Derby Choral Union

Can you sing?

If you can, you've come to the right place.

We are looking for people passionate about music to join our thriving choir.

There are over 100 of us and we sing works from the classical to the contemporary.

It’s free to give us a try and you will be made very welcome.

Interested? Join now.

Simply complete this form and we will confirm the date and place of our next rehearsal - you will hear back from us within 24 hours.

Have you sung in a choir or group before? Had any singing lessons? Tell us all about it here.

Frequently Asked Questions

We rehearse in the main hall of Derby Grammar School - here's a link to Google Maps so you can get some directions.

Rehearsals for our 2014-2015 season begin on Tuesday 2nd September at 7:30pm. If you could arrive from 7:10pm that will help us ensure all our new members are registered and receive copies of music before the rehearsal begins.

Yes of course, we think that’s essential, as we want you to enjoy singing with us. During your first few rehearsals you will be made welcome and be able to try us out without obligation.

Don’t worry – if you haven’t sung in a choir before or recently, we won’t expect you to know which voice part to be in. We will ask you a few questions about how you perceive your voice and will recommend a part to try out to start with. If it’s too high or too low you can always move to another part!

If you decide to join us, as part of the audition our Musical Director will carry out a vocal range test with you to ensure you are placed in the part most suited to your voice.

You do, but don’t worry! Auditions are in private with our Musical Director and are designed primarily to ensure you are placed in the part most suited to your vocal range and to make sure you can generally sing the pieces we are currently working on. You don’t have to prepare anything or answer any difficult questions. Generally speaking if after a few weeks you decide to join you have probably assessed yourself as being able to sing with us so it’s unlikely that you will fail your audition.

We rehearse weekly on Tuesday evenings from 7:30pm until 9:30pm between September and April. We hold three concerts each year, usually in November, December and April. These are usually on Saturday evenings and there is an afternoon rehearsal on concert days. On rare occasions we may hold extra rehearsals towards a concert. In order to be eligible to sing in a concert you will need to have attended two-thirds of rehearsals, at the Music Director’s discretion.

Some years we arrange a trip abroad – these are usually held on one of the May bank holiday weekends. About half the choir goes on these trips, which are a lot of fun.

We also occasionally hold a smaller summer concert in and around Derbyshire on the years we are not going abroad. This is usually accompanied by a walk in the morning or a barbeque in the evening and is a great way to get to know more members of the choir.

It helps if you can read music but it is not essential. Most of the pieces we sing are regularly performed by many choral societies and so you can often find rehearsal tracks online that emphasise your part. We rehearse pieces for several weeks before a concert so there is plenty of time to get it right!

You don't need to have singing lessons to join us - as part of our vocal warm-ups we often exercise good singing technique and you will find your voice gets stronger as you keep singing. If you think you would benefit from singing lessons we can recommend local organisations and teachers who can help you.

Most of the pieces we sing are in English, Latin, German or French. We have also been known to sing in Hebrew on occasion! You don’t need to understand the languages – during rehearsal we go through pronunciation and there are often translations in the music books. You’ll soon find we are singing the same words to different music and it quickly becomes second nature to pronounce words in certain ways when you see them.

It won’t just be you! The first few weeks of rehearsals of any new piece can seem a struggle as everyone learns music at a different pace. It takes a few weeks for it to begin to sound confident but we always get there and at the end of the concert you will have a tremendous sense of achievement having performed in front of a paying audience. So keep at it!

Many enduring works by the great composers are set to religious texts, since in those days it was usually during religious services that music would be performed – remember, there wasn’t a top 40 chart or films to set music to back then!

Some of the more contemporary works we sing are set to secular (non-religious) words on themes of love, peace, sadness and fulfilment – most of these have been used in film and television.

Whilst we perform many works set to religious texts and also perform many of our concerts at Derby Cathedral, we are not a religious society and exist solely to make and promote stunning choral music and we welcome members from all backgrounds.

For rehearsals, dress however you like! We recommend comfortable clothes as we often do vocal warm-up exercises that involve a bit of moving about.

For concerts we like to have a uniform appearance, as it is part of what makes a concert special for both performers and the audience. Ladies wear a uniform of black long-sleeved T-shirt and long pink scarf, together with either a long black skirt or black trousers of their own choice. Men wear a dinner suit with black bow tie. Occasionally men perform in an “away kit” with black open neck shirts instead.

You can try us out for a few weeks without having to pay anything. If you decide to join and pass your audition, you will then need to start paying membership fees. These are currently £100 per year, with a voluntary concession rate of £85 for over 65s. There is no application fee or joining fee. If you join partway through the season, your membership fee will be calculated on a pro-rata basis for the remaining concerts of the year.

Music hire is charged on a cost recovery basis for each concert. You will also need to buy uniform.

If you are in full time education or are under 26, you are eligible for our Choral Scholarship, whereby you pay no membership fees and the choir covers your music hire.

Yes, students can join for free. If you are in full time education or are under 26, you are eligible for our Choral Scholarship, whereby you pay no membership fees and the choir covers your music hire.

Yes, we do. If you are in full time education or are under 26, you are eligible for our Choral Scholarship, whereby you pay no membership fees and the choir covers your music hire.

Not a problem - simply e-mail join@dcu.org.uk with your question and we will get back to you as soon as possible.