DISCOVER THE VOICE IN EVERYTHING

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Auditions


Join the May Festival Chorus!


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May Festival Chorus
May Festival Youth Chorus

Let’s hear your beautiful voice.

Love music and like to sing? This is for you. Below you’ll find information on auditioning for the May Festival Chorus and May Festival Youth Chorus.

Why join the Chorus?

There are lots of reasons, and you’ll probably have your own. Often, people feel a sense of community, singing with others. Or they might find escape, a part of their week that’s totally separate, where they get to do this very cool thing. Or it can be a rush, being on stage. And to be on stage with one of the great orchestras in the world is something else. Or maybe you just love the big feelings of big music. Maybe you have something to sing. Whatever the reason, we’d welcome the chance to hear you audition.

May Festival Chorus

We invite singers of all voice types to audition for the May Festival Chorus. Live, in-person auditions for the 2021-2022 season will next be held in January 2022, but virtual auditions can be scheduled until November 2021. Singers should prepare one or two vocal solos that demonstrate their best vocal qualities. Foreign language works are welcomed. An pianist is provided, and auditioning singers should bring a copy of their music for the pianist. A list of common audition works is below, and singers are welcome to offer these selctions at their audition. The Director of Choruses may also ask to hear some vocal exercises.

For each work listed below, there are three files: a PDF of the score, a MIDI learning track, and a piano accompaniment. The learning track is for your reference and mirrors the learning tracks made available to chorus members each week in preparation for our rehearsals. Be prepared to sing with a live accompanist in the audition, however.

Fill out the online audition form to indicate your interest. Our chorus manager will contact you to arrange a time. If you’re unavailable for the scheduled audition time, other arrangements can be made. The audition will last approximately ten minutes, and we’ll notify you of the result within one week. 

Audition PieceScoreLearning TrackPiano Track
Schubert, An Die Musik (D major) View Listen Listen
Schubert, An Die Musik (B flat major) View Listen Listen
Giordano, Caro Mio Ben (E flat major) View Listen Listen
Giordano, Caro Mio Ben (D flat major) View Listen Listen
Mozart, O Isis und Osiris View Listen Listen
Traditional, The Water is Wide View Listen Listen
Purcell, When I am Laid in Earth View Listen Listen

 

May Festival Chorus FAQ


What kind of music does the May Festival Chorus sing?

Much of the Chorus’s energy is devoted to the symphonic choral repertoire (works for chorus and orchestra) in partnership with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, ranging from pieces by J. S. Bach to commissions and American premieres. The Chorus frequently appears with the Cincinnati Pops to perform a broad range of musical styles, including operetta, musical theatre, film music, and newly-composed works. Additionally, the Chorus and the May Festival Chamber Choir perform a cappella programs, such as the 2019 performance of Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil.

How often does the Chorus perform? Where are the concerts?

In a typical year, the Chorus presents two or three programs with the CSO during their subscription season (September-April) and presents four unique programs with the CSO during the May Festival. The Chorus is most frequently heard at Cincinnati Music Hall, which was built for the 1878 May Festival. The Chorus, in full or in part, may also appear at holiday and summertime concerts with the Pops, and at any number of local and regional venues.  

In recent seasons, the Chorus appeared in some of Cincinnati’s most notable artistic projects, including CSO Look Around (2019), Cincinnati Ballet’s Carmina Burana (2018), Leonard Bernstein’s MASS at the 2018 May Festival, and Lumenocity. (2013-2015).

What is the time commitment for members of the May Festival Chorus?

The Chorus rehearses every Tuesday from September-May from 7-10pm at Music Hall. During Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestra concert weeks, members can expect one rehearsal with the conductor, two rehearsals with the Orchestra, and two or three performances. (This standard formula is sometimes altered.) Rehearsals are occasionally added at the discretion of the Director of Choruses.

Does it cost money to join the May Festival Chorus?

No! There are no annual dues or fees associated with membership in the May Festival Chorus. The organization provides members with scores, folders, learning materials, parking passes, ticket discounts, meals during extended rehearsal periods, concert uniforms, and more. Additionally, the Chorus provides free, individual voice lessons with professional singing teachers to interested chorus members.

I’m not a professional musician. Should I still audition?

Yes! Most members of the Chorus are not professional musicians, but instead work in a wide variety of industries such as healthcare, business, education, and more. Some have degrees in music, but many do not. If you love the thrill of choral-orchestral music, if you like to sing—that’s all you need.

How do rehearsals work?

Each week, the Director of Choruses announces the music that will be covered in the following week’s rehearsal. Learning materials are made available online, and the singers are expected to learn the assigned excerpts in preparation for the following week’s rehearsal. This enables us to rehearse efficiently and prepare a high volume of music each season.

 

May Festival Youth Chorus

Interested singers of all voice types in grades 8-12 are invited to audition for the May Festival Youth Chorus, including those with changed and changing voices. Online and live, in-person auditions will be held in August 2021. A list of suggested audition works appears below. Singers can select one work from the list and should be prepared to sing it along with the pre-recorded accompaniment (virtual) or with a live pianist (in-person) in the audition. Additionally, the chorus director may also ask to hear some vocal exercises and ear training exercises.

