Joining a new choir, whether you’ve sung with other groups or are exploring ensemble singing for the first time, can be an intimidating experience! With so many wonderful choirs in Adelaide, how do you know if Grads might be a good fit for you? Read on to learn more about who we are, what we do, and how we get it done.
Who is in Grads?
A variety of people are proud to call themselves Grads! We range in age from 18 to 80, with some of our more experienced singers having decades of singing under their belt, and some of our younger members joining Grads as their first post-school singing ensemble. We like to think that our repertoire choices and performance standards keep choral singing fresh, challenging, interesting, and appealing no matter how long you’ve been singing. For our more seasoned singers, each Grads concert is an opportunity to hone vocal and technical skills, and approach choir music from new and different angles. For newer members, it’s a chance to learn from fellow singers, and understand the joy and challenge of learning music to a high standard.
All our members are auditioned, which means that knowing how to read music and having good aural skills are an expectation. This helps us to keep up with the fast pace of our rehearsals, which are generally run without an accompanist. Formal training or experience in singing are not essential, but good musicianship skills and a strong commitment are highly desirable.
Our choristers come from all walks of life, and our diversity is something we take pride in. You don’t have to be a graduate of any kind! Above all else, we’re united by our love of beautiful music and singing together, our desire to continually improve as a group, and our shared sense of accomplishment after yet another stunning concert.
What does Grads do?
Grads rehearses most Monday evenings from 7–9:30pm in the Latvian Hall (4 Clark Street, Wayville). We perform anywhere between 4 and 6 concerts a year, which means every rehearsal period is 10–12 weeks long, with breaks between concerts and over summer. Rehearsals are generally fast-paced, with lots of variety, and being unaccompanied, the focus is on developing our overall sound rather than notebashing. This means you occasionally might need to do some homework! We also provide support with online resources for learning music, and introductions to people in your section so you know who to go to if you need a hand.
We perform a number of our own concerts, singing in some of Adelaide’s most beautiful and atmospheric venues. As a medium-sized choir (we usually have 40–50 singers on stage) we are able to perform large-scale choral standards like Vivaldi’s Gloria, Mozart’s Requiem, and Handel’s Dixit Dominus, as well as more intimate chamber music — beautiful Renaissance motets or music by modern choral composers like Ola Gjeilo, Eleanor Daley, Eric Whitacre, and many more. We love to move with ease between varying styles, keeping the choral tradition alive, accessible, and exciting to our audiences as well as ourselves.
We also love a good collaboration, and along with the Elder Conservatorium Chorale, have been lucky enough to come together as the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra’s chorus of choice on many occasions. Recent highlights include the Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular (2015), Last Night of the Proms (2016, 2019), Scotland the Brave (2017), Carmina Burana as part of the 2021 Festival of Orchestra, and the 2021 world premiere of Nativity, commissioned from Australian composer Richard Mills, alongside Adelaide Chamber Singers and Young Adelaide Voices. In March 2022, Graduate Singers was thrilled to join the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and Elder Conservatorium Chorale to perform Prayer for the Living, the Adelaide Festival’s closing event, presenting works by Lili Boulanger, Francis Poulenc, and Pēteris Vasks. Our most recent performance with the ASO included two rollicking concerts of Beethoven’s famous Ninth Symphony!
Along with preparing for and performing in concerts, we also love social occasions! Movie nights, fundraisers, talent nights, dinners, post-concert parties, and our now-legendary Christmas parties are always a great opportunity to cut loose and get to know each other. Social gatherings can be organised or impromptu, and you might find yourself taken to the nearest pub or café after a concert so you can ride the post-performance high among friends.
Grads values commitment from its members, and while we have a certain amount of flexibility in our rehearsal schedules, we generally expect most people will be present for most rehearsals. This lets us achieve the best possible outcome at our concerts, and keeps our standards high.
How do I join?
If you feel like everything we’ve said so far sounds like fun, we’d be happy for you to arrange an audition with us. Please note that we might not always have vacancies in every section, but we’re always interested to hear from you. Auditions are held in January, prior to the commencement of the first rehearsal period for the year. Ad hoc auditions may be organised throughout the year as needed.
Auditions last approximately 15 minutes and are friendly and low-key. They’re held by our Director of Music, Karl Geiger.
Prospective members will be asked to:
provide details of their musical background/experience
sing a short piece to demonstrate musicality, tone and range
sing a pitch from triads played on the piano
sight-read a straightforward tune
We have membership fees, which are generally due before the first concert of the year, but can also be paid throughout the year, in instalments, by private arrangement with our treasurer. These fees are $325/$200 concession, and go towards the purchase and licensing of sheet music, rehearsal space hire, staff fees, venue charges, and various administrative costs.
If you’re interested, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to speak with a member of our committee to get more information, or please register to arrange an audition. We’re keen to hear from you!