Can anyone join the Community Choirs?

Absolutely! The North and South Bristol Choirs are open to everyone and there is no need to be able to read music or have previous experience. Regular commitment and enthusiasm is all that is required! We learn all our songs by ear, however sheet music is available  for those who want it and members have access to mp3/4 practice tracks of all the songs we are singing to help with learning parts. Our Choirs are inclusive, lively and fun whilst also always striving to achieve the highest standards possible. We perform most of our music from memory, so some learning is required, however it is well worth the effort and always appreciated by the audience and our members who often comment on what a difference it makes to our concerts. You are very welcome to come to a free taster session before deciding if you would like to join.

Can I join mid-term?

You certainly can. We have an open door policy and potential new members to any of the groups are welcome to come along to any rehearsal for a free taster session. If you join mid-term we are very happy to offer membership at a reduced rate for the remaining weeks of the term, calculated from when it is that you join.

How do I pay?

Membership is by subscription. The year is split into three terms and payment is required in advance before the start of each term. The preferred method of payment is by online bank transfer and we offer a 50% discount to under 18s in both the Community Choirs, Chamber Choir and Orchestra.

You can find all the details on how much each group costs here.

Do I need to audition for the Orchestra?

No you do not! The only requirement for the Orchestra is that you play an orchestral instrument and you are of a standard equivalent to Grade 5 or above and age 12 or over. You are very welcome to come to a free taster session before deciding if you would like to join.

What is involved for the Children's Choir audition?

The Children’s Choir is open to children age 7 – 13 from any school in Bristol. Entrance is by a small audition lasting no longer than 5 minutes where children will need to sing Tom an unaccompanied verse and chorus from a song of their choice. Before auditioning, children are welcome to come to a free taster session to watch or join in. If they decide afterwards they would definitely like to audition, we can either do the audition there and then, or arrange it for the following week. Children are also very welcome to audition without attending a taster session. Please contact us if you would like to organise an audition.

More information about the Children’s Choir can be found here.

How do I audition for the Chamber Choir?

The Chamber Choir meet on Monday evenings in the upstairs room at Redland Park URC and you are very welcome to come along and sit in on a rehearsal initially. If you then decide you might like to join we can arrange for you to audition the following week. This would usually be prior to a rehearsal at Redland Park URC and the audition is in three parts;

  1. Singing a short song of your choice unaccompanied (a verse and a chorus is fine).
  2. A short and fairly simple piece of sight-singing.
  3. Singing in harmony with four other singers who will be assisting in the audition (music will be provided in advance). You will have the opportunity to sing through the music twice, once with someone else singing your part with you, and then again with you singing as one part of the quartet.

More information about the Chamber Choir can be found here.

Do you offer refunds?

We are sorry but we are not able to offer any refunds whether for missed rehearsals or for any other reason.

Do I need to attend every rehearsal?

No! People understandably have to miss the occasional rehearsal, however consistency and commitment is key to the choir and orchestra’s success and we would like our members to aim to attend 75% of rehearsals. For the Chamber Choir we ask for 90% attendance. Our members who sign up are committing to the year ahead and all of the OTM Bristol ensembles are a team effort.

Where can I find my sheet music and the MP3/4 practice tracks?

Right here! When you sign up for any of the OTMB groups we will give you a password for our members’ area. Here you will find sheet music for all the different ensembles which you can print off and to bring to rehearsals. There are also mp3/4 practice tracks for Community Choir members to download to listen to and help with the learning the songs. Rather than listening online each time, please do try to download these to your own devices so you have them offline.

How many concerts are there in a year?

The weekly rehearsals build towards one big sell-out concert a year and several other smaller performances and events. The main concert is a real highlight and we give our members a year plan in advance so dates can be factored in (please note that if you want to take part in a concert then rehearsals on the day of the concert are mandatory).  Being part of an OTMB group brings with it a responsibility to sell a few tickets to family and friends  for each of our shows (particularly the big annual concert). As a  direct result our concerts to date have been a huge success, enjoyed by many people and raised valuable funds for the charity ‘Changing Tunes’.

I am not available for the next concert, do I need to drop out for the term?

No definitely not! Although we would love all of our members to be part of all of our performances, we understand that sometimes life gets in the way!  If you can’t participate in a concert please still come along to Choir / Orchestra each week and just enjoy the rehearsals and seeing everyone socially. (If you do know you are unable to take part in a concert, please let us know as soon as possible, especially if you are in the Chamber Choir, as it helps our planning enormously).

Why should I join OTM Bristol?

We are unique in that founder; Tom Jones directs all five ensembles, drawing on a wealth of professional musical experience. Our members love being part of the OTM Bristol community and many have made great, lasting friendships. Pop along for a free rehearsal and get a taste of what we are all about!

What should I wear when performing in a concert?

Concert outfits for the Community Choir are plain light/coloured trousers/bottoms with a  plain colourful top/shirt or a plain brightly coloured dress. The Orchestra and Chamber Choir wear all black with a colourful accessory and the Children’s Choir wear anything colourful and sparkly!

Where does my subscription go?

Your membership enables Tom to dedicate 100% of his time and resource to OTM Bristol and his various ensembles. He is both a professional musician and conductor and arranges much of the music for his choirs and orchestras himself. It also goes towards the hire of venues for weekly rehearsals and our annual calendar of concerts and events (like the Sing! events), the member’s website area, practice resources and year round administrative and financial support.  Prompt payment  from all of our members is vital in allowing OTM Bristol to continue to thrive and is very much appreciated.

What can we give you?

Tom’s unique style and dedication ensures weekly rehearsals are lively, challenging and fun. We guarantee a variety of performance opportunities throughout the year and the groups are all a great place to meet and make new friends. The past eight years has seen OTM Bristol grow from a choir of twenty into a unique composition of choirs and orchestras with over two hundred and fifty members. We will always give you 100% and we just ask for regular commitment and enthusiasm (and a sense of humour when required!)

What is the role of the Rep?

The role of the Reps in the Community Choirs and Orchestras is an essential one. Each section has one or two Reps who are the first point of contact for fellow members and help ensure everyone is getting the most out of their Choir or Orchestra experience. The Reps liaise directly with Tom, passing on any feedback or questions and are key to running both smooth and efficient ensembles. The Reps also organise member socials, run a rota for putting out the chairs in rehearsals each week and oversee any refreshments in the break. If you think this is something you might like to do, we would love to hear from you!

Please contact us at admin@outtheremusicbristol.co.uk

How are the refreshments organised in rehearsal breaks?

The Reps for the Community Choirs and Orchestra run the tea and coffee in the rehearsal breaks themselves, buying all supplies using money collected in the tin situated on the refreshment station.  Anyone who would like tea/coffee/biscuits just needs to put 30p in the tin, but please remember to bring your own mug and not go into the staff room (if you are rehearsing at Westbury Park School).

What do I do if I have some feedback or a question?

The Reps in your section are all very happy to help and advise. Please speak to your Rep at rehearsal or contact us on admin@outtheremusicbristol.co.uk Any finance related questions can be sent to Jo at finance@outttheremusicbristol.co.uk

What do I do if I have a song or music suggestion?

Please feel free to email any suggestions to us at admin@outtheremusicbristol.co.uk. We would love to hear of any songs/music that you have a burning desire to sing/play at rehearsals or in a concert!

FAQ