Over the years Euphonix has received a number of questions from people who would like to sing with us. The following are a selection of the questions that have been received and the responses given in reply.
Euphonix was formed in Kingston in 2009 as a Community based Choir.
The blue bird logo was designed by Alison Harrison a local artist based in Kingston upon Thames who was one of the original committee members
The name Euphonix comes from the same roots as:
- Euphonia (pronunciation: yOO-fō'nē-u, -fōn'yu): any of several small birds of the genus Euphonia, having a melodious song, most species of which have yellow and glossy black plumage.
- Euphony: the quality of having a pleasing sound.
- Euphonic, Euphonious: pleasant-sounding.
Our repertoire is completely varied. There is no one particular style of genrè, the past repertoire have included madrigals from early English music, world music, folk songs, sea shanties and right up to popular and contemporary songs. See "The Choir" tab for more details.
Other choirs do sing pop and contemporary music, and many these days do not audition or require singers to be able to read music. Perhaps our most distinctive features are
(1) that we meet on a Wednesday morning at a central Kingston location;
(2) we are as affordable as we can be, trusting our members to pay what they can when they can. The intention is to be accessible to people living in the Kingston area, not to exclude anyone and to achieve a really good social mix in our choir.
Weekly on Wednesday mornings. These are either at the Quaker Centre, Fairfield East, Kingston upon Thames KT1 2PT or at the Rose Theatre, 24-26 High St, Kingston upon Thames KT1 1HL. Depending on where the choir is rehersing the administrative arrangements are different. The whole choir can be accommodated at the Quaker Centre and we practice for 2 hours from 10.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. However, when we practice at the Rose Theatre it is not large enough for the whole choir to meet so for logicistical reasons the Choir is divided into two separate groups. The 2 sessions each last for 90 minutes the first session being from 10.15 - 11.45 a.m. and the second session from 12.00 - 13.30 p.m. When we practice at the Rose Theatre you can come along earlier to buy refreshments and register, and stay on afterwards for a drink or a chat - the one and a half hours of rehearsal is mainly for singing and we try to start and finish promptly. You will get the best out of singing with Euphonix if you come regularly. It can be hard to catch up if you miss several rehearsals.
Absolutely not, this is an open access choir. We know that even people who think they can't sing or haven't sung for ages can enjoy singing and create a wonderful sound together with others. You will learn music and words mainly by listening and repeating - anyone can do it! See the "Choir" tab for more information. Like most choirs, we are likely to need more bass and tenor voices, so if you know you can sing these parts let us know when you contact us. We do provide scores, words, and sound files for all choir members and these are located a the private area of this website.
Absolutely not - our songs are arranged for choral singing and singing together is the whole point of Euphonix. On the other hand, if your confidence grows and you'd like to sing a solo part, there could be opportunities.
We ask you to join at your first or second rehearsal, and you will do much better if you come regularly. A choir is a kind of team, we all depend on each other to make a beautiful sound, and you will be missed if you don't turn up. It will also help our Musical Director to adapt the Euphonix repertoire to the singers if they are regulars. Membership enables us to control numbers, to know when to try to recruit more singers and when to stop recruiting or put people on a waiting list. If you no longer want your place in the choir, please let us know. We will contact absentees each term to ask if they still want their place before offering it to someone on the waiting list. Euphonix is a choir, not just a series of singing workshops. By meeting on a regular basis we collectively build a repertoire and reherse for occasional performances. To that end we commit to regular Wednesday mornings meetings. If you think that you would find this a problem we do have on our website links to other choirs and singing workshops that might suit you better.
Membership costs £1 per year, renewable in February. In addition we ask members to pay every time they come to a rehearsal as a contribution towards the costs of running Euphonix. We do not ask for large sums of money up-front for a term's singing; instead it's "pay what you can, as you sing" and our recommended contribution per rehearsal is £5. But don't worry if you can't afford that - just pay what you can afford each time. Euphonix is run by a Committee of volunteers. Our running costs include purchase of music, paying our musician(s), publicity, printing, postage and other administrative expenses. We are not trying to make a profit, and if funds accumulate we will plough them back into more resources for the choir or social events for its members.
You will be guaranteed a place at rehearsals - membership is a way for us to control numbers should there be more demand than places. You will be invited to our AGM, where you will be entitled to propose items for the agenda, vote, stand for the Committee or nominate a Committee member. You will be invited to contribute ideas and suggestions during the year. You will be invited to Euphonix social events (depending on our funds).
Our costs fall into two broad categories: (1) Administrative: stationery, printing, publicity (though this has mostly been free), meeting & room hire costs, volunteers' expenses, resources such as music, etc. All the work is done voluntarily, because we love singing and want to share it with others. (2) A small fee to our Musical Director(s) in recognition of their commitment (they have to be at every rehearsal) and expertise (we couldn't run a choir without their musical skills) - and to other musicians who accompany us for concerts or who take occasional workshops. For our musician(s) this is a semi-voluntary activity. Any reserves we build up and/or grants we receive will go towards other expenses: bulk printing; Euphonix badges; social and AGM expenses.
We are a not-for-profit organisation, though we hope to be financially self-sufficient, funded by our members. But we received a small grant from Kingston Council in 2009 to help us with start-up costs and recruitment from hard-to-reach groups in Kingston, and to provide a financial buffer in case of unexpected expenses or if participants were few to start with and couldn't afford to pay much. By summer 2009 we had suffient members donating enough at each rehearsal to cover our costs and build up a small reserve, and we hope to remain self-financing.
Roughly about 12 weeks, which is the length of time recommended by our Musical Director for learning and polishing a varied repertoire. There may be breaks between terms, depending when they fall, for example we will take short breaks at Easter, Christmas/New Year and over the summer when many people are away. Or one term might run into another, or occasionally we may offer short self-contained workshops between terms, depending on viability.
We hope to give informal performances at the end of each term. You can invite your friends and family along to see what you have achieved. We may occasionally sing in more public events, depending on opportunities, but no one will be made to sing in public. See the "Choir" tab for more information.
We normally welcome new members at the start of each term but there is a waiting list. You can contact us (via the membership enquiry form (Form 1) under the "Enquiries" tab in the main menu) to join the waiting list, but it could be a long wait and we recommend that singers look elsewhere for a choir to join. This is due to space restrictions in our regular rehearsal locations. The Management Committee also has to consider health and safety implications for its members as our constitution limits us to no more members than can comfortably accommodated to rehearse together.
Usually the four weeks in August, when many of our regular members are away on holiday, we sometimes run open workshops, and it's worth keeping an eye on the Euphonix website (Local Events tab) to see if this is happening next August.
The "Useful Links" tab above details a list of choirs in the Kingston area that you may be interested in joining. You can also use the search engine on the Natural Voice Network website for other choirs in London and further afield.