Auditions

Choir Master Edward Jones works with student in Paine Hall

For more than 180 years, the Harvard University Choir has provided a unique opportunity for student singers to perform diverse choral literature at the highest level, both in concert and during the services of the Memorial Church. Its program of daily and weekly choral services, tours, commissions, and recordings make it one of the leading college chapel ensembles in the United States. 

Recent seasons have included Handel's Judas MaccabaeusGluck’s Alceste, the U.S. premiere of Gareth Treseder's In Flanders Field: War Cantata , Monteverdi's Vespers, Dove's Tobias and the Angel, Haydn’s Creation, Handel’s L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, Bach’s Mass in B minor, Britten’s St.Nicolas, Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, Paulus's The Three Hermitsand Mozart’s RequiemThe choir completed a one-week tour to England in January 2019, and toured New York city and New Haven, Conn., in May.

Overview of UChoir Auditions

UChoir auditions take place in two phases: a preliminary audition, where auditionees sing a solo piece and do some range testing and sight-singing for our choral director; and a callback, where auditionees sing their voice part from a choral piece in a quartet with three current choristers.

In between these two rounds, UChoir hosts an open rehearsal, where auditionees can meet the choir and learn the piece tested in quartet auditions. Those who receive a callback invitation are also invited to sing in a Sunday service, in which auditionees get to further practice that piece and experience performing with UChoir. It is highly recommended that auditionees attend both the open rehearsal and the Sunday service (the latter if invited), in order to learn the callback piece and get a better sense of the UChoir experience, but neither is strictly required.

We highly encourage anyone interested in the Choir to audition—it is a quick and easy process that can lead to years of wonderful music-making and community. We have had musicians from all backgrounds successfully join the Choir, ranging from instrumentalists to opera singers to a cappella music directors, and we believe this diversity in musical background makes the Choir stronger. We do generally expect that all choristers will enter with some background in reading music, as we learn a high quantity of music very quickly. However, there is still a range of sight-reading ability within the choir, and you do not by any means have to be a perfect sight-reader to audition (no one ever is!). If you have any questions about whether UChoir may be a good fit musically for you, please email us at uchoir@gmail.com.

All audition events take place in Memorial Church, unless otherwise noted. Please feel free to contact the Choir Secretaries, Sophie Choate ‘23 and Soren Choi '24 at uchoir@gmail.com (or on Instagram @harvarduchoir) with any questions about the audition process, singing with the choir, or music at Harvard more generally!

Preliminary Auditions

Preliminary auditions for the 2022-2023 year will take place at the following times:

Tuesday, Aug. 30, from 2-4 p.m.

Wednesday, Aug, 31, from 2-4 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 1, from 2-4 p.m.

Saturday Sept. 3, from 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

Auditions will take place in the choir room, which is located in the basement of Memorial Church. There is no need to pre-register; feel free to show up any time within the audition window. Auditions typically take no more than ten minutes, though there is sometimes a waiting time involved if multiple auditionees show up at the same time. (To avoid a wait, auditionees are encouraged to audition on the first couple of audition dates, which are typically less crowded!)

Upon arrival, the student leaders of the choir will welcome you, guide you through filling out a contact form, and answer any questions you may have. For the audition itself, we ask that you prepare a short piece (a solo work if you have one, but a hymn tune or “Happy Birthday” will do as well). Our choir director Ed Jones will also lead you through some vocal warm-up, range testing and ask that you do some brief sight-singing exercises.

The night of your audition date, you will receive an update on your callback status.

Open Rehearsal

Our open rehearsal will take place from 5-6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 1, in Memorial Church. We will go through the music for the Sunday Service and the callback auditions. We highly recommend that all auditionees attend this rehearsal.

We also invite you to join us for "tea time," a social hour with the choir in the Student Oasis (lower level of the MemChurch) from 4-5 p.m right before the open rehearsal (feel free to arrive any time within the hour). Tea time is a beloved UChoir tradition where choir members come together and catch up before rehearsal, and there are always fresh baked goods and wonderful conversations to be had!

Sunday Service

Auditionees who receive a callback invitation are also invited to join UChoir to sing at the first full-choir Sunday Service of the term, which will take place from 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 4. The service will feature music from the prior Thursday’s open rehearsal, as well as common UChoir hymns and psalms.

Callback Auditions

Callback auditions will take place on Sunday, Sept. 4, from 2-5 p.m. (Typically, this time is divided up by voice parts, with each callback audition taking only a few minutes. Please ensure you are available for at least some portion of the 2-5 p.m. window.) The callback involves singing an excerpt from the music learned at the open rehearsal/Sunday service with three members of the choir singing the other three voice parts with you.

Auditionees will be notified of decisions soon after the callback, and newly accepted choristers will be invited to a casual reception that evening.

Other Events

In addition to attending the open rehearsal, auditionees are welcome to attend the following events to learn more about UChoir:

- UChoir Choral Fellows Service: Sunday, Aug. 28, 11 a.m.- 12 p.m. at Memorial Church. The Choral Fellows are a 16-member subset of UChoir which performs daily at morning prayers. Stop by the Sunday Service to hear the Fellows of 2022-23 sing their first performance!

- Choral Fellows Compline Service: Thursday, Sept. 1, 9-9:30 p.m. Compline is a beautiful candlelit service held the first Thursday night of each month. Come to grab your own candle and enjoy a peaceful end to the day with music provided by the Choral Fellows.

- Student Activities Fair(s): Friday, Sept. 2, from 3:30 - 5:30 p.m. in Harvard Yard: Still on the fence about auditioning for UChoir, or just want to chat? Come talk to our student representatives at the Student Involvement Fair! (We also plan to be at the HDS and GSAS fairs, subject to change.)

Alternative Auditions

If you are unable to make the audition times listed above or have other extenuating circumstances, please email conductor Ed Jones (edward_jones@harvard.edu) as soon as possible. Please note that typically, no separate auditions are held for the spring semester; all prospective auditionees should plan to audition in the first week of the fall semester if they wish to sing in the choir in 2022-23.

More Information

Check out our Instagram @harvarduchoir (and links in bio) for more information, UChoir FAQ, recordings, and more! And feel free to email us anytime at uchoir@gmail.com.

A Backstage Look at Harvard University Choir Auditions