Guelph Community Singers

How To Join

Everyone’s a Singer

Guelph Community Singers is a fun-loving, accessible, secular choir. All people over the age of 16 are welcome to join, no matter their experience. Bring a friend and check us out!

Pandemic update: Our format is different for the 2023-2024 season. Details here.

Our usual “non-Pandemic” format is described below.

Here’s what you need to know:

When are your sessions?
The Guelph Community Singers offer two sessions each year: fall and winter. Our first session runs from early September until our concert in January. Our winter session starts late January and runs until our spring concert in May.

When do you practice?
We rehearse on Wednesday nights from 7:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. About a month before our concerts, we practice until 9:30 p.m. Please come five or 10 minutes early so you can chat with new friends and find a seat.

Where do you practice?
These days you’ll find us practicing at Trinity United Church, 400 Stevenson St. North, in Guelph. (You don’t have to be a Guelph resident to join us. We have had members from Cambridge, Kitchener, Milton and even Oakville come out.)

I’m an absolute beginner. Can I still join Guelph Community Singers?
Absolutely! Anyone can join (although we do cap membership at 110 people… see our shared membership policy). Many of our members are brand new to choral singing. In fact, singing in a group is great for beginners, or for those who feel unsure about their singing voice, because we’re simply blending our voices together. No one stands out. But you still have a wonderful opportunity to sing and to learn more about reading music.

Please be aware that although we welcome beginners and are committed to supporting them, this is not a casual sing-a-long group. It’s a choir – so be prepared to stretch yourself and ask for help if you need to. Everyone was a beginner at some point! We often run “learn to read music” sessions throughout the year, hand out a reading music “cheat sheet” and post online practice tracks too.

I’m an experienced singer who has been a part of many choirs. Can I join the Guelph Community Singers?
Yes, of course. Many of our members are seasoned pros who are looking for a fun-loving and less serious choir filled with friendly people who want to sing in a group. There are always some challenging pieces each session that will be perfect for your experience level as well. Just don’t be surprised if you have choral newbies leaning in to listen and learn from you!

I don’t know if I’m an alto or soprano, tenor or baritone.
No problem. We can help you figure that out. (For the record, sopranos are typically women who can sing the high notes, altos are women who feel more comfortable in the lower range, tenors are usually men – although we have women tenors too – who sing even lower, and baritone singers can get way, way down low.) Simply walk up to Grace, our friendly accompanist, and ask her to help you determine your range.

Don’t know where to sit? Baritones sit in the front rows on the right side of the room and sopranos are behind them. Tenors sit in the front left side of the room and altos are behind. You can always ask someone what they sing before you sit to be sure you’re in the right place.

OK, you’ve convinced me. What does it cost to join?
We want to keep GCS membership accessible and reasonable so everyone can join. Our 2023/24 prices are $110 per session (fall or winter). (In other words, about $5 per practice session.) Our fees include direction from professional singers and access to a binder full of great music! All music is returned at the end of each session to be used again another time. Here’s our refund policy.

Do you have a sliding fee scale?
Yes, we do! We want to be sure everyone can sing with the Guelph Community Singers. Alternative arrangements for your membership fees can take many forms: a reduced rate, in-kind contributions, or volunteer time.  Each of these options are equally valuable to the health and wellbeing of our choir. Please speak to Jeannette Szeller, Treasurer, or Megan Thompson, Membership Coordinator, if you would like to explore any of these possibilities.

DSC_2797Can I join the Guelph Community Singers after a session has started?
You are always welcome to join us for one rehearsal to find out how GCS runs (and how much fun we have!) but we ask that you join at the beginning of our sessions in September and January. (You can register during the first two rehearsals if spaces are still available.)

Luckily, there are a few ways to get up to speed quickly, each session: 1) Sit beside someone who is a strong singer and can answer your questions. Don’t be shy! We’re a friendly bunch. 2) Listen to your practice tracks online at home. Once you pay your fee, you’ll receive a choir membership password and can listen to your heart’s content. 3) Practice, practice, practice. 4) For the first couple of rehearsals, mouth the words! (We’ll never tell.)

Again, the best way to get the most out of your Guelph Community Singers membership is to join us when the next session starts, in early September and late January (or early February some years). Want us to save you a space (and a music binder) for the next session? Please contact us.

Will singing with the GCS make me healthier and better looking?
Well, we can’t do much about the better looking part, but numerous studies over the years have shown that singing in a group actually boosts mental health and lowers stress levels by releasing hormones endorphin and oxytocin. Some research even indicates that our heart rates sync up when we sing together! No wonder group singing is on the rise in Canada.

Quotes from our members

  • “Great people singing can never be anything but wonderful.”

  • “I love that the pieces chosen are challenging but doable. I love the inclusivity of it.”

  • “I enjoyed hearing how we sounded in the end. All that hard work paid off. Such a great harmonized sound.”

  • “I like challenging myself to sing songs I never thought I could.”

  • “I’m so glad to be part of this choir. I find it very grounding.”

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