Rules Of Membership
Rules and Regulations
The Choir shall be known as NEXT STAGE CHOIR, hereafter called ‘the choir’ or ‘We’, and is legally named Next Stage Choir Limited. The Choir is a mixed voice choir. The Choir shall not be known by any other name, neither will it have an affiliation to any other choir or organisation. The Choir is broken down into three smaller Choirs, separated by location, which run independently, but under the same name of Next Stage Choir.
2.1. The Choir shall rehearse weekly on an evening decided by the Choir Director (also referred to as Musical Director). The regular evening for rehearsal session is to be a Monday for the Marlow Choir, Tuesday for the St. Albans Choir and Thursday for the Aylesbury Choir. In the event of the Choir's regular venue being unavailable, then arrangements will be made to relocate as necessary, and members will be notified as soon as possible. Should the principle Choir Director be unable to lead rehearsals for any reason whatsoever, either a suitable replacement will be found, the rehearsal will be rescheduled to a later date or subsequent rehearsals may be extended as deemed necessary by the Choir Director.
2.2. Joint rehearsals will be scheduled as seen appropriate and/or necessary by the Choir Director, and will take place in either Marlow, St. Albans, Aylesbury or at a central location as necessary.
2.3. There will sometimes be a need for a rehearsal to be classed as compulsory. These will be advised as early as possible, and in every possible case, advised at the time of checking member availability for any related performance. Members must take part in compulsory rehearsals to be included in the related performance.
f3. Rehearsal Schedules
3.1. The full rehearsal and performance schedule is available on the website.
3.2. Regular rehearsals will commence promptly at 7.30pm and end at 9.30pm unless otherwise advised. There may be a short break during the rehearsal. The choir will meet throughout the year, with period breaks as decided by the CD.
4. Aims and Objects
The Choir has been established to meet the following objectives:
- To learn and perform choral music to the highest possible standard.
- To educate members in vocal development and choral singing.
- To perform publicly for the purposes of entertainment or for the choir's financial gain.
- To raise money for charitable organisations as will such engage the choir the from time to time.
- To perform at events and functions as shall be requested.
- To promote choral singing to the general public through concerts and other events.
To learn choral music in a conducive atmosphere and to maintain the enjoyment of music making.
5.1. Members will have usually reached their 16th birthday before being eligible for membership of the choir. However the Choir Director can exercise discretion and allow younger members to join on condition their parents/guardians complete a parental consent form and that a responsible adult known to them already holds membership of the choir. Any new member is subject to a satisfactory probationary period.
5.2. Anyone wishing to join the choir must meet the criteria of the Choir Director in all cases. Such criteria are as follows:
- Be fit and able to meet the demands of performing publicly.
- Be willing to work hard as part of a dedicated team.
- Follow the instructions of the Choir Director or other nominated officer.
- Undertake an audition if so requested.
- Be proactive and promote the objects and aims of the choir.
5.3. Members are permitted to remain with the choir as long as they are able to do so. Disabled persons will not be discouraged from becoming members of the choir but they must be able to meet the demands of the choir both chorally and physically. Acceptance into the Choir is at the Choir Director's discretion.
6. Membership Fees
The membership fee is payable, irrespective of attendance. Memberships are charged monthly and run per calendar month throughout the year, starting on the 1st of each month, irrespective of the number of rehearsals or performances. Payments are made by Direct Debit. The Choir does not accept monthly subscriptions by cash, cheque or bank transfer. There is a ONE-OFF Joining fee. The joining fee covers membership administration. When joining the Choir after the first rehearsal of the month, a pro-rata payment will be required for the current month, and your first full payment will be due the 1st of the following month. In the event of a payment being unpaid (including late payments) for a period of 14 days or more, a late payment fee of £10 will be charged for each subsequent 2 week period until the payment is received.
7.1. The choir define a calendar month as one starting on the 1st of the month and ending on the last day of the month.
7.2. In the unlikely event you decide to cancel your membership, new members (those who have not been members before) can cancel their membership at any time in writing during the joining month of membership or subsequent calendar month without notice. They will however not receive a refund of any subscription paid.
