Acting in Plays, Singing/auditions
QUESTION: Hi. I'm in the 8th grade and I have to find a song for solo ensemble in March and a song to audition for high or low chorus in the fall for highschool. Do you have any options. I am an alto but i can sing some soprano parts.
ANSWER: Hi, Jakaela –
Thank you for the question.
When auditioning for any variety of vocal ensemble, the first thing to consider is your true vocal category. In the professional world, try telling a true soprano that, as an alto, you can also sing her part. And vice versa.
The circumstances at your schools may not be as stringent. Nevertheless, when it comes to the Soloist who steps out of an ensemble -- the Soloist will want to sing whatever they sing in the key that works best for them. It really helps when the song seems compatible with the Soloist’s own manner and personality. Taken a bit further -- when that Soloist goes out to compete for a major vocal award or sings their first complete recital – the singer and the material must be ideally matched.
Depending on the school, there may be more than one choral group. One of those groups might be the “Show Choir”, i.e., the one that goes out to the community, maybe with show tunes and popular standards. Below is a list of songs that are included in what is referred to as “The Great American Songbook”. They are enduring standards by popular American composers. Obviously, there are other categories of songs that choral groups perform including patriotic numbers, national and international folk songs, seasonal religious songs, Gospel, etc. I know a major choral director who wants the auditioner’s second song to be “America The Beautiful”.
You have plenty of time to choose the category of song that best suits you. The songs below are simple and effective. They have all been performed by ensembles and individual artists. The website will allow you to transpose them into the key that works best for you. Once you’re at the site, look for other songs and artists you know and love:
Bei Mir Bist du Schön – pop standard by Sammy Kahn
Consider transposing to A Major
‘S Wonderful! – from “Funny Face” by George & Ira Gershwin:
Consider transposing to C Major
What’ll I Do – pop standard by Irving Berlin
Consider transposing to C Major
It's Only a Paper Moon – pop standard by Harold Arlen
Consider transposing to F Major
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---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Thanks so much for the response i go to mchenry middle school in mchenry Illinois Um i have no idea what kind of chrous they have I now at my school we have cadet chrous for the 6th graders the beginning just learning the notes and then there is concert chrous which is a little harder for 7th and 8th graders im in that one also im in select chrous where they have more challenging music for that one i auditioned on my own from les miserables and i got in but do you thin songs from wicked would be good or songs from movies or musicals at all?
Hi, again --
In the professional Broadway world and for a number of years, audition notices have specifically stated to NOT sing anything from WICKED or LES MIZ.
Audition panels are sick of it.
Your job as a potential chorus member is to demonstrate your musicianship no matter what you sing.
The song has not been written that will guarantee anybody a job.
Whatever you sing -- and you must be prepared to sing a cappella -- must stay in key and be absolutely on pitch from start to finish. It will prove that you know how to listen and that you can maintain your line when singing in close harmony with others, especially when performing a cappella.
Sing what you love and in the key that works best for you.
Work smart. Practice in front of a mirror. What you see is what we will see. Figure out how to control your presentation. A few days before the audition, sing your material in front of a friend you can trust.