The Masters of Harmony Auditions Process is conducted according to the steps that are listed on the Applicant Routing Form. Although it is the applicant's responsibility to drive himself through the four-phase process, the auditions coordinator maintains a spreadsheet showing the status of all applicants in the pipeline. The auditions coordinator sends the latest spreadsheet to key members of the Music Committee and board of directors.
The first phase of the audition process is the vocal assessment, which includes pitch matching, intervals, range check, basic vocal quality (breathing, intonation, placement, resonance, etc.) and rhythmic patterns. It also includes some basic harmonization to "You Are My Sunshine.” After passing that, the applicant is granted access to the "Guest" area of our website, which allows them to download some of our current repertoire. This will demonstrate the applicant's ability to access the Internet and download PDF and MP3 files. The applicant is also introduced to the section leader, assigned a mentor, and given a temporary riser position. Then the applicant gets enrolled in the next available set of Masters University classes (Chapter History, Riser Etiquette, Vocal Production Techniques, Visual Production Techniques). Completing all four of those classes is not a prerequisite for membership, since those classes are only offered a few times each year.
The second phase is to sing the Vocal Audition song from memory with a quartet of the section leaders. This phase demonstrates the applicant's ability to learn a song within a reasonable amount of time (2-3 weeks), and to carry his part within the quartet. It also sets a consistent level for all incoming applicants over a long period of time. One of the challenges with the previous method of using a current repertoire song is that the songs would change over time, so it was difficult to maintain consistency across the years.
The third phase is the visual audition, conducted by the visual auditioner. The applicant is asked to demonstrate various facial expressions and emotional aspects of physical performance (happy, sad, angry, loving, etc.). Then, he is taught a simple set of choreography steps to the tune of "Tea For Two” to see how much and how quickly the applicant can learn and execute those moves. Ongoing coaching happens during this phase to see how adaptable the applicant is in receiving constructive criticism and how well he can put the recommendations into practice.
After passing the visual audition, the applicant appears before the Music Committee for an interview and Music Committee approval. At this point, the applicant signs the last page of the chapter's "Expectation Sheet,” which is then archived by the auditions coordinator. Then, the applicant is granted access to the Masters Only area of our website so he can begin downloading the current repertoire. The applicant is also presented to the board of directors for final approval, subject to paying applicable dues and fees and completing the necessary paperwork.
This completes the process for initial membership in the chapter. However, additional qualification for the performing chorus is needed on an ongoing basis to confirm the new member's ability and readiness to perform all songs with the chorus on stage. During this final phase, tape recordings, quartetting and visual observation can be used as the tools for measuring the new member's readiness.