Attending rehearsals – a team pursuit

Written by Voices of Birralee conductor of the Birralee Blokes and Resonance of Birralee, Paul Holley OAM

“All the real work is done in the rehearsal period.” – Donald Pleasence, British Actor

At Voices of Birralee, our choristers, conductors, accompanists, and our volunteers are united by our love for creating or listening to great music.

To achieve beautiful music as a choir, we very much need to adopt the ‘team’ philosophy when it comes to our attitude towards rehearsals and performances.

Attending rehearsals regularly provides our choristers the opportunity to work together as a team rather than as an individual while taking responsibility for their role in their group.

I always say you can practice by yourself, but you rehearse together. The well-known phrase ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’ rings true when it comes to rehearsals – it translates to ‘how much better will the performance be when the ensemble sings as one instead of a group of soloists singing at the same time.’

Like any sport, take netball for example, if all the players were to work on the skills by themselves at home they would find it difficult to work together cohesively as a team when they took to the court for a game.


Resonance of Birralee practices for Next Gen, its first concert of 2019.

The purpose of rehearsals, particularly for the choirs I conduct, the Birralee Blokes and Resonance of Birralee, is to build skills and confidence as a signature group, in addition to helping choristers learn how to communicate to the audience or to test new vocal opportunities before a performance.

To get the most out of singing in a choir and rehearsals, my top five tips are:

  1. Attend every rehearsal (but also make sure you run through your parts regularly at home!)
  2. Sing with a good posture
  3. Focus and be attentive for the whole rehearsal, even if it’s not your part being rehearsed (you might learn some things you didn’t know!)
  4. Mark instructions/reminders on your score
  5. Take responsibility for the music making process


Resonance of Birralee performs at Voices of Birralee’s Poppies & Poems concert at Queensland Performing Arts Centre, September 2018. Photo: Darren Thomas

Once all the hard work is done in rehearsal you are ready to share it on the big stage – the concert is your grand final for the season. Would you miss playing in a sporting grand final? Why miss a concert?

Remember you are part of a team and have a significant role to play, so it’s imperative that your team can rely on you and that you can rely on them.

In the end, it’s better learning and growing together!

What’s your favourite part of the rehearsal process? Let us know by commenting below!

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