Raising Your Voice with an incredible mixed-voice a cappella chorus in New Jersey!
Frequently Asked Questions about becoming a member of Somerset Hills Harmony
What is Somerset Hills Harmony?
Somerset Hills Harmony is an a cappella choral ensemble with a membership of dedicated and talented singers. With a varied repertoire, the company of singers strives to be the area’s most entertaining and talented vocal group.
Vocal and musical excellence is the primary focus and hallmark. SHH accomplishes this with a relaxed, unforced, stress free style of singing, organization and leadership. The group features flexible voice part selection with singers encouraged to select the part they would like in each song.
We are excited to follow an entrepreneurial approach with this chorus and humbled that many talented musical leaders and singers are contributing. There is a wealth of musical leadership experience within our ranks that share their talents to raise the skill level of each of us. We are continually improving and seek out our members’ ideas, contributions and input in continuing to set our path. As a member your voice will matter!
What type of music do you perform?
Pieces range from contemporary choral works, to traditional, pop, Broadway, doo wop and barbershop. Songs may range from four to nine voice parts and often feature solos, duets, or vocal percussion. Each piece will challenge the ensemble in a unique way and the fresh collection of music will ensure there’s “a little somethin’ for everyone”. Examples of our repertoire include "To Make You Feel My Love" (Bob Dylan, Adele, Billy Joel, Garth Brooks), "Joy to the World" (Three Dog Night), "The Fields of Athenry" (Pete St. John, Paddy Reilly), "I Love Being Here with You" (Peggy Lee, Queen Latifa), "I'll Be There for You" (Theme from Friends), "Seasons of Love" (Rent).
What is the Path to Membership
After you have visited two rehearsals we will chat with you about your interest in joining. There is no specific audition to be a member. Instead our directors will informally assess your ability to blend into, and contribute towards, the sound of the chorus. Once you have been recommended for membership by our directors we will provide you with an application to start the process.
Can you be a little more specific on the skills needed to be a member?
While the qualities are many-fold, you very well may have all that it takes and just don't know it yet! The skills listed below are demonstrated by our members - even though some skills weren't evident when they first started with the group. Much of what we look for will be developed and finessed by each member regardless of their starting level. Our directors will have an eye out for your ability to develop and hone the following basic performing skills:
BASIC TONE PRODUCTION: The voice must be pleasant and contribute to the overall ensemble sound. The volume must be appropriate for the piece.
IN-TUNE SINGING: A cappella close-harmony demands a much greater sense of pitch than other musical styles.
RHYTHMIC ABILITY: The ability to sing complex rhythms is important. Your singing must be synchronized rhythmically with other singers as well.
SENSITIVITY TO INTERVALS: You must be able to hear some uncommon pitch intervals that are used in so many of our modern arrangements.
INDEPENDENT SINGING: You should be capable of singing a different part than the singer next to you and possibly without a director in front.
HARMONIC INTUITION: Some natural sense of harmony is necessary even if you plan to sing lead/melody for a given song.
MUSICAL MEMORY: You must know your part prior to attending rehearsal and, within a short time, without the use of sheet music during rehearsals and performances.
VISUAL PERFORMANCE: You must be able to tell the story of the song through you’re your voice and your physical being. The group will have a common interpretation of each song, and your vocal and visual performance bring it to life.
What is Expected of Members?
Some of the hallmarks of SHH are the reasonable rehearsal schedule and low stress rehearsal approach. Our members dedicate time between rehearsals on mastering the music. This allows our directors to make the most out of our limited rehearsals. Along those lines, focus on the musical leadership during rehearsal must be a priority, with limited discussion while rehearsing music.
We are a member led and operated group. Every member helps through the year with some members heavily contributing while others pitch in on small tasks here and there.
How much is membership?
We strive to keep the cost of participating manageable and in line with other performing arts groups in our area. Currently membership dues cost just over $25 a month. Expenses for competition and wardrobe is additional. Dues are reduced for full time students and active duty military. Some financial assistance may be available and any such requests will be kept confidential.
How often are rehearsals and performances?
We strive to meet three times per month. Rehearsals are generally two Mondays a month, plus a “bonus” 5th Monday (when applicable) and/or a Saturday. We host a spring a cappella festival and a community holiday concert, as well as appearing as guests in concerts of area choruses. In 2022 we plan to attend at least one (possibly two) Barbershop Harmony Society events.
The Gold Dynamic Opportunity
We are much more than an a cappella chorus! Standing within the choir are members of our auditioned contemporary a cappella ensemble, The Gold Dynamic. GD is largely alumni from collegiate a cappella groups bringing a fresh take on popular songs: no instruments, just voices. SHH members are welcome to audition for a spot with GD as openings become available.
SHH and GD are a part of the Barbershop Harmony Society (BHS) and the Contemporary A Cappella League. We are proud to be a part of these communities of harmony, support and friendship.
For more information about Somerset Hills Harmony and how to become a member, feel free to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.