7.3. In the following calendar month, members can cancel their membership giving one full calendar month’s notice.
7.4. After this time the notice period is three calendar months.
7.5. If you have been a member before, members can cancel their membership at any time in writing giving three calendar months' notice. Joining fees are non-refundable. If you decide to re-join the choir at any time, a further joining fee will be charged, unless within twelve months of your leaving.
7.6 All fees and payments paid to date are non-refundable in all cases.f8. Attendance
8.1. Members are encouraged to attend regular rehearsals and take part in as many performances as they would like to.
8.2. If members are unable to attend a rehearsal their Voice Representative must be informed.
8.3. If members are unable to make a performance, then the CLO or higher officer in the Choir must be informed.
8.4. If members have a regularly-occurring reason for absenteeism then the Choir Director must be informed at the earliest opportunity. Members must attend a rehearsal immediately prior to a performance. Failure to do so may render the member liable to be unable to take part in the performance. In the event of extended absence due to illness or accident, Choir members may, if they wish, contact the CD or CM for consideration of the temporary relaxation of membership fees.
8.5. Members will only be eligible to perform in a performance if:
a) They have attended enough regular rehearsal to be confident in the music.
b) They have attended all required compulsory rehearsals.
c) They have attended the last three rehearsals where a known piece of the Choir is being performed which the member has not performed previously.
8.6. Where Polling software (or similar) is used to ascertain member availability:
a) All Polls MUST be completed by ALL members regardless of availability or interest in any given project or performance. This is not only for a sign of commitment, but for the CD to ensure performances are balanced and the correct size of choir is available.
b) Members’ given answers are taken as commitment - Dates and commitment should be noted down in members’ diaries. The CD or CLO will advise members as and when dates are confirmed or unconfirmed.
c) Members who do not complete the Poll will not be considered for the performance or project and will be marked as not available. Guarantees cannot be made should a member then ask to be included in the performance or project.
8.7. There may be occasions where a smaller choir is required for a performance or project. After checking availability, it will be at the CD’s discretion as to who is selected to take part. This decision will be based on attendance levels, blend, balance, sound and suitability.
8.8. The Choir takes no responsibility whatsoever for any loss, theft or damage to any Choir members or their friends, family or guests' belongings, and in any car parking areas.
9. Compulsory Rehearsals
Members are required to attend compulsory rehearsals as is defined by the Choir Director in order to perform in a respective concert.
10. Choir Management
10.1. The Choir shall be the responsibility of the Choir Director. A committee will also exist to ensure clear communication and referral in a democratic way, and all committee members shall take collective responsibility for the decisions made at any meeting of the committee. The committee shall regularly consist of:
- Choir Director (honorary)
- Choir Manager (honorary)
- Voice Representative (One per voice part: Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass)
- Choir Liaison Officer
10.2 Members can be co-opted into roles such as, but not limited to, Choir Librarian, Marketing Manager, Uniform Co-ordinator as necessary. The committee can also co-opt sub committees from time to time to take on specific tasks such as the organising of fundraising ventures.
11. Term of Office
11.1. In order to maintain a sense of continuity, all officers (except Choir Director and Choir Manager) shall serve for a period of one year in the first instance but be eligible for re-election.
12.2. Nominations and Elections will take place each and every January as necessary.f12. Areas of Responsibility
Choir Director – The Choir Director (or CD) shall have ultimate and overall responsibility for the organisational and management affairs of the Choir. The CD shall be appointed for their professionalism in music and choral production and performance. The CD shall oversee all Choir tuition, stage presentation and concert management, as well as auditions and other choral activities. The CD shall consult with the honorary officers of the committee and liaise with them in decision making. The CD will also oversee press releases in the name of the Choir. The CD will act as ambassador of the choir. The CD will have sole discretion of stage management and has the necessary authority to prevent a member from taking part in a performance after stating the reasons for the decision being taken. The CD will also be responsible for selecting the Choir’s repertoire. The CD also reserves the right to appoint a stage manager as required. The CD is responsible for designing and maintaining the Choir's website.
Choir Manager - The Choir Manager (or CM) shall be responsible for the management affairs of the Choir. The CM shall consult with the honorary officers of the committee and liaise with them in decision making. The CD shall be responsible for the marketing and promotion of the Choir and any fundraising projects. The CM shall be responsible to co-ordination Voice Representatives and other Choir officers. The CD shall liaise directly with third party venues and concert engagers. The CM will manage social networking and assist in devising recruitment programs for developing the Choir.
