) to audition; we have very talented members who cannot sight read, but have learned through membership with UBC A Cappella. Sight reading is an integral part of technique testing in a cappella, as we learn pieces by reading sheet music; however, we have other methods of gauging your musicality and will take those into account . If you are accepted into our club without sight reading knowledge, we will expect you to attend our reading music workshop which will happen in late September or early October. It is an expectation that all members work on their sight reading abilities irrespective of their skills coming into our club.
Q: Is it guaranteed that I will be placed into a group?
A: Unfortunately we are currently unable to guarantee a spot to every auditionee. A Cappella is gaining in popularity and we don’t currently have the resources to support the amount of interest we are receiving! The specific group you are placed in will depend on your availability, attitude, and ability, while taking into account the open slots in each group.
Q: If I am placed into a group, am I committed to that group eternally, or can I audition to join another group later?
A: Every September we allow our returning members (from any group) the opportunity to re-audition into another group of their choice. While we can’t guarantee that our re-auditionees will make it into the particular group they desire, we reserve a spot for them in their current group so that they have the option of returning to that particular group if they are not accepted into their new preference.
Example scenario: If you join the Majors in September 2016 and then decide in April 2017 that you want a lower commitment in our club due to school/work (as Majors rehearse twice a week), then you’re welcome to re-audition for any other group. If, say, you can only make either Minors or Fermata rehearsals, and you are not accepted into Fermata, then your spot in the Majors will remain and you can opt to return to the Majors if you’d like to. If you are accepted into Fermata and decide to join, then your spot in the Majors will be filled by someone else.
Q: Why do I have to pay a membership fee to sing?
A: As a club under the AMS, it’s mandatory to have an annual membership fee. The UBC A Cappella membership fee of $10 covers you for the entire school year– (all members, returning and new, must pay this fee anually). The fee will snag you a UBC A Cappella shirt, membership to an AMS club (us, duh), discounted prices to our year-end concerts (if you choose not to participate, but simply watch!), and free attendance to workshops we hold throughout the year (beatboxing, solos, you name it–we’ll arrange to provide it!).
Q: What is the introductory workshop? Is my attendance mandatory to securing an audition?
A: Each September, we hold an “Introductory Workshop” for all those new to auditioning for the club. Like a mock rehearsal of sorts, we’ll take you through a few songs and introduce you to the style of our club. If you like what you hear, auditions will be held over the weekend following the workshop. Callbacks, for some auditionees, will follow the next week.
Why should you attend? As we receive feedback year after year about the workshop, we have garnered a lot of positive response–the workshop often puts nervous auditionees at ease, because they realize that we are truly, not a very serious bunch of people–we just love to sing! Since the workshop is free, we encourage anyone who’s the slight bit curious–to attend! It’s free and carries with it, zero commitment yet a ton of fun. It is also a great way to get to know members of our club, which can be helpful for us when we are deciding which groups to put people in.
Your attendance to the workshop is not mandatory to securing a spot with our club, however, we encourage you to attend. We will provide up-to-date details via our Facebook page, as well as on this particular page regarding this workshop. Stay up to date by signing up for our e-mail newsletter–contact us if you would like to be added!
Q: What is the time commitment for members?
The time commitment for members entails weekly rehearsals, up to 1 hour of additional sectionals a week, gig and concert attendance. In addition to mandatory attendance to these events, all members are highly encouraged to attend a cappella social events. As you can read on our home page, a cappella is not only about singing together, but is a social club, aimed at bringing like-minded people together. We have learned over the years that the best choirs are those that not only sing together, but enjoy spending time together outside of rehearsal. For this reason, we hold club-wide socials at least once per term, as well as other social events for our individual choirs. As part of your time commitment, you will be expected to attend your choir’s retreats that are held once per semester. See the next question for more details.
In total, all of these things add up to 4-6 hours per week of time commitment. Broken down they are:
- 2-4 hours of regular weekly rehearsal
- 1 hour of sectionals (group-dependent)
- Up to 2 hours of gigs per week
Other time commitments that are more varied throughout the term:
- Club socials/retreats
Concert weekend (See the Concert Weekend question below)
Q: What are a cappella retreats?
Each term we have retreats for each of our choirs. Retreats consist of the individual choirs going away for an evening, rehearsing music, and spending time with one another. We find they are the best bonding opportunities members get in our club. As they are such a success, we are making first term retreats mandatory this year. They will be held on October 1st weekend for one night. If you are accepted into our club you are expected to attend. This is mandatory because we believe it will not only be an amazing opportunity for you to get to know other in our club, but it will result in your choir making better music through being better friends.
Q: What does Concert Weekend look like for members?
Our semester-end concerts are some of the most exciting events of the year for UBC A Cappella. If you haven’t already, we highly encourage you to check out our youtube page where you can see videos from our previous concerts. As far as time commitment for members on concert weekend, you can expect the following:
- Up to 3 hours of additional rehearsal time in the 2 weeks leading up to the concert
- A dress rehearsal before the concert ~ max of 5 hours
- Concert day is a full day. Expect that you will be arriving at our venue as early as 10am, and may not be done until late evening (9pm). There will be breaks throughout the day, but this is a long day, and a mandatory expectation of our group. Concerts are what we work towards all semester and if you aren’t there you can throw off the entire sound of your group, not to mention altering any choreography your group may have included. Unless a member has a legitimate reason why they aren’t able to attend the concerts, if a member misses this event they will be expected to leave the club.
In order to ensure members can book these times off, the concert and dress rehearsal dates are solidified well in advance. We expect to have them posted by audition weekend in September.