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G4G VA Choir: Singing Guidelines
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"Be the change you wish to see."
Mahatma Gandhi

This message explains the differences between singing at Christmas and our quarterly events so you'll know what to expect. I hope you find this information helpful.

  • Heart: There is no difference between Christmas and quarterly events here. We want participants with a heart for doing something special for our hospitalized vets, something that says we care and appreciate their sacrifices. Whether we have 12 or 25 at an event, we all need to have warm hearts.

  • Size: The Christmas event brings in huge crowds with no limit on the numbers (yet). Our quarterly events are limited to a maximum of 25 people. Because of the limit on our numbers, RSVPs and changes to RSVPs are important. Please change your RSVP if you find you can't make an event for which you signed up so someone else can have a chance to participate.

  • Time: Christmas lasts 4-5 hours. The quarterly events last roughly 2 hours, singing in 4-6 wards. We only sing a small number of songs -- 7-10 each quarter -- and we sing through the list 4-6 times. The rehearsal is usually 2-4pm on Sunday afternoon.The event is on a Sunday afternoon for the spring event but the 4th of July and Veteran's Day are on the actual holiday, 2-4pm.

  • Performance Level: On Christmas Day, the vast majority have not practiced and most have never sung in four-part harmony. Our quarterly group DOES practice and most of our music has harmony. At Christmas, we have masses making a joyful noise. At our quarterly events, we focus on making beautiful music for our veterans. In addition to one physical rehearsal, people also practice their parts. While you can't really hear the parts very well at Christmas, you CAN hear them with 20-25 people. Practice is important so we can give the vets our best. Instrumentalists should practice playing with the recordings so they know the speed at which we do the pieces. Only those capable of singing parts should attempt to sing parts. All others should sing the melody line.

  • Vocal Balance: At Christmas, it seems like many sing their loudest, with 95% on the melody. Volume, enthusiasm, and numbers are part of what make Christmas exciting. Blending with each other and balance between the different vocal parts -- soprano, alto, tenor, bass, and/or descant -- so we sound like a choir, not just a sing along, differentiates the quarterly events.

  • Instrument Balance: We also need to have a balance between the instruments and the singers. I may ask a participant to play/sing louder or softer. Please don't take it personally; we want to make the best sound we can for our vets. A cappella pieces (noted in the songbooks) are really a cappella, unlike Christmas. The only exception is when I've assigned a part to an instrument, such as assigning someone to double one of the vocal parts. Having songs with and without instruments adds variety. We will probably play with other types of differentiation as well.

  • Attendance/Attire: Please try to be early or on time. Some people have other commitments after the event so tardiness may mean them missing part of the singing if others are late. TEXT me on my cell phone if you are going to be late or find you cannot attend. Please do not call my cell phone after 1:30, just text me. Wear nice casual clothes, preferably not jeans, and comfortable shoes as we walk good distances. Let me know if you need a wheelchair and one will be provided.