If you prefer to perform a song not listed here, that’s OK! Please notify the Chorus Manager when you sign up of this preference. We prefer that you sing along with an accompaniment, but unaccompanied auditions are accepted.

For each listed work, there are three files: a PDF copy of the score, a MIDI learning track, and a piano accompaniment. The learning track is for your reference and mirrors the learning tracks made available to chorus members. Singers can should use the piano track for online auditions.

Fill out the online audition form to indicate your interest. Our chorus manager will contact you to arrange a time. If you are unavailable for the scheduled audition time, other arrangements can be made. The audition will last approximately ten minutes, and we will notify you of the result within one week. 

Audition PieceScoreLearning TrackPiano Track
Amazing Grace (E flat) View Listen Listen
Amazing Grace (F) View Listen Listen
America the Beautiful View Listen Listen
My Country, Tis of Thee View Listen Listen
Schubert, An Die Musik (D major) View Listen Listen
Schubert, An Die Musik (B flat major) View Listen Listen
Giordano, Caro Mio Ben (E flat major) View Listen Listen
Giordano, Caro Mio Ben (D flat major) View Listen Listen
Traditional, The Water is Wide View Listen Listen
Purcell, When I am Laid in Earth View Listen Listen

 

May Festival Youth Chorus FAQ


What is the May Festival Youth Chorus?

The May Festival Youth Chorus was founded in 1987 to provide skilled high school singers in greater Cincinnati the opportunity to connect with peers across the region and experience firsthand the thrill of May Festival performances. Today, the Youth Chorus brings together singers in grades 8-12 from nearly thirty area schools and homeschools. The Youth Chorus models its operations and activities after the May Festival Chorus, the official chorus of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO) and the Cincinnati Pops. Thanks to this close artistic and operational relationship with the CSO and Pops, singers in the Youth Chorus annually experience and participate in performances of the highest professional standards. 

What kind of music does the Youth Chorus sing?

Just about everything! The repertoire of the Youth Chorus stretches from rarely-heard works from the Medieval era to newly-composed commissions written just for us. In a given year, the Youth Chorus sings music from the classical tradition but also performs music from the pop and musical theater repertoire – and even film soundtracks!

How often does the Chorus perform? Where are the concerts?

In a typical year, the Youth Chorus will perform three or four concerts between September and April, often in collaboration with other community performing arts organizations. The Youth Chorus will also make two or three featured appearances during the May Festival, including performances at Cincinnati Music Hall and Covington’s Cathedral-Basilica of the Assumption.

Recently, Youth Chorus members performed a variety of special projects, including at Music Hall with the Cincinnati Symphony in Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban, live with film; with the Cincinnati Pops for their Lollipops tribute to the Cincinnati Reds; and at Riverbend Music Center for the ever-popular Red, White, and Boom! Fourth of July Pops concert.

What kinds of solo opportunities are available?

All kinds! Solos often arise in our choral repertoire, and we will hear auditions from our chorus membership. When we perform our own concerts, we often have the opportunity to include solos sung by our members, and we will hold auditions for those opportunities as well. Occasionally, the CSO, Pops, or May Festival may need a youth soloist, and we may refer a singer or hold auditions. Lastly, outside organizations, including film and theatre companies and civic institutions, may require a young singer, and will ask us for recommendations.

What is the time commitment for members of the Youth Chorus?

The Chorus holds highly efficient rehearsals every Sunday, September-May, from 2-4:30pm. The Youth Chorus makes every effort to schedule all of its activities on Sundays to avoid interference with school activities during the week. 

Does it cost money to join the May Festival Youth Chorus?

No! There are no fees or tuition payments associated with membership in the Youth Chorus. The organization provides members with music, folders, learning materials, parking passes, ticket discounts and vouchers to May Festival, CSO, and Pops concerts, meals during extended rehearsal periods, concert uniforms, and much more! The May Festival also provides free, individual voice lessons with professional singing teachers to interested Youth Chorus members.

I’m not planning to be a professional musician. Should I still audition?

Yes! Some members of the Youth Chorus have aspirations of a career in music, but many do not. Alumni of the Youth Chorus can be found working in all kinds of industries, whether in the performing arts as performers and producers, or as nurses, entrepreneurs, biologists, teachers, and much, much more!  

I’m thinking about it, but what if there aren’t any other people from my school?

Don’t worry – you are not alone! Many of our singers might be the only one from their school, but often, they succeed in convincing some of their friends and neighbors to join them. In addition, the Youth Chorus is a great way to expand your social circle and meet new people from all across the tri-state region.

How do I know if I’m good enough to get in? What are you looking for?

The only way to find out is to audition! We are looking for singers of all voice types and levels of experience. Our staff is listening more for potential than for achievement. Successful auditioners demonstrate pleasant vocal quality, a good sense of pitch, and an interest in learning more about their voice. Auditioning is a learned skill, and many singers who are unsuccessful on their first try return and audition successfully after another attempt.

Other questions? We are always glad to hear from you. Click here to contact our director or here to get in touch with our chorus manager.