Q1 What is TOC?
TOC stands for The Open Choir, which is a pilot vocal improvisation project, led by musician and composer Jenni Roditi. We are a sister choir to TIC, The Improvisers’ Choir, which made its performing debut in December 2015. You can see Jenni’s introduction to TOC, recorded in September 2015 on her YouTube channel here.
Q2 That sounds interesting, how do I join?
This is an unauditioned choir. You can join by attending one of our taster workshops (see answer to question 13 for more details on when) and then by signing up to our first block of 6 rehearsals.
Q3 I can’t read music. May I still join?
Yes, we will not be using sheet music, at least for the majority of the time.
Q4 I can’t attend all the rehearsals. Can I still join?
There are six rehearsals in total, leading to a performance/sharing opportunity, so it’s not ideal if you miss any. Please discuss any possible absences with Jenni so that’s she’s aware and can advise.
Q5 I’m a soloist and have never sung with other people before. What will I need to do differently?
You will need to be open to working in a collaborative way with Jenni and the other choir members, and happy to take direction and guidance on when to take a solo and when to step back.
Q6 Will I have to sing solo?
Not unless you want to. Rehearsals, and the eventual performance, will be led by Jenni using a variety of signals that she has devised for the purpose. If the piece you are working on calls for it, there may be opportunities to take a lead if you are ready to try.
Q7 Do I have to be an experienced singer?
Ideally you will have some experience of creating music in some form or other, as a singer or a musician. You’ll need to be able to hold a tune.
Q8 What kind of people will sing in the choir?
All kinds! We are hoping to have a range of ages, backgrounds and experience. You’ll need to be open to trying new things, taking direction and working with the ensemble. Ideally we will have around 20-30 voices, male and female.
Q9 Will you teach me to sing?
It’s a group activity, so there will be limited scope for dedicated personal tutoring, but Jenni will offer technical help during rehearsals, and is happy to signpost singers to other opportunities to develop their voices.
There will be an opportunity for small group coaching sessions as needed before the rehearsal (4-6pm), and will include support from TIC singers as well. This would be like a tutorial and there will be a small extra cost.
Q10 What does it cost to take part?
The two taster workshops can be paid for individually and cost £10.00 each. The block of six rehearsals must be paid for up front and costs £30.00 – which is equal to a very reasonable £5.00 per rehearsal.
Q11 Do you offer concessions?
A11 The workshops, and particularly the rehearsals, are very competitively priced, to make them as accessible as possible whilst still being financially viable.
Q12 Where will rehearsals be?
We will be rehearsing in the funky Earl Haig Hall, in Crouch End. The full address is 18 Elder Avenue, London N8 9TH. A map of the venue is here. The venue has an on-site bar and restaurant, which we hope you’ll use before or after rehearsals to get to know your fellow singers.
Q13 OK, I’m interested, when’s all this happening?
There are two taster sessions, on Monday 14 March, 7-9pm and Monday 21 March, 7-9pm. You can sign up for either or both of them on our MeetUp page.
Rehearsals will take place from 7-9pm on Monday 4 April, Monday 11 April, Monday 18 April, Monday 25 April, Monday 2 May and Monday 9 May. You can sign up for (and pay for) these rehearsals here.
The sharing performance will take place on Thursday 12 May, at 7.30pm, to which your family and friends are most welcome.
Q14 How can I prepare for TOC?
It’s not strictly necessary to prepare, but if you would like to, you can have a listen to our sister choir, TIC, over on our YouTube channel here. You may also want to prepare by attending a workshop led by Jenni in Vocal Tai Chi. This is a similar kind of work but with more emphasis on internal processes and individual vocal exploration. The next workshop is on 28th Feb.
Q15 That’s great – how can I help?
You can help spread the word by liking our Facebook page and following us on Twitter.