Welcome. We’re grateful for your interest in becoming a part of this musical community that means so much to us, we’re thrilled that you’ve found your way here, and we’re looking forward to helping you get to know Ensemble Companio (EC) a bit better in the passages below. As we enter our ninth season, we’re welcoming auditions from gifted vocalists in all voice parts.
If you are already familiar with Ensemble Companio, you can find a link to our audition materials in the last paragraph of this page. Otherwise, keep reading! If you have any questions not addressed below, please let us know.
What distinguishes Ensemble Companio from other community choirs?
Mission- Ensemble Companio is a mission-driven choir that strives to build bridges between people through authentic, inspiring performances of the finest choral music. We plan, rehearse, and perform with the objective of bringing our mission to life.
Travel- We draw talented musicians from all over the Northeastern United States, with slightly heavier concentrations in the Boston, NY/NJ, and Philadelphia areas. This continuously brings us into contact with new locations and communities. From workshops with young choristers to performances in nursing homes, we endeavor to share the amazing power of choral music wherever we go.
Memorization- We perform all of our music from memory in concert. This helps us to live deeply with the music, which in turn helps us better connect with our conductor, our audiences, and each other, and put on higher-quality concerts. Because we only rehearse once a month and work for full memorization by mid-season, the goal of rehearsals is not to learn notes or rhythms, but rather to polish work that members have done individually between rehearsals. To aid everyone in that effort, we post scores to a choir Wiki, along with part-specific and whole-group midi files, and videos of each rehearsal. Members also meet between rehearsals to hold optional regional sectionals when possible.
Camaraderie- Ensemble Companio derives its name from a late Latin form of “companion,” whose etymological meaning is “one with whom one shares bread.” The name reflects our belief that sharing in choral music is an essential, nourishing, and healing endeavor akin to the sharing of food.
The retreat-like nature of our rehearsal weekends helps to create a special bond between our members. Whether carpooling together to rehearsal locations, working through an especially thorny musical line during rehearsal, or gathering for dinner after rehearsal, there is plenty of time for Companios to form friendships and share in good times.
Do I need to be a professional musician?
Ensemble Companio is a volunteer community choir open to adults 21 years of age and older. We attract a diverse community of highly dedicated, exemplary musicians from a variety of professions who are unified in their passion for the power of choral singing. We recognize that delivering authentic, inspiring performances is well worth the time and energy invested in preparation for them. Though most of us are gifted amateur musicians, we strive to operate and perform at a professional level.
Tell me about Ensemble Companio’s season calendar?
We rehearse, on average, one weekend a month from September through May. Saturday’s rehearsal runs from 8:45am to 5:30pm with short morning and afternoon breaks, and an hour-long lunch break. Sunday’s rehearsal runs from 8:45am to noon.
As our season progresses, we work to build small, mission-related performances into our Sunday early afternoon calendars, often for the community or organization that has hosted us for the weekend.
Our rehearsal weekends for 2019-2020 are:
Our concert performance season runs from March into June.
What are the expenses associated with Ensemble membership?
We have a $75/year membership fee that’s put toward season start-up costs (music, licenses to perform/record/stream said music, and so on).
Beyond that, there are some individual costs associated with membership in a traveling choir. We work to moderate travel expenses by facilitating car shares and home stays for rehearsal weekends where possible. Additionally, we rotate the responsibility for providing lunch each rehearsal weekend between sections.
Sounds amazing! How do I audition?
Start by filling out this form with your voice part, location, and a little bit about your background. Our Ensemble Advocate, Kimberly Rice-Smith, will reach out to you to confirm receipt and send you audition materials. Our auditions are done in two stages, the first of which comprises a submission of vocal exercises and a song excerpt for review by our Artistic Director, Erik Peregrine.
The deadline for submission of these materials is August 18, 11:59pm EDT.
All candidates who advance to the second stage will be asked to attend our first rehearsal of the season for a final audition, which is the weekend of September 21-22.
We look forward to hearing from you!