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Sing With Us!

The FAQs list below should tell you much of what you need to know about joining the Chorale. All prospective members must contact us at wleague@mit.edu as our capacity for welcoming new singers can be limited.

Frequently Asked Questions

 


 

Who may join?

Women from ALL parts of the MIT or Harvard communities are welcome if we have space. These include students, staff, and alums, as well as spouses, partners and other relatives of affilated persons. People affiliated with the Harvard Medical community are also welcome. Unaffiliated women may join us as guests as long as there is enough space in our rehearsal room for them in any given semester.

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Are there auditions?

No. We do not hold auditions for membership. We welcome all those who would like to sing with is. We do believe it is important that everyone in the Chorale is able to match pitch (i.e. sing the same note as those in your voice part). However, we do not believe that prospective members should have to worry about having a "good" voice. New members will meet with the conductor to help place them in the vocal part that suits them best. This meeting will include singing some simple vocal exercises and pitch matching. It will not be an audition. Rather it is an opportunity to become better acquainted with each singer's voice.

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May I join at any time during the season?

No. Because we are preparing for concerts, you need to begin rehearsals with us near the beginning of each semster. We ask that singers, new and returning, begin by the 2nd rehearsal of each semester. The rare exception is in the case of singers with excellent musical ability and much choral experience. Please contact us in that case.

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Do I need to be able to read music or read it well?

No. New members do not need to be able to read sheet music, though it is helpful. We do sing from sheet music, but you can still enjoy singing with us if you have a "good ear" and are willing to work. Learning to read the music is a skill that can be developed over time, so all are singers with a good musical ability are welcome.

If you do not read music and would like to learn, there are many websites that give you free music-reading instruction. Your Section Leader, and many of your fellow chorale members, will be glad to help with occasional music-reading questions.

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What if I need help with learning the music?

We provide study aids for many of our pieces, and you are always free to record rehearsals for home study.

Each vocal part has a Section Leader. Feel free to ask her for musical help and advice.

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What kind of music do you sing?

Our repertoire covers a wide range of styles, from medieval to contemporary, including both sacred and secular music, and often includes major pieces from the classical choral repertoire. Some of our music is sung unaccompanied and some with piano or with a variety of other instruments as an accompaniment.

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I think I'd like to sing a solo with the group. Is that possible?

Yes, our tradition has been to draw soloists from our own ranks.

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How do I sign up to join?

Contact us via the MIT Women’s League to receive a welcoming email, confirming that we have space for you. Plan to arrive betwen 7 and 7:15 pm your first night to get settled in and meet with our Music Director. If you are happy with what you experience and wish to continue with us, we will ask you to pay modest dues.

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How much are dues?

For each semester, dues are $25.00 for students and students' partners, and $50.00 for all others. Dues are paid at the beginning of the semester and are used primarily for music, concert expenses and supplies. We do ask, however, that anyone able to pay the $50.00 do so to ensure that our various costs over the year are defrayed. If the payment of dues is a problem, please see the Administrative Director. We accept cash or checks payable to “The MIT Women’s Chorale."

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When and where are rehearsals?

Rehearsals are held on Wednesday evenings from 7:30 to 9:30 P.M. in the Emma Rogers Room (10-340) at MIT unless otherwise announed or stated in our printed calendars. Please plan to come by 7:15 the first night of each semester to get signed in and get your music packet.

During the week of Thanksgiving in the fall semester, rehearsal will be held Tuesday night. Our last Wednesday rehearsal of each season will be held in our concert location. Attendance at this rehearsal is strongly urged.

Additionally, we may schedule a pre-concert the weekend before our final concert. This lets us have a chance to try out our music in front of a small audience, exposing things we need to work on. While participation in this concert is strongly recommended, it is not required for singing in the final concert.

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What if I can't come to every rehearsal?

We work hard to prepare for each concert, so a commitment to regular attendance is expected from our members. We ask that members try to limit their absences to no more than three rehearsals per semester. What counts most is how well you have learned your music. Concert participation is at the discretion of our Music Director.

