Auditions

Choir Master Edward Jones works with student in Paine Hall

For over 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 Handle's Judas MaccabauesGluck’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 Requiem. The choir completed a one-week tour to England in January 2019.

Students interested in joining the Harvard University Choir should plan on participating in our fall auditions, which begin on Sept. 1.

Audition Information
UChoir auditions are open to all Harvard undergraduate and graduate students. The first round audition with choir director Edward Jones consists of a solo piece, vocal range testing and music sight-reading. In second round callbacks, auditionees will sing their voice part of a selected choral piece with three current choir members.

Between the first round and callbacks, auditionees are invited to an open rehearsal focused on the music selected for the callback audition. Prospective choir members are also invited to attend a Sunday service to experience what it is like to be in the UChoir. Neither event is strictly required.

All events in the audition process take place in the Memorial Church, unless otherwise noted. If you have questions about UChoir auditions, please email us at uchoir@gmail.com.

Preliminary Auditions
Preliminary auditions for the 2021-2022 academic year will take place at the following times:

Wednesday, Sept. 1, from 2:00-4:00 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 2, from 2:00-4:00 p.m.

Saturday Sept. 4, from 2:00-4:00 p.m.

Auditions will take place in the choir room, which is located in the lower level of the 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 10 minutes, though there is sometimes a waiting time involved if multiple auditionees show up at the same time.

For our preliminary auditions, 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 will also lead you through some vocal warm-up, range testing and ask that you do some brief sight-singing exercises.

Open Rehearsal
Our open rehearsal will take place from 5-6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 2, in the Memorial Church. We will go through the music for the Sunday Service and the callback round of 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 from 4-5 p.m right before the rehearsal (feel free to arrive any time within the hour). Tea time is a beloved UChoir tradition where choir members come together catch up before rehearsal, so it is a great chance to talk to current choristers and experience the UChoir social scene.

Sunday Service

Auditionees are invited to join UChoir to sing at the first Sunday Service of the term, which will take place from 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 5. 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 Monday, Sept. 6, from 2-4 p.m. We will likely announce more specific slots for voice parts closer to the time. 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.

Auditions will be notified of decisions during the evening after the callback.

Other Events
In addition to attending the open rehearsal and Sunday service, auditionees are welcome to attend the following events to learn more about UChoir

- UChoir Choral Fellows Service: Sunday Aug. 29, 11 a.m.- 12:00 p.m. at the Memorial Church. The Choral Fellows are a 16-member subset of UChoir who performs at daily morning prayers and additional services. Stop by the Sunday Service to hear them sing their first service together since March of 2020.

- Student Activities Fair: Friday, Sept. 3 from 4- 6 p.m. in Harvard Yard: Still on the fence about auditioning for UChoir? Come talk to our student representatives at the Activities Fair!

Alternative Auditions
We recognize that auditionees, particularly those who may be arriving later on campus due to international travel restrictions, may not be able to attend the in-person events above. If this situation applies to you, please email conductor Edward Jones (edward_jones@harvard.edu) to set up an alternative audition time as soon as possible. Both in-person and virtual audition opportunities will be made available.

Please feel free to contact the Choir Secretaries Rena Cohen ‘22 and Sophie Choate ‘23 at uchoir@gmail.com with any questions about the audition process, singing with the choir, or music at Harvard!

A Backstage Look at Harvard University Choir Auditions