Why join the Brussels Choral Society?
People join choirs for many reasons, and every choir offers something unique. At the heart of the BCS is a desire to perform wonderful music to a high standard on the greatest stages in Brussels and beyond. But membership of the choir brings many other benefits.
Performance and musical discovery
The BCS repertoire holds the great choral masterpieces at its core, and we regularly perform the works of Handel, Bach, Beethoven, Orff, Verdi, and others from the romantic tradition. However, each year’s programme is carefully constructed to ensure that singers experience a range of musical genres, and even the most experienced singers are likely to encounter works that they have not sung before and discover composers whose work is less familiar to them.
Developing your musicianship
Learning, rehearsing and refining pieces in the weeks before a concert develops each singer’s vocal ability and their capacities as a musician. The musical team, led by conductor Eric Delson, guides the singers through this process, ensuring that each voice not only becomes an effective and accurate instrument in its own right but that the ensemble sings with unity.
Regular rehearsals are supplemented by annual vocal coaching workshops, allowing accomplished guest choral directors to add their experience and knowledge.
Working with accomplished artists
The Brussels Choral Society works with a range of professional orchestras, skilled soloists, and conductors. This diversity offers members the chance to learn from several maestros during the season, maintaining freshness and vibrancy.
For the sheer enjoyment of it all
Whilst the choir takes its work very seriously, our strength lies in the cohesion and friendship between singers. Simply put, we enjoy each other’s company, we perform together, travel together from time to time, discuss all the important things (outside of rehearsal time of course!) and all the unimportant things in life, socialise, and we are always ready to hear the call “au bar” every Thursday evening.
Some details about being a member of the BCS
Thursday rehearsals are the time for the choir to learn, refine and prepare for performances. Singers are required to attend all rehearsals, although we understand circumstances can make this difficult. Each voice part has a representative who will discuss any issues with you as they arise.
The choir rehearses on Thursdays from 19:30 to 22:00 at École Saint Boniface, rue du Conseil 59, 1050 Ixelles. We take a break in the summer between late June and mid August. You are more than welcome to come along to a rehearsal.
The reward is equal to the work put in. BCS singers are asked to work on their scores at home to familiarise themselves with their parts and to prepare before rehearsals, and this preparation is key to good performances. The commitment is rather more than a couple of hours on a Thursday evening when all is said and done.
What are we looking for if you decide to audition?
We want you to be yourself and to sing the way you really sing! Auditions are held after Thursday evening rehearsals with the Musical Director, the accompanist and another member of the musical team, and you’ll be asked to sing a prepared piece, which can be very simple, but you should choose something that suits your voice. Typical choices are folk songs, hymns or sections from well-known choral works. We will also ask you to sight-sing a short passage and sing something from the rehearsal(s) you have attended. We’re looking for a pleasant vocal quality and a basic ability to read musical notation. We really want you to pass the audition, so give it a go and we will be as helpful as possible!
For men, the standard concert dress is black dinner suit (tuxedo) and black bow tie over a white dress shirt, and for women it is a black long-sleeved top and a black full-length skirt or trousers. Women are also required to be in possession of a red scarf for most concerts. You will also need a red folder, which is available to buy after the audition. For less formal concert settings, men wear black trousers and either a black or coloured shirt depending on the programme.
Anomalies such as pink socks or non-regulation silver footwear will be frowned upon and will probably have to be discussed with the relevant authorities. You might get away with it if you are lucky, but you should take these issues up with your voice rep.
Your financial contribution
The membership fee for the Brussels Choral Society is currently set at €100 per year. Members may pay in two instalments, and the choir is more than happy to discuss reductions on a case-by-case basis, for instance for students and those who are not in employment or face restricted finances. As an inclusive organisation, it is the objective of the BCS to ensure that no singers are unable to join for financial reasons.
Members are expected to acquire their own scores for each concert; these are normally sold in advance of rehearsals.
The choir holds an obligatory choral workshop, usually once per year, and members are asked to pay for their accommodation and the cost of the guest workshop leader. From time to time the choir performs outside of Brussels, and members will be asked to contribute to travel and accommodation costs in these instances.