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Where can I park, and is there T access?

Many of our members who do not have MIT parking privileges arrive by MBTA, by buses on Massachusetts Ave that stop near the MIT steps at 77 Mass. Ave., or via the Kendall Sq. Red Line stop. Often we can help you arrange to have a partner for walking to the T after rehearsals.

With much ongoing construction, parking around MIT can be a bit tricky. There is on-street non-metered parking on Memorial Drive on the non-river side on the stretch that includes MIT’s Killian Court, at the base of which is Building 10 where we sing. (We’re “under the Dome.” )

There is often additonal street parking (meters are free after 6pm) available as you go around the big block bounded by Mass. Ave, Vassar St., Ames St., and Memorial Dr. See the City of Cambridge metered parking map; enlarge to see individual spots.

If money is no object, we can help you arrange to buy an expensive pass for one of MIT’s parking lots.

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How do I find and get into Building 10?

From Mass. Ave.: Come up the big set of steps at 77 Mass. Ave. into Building 7. Walk straight back through the large lobby into MIT’s "Infinite Corridor" until you get to a smaller lobby, Lobby 10. On your left is an alcove with a pair of elevators. Take either one to the third floor. The Emma Rogers Room (10-340) is right in front of you; enter through either door, left or right.

View of Lobby 10 from Killian Court

                                                                                                                          Photo by Emer B. Garland

From Kendall Square (A on the map below): Walk away from the river on Main St. and turn left on Ames St. If you’d like to duck indoors at that point you can wait for someone to come through and let you into the locked door of the pointy-ended building, Building 66. Walk down the long corridor, jogging right to go from Bldg 66 into Bldg 56. Walk through Bldg 56 and Bldg 16, and then take a left turn and go up the short set of stairs when you see a sign for Bldg 12 (don’t go into 12). At the top of the stairs go left and shortly after take a right to continue down the long (“Infinite”) corridor to Lobby 10. Turn right into the alcove with the elevators referred to above.

If you prefer to stay outdoors or not wait for someone to open the Bldg 66 door, walk alongside to the left of Bldg 66 until you come to the doorway that lets you into Building 8--it’s up a short flight of stairs. Walk straight in the direction you were traveling until you get to Lobby 10.

From Memorial Dr: Head for the set of doors--always open--behind the big columns. This is Lobby 10, and the elevators to our room are straight ahead of you. If you’d like to get out of the weather, some of the doors of the buildings surrouding the courtyard are locked, but some are not. It’s often worth a try in bad weather. ANY human being you encounter is likely to be able to give you directions to Lobby 10!

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May I keep the music that is handed out?

No. All music is on loan only and must be returned at the end of the semester.

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What vocal part should I sing?

Our group is divided into four vocal parts, from highest to lowest:

  • Soprano 1 (first soprano)
  • Soprano 2 (second soprano)
  • Alto 1 (first alto)
  • Alto 2 (second alto)

During his brief meeting with you before the first rehearsal you attend, our Music Director will help you choose a voice part that is right for you. Let us know if after rehearsals begin, the vocal range of your part does not feel right to you.

Note that often our two alto groups sing together.

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Are there opportunities to socialize with the other members?

Yes. Several times per semester, we end the evening with conversation and refreshments brought by volunteers. Each of our concerts ends with a reception, and each semester we hold a potluck brunch or dinner to which members and their guests are invited.

During the semester, everyone is welcome to arrive as early as 7 pm, not only to help set up, but also to have time to get to know other members.

The interactions fostered by the Chorale have led to many life-long friendships.

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Are there ways I can help out?

Yes! Each week we need volunteers to set up and then re-set our rehearsal space, as well as volunteers for our refreshement evenings. Sign-up sheets for these will be passed out.

Also, volunteers to help with the many aspects of running rehearsals and concerts are always welcome. If you are interested, kindly speak with our Administrative Director.

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Contact us through the MIT Women's League:
617-253-3656 / wleague@mit.edu
Last updated August 16, 2019