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 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 will tour to New York and New Haven in April-May 2022.Students interested in joining the Harvard University 

Audition Information

Students interested in joining the Harvard University Choir for the 2022-2023 school year should plan on auditioning at the end of Spring Term (more information below) or the start of Fall Term (schedule to be released in Summer 2022). The choice of audition season will not affect one’s chances of being accepted into the choir, though we encourage students already on campus to audition in the spring if possible.
 
Audition Schedule
 
Spring auditions for the 2022-2023 school year will take place at the following times during Reading Period:
 
Thursday, April 28, from 1:00-4:00 p.m.
Friday, April 29, from 10:00 a.m - 1:00 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.
 
If you are interested in auditioning during the spring but cannot attend either of these slots, please email us at uchoir@gmail.com to set up an alternative time.
 
Audition Format
 
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.
 
If you are interested in auditioning for the Choral Fellows (see below for more information), you will also have the opportunity to sing a short piece that we will teach you in a quartet with current Fellows.
 
We highly encourage anyone interested in the Choir to audition—it is a quick and easy process that may lead to years of wonderful music-making and community. We have had musicians from all backgrounds successfully join the Choir, ranging from instrumentalist 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 vast 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, pease email us at uchoir@gmail.com.
 
Other Events
 
We highly encourage anyone interested in performing with UChoir to attend at least one Sunday Service, Evensong, Compline, or Morning Prayers service in order to get a feel for the sound of the Choir and the tone of Memorial Church services. We perform multiple services every week, so there will always be something that fits into your schedule! If you would like to sit in on a Sunday Choir rehearsal (which take place 5:00-6:30 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday) or a Choral Fellows rehearsal (which take place weekdays 8:00-8:30 a.m.), please contact uchoir@gmail.com.
 
If you are interested in getting to know members of the Choir, we invite you to join us for Tea Time on Tuesday, April 26th from 4:00-5:00 p.m. in the Memorial Church Student Oasis. There are always fresh baked goods and wonderful conversations to be had!
 
Sunday Choir vs. Choral Fellows
 
This spring, we will be holding auditions for both the Sunday Choir (also called the “Full Choir” or just “UChoir”) and the Choral Fellows. The Sunday Choir sings every week at Sunday morning services, rehearses 5:00-6:30 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday, and performs 3-6 additional large-scale concerts per year. In addition to fulfilling the commitments of the Sunday Choir, the Choral Fellows sing 4 weekdays per week at Morning Prayers from 8:00-8:45 a.m., and several other special concerts and services throughout the year. In a typical week, the Sunday Choir works for about 6 hours, and the Choral Fellows work for about 10 hours. In both cases, choristers are paid for all rehearsals and performances at a rate of $14.25 per hour. The Choral Fellows also receive ten free voice lessons per semester in recognition of their additional commitment and in support of their musical development as leaders in the choir.
 
During spring auditions, auditionees will be asked to specify which group (Sunday Choir vs. Choral Fellows) they would like to be considered for.
 

A Backstage Look at Harvard University Choir Auditions