The Cure for the Common Choir is going through an exciting renaissance, and we want a few good men to come along for the ride in 2015. We're building a bigger, better Sons of the Severn Chorus to compete against the best men's choral groups in the world. Men with singing experience who want to make incredible music in an uplifting team environment are encouraged to try out. If you live within an hour's drive of Annapolis, Maryland, and if you've sung in a choir, glee club, college a cappella group, or similar ensemble, we'd like to meet you.

Barbershop harmony is old-school a cappella singing, a uniquely American musical art form that hearkens back to a simpler time, when when real men sang from the heart, songs were written for the people, and families made music together. Our mission is to capture and preserve that spirit of fellowship, while pursuing musical excellence and advancing the cause of vocal music in our community.

To visit a rehearsal and start your audition, send an e-mail to membership@singannapolis.com. For more detailed information about the membership process, read on.


 
 

How To Join

  • Chapter Meetings
  • Your First Visit
  • Chapter Membership
  • Audition Process
  • Chorus Membership
  • What Else You Should Know

    The Anne Arundel County Chapter exists to provide a musical outlet for men in the Baltimore, MD and Washington, DC areas who want to sing a cappella harmony and make a positive contribution to their community. Our chapter has two levels of membership: the Chapter At Large and the Sons of the Severn Chorus. The casual lover of close harmony will enjoy the relaxed, social pace of the Chapter At Large. The avid performer with the competitive spirit and desire to excel will thrive on the challenge of performing at a high level with the Sons of the Severn. Whatever your ambitions may be, the Anne Arundel County Chapter and the Sons of the Severn offer you the opportunity to grow as a musician and singer in an atmosphere of fun and fellowship.



    Chapter Meetings

    Our weekly meetings and Open Auditions take place every Thursday evening at 7:00 p.m. in the lower level auditorium at Trinity United Methodist Church, 1300 West Street in Annapolis (Map & Directions).


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    The meeting agenda changes from week to week, but nearly every meeting includes the following activities:

  • Vocal Warm-up
  • Quartet Singing
  • Recreational Chorus Singing
  • Barbershop Craft Session
  • Business Meeting
  • Open Auditions
  • Sons of the Severn Chorus Rehearsal
  • The first portion of the meeting (7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.) is devoted to chapter activities and business. The second half (8:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.) is the Sons of the Severn performing chorus rehearsal. Guests are always welcome at our meetings and are encouraged to participate during the first portion of the evening. During the chorus rehearsal portion, guests are invited to take a front row seat, observe the rehearsal, and offer feedback from an audience perspective. Guest input is very valuable to the chorus; it helps us to better understand our audiences and develop more entertaining show packages.

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    Your First Visit

    The first step in your path toward membership is to visit one of our weekly chapter meetings. On the night of your first visit, the director or a member of the music leadership team will conduct an informal voice placement to ascertain your vocal range and your ability to match pitch. He will then recommend a voice part for you (tenor, lead, baritone, or bass), and you will receive a guest music folio containing our current repertoire. You will be paired with a veteran singer in your voice part; this individual will be your mentor and guide through the membership process.

    Our weekly rehearsals are open to visitors; you may walk right in. Of course, we can better assist you if we know you're coming. To visit, please call 410-674-7165, e-mail us at membership@singannapolis.com.

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    Membership In The Chapter At Large

    Once you have visited a few of our chapter meetings and decided that barbershop singing is the right hobby for you, our Vice President of Chapter Development will give you an application for membership in the Barbershop Harmony Society. The requirements for social membership in the Society and in our chapter are simple: we accept for membership congenial men of good character with a love of harmony and the desire to harmonize. Once you have submitted your application along with your first year's dues, our chapter Secretary will forward the paperwork to Society headquarters. In about two weeks, you will receive your new member orientation packet at our weekly chapter meeting.

    At that point, you will be a member in good standing of the Anne Arundel County, MD Chapter At Large. If you wish to be more than a social member of our chapter and perform in public with the Sons of the Severn chorus, then you will need to pass a basic skills audition, which will be discussed in the next section.

    You are not required to become a member of the performing chorus; you may be content to enjoy the fellowship and informal singing that takes place at our chapter meetings and social functions. You choose the level of involvement that is right for you.

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    The Chorus Audition Process

    The basic skills audition for the Sons of the Severn performing chorus is a simple process that takes place over a period of three to four weeks. On the first Thursday of your audition, you will receive the sheet music and a part-predominant learning CD or MP3 for your audition song. The learning media will always have your voice part on one channel (usually the left) and the remaining three parts on the other channel. This enables you to isolate your part in order to learn the tough spots, or to sing along in a quartet with the other three parts.

