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Sing With Us!

Interested singers should contact us before the first rehearsal via the Womenís League, wleague@mit.edu, to be placed on our emailing list used for sending out music and announcements about rehearsal room changes, etc.

For the fall of 2023, in the interests of safety, we will be singing in a room large enough to spread out. Masking is optional, but we urge all our members to have followed the appropriate CDC Covid vaccination guidelines, including receiving the latest-available boosters. Given that singing is a particularly effective way of spreading ANY respiratory infection, we ask that you stay home from rehearsal if you have any idea that you may be coming down with, or are still infective with, an infectious illness.

The FAQs list below should tell you much of what you need to know about joining the Chorale.

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 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 Womenís League to receive a welcoming email and ask any questions you don't see answered here. We will put you on our e-mail announcement list.

Plan to arrive betwen 6:30 and 6:45 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 currently are $30.00 for students and students' partners, and $75.00 for all others. Dues are paid at the beginning of the semester and are used for music scores, to pay our music professionals, and for concert expenses. If the payment of dues is a problem, please see the Administrative Director or Treasurer. We accept cash or checks payable to ďThe MIT Womenís Chorale." At this time we cannot accept electronic cash transfers.

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When and where are rehearsals?

Rehearsals are held on Wednesday evenings from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. For the Fall of 2023, rehearsals will be in MIT Building 4 unless otherwise announced (keep in touch with your e-mail in case of last minute changes). When you contact us before attending your first rehearsal, we will give you the room number.

IMPORTANT: Many entrances to MIT buildings are open during the day, but they are closed to public access starting at 7 pm. When you send us your sign-up e-mail, we will tell you what to do if you arrive on campus after 7 pm. Clearly, it's best if you are on time for rehearsals!

During the week of Thanksgiving in the fall semester, rehearsal will be held Tuesday night. Our last Wednesday rehearsal of each season (the "dress rehearsal") will likely be held in our concert location. Attendance at the dress 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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How do I find and get into Building 4?

Building 4 makes up part of the right hand arm of the buildings surrounding Killian Court, as you face the Dome. See map here.

For ride shares/GPS, the street address is 182 Memorial Dr.

Several doors into the building are open before 7 pm. But once you are into the main building complex, you can walk into building 4, as it is contiguous with the other main buildings--see map above.

E.g., if coming in from Mass Ave., go up the big set of steps at 77 Mass. Ave. into Building 7. Walk straight back through the large lobby into MITís "Infinite Corridor" until you get to a smaller lobby, Lobby 10. Keep going a short way and you will be in the corridor of a bit of Building 4. Go up the stairs you see to the right and walk toward the river (a right turn off the stairs). You can find elevators back in an alcove off Lobby 10.

Coming from Kendall Square: You can enter the main building complex in Building 66 or 56. Follow the map: Walk through Building 16, left turn and up the short stairs to Building 8, right turn down the Infinite Corridor, and you will shortly come to Building 4.

ASK ALMOST ANYONE YOU SEE FOR DIRECTIONS!!

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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.

There is very convenient, and almost-always-available on-street metered parking on Memorial Drive on the non-river side on the stretch that includes MITís Killian Court (the grassy open area, at the base of which is the building with the Great Dome). This parking puts you very near the building we are singing in, Building 4. The meters accept credit cards, and the typical charge is no more than $2 (parking is free after 8pm).

There is often additonal street parking 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 MITís parking lots.

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How do I get music scores?

Most of our music will be distributed electronically. We will send you to a website where you can find pdfs of the music for you to print.

If you have no printer access, tell us BEFORE you come to rehearsal, and volunteers will print scores for you.

Note that the Chorale pays for the privilege of distributing copyrighted scores to its members. Please do not share these pdfs outside the Chorale.

If some scores are distributed as pre-purchased copies, we will explain to you about returning them 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?

Traditionally, the Chorale held refreshment sessions and other get togethers. While this was curtailed by the pandemic, we hope gradually to return to this custom.

In the meantime, one way to get to know other members is to arrive early and chat before rehearsals begin.

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! Much of what makes the Chorale function is carried out by volunteers who serve on the Executive Board plus others who help in a variety of ways. 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 17, 2023