Wellesley College Choir-Wellesley singers' advice wanted
I am really excited about attending Welles come September (well, August really). I'm just having a but of post-high school regret. I have taken voice lessons since 8th or 9th grade, but because of "eating issues" I never joined the choir and I never opted for more formal vocal instruction (my voice lessons were inadequate, at best). However, I was born with a singing voice and frequently sang for my family. As one can guess,my musical education hasn't been solid or well-established at all. I can't go back in time, but I always wonder what my voice or musical background would have been if I had had some hindsight. Anyway, I have been practicing daily and have switched voice teachers and hope to make TONS of progress over the summer. While looking at the audition requirements for the choir, I just clicked my tongue and said "no way," so I am opting for the Widows (so cool ), but I'd like to get some insight. How intense is the audition for the choir, especially the ear-training part? Also, is it possible to make progress and audition in my sophomore or junior year (I plan to take lessons at Welles)? Even if my sight-reading and ear-training aren't good, I think my voice is good...
Widows are awesome! Really, all the a cappela groups on campus are pretty delightful, all have this great tight knit community (with the expected drama from a close knit group of girls), go hang out with great guy singing groups, and sound pretty good. Auditions for these groups are more difficult than choir though. Just think about it, each group accepts only 2 to 4 new people a semester, I think about 20 firstyears join choir every year. The audition for choir is not difficult, you go in and sing a quick song to Lisa, america the beautiful or something? and scales, and very easy sightreading (I actually don't remember this part, and I suck at sight reading, so it had to be easy). And you can definitely join later, they hold auditions for new members at the end of the spring semester as well.
But just a word of warning about choir. The current conductor is ... interesting. If you aren't looking for a mindblowingly hardcore musical experience, you're happy with just kind of shlepping along in choir and hanging out with what is a great group of girls, and getting through like... 4 songs a semester? then choir may be great for you. I personally couldn't take it. I don't want to prejudice you against Lisa before you even meet her, but I can't stand her. I find her condescending, rude, ingratiating, she is far too personally involved in her students lives (she called one girl fake to her face, and asked her why she never brought her "real personality" to choir). I was in choir for a year and a couple weeks and Chamber Singers for two years, but Lisa so thoroughly aggravates me that I've quit both groups. Also next year Choir is going to New York for tour... not exactly exciting travel prospects.
I also take voice lessons here, and think it is a brilliant idea to take lessons here! All of the voice teachers are outstanding. Marion Dry isn't taking any new students I think next year, since she is Department Chair, but Gale Fuller is absolutely outstanding and the kindest person you will ever meet, Aaron Sheehan is DELIGHTFUL, a great teacher from all reports, and Andrea Matthews is also wonderful, with a superb voice and very dedicated students. Basically if you end up taking lessons, no matter who you get you will be all set, all the teachers are superb.
See you in the Fall! If you have any more questions, feel free to pm me, or ask them here! I only come on this site rarely, but I'll try to keep an eye out.
The current conductor is ... interesting. If you aren't looking for a mindblowingly hardcore musical experience, you're happy with just kind of shlepping along in choir and hanging out with what is a great group of girls, and getting through like... 4 songs a semester? then choir may be great for you. I personally couldn't take it. I don't want to prejudice you against Lisa before you even meet her, but I can't stand her. I find her condescending, rude, ingratiating, she is far too personally involved in her students lives (she called one girl fake to her face, and asked her why she never brought her "real personality" to choir). I was in choir for a year and a couple weeks and Chamber Singers for two years, but Lisa so thoroughly aggravates me that I've quit both groups.
I have heard similar things about Lisa and I am not in choir, chamber singers or anything like that. I think that if you can stand how she runs things, then you'll be ok. I think most of my friends joined choir and chamber singers first year and ended up opting to go into other activities later on. However, the girls seem to be a really close-knit group and I think it would be a great way for you to become more confident in your musical abilities while making lots of new friends. The music dept also offers private singing lessons so you could look into that as well.
Thanks so much for the insight! Yes, I am planning on taking lessons at Wellesley. Wow, I didn't expect to hear that about the acappella groups. I didn't mean to imply that they were easier, but when I talked to the leader of the Blue Notes at SOC, I told her my situation and she said "as long as you can sing, it doesn't matter," meaning reading music wasn't that big of a hindrance. Anyway, as long as I am in a singing group, I think I'll feel happy, lol.
Acappella groups seem to be more selective in who they pick since they obviously can't take on 20 new people each semester, but I would also think that they would put more emphasis on your singing ability rather than your ability to sight read. Definitely check out all the groups during Fall Fling (the org fair at the beginning of the year) when you get to campus.
Hey I'm in the same boat as you, and I'm going to be a soph at Wellesley. I have never had voice lessons or been in a singing group, but have had 10 years of musical training for the flute, and have been told I have singing potential. I tried out for all the acappella groups and was flat out turned down by all of them (oh how embarrassing...). Granted, they probably want people with singing experience, and I tried out in the spring, when they were probably looking for very specific parts. At least that's what I'm telling myself, haha. I will try again some other time. So from my understanding, acappella groups are pretty competitive, but they are very open to everyone trying out.
Also, I have a good friend who is in the Widows, and she looooves it. You should totally try out! They have fun mixers (mixer-concerts?) with other groups. One concert that comes to mind was with a group of guys from Oxford, where they raffled off a guy. The winners were a lesbian and a guy.)
Before my freshman year ended, I met with a voice instructor and sang a little for her. She was very understanding and didn't make me feel uncomfortable at all. I think I will be doing group lessons, so we shall see!
Sing a song of your choosing. Tell a joke. Match sequences of notes played on the piano after you hear them. Though acceptance itself is competitive, the Wellesley a Capella groups pride themselves on bring friendly and low-stress during the audition process.
Nope, no vocal performance major, just a music major that's 10 units. A track for honors though, is a performance thesis, where you write a 30 page paper or so and perform some pieces. There really is not a lot of wiggle room in the major, you're required to have two units of history, to fill the music theory track, and must take four modules (which change every semester). Lots of operatically oriented voice students though, one of our seniors is going to Peabody next year!
a lot of talent! To be honest, the performances were the best part of SOC. Another question, I know I have to take the music theory placement test in order to take lessons, but, as I've mentioned my musical education is not up to par and even if I place out, I WANT that intro course. Can I just skip the trouble of taking the placement test and enroll in the intro course?