Membership fees contribute to the cost of rehearsals. Information about fees can be found here.

We’re guessing that, if you’re reading this page, you’re looking for some helpful information to help you decide whether joining a choir and/or joining HCS specifically is the right thing for you…so here’s some more information:

Who are we...?

  • We’re a large friendly community choir of mixed ages with over 120 singers across the four main voice parts (soprano, alto, tenor and bass)
  • Our members come from ALL over Hertfordshire
  • We don’t hold auditions and we don’t expect members to be able to read music – we have resources and support in place if you have no musical background
  • We are led by professional musicians - Derek Harrison (Musical Director) and Sue Graham Smith (Piano Accompanist)

What do we do…?

  • We rehearse each Tuesday evening at Sele School in Hertford and usually stage four concerts each year (November, December, March and June). Concerts are usually held at All Saints’ Church, Hertford…. But not always…

  • We sing a wide range of music – Beatles to Bach, folk songs to Fauré, Mozart and modern!
  • We work with different local schools and support outreach and charitable activities for the wider benefit of our community
  • We don’t just perform concerts; we hold workshops, social events, arrange training, etc.
  • Members say that our choir is of great value socially to them… lifelong friends are made and the atmosphere is relaxed and fun

What do we ask of our members…?

  • We ask members to put in a regular commitment.  This means attending a minimum of 75% of rehearsals in order to sing in a concert, plus looking over/listening to the music in between rehearsals
  • We run the choir with the help of members.  We know it’s not always possible for everyone to give time over and above that needed for the singing, but we ask that members help whenever they can… whether it’s making cakes, helping distribute concert publicity, organising the church on concert day, serving on the committee etc.

 

To find out more about coming along to a rehearsal to try us out and/or becoming a member of HCS, contact our Membership Secretary Trish Goldsmith on 01992 589730 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   Don’t hesitate to ask any question at all.

Here is what some of our recent new members have said about HCS:

I came for a taster with HCS… the best money I’ve ever spent.  The first rehearsal was great. I came away exhilarated.

Joining HCS has really improved my singing ability. I hoped to survive but have actually thrived!

I was impressed with the high quality of the music, the singing and directing – all have exceeded my expectations.

This is one of the friendliest choirs I have come across. I got a very warm welcome and really enjoying the rehearsals.

We look forward to welcoming you to HCS!

A typical rehearsal - let us have a go at describing one of these!

We always rehearse at the Sele school in Hertford every Tuesday evening during term time.   The School is a great location with a big hall and plenty of parking.

Members arrive any time from 7.15pm onwards to catch up with friends, buy raffle tickets etc and get ready for the rehearsal proper to start at 7.30pm.

We start with about 10 minutes of voice exercises - these are sung as a group, or in the different voice parts - and the aim is to warm up the vocal cords.  We'll also do a little stretching just to relax into the evening of singing ahead.

Then we start rehearsing whatever piece(s) we are to perform in our next concert.  Our Musical Director will work out in advance of each rehearsal what he wishes us to focus on and this gets published so that everyone can come prepared. One essential piece of equipment for any rehearsal is a 2B pencil - to mark up the music score with the conductor's instructions. Rehearsals are always accompanied by piano music, expertly played.

At about 8.30pm we stop for 15 minutes break. Refreshments are provided (cold drinks and biscuits) but members can bring their own drinks and bottles of water.  That is when the Chairman talks through notices making sure all members are up-to-speed with what is happening and what is planned - and the raffle is held. It's a great time for making new friends and catching up with existing ones.

Then we resume singing, finishing at about 9.45pm.  We have a rota for helping to clear the hall after rehearsals - it spreads the load if everyone plays a small part and doesn't take long (but it isn't compulsory for members who cannot stay beyond the end of the rehearsal).

You can find concert dates for the present season here.

Are you up for joining a chamber choir?

HCS is setting up a chamber choir, led by Manvinder Rattan to rehearse and perform interesting and challenging repertoire suitable for a smaller group of singers.  Operating under the umbrella of HCS, membership will be separate to membership of HCS and will be subject to a short audition. We are aiming for a choir of around 30 voices, approximately 10 sopranos, 8 altos, 6 tenors and 6 basses.

