North Carolina Girls Choir
2011-2012 Season Girls Choir participants
Are the Boys and Girls Choirs actually one group, or two?
The North Carolina Boys and Girls Choirs rehearses and sings as two distinct groups. The North Carolina Boys Choir was founded in 1972 and has sung continuously in the wider community – it is one of the few existing full-time choir of its kind in the southeast. The choir season officially ends in June, unless a tour is planned at the end of the season, and resumes with the Summer Music Camp in July. Generally, at choir appearances, the Boys Choir and the Girls Choir will function as the soprano and alto parts of a full S.A.T.B. (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) group. Having older boys and adults as role models singing tenor and bass with them allows for a wider variety of music, and for a positive musical influence on the younger singers. This has been the case with the Boys Choir since having added the Chamber Choir of tenors and basses, and has proved to be an invaluable part of the experience. Both the Boys and Girls Choirs will also function as groups that sing independently.
Who is eligible for an audition?
We are looking for young girls who have a natural voice and a musical “ear”, that is, those who can clearly sort differences in notes that they hear. Previous musical training or singing experience is NOT required for audition or membership. We also look for families that will strongly support the membership of their child, by assuring the child’s regular attendance at choir rehearsals and concerts, and by being active members that support the choir of which their child is a part of. We generally audition those who will be entering 4th grade as of the fall term (or grade 3 for those more mature for their age).
What preparation is required for an audition?
No prepared music is necessary. The audition consists of singing voice patterns, ear tests such as matching pitches given on the piano, and finding pitches in a given chord. No music reading is required. Any previous musical experience is, of course, a plus, but not a prerequisite.
How are auditions arranged?
Initially, we are offering an open audition session whereby parents and interested girls can simply visit us and audition at the same time. Auditions can also be arranged when a parent or school music teacher contacts the us to arrange the initial audition.
School auditions have been arranged on behalf of the Boys Choir, but are held only if the schoolteacher, school administration, and parents of children being heard are informed, in advance, that the Director of Music is coming to hear their child, and after they have given their permission. There are several advantages to a school audition, and we do ask for these when possible - the parents do not have to find a time to bring the singer to audition, and the Director of Music can actually hear more students in a single visit.
If the school audition process is not possible for some reason, then parents can call the choir office to set up an appointment. For most auditions, the parent(s) bring the singer to Church of the Good Shepherd at a mutually agreeable time, and are most welcome to observe the actual audition and ask questions at that time. The Director of Music can also obtain (from schoolteachers or other interested parties) the name and email/number of the parents of potentially eligible boys and girls, and contact them to make an appointment for an audition. Many parents of the NCBC first hear of the choirs in this manner.
How is auditioning done?
Auditioning is a two-part process. First, the child sings a few simple note patterns, arpeggios, or scales, and is asked to sing Happy Birthday, a song known to all! The whole process only takes a few minutes, with time for questions afterward. If the Director of Music feels that the child cannot be considered for the choir, he will be honest with the children and/or parents at that time, as there will only be a small number of boys and girls he can invite. Every effort is made to communicate this clearly with each child, to prevent undue disappointment or misunderstanding.
What is the general schedule of the choirs?
The Boys Choir rehearses on Mondays from 7:00-9:00 pm, and on Saturdays from 9:00-11:00am (including a half hour overlap with the men of the Chamber Choir). The Girls Choir rehearses on Friday evenings from 6:00-7:30pm.
As a parent or teacher, how do I arrange an audition for my
Please email the Director of Music, Bill Graham, billgraham-at-earthlink.net or call (919)489-0291. Email is the preferred method of communication, as it gives us a written record of information exchanged. If you schedule an audition, you will find directions to the church at the end of this information. Please let us know if we can help you in other ways. You will find further information on our boychoir website - www.ncboyschoir.org, including our choir information.
Graham, Director of Music
North Carolina Boys Choir
Scott Mann, Associate Director
P.O. Box 52212
Durham, NC 27717
(919) 489-0291 (phone/fax)
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DIRECTIONS TO CHURCH OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD
Simply click on the link to the church at www.cgsonline.org/resources/map--directions/ then input your starting address. A map and detailed directions will be provided.
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AN INTRODUCTION TO THE CHOIR STAFF
William Graham, Founder and Musical Director
Bill is no stranger to the boychoir art form. He has worked with children's choirs and boychoirs virtually his whole career. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Organ Performance from Furman University and a Masters Degree in Music from University of Louisville. Later, he attended Seminary and earned a degree in church music. Early in his career, he taught organ at the University of Missouri at Kansas City. He also worked in the local churches, and it is this work that formed the early foundations for his love of the boychoir art form. A move in 1970 found him in North Carolina where he became organist and choirmaster at a local church, and eventually organized a fully independent boychoir within the community. Bill founded what was then called the Durham Boychoir in 1972. It was in 1975 that Bill left the full time work of the church to pursue the growth of this choir. In Durham, Bill has served both First Presbyterian Church and Westminster Presbyterian Church (among others). Through his invaluable musical leadership, this choir has grown in intensity and sheer number leading up to the outstanding organization that it is today. The North Carolina Boys Choir [designated name by Governor James Hunt in 1982] has toured all over the United States, Canada, and Europe! The choir has also performed in major operas, oratorios and other great works in collaboration with the North Carolina Symphony, as well as various local universities and community choral groups. Today, Bill Graham still feels extremely compelled to teach the joy of music to young musicians all over the area. His combination of discipline and musical abilities creates an environment where children become talented musicians.
Scott Mann, Associate Director
Scott works closely with all four of the choirs (especially the Concert and Chamber Choirs). Scott has a degree in Music with an emphasis in Vocal Performance and Music Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has studied voice under Elisabeth Herrington, Mary-Gayle Greene, Jim Bumgardner, and Rebecca Swingle-Putland. He remains active in several music organizations including the Music Educators National Convention (MENC), the North Carolina Music Educator's Association (NCMEA), the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), and the American Guild of Organists (AGO). He has served at churches as Organist and Choir Director, and currently serves as Director of Music at Asbury United Methodist Church in Raleigh. A former choirboy himself, Scott began working with our staff, with increasing roles, in July of 1998.
Matthew Barnhill, Accompanist
Matt is a native of Raleigh, and is a graduate of Furman University with a Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance. His senior year, he was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa and Pi Kappa Lambda honor fraternities. As a teenager, he studied at the Raleigh Conservatory of Music and was the winner of many local and state piano competitions. In North Carolina, he has performed with the Raleigh Symphony as soloist, and in South Carolina, with the Anderson Symphony Orchestra and the Furman University Symphony. He spent time in the fall of 2003 studying in Germany, and in 2007, taught English for three months in South Korea. He spent two summers at the Brevard Music Center in Brevard, NC. Matt has been working on a Master’s Degree in piano performance at University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He currently accompanies voice students at Duke University, accompanies the Durham Chorale, and is pianist at Leesville Road Baptist Church in Raleigh.