Voice Representative - The Voice Representative (or VR) is responsible for looking after his/her Choir section (Soprano, Alto, Tenor or Bass), assigning a 'Choir-Buddy' for new members, to ensure a smooth welcome and transition into the Choir. The VR will assist members in any musical or logistical questions or issues they have. The VR will assist section members to ensure they have copies of any ‘additional’ music (music that is not purchased, but to be printed at home). The VR will report director to the CD and CM as needed. The VR are responsible for helping with recruitment of new members for their section, arranging social events and making the environment as friendly and as enjoyable as possible. They are responsible for ensuring their section works efficiently and arrives on time to rehearsals and performances. VR are required to complete their own attendance register for their voice part members, for each and every rehearsal and performance, and make such information available to the CD, CM or CLO as required.fChoir Liaison Officer - The Choir Liaison Officer (or CLO) is responsible for being at rehearsals at the start to ensure Choir members are made to feel welcome upon arrival. The CLO is also responsible for ensuring attendance registers are produced, completed and kept safe for reference. The CLO is to ensure new members are introduced to their VR and to handle any queries in respect of the venue or rehearsal. The CLO is responsible for the sale of music and handing out of any lyric sheets where required. Sold items must be documented and any monies collected must be handed to the CM or CD at the end of the rehearsal. The CLO is also responsible for assisting with transport arrangements for the choir.
13. Role of the Committee
The committee has the responsibility to ensure the smooth running of the Choir, and that members observe the rules and regulations. The committee will ensure that activities are carried out and decisions made are in the best interests of the choir. If necessary the committee can organise sub-committees to take on specific tasks such as fundraising or the organising of a specific event, with direction and instruction from honorary officers. No member of the committee shall exercise their right to power for the adverse effect of the choir.
14. Meetings of the Committee
The committee shall meet periodically to discuss Choir business as required.
15. Member Code of Conduct and Attire
15.1. Each member of the choir shall conduct themselves in keeping with the expected standards as stated by the Choir Director and as laid down in the Choir Rules and Regulations. Members shall attire in accordance with the uniform policy of the Choir for all Choir performances. In the event of an informal uniform being required, then members will be informed in sufficient time. The uniform of the choir shall be thus:
Ladies - Black Trousers/Skirts, black Shoes and a black top (short sleeves are permitted, however T-Shirts are not), tights optional, pink choir Scarf (as sold and supplied by the choir at £10 each).
Men - Black trousers, Black Shoes, Black long sleeved shirt, choir pin (as sold and supplied by the choir at £3 each).
15.2. Members are asked to refrain from wearing excessive jewellery and chunky bracelets.
15.3. Members attending a public performance not correctly attired may not be permitted to stage as part of that performance. In such cases the decision of the Choir Director shall be final.
15.4. Members are not permitted to be under the influence of drink or drugs at a rehearsal or public performance. Any member thought to be so will not be permitted to participate.
15.5. Members are not permitted to discuss any details of any sensitive or confidential information, such as finances or policy, outside the confines of the Choir. Any member found to be doing so will be deemed as having brought the choir into disrepute and may be asked to resign membership of the Choir.
15.6. When engaged in Choir business no member shall take it upon themselves to make any official complaint to any third party organisation. If a member has a concern or grievance with any third party or venue then the member will contact a Choir officer. Any member who breaches this will be deemed to have brought the Choir into disrepute.
16. Public Performances
16.1. All members of the Choir should engage in a ‘sense of occasion’ and conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times. All members will contain their music scores in their official Choir folder (supplied when joining) and will carry and hold them as directed by the Choir Director or authorised deputy, unless otherwise advised. If a member loses their folder or needs a replacement at any time, these are charged at £15 each. Music copies will be used at all public performances as directed by the Choir Director unless otherwise advised. All members will be expected to follow directions of the Choir Director at all performances. Members are not permitted to talk whilst on stage, either at the start or end of a performance or in between pieces.