The repertoire will be broad and varied, from the early Renaissance to contemporary, sacred and secular, a cappella and accompanied. Performances will be local and further afield. Planned performances include evensong in London in early March, followed by a performance in the Hertfordshire Festival of Music on 5th June (Britten’s Choral Dances from Gloriana). Future opportunities might include weddings, our own concerts and singing trips.

Rehearsals:

Rehearsal days will take place one Saturday per month in Hertford (10am to 4pm). Dates for 2022 are:

22 January

19 February

12 March

23 April

21 May

11 June

9 July

24 September

15 October

12 November

Singers will be expected to learn their part between rehearsals so that rehearsal time together is spent working on the interpretation of the music and creating a professional sound.

Costs:

Singers will cover the cost of rehearsals and music, and we anticipate performance income in due course. Singers will be expected to pay approximately £250 during the first year for 10 rehearsal days, payable as a lump sum in January or per quarter. A student discount will be available.

Auditions:

Short auditions will be held during December/early January 2022:  friendly, informal meetings with Manvinder Rattan (either in person or via Zoom). You will be asked to sing one song of your choice which you know well and which is in your voice range.  You will not be expected to sight-read; the most important skills are whether you are able to sing in tune and whether your voice is likely to blend well in a small choir. You will receive feedback and tips following the audition. If you are not quite there yet, we will want to encourage you to work on your singing technique and audition again later in the year, subject to spaces available in the choir.

Audition dates are:

  • Tuesday 30th November at Sele School in Hertford, between 6pm and 7.20pm
  • Wednesday 1st December via Zoom, between 5pm and 7pm
  • Tuesday 4th January at Sele School in Hertford, between 6pm and 7.20pm

If none of these are possible for you, please speak to us to arrange a separate time.

To sign up?

Please follow this link and complete the form: sign up to Hertford Chamber Choir.  PLEASE express your interest by 23rd December, so that we can complete the audition process with a view to starting rehearsals on 22nd January.  

For further information, email Trish Galloway (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Membership fees are set at a level that allow HCS to stage a high quality of concerts and rehearse to a standard that supports this.  We pay for professional orchestras and soloists, and this distinguishes us from many other choral societies. Fees also contribute towards the cost of rehearsals, such as venue hire, accompanist and MD fees, an annual workshop and music hire.

We balance the need to make HCS accessible as a community choir with the need to fund our activities on a sustainable basis. We consider the level of HCS fees each year and give notice of any change to members.

Want to try us out?

Have your first two weeks free on us – come along and see what you think. After that, if you’d like to join us, we ask you for a payment in the 3rd week. However, your first term’s taster fee is only £20.

Join for a Season

The minimum membership fee for the 2021/22 season is £225 (£60 for under-30’s). Our season runs from September through to June and typically includes four concerts.

The membership fees are quoted as minimum figures and are intended to be inclusive. Many members choose to donate an additional sum to support the running of their choir… but, while this is very welcome, it is NOT obligatory. Cases of hardship will be given sympathetic consideration.

Join for a Single Concert and Rehearsals

We welcome back singers who left HCS in the past 5 years and who would like to join us to sing a particular choral piece. The minimum fee (per term) for this is £90.00 and £20 for under-30’s (2021/22 season).

Should you then decide to sign up for the rest of the season, our Treasurer will discuss the balance of fee payable.

How and When to Pay

We take payment by bank transfer, cheque or cash. Payment for the full season is due by the end of September. Members may pay in instalments (per term), and termly payments must be received by the 3rd week in each term.

Gift Aid

We are able to claim Gift Aid on membership fees and members will be able to complete their details when they sign up for the taster fee in their first term.

 

 Join Hertford Voices for an informal Singing Day on Saturday 20th November, 2021 at All Saints Church, Hertford, SG13 8AY, when we will be working on a selection from European Sacred Music, ed Rutter (OUP). Details below, and please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to book your place.

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