FROM THE ORIGINAL SAENGERFEST CONCERT CHORUS HISTORY, PURPOSE, COVENANT, MUSIC, IDENTITY DEFINITION:
Attendance at rehearsals is crucial; our director has to have a whole chorus at rehearsal and the same whole chorus in concert.
• We sing without music, believing that we sing more successfully when we watch the conductor. When we have insufficient time to memorize a necessary work, we may hold music in concert, but only rarely.
• Our mission, on which depends our certification by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) organization, is to help raise funds for other 501(c)(3) groups. Each year we must demonstrate our fulfillment of this obligation, which depends on each member’s considered involvement.
• Because we have chosen to sing only a few concerts each year, we support the group financially by making a contribution to the Chorus’s Annual Fund, buying/selling concert tickets, selling/purchasing ads in our Christmas Concert program, seeking paid concert opportunities, and seeking corporate and other sponsors for our work.
• We also try to strengthen the chorus by bringing in prospective new members, welcoming newcomers when they appear, assisting section leaders by listening to and assessing prospective members, and otherwise making others feel at home in the chorus.
Section Leaders –
Each section has a designated leader whose responsibilities focus on making their group of singers strong contributors to the whole chorus. They are asked to:
• Be aware of attendance at rehearsals and concerts, and alert the president and director to consistent absences.
• Distribute rehearsal tapes/CD’s when issued and new music once it’s past general distribution.
• Shepherd new singers; create opportunities during rehearsal to hear many of your section members as well as the chorus as a whole. Share with the director and/or the president any information you believe will help make the chorus more effectively musically.
• Keep the director’s musical notations to share with those who may have missed them. We need to devote much less rehearsal time to repeating dictation of breathing marks and the like.
Tailoring—we are a varied group physically, some athletically trim, others exhibiting prominent diaphragms. It is important, therefore, that we wear clothing that is tailored to our wonderfully diverse shapes.
Musical Identity –
When we organized Saengerfest seriously, incorporated, sought a 501(c)(3) designation, and wrote a series of self-descriptions, one element that received a good bit of attention was our musical identity. There exist a number of choral organizations in the greater Boston area, and we felt strongly that in order for us to succeed—survive—we had to define our identity and mission among them.
We agreed, therefore, to abide by a series of music and performance principles. Among them:
• We are a men’s chorus, singing arrangements for men’s voices.
• We will perform a wide variety of music, based on our origins in the Welsh men’s choral tradition, in two ways. We will include Welsh-language and/or Welsh based arrangements in our concert repertoire, reminding our audiences and ourselves of our musical history.
Additionally, we will pattern our performances on the highly successful models we have shared with our London progenitors, and we will market this musical heterogeneity to those organizations seeking to hire us. Our performance repertoire, therefore, will contain à cappella and accompanied music from a number of categories:
Welsh background music
Unabashed hymns in Welsh or English
Lieder and similar “art” songs
Victorian parlor pieces
“We sing to please ourselves; we perform to help others.”