Eastern Idaho's
Premier Symphonic Choir

Scott's Choral Commandments

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Dr. Scott Anderson, our artistic director, has provided a list of "Choral Commandments" to be adhered to by each singer and by the group as a whole.
  1. Honor the concept of "we" rather than "I". This is the basic premise of a chorus; "We"= group and/or chorus; "I": individual and/or soloist.

  2. Participate in the menu of activities offered by the conductor. In other words, don't "do your own thing" during rehearsal. Most effective conductors work very hard to plan a series of activities and approaches which (hopefully) will make the music more relevant to the singers and create a more refined choral communication for the performance.

  3. Enjoy the social and interactive conversational aspects of our choral community BEFORE and/or AFTER rehearsal. Without observing this rule, rehearsal can and will dissolve into a "grab bag" of peanut gallery comments, conversations, and noise not related to the music, which is the antithesis of why we gather in the first place.

  4. Honor the music. While music doesn't exist for itself, the great works of the arts are "great" because, over lots of time, such works have consistently served to inspire and ennoble the human spirit. In order for us to even get to the composer's original inspiration we must discipline ourselves to engage in a specific process to understand the music. Understanding will lead to experiencing artistic and soulful moments together.

  5. Honor the role of the conductor. While I, as the conductor, enjoy kidding about the dictatorial aspects of being on the podium, there is nothing further from such an image in practice. The purpose of the conductor is to give the chorus consistent feedback about their musical progress (intonation, rhythm, diction, phrasing, etc.).  Such feedback requires the singers to hear the comments, think about them, and apply those comments during a corrective run-through of any given section.

  6. Honor your neighbors. When you make a discovery during the rehearsal (a wrong pitch, rhythm, new concept, diction issues, etc.) do so silently. Practicing your pronunciation or singing through a section of your part while the conductor is speaking or working with another section is NOT appropriate in a choral rehearsal. You will be offered many opportunities to chant rhythms, text, etc. Practice out loud during those times.

  7. Be present for and participate in the warm-up. Even professional Singers need to get themselves ready to sing (rather than speak) for long periods of time. Most of our members don't spend hours every day in singing. In addition to the transition from living, working, talking, etc. to singing, the vocal warm-up gradually readies the singer for what is to follow in rehearsal.  Musical concepts, variations in articulation, tone quality variation, use of specific vocal techniques, connection to body, etc. are all part of the thought process of this conductor when leading a chorus through a vocal warm-up. MANY INDIVIDUALS become a CHOIR during this session. If you don't like massages, don't take one, but be present for all other aspects. This represents a commitment to the routines of our choir and a respect for the discipline of artistic singing.

  8. Sing the parts written for you by the composer. This is not a lab choir for vocal jazz or improvisation. We are studying the music of some of the greatest composers in the history of the civilized world. They don't need anyone to edit or rewrite their masterpieces. When you are not singing, LISTEN!  The sense missed most by any musician is hearing, not speaking (just ask Beethoven!)

  9. Don't take this Choral Experience for granted. Enjoy the reality of making sonorous, glorious acoustical sound without an iPod, cell phone, computer, wires, or ANYTHING other than 125 singers' voices and a piano!  In our present culture, a choral rehearsal is a completely unique experience!

  10. Live in the moment. Allow the music, and the activities of the music, to be your universe from 7:30 to 9:30 on Tuesday evenings.

As I've tried to express, I am certainly aware of the quality of the singers I work with every Tuesday evening. If we join together in following the above standards for our rehearsals, our musical and artistic rewards will be beyond measure.