    On the second Thursday of your audition, you will be invited to practice your audition song with our performing chorus during the rehearsal block. It is also a good idea to find three other singers during break time or quartet time to practice on your own, since your final skills test will be to sing the song in a quartet.

    The third Thursday is your first opportunity to pass the basic skills audition. You will be placed in a quartet with three solid members of the performing chorus (typically the section leaders). The director or a member of the music team will listen and evaluate as you sing your audition song. Your evaluator will be listening for four basic criteria in your performance:

  • Does the singer know all of the notes, and is he
       singing in tune?
  • Does the singer know all of the lyrics?
  • Does the singer have command of the music (rhythm,
       note values, etc.)?
  • Does the singer's voice blend with the ensemble?
  • Once you have sung for your evaluator, he will determine whether you have passed the audition or need more practice. If he decides you need more practice, you may take an additional week to drill the parts of the song he identifies as needing work, and sing the song again the following Tuesday. If, after an additional week, you still haven't met the criteria for the performing chorus, you will be encouraged to spend some more time as a social member of the Chapter At Large, then try again with another audition song.

    There is no limit to the number of times you can audition for the chorus. The chapter music leadership will teach you more about the craft and give you exercises that will help you practice and learn more effectively. You are encouraged to audition as many times as it takes. If you reach a point when you haven't met the audition standard after several tries, you may find social membership in the Chapter At Large to be very fulfilling. A third of our chapter's members are social members who could not meet the rigors of performing with the chorus due to health, family, or business issues.

    Still, if you have a strong desire to perform, but cannot meet the audition standard for the Sons of the Severn, don't be discouraged. Our criteria are a bit more demanding than other groups of our kind. If social membership doesn't appeal to you, then we can help you find a barbershop chapter in the area that is better geared to your abilities. The important thing is that you keep singing.

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    Membership In The Peforming Chorus

    Once you have passed your basic skills audition, you will be welcomed as a "rookie" member of the Sons of the Severn performing chorus. At this time, you will be invited to stand on the risers during the chorus rehearsal portion of the chapter meeting, and you will be added to the chorus roster for performances. You will be responsible for learning your part to the remainder of our chorus repertoire (twelve to fourteen songs), and expected to do so within a reasonable length of time. During this break-in period, you will be eligible to perform with the chorus on the songs for which you are cleared. It is not unusual to see new members step to the wings for a song or two during a performance, then return to the risers.

    To remain active in the performing chorus, you will be expected to attend rehearsals regularly, learn new music and choreography within prescribed timeframes, demonstrate continued proficiency on existing repertoire by singing in quartets, and attend any and all performances for which you are available. Your riser mates will be counting on you to show up at rehearsals prepared, and you should expect the same from them. It is a culture we refer to as, "earning your spot on the risers every week." This philosophy is what keeps us moving forward and improving as an ensemble.

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    Other Useful Information

    Here are a few more things you and your family should know about the Sons of the Severn performing chorus before you take the plunge:

    Unlike other choral groups, the Sons of the Severn chorus is active all year long. We perform our standard repertoire of American popular music throughout the year, and we add a complete catalogue of carols and seasonal classics during the Holidays.

    The Sons of the Severn particpate regularly in Barbershop Harmony Society sanctioned competitions. Our competitions are held in the spring and fall, typically the first full weekend in June and the first full weekend in October. Competition is our primary tool for evaluating the quality of the musical product we bring to our local audiences.

    All members of the performing chorus are expected to be dues paying members in good standing of the Anne Arundel County, MD Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society. It is a requirement for participation in Society competitions, and it helps to fund our mission on a national level.

    Our membership dues are inexpensive compared to other hobbies. Still, there are some additional costs associated with membership in the performing chorus, such as a nominal uniform fee, and travel expenses for out of state activities like competitions. The chapter does offer flexible payment options for those who are unable to pay a full year's dues all at once, and finding a roommate to offset the cost of housing at competitions is usually very easy.

    The Sons of the Severn chorus is the performing arm of the Anne Arundel County, Maryland Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society. The Society is the world's largest all-male singing organization, with nearly 30,000 members in the U.S. and Canada. The Society also has affiliate organizations in several countries around the globe, including the U.K., Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and South Africa.

    Domestically, the Barbershop Harmony Society is divided into 16 geographic regions, referred to as Districts. The Anne Arundel County Chapter is located in the Mid-Atlantic District. The M-AD is further split into four Divisions, of which the Anne Arundel County Chapter belongs to the Western.

    For most barbershoppers, singing is more than just a hobby. It is a way of life and a source of great pride. This is especially true here in Annapolis. Our chapter is like an extended family; our members are friends as well as colleagues. We have social gatherings throughout the year, and families and friends of our members are always welcome and encouraged to attend.

    So, what are you waiting for? Get singing! Call us at 410-674-7165, or e-mail us at membership@singannapolis.com.

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