Joining Sussex Chorus
As a member of Sussex Chorus, you will enjoy rehearsals every Monday evening in school term time, where our Director of Music and conductor, Stephen Anthony Brown prepares the choir for each of the performances given throughout the year. These are usually in March, June, November and December. There are no auditions but given the nature of the music we cover, it’s important to be able to read music. A bit rusty is fine - support is always available and you’ll soon catch up!
Stephen is a professional tenor and experienced conductor, and ensures we are as good as we can be for every performance. He helps us learn the music, coaches us in singing technique and then gets everything polished up in readiness for a quality performance. He also makes sure we enjoy ourselves along the way with his ready sense of humour and - apparently - bottomless pit of musical knowledge and stories.
What it means to be a member
With rehearsals every Monday evening during term time, members of Sussex Chorus enjoy learning new music, revisiting old favourites and working on the quality of our singing with Stephen who, aside from being an experienced conductor, is a professional tenor soloist and singing coach. We all try to do a bit of 'homework' too so that rehearsals can focus on preparing for a really great quality performance.
As with many group and learning activities, there is a fee for joining Sussex Chorus. This income enables the choir to enjoy concerts in great venues supported by talented soloists and orchestras. It also means we benefit from the skills of Stephen and our rehearsal accompanist, Jeremy Weaver.
We usually perform four times a year, in Spring, Summer, Autumn and at Christmas. We take a break over the Summer and during the other school holidays.
Our expectation of members is that they will do their best to commit to the majority of rehearsals and, preferably the performances. We know, of course, that work, family and other responsibilities can get in the way sometimes and we will always be understanding of this.
When and where are rehearsals?
Rehearsals take place at St Paul's Catholic College in Jane Murray Way, Burgess Hill. We use their spacious assembly hall, quality grand piano and can make refreshments in the break. There is ample parking and good, ground floor access. We rehearse from 7.15 to 9.30pm on Mondays during term time from September through to the end of June, breaking after our Summer concert.
How much does it cost?
There is an annual subscription of £185, paid at the start of each season (usually September, £5 discount for prompt payment). Some members choose to pay in instalments in which case there will be two payments due before the end of October and February. The only other expense to expect is music hire - or purchase if you prefer. Our music librarian sources all necessary scores for us and organises hire or purchase at cost.
I'm a bit inexperienced, can I get support?
Absolutely! On an individual basis, new members will often be paired up with someone more experienced and benefit from a confident voice by their side as they learn new music. We also make sure choir members are aware of all learning resources, often available online so it's easy to practice at home. When it comes to performances, again more experienced singers will make sure newcomers know what's expected.
This all sounds a bit serious! Is there a social side?
Again, absolutely! We pride ourselves on being a friendly and welcoming choir. Our Membership secretary, Diana, will ensure you are fully informed when you first get in touch and will continue to be available if you have queries. Stephen and Jeremy are both warm and friendly people and ensure rehearsals are fun and good-humoured.
We also arrange social events - a Summer barbecue for example and our own 'pub quiz' - and there is always a half-time break at rehearsals with time for meeting other members and enjoying a chat.