16.2. The sharing of music is not permitted in public performances. The CD has the right to refuse a member from performing in any part/all of any given performance where the members does not have their own copy(ies) of the music available.
16.3. The CD has the right to refuse a member to perform where they arrive late without prior agreement to the rehearsal immediately prior to a performance, and/or the performance itself.f17. Medication Issues
Members required to take regular medication (e.g. for epilepsy of diabetes), or are on any type of medication which could affect their role within the Choir, MUST inform the Choir Director and also must ensure that this medication is up to date and taken as necessary prior to stage performance. Anyone on any type of medication is expected to take sufficient care of their own welfare.
18. Health and Safety
Members have a duty of care under health and safety law for themselves and others affected by their action. Members will always be notified of H&S issues at a performance venue. The Choir cannot take responsibility for any injury, however caused. If a member has a health and safety issue with a venue then they must speak with the Choir Manager and Choir Director. A health and safety matter must not be dealt with by a member of the Choir. The Choir takes no responsibility whatsoever for any death, injury or illness that may occur to members, their family, friends or guests, and in respect of any Choir activities. The Choir is not responsible for vocal health. Members should consult a doctor if they are unsure whether they are fit to sing or be part of the Choir.
19. Public Engagement and Fees
19.1. The Choir shall perform public concerts in order to raise money for charitable causes, organisations or for own financial gain. Requests for concert performances should be directed to the Choir Manager or Choir Director. The choir will, in most cases, restrict the number of concerts to not exceed 12 concerts in any calendar year. However this can be subject to the discretion of the Choir Director who can increase or decrease this number depending on the learning schedule and repertoire of the Choir.
19.2. The Choir Director shall have the authority to prohibit a member from performing as necessary (e.g. if there is a space restriction, if the performances warrants a smaller group of singers, where the member does not meet the required standard or has not attended sufficient rehearsal).
19.3 Members are not permitted to represent the Choir under their own accord without permission by the Choir Director. This includes any performances. Members are not permitted to perform alongside other members of the choir as a representation of the Choir, nor using any of the Choir’s repertoire.f20. Marketing
From time to time, Photographers/Videographers and/or Journalists may attend Choir rehearsals or concerts. Please be aware that photographs taken or quotes given may be used in newspapers, periodicals, various publications and on the Choir website. The Choir cannot take any responsibility for any third parties, inaccurate quotations or copy printed. The Choir may use any or all photographic, audio or video content for marketing or commercial purposes as required without further consent or payment of any kind. Any recording (either audio or visual) of any Choir activities is strictly forbidden unless authorised by the Choir Director.
21. Issue and Use of Choral Music
21.1 Music is charged separately to membership and all members are required to purchase music as and when required by the Choir. Music will be supplied in hard copy at rehearsals and also in digital format when available.
21.2 Payment is charged half-yearly via the Choir’s direct debit system and includes all music and licensing in one fixed amount. The Choir does not loan music. The Choir is not responsible for any loss or damage to music.
22.2 Audio tracks may be produced and provided to members. These are solely for practice purposes only and may not be used for any other purpose without written permission by the Choir Director.
22. Social Activity
22.1. The social aspect of the Choir is to be encouraged wherever possible. The Choir as an organisation is to nurture a friendly atmosphere and meetings socially are to be encouraged.
22.2. WhatsApp is for social and member to member use only. It is not to be used for official business nor advising of availability or attendance.
23. Massed Choral Participation
From time to time the Choir may be asked to participate in combined concerts or massed choral events. Participation at such an event is subject to the consent of the Choir Director and this decision will be taken in light of the Choir's own concert diary and financial position.f24. Auditions
Upon joining the choir the Choir Director auditions all members as required to ensure the applicant is able to pitch and meet the standard of the Choir. The audition is done on a one-to-one basis and is designed to ensure the musical standard of the Choir remains as high as is possible. As a result of audition, members may be asked to reposition within the Choir. Any member who is deemed unsuitable may be asked to leave, either temporarily, to seek tuition in order to meet the standards of the Choir, or if it is felt they are unsuitable. In these cases, membership fees would be suspended, and if the member was to rejoin at any time within 12 months, the joining fee would be waived. At all times the standard of the Choir shall be paramount and members are expected to respect this.
26. Backstage Area