Frequently Asked Questions
How do girls become part of Sisters’ Voices?
This year (for the 2015-2016 season) all girls audition to enter Sisters’ Voices ensembles.
Next year (for the 2016-2017 season), there will be an audition for singers who are entering 4th grade and older. 2nd and 3rd graders will be able to register beginning in April on a first-come, first-served basis until the ensembles are full.
When are rehearsals held?
SV I/Dolce (2nd and 3rd graders) in Chapel Hill rehearses on Mondays from 3:30 until 4:20.
SV I/Dolce (2nd and 3rd graders) in Pittsboro rehearses on Tuesdays from 3:30 until 4:20.
SV II/Cantabile (4th-8th graders) in Chapel Hill rehearses on Mondays from 4:30 until 6:00.
SV II/Cantabile (4th-8th graders) in Pittsboro rehearses on Tuesdays from 4:30 until 6:00.
Where are rehearsals held?
Chapel Hill rehearsals are held at Church of Reconciliation (110 N. Elliott Rd., Chapel Hill).
Pittsboro rehearsals are held at Pittsboro Presbyterian Church (95 East St., Pittsboro).
How often does Sisters’ Voices perform?
We prepare two main concerts each year: one in the winter and one in the spring. We also do a fundraising gala in the fall and shorter, often less formal performances throughout the year for festivals, parties, and other events.
What will I need to do for my audition? How hard is the audition?
You’ll be asked to sing something you love, echo a few things that I’ll sing for you, and sing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”. I’ll probably sing with you a little. You can choose whether you want another person with you — your mom or dad or sibling — or whether you want to sing for me by yourself. Also, please bring along any questions you have about Sisters’ Voices.
Who will listen to my audition?
I will. I hear all of the auditions. My name is Leandra, and I like to be called Leandra by everybody. (Some kids have a hard time not calling me Miss Leandra — please know that I consider it a sign of respect that you call me by my name, Leandra, and that I do not like to be called Miss Leandra. Thank you.)
What if I’m nervous?
Take a deep breath, and do your best! Most people are nervous when they audition. Those nerves can be your friends because they help you focus in a different way. Breathing deeply really does help. And if you make a mistake or make a sound you didn’t like, just try again.
Doing an audition is hard, and I will be supportive of you doing your best! Learning is about stretching!
Do people ever NOT make it into the ensemble after auditioning?
I don’t talk about specifics about this because I don’t think it’s fair, but I will say that it is possible to audition and not be invited to sing. I’m looking for people, singers, who are good fits for us, and I think of that as broadly as I can. Some singers, either because of their skills or because of their musical aspirations, are just not good fits. For example, a singer who wanted to sing only solos would not be a good fit because we are a chorus. A singer who wanted to sing only Broadway show tunes would not be a good fit because we do not sing this music. A singer who could not match pitch consistently would not be a good fit for SV II because the skills we are working on assume that singers are matching pitch consistently. I have made a list of skills and qualities that are necessary to participate in each ensemble; you can find that list here.
In my audition, what will you be looking for?
Look here for the list of skills and qualities necessary for each ensemble. These are the things I’m looking and listening for. The very most important things to me are to know you want to sing, that you want to sing in Sisters’ Voices, and that you and your family would make a full commitment to your participation in the group for the entire year.
What if I can’t match pitch? Can I learn?
Singing is learned. Just like talking — we’re not born doing it, and if we don’t sing when we’re very young, we’ll have to work harder to learn it later, a little like learning a foreign language. And then it takes experimenting, figuring it out, getting some feedback, practicing, practicing some more, doing it with other people, and the more you do it the easier it will be come, the more consistent it will become, and the more fun you’ll have with it.
Most people who can hear (all that I’ve ever met) can also learn to match pitch. Please don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t carry a tune in a bucket and so shouldn’t be singing in an ensemble! (Parents please don’t label your children non-singers! — they can learn! — the earlier the better!) If you want to sing, you can learn how to do it, and it is a wonderful way to express yourself and to be in community with other people!
I have a private studio where I enjoy helping people learn how to sing — if you’d like to give it a try, contact me, and we can set something up.
What kind of music do Sisters’ Voices ensembles sing?
We sing music in the Western Classical tradition, and in many folk traditions from around the world. We frequently sing in languages other than English. We learn lots of games and dances that are tied to vocal music. We do not sing music in many popular traditions such as pop music, Disney, Broadway, etc. I love that you know some of this music!
I want to sing “Let It Go”. Why doesn’t Sisters’ Voices sing popular music?
— Girls often ask me to have the group sing a piece that’s popular. Popular music usually gets old at some point; people get sick of it. If we pick up a piece because it’s popular, we will have trouble maintaining focus on it when people are tired of it. But that’s not even the main reason!
— We have a limited amount of time together to learn music and to perform, and there is so much amazing music to encounter! So I choose not to study music the girls already know, or something they could learn easily from another source. Singing music that is not already part of our repertoire expands our understanding of the ways people think and of the ways people experience beauty. It gives us new musical vocabulary and skills. It opens our minds and our hearts. And it bonds us together as a group.
— In my experience, the music that we do sing provides a level of depth and interest that allows us to practice the music for a long time and that makes the girls want to hold it in their hearts for years after. You won’t love everything we sing, but hopefully you’ll be open to it, and hopefully something among it will excite and inspire you.
Email them to Leandra, and she’ll get back to you! firstname.lastname@example.org
Sisters’ Voices | P.O. Box 1657 | Pittsboro, NC 27312