Victoria Park Singers seek new Musical Director

JOB DESCRIPTION FOR MUSICAL DIRECTOR OF VICTORIA PARK SINGERS, 2023

Application deadline: 11.59pm on Saturday 4th February 2023
Start date: Summer term, 19th April 2023 (this is flexible for the right candidate) 

Victoria Park Singers

Vibrant and dynamic community choir in Hackney, London, seeks vibrant and dynamic musical director.

We are an 80-strong non-auditioned choir celebrating our 10th anniversary this year, looking to appoint a musical director from the summer term onwards. 

Victoria Park Singers was founded by Hannah Brine in 2013, and since forming has progressed to perform works including Fauré’s Requiem, Will Todd’s Mass in Blue, Chilcott’s Little Jazz Mass as well as lots of pop, folk and gospel arrangements  – we often sing in up to 8 part divisi. We have also performed at a BBC Prom and at the Barbican with the LSO, as well as a large number of community/charity events, and our own termly concerts. We have also commissioned music. We are a mixture of readers and non readers and pride ourselves on hardwork and friendliness as well as varied and ambitious repertoire.

The three things our members enjoy the most are the varied repertoire, the inclusive nature and having a knowledgeable and ambitious conductor at the helm.  We want every singer to contribute their best and to feel inspired and supported. 

The newly appointed musical director will play a key role in shaping the choir’s future programmes and maintaining its reputation as one of London’s best community choirs.

We meet on Wednesday evenings from 7pm to 8.30pm (occasionally extended until 9pm, by prior agreement) at Lauriston Primary School, Hackney.  Our terms are 10 weeks long, and we have one end of term concert, that we organise ourselves, and sometimes take part in additional performances.  We would ideally look for a 3 to 4 year minimum commitment from the new conductor. Our summer concert this year is on 1st July. 

Please also see our website: www.victoriaparksingers.co.uk for more information about our history and performances.

Our ideal new Musical Director of Victoria Park Singers:

 • will have proven experience of working with singers successfully to prepare a choir for its concerts and have the ability to direct performances of a high standard with amateur as well as professional players and soloists 

• must be a highly competent musician and a good communicator; bring vitality and enthusiasm to the role and be able to hold the choir to high standards but with patience and good humor 

• will bring knowledge of a wide-ranging choral repertoire to the choir and the ability to introduce singers to newer works 

• will have the ability to enthuse the choir, retain existing members and, we hope, attract new singers 

• will, in the absence of the rehearsal accompanist, have the ability to rehearse the choir from the keyboard

Role description 

The Musical Director  of Victoria Park Singers will be required to: 

• lead the choir’s weekly rehearsals in preparation for concert performances, providing technical and musical guidance on the performance and interpretation of the works being rehearsed 

• encourage the members of the choir to achieve the highest standard of music-making in rehearsals and concerts and to enjoy their involvement in the choir

• conduct the choir’s performances as agreed with Hannah Brine,  including rehearsing choir, players and soloists on the afternoon/ early evening of concert days and lead any other additional musical activities that shall be agreed between the Musical Director and Hannah Brine

• usually via zoom, attend meetings throughout the term (appox 3) for planning and feedback regarding repertoire and events, with Hannah and occasionally section leaders

• select the music for the new term, working alongside Hannah to ensure a diverse programme including various genres and appropriate challenges to develop the choir and inspire members, taking into account the rehearsal time and budgets available

• prepare programme notes on the works to be performed 

• lead rehearsals from the keyboard when there is no accompanist 

• arrange a suitable deputy conductor if the Musical director is exceptionally unavailable for a rehearsal, except in the event of illness (Hannah Brine might be available to cover, with notice)

• maintain an up-to-date DBS check

• lead all the choirs  music-making activities except where a Guest Conductor has been invited to take a concert and some/all rehearsals for that concert.

• engage in marketing of the choir, where appropriate, sharing start of term and concert details on your social media networks/ with prospective members

• writing weekly rehearsal notes (a couple of paragraphs so if anyone misses a week they can keep up with what was covered)

Basic fees

Rehearsals are paid at £150 x10 rehearsals a term, paid every half term.  Fees for concerts are negotiable to include a rehearsal beforehand, and are usually around £200 (2 hour rehearsal followed by a 1 hour – 90 minute performance).

Sliding pay scale 

We recognise that the right personality (friendly, fun, firm, flexible and knowledgeable) contributes to membership retention and recruitment and with that in mind we offer an increase in pay based on numbers. 

Our current membership is 80 singers. If membership is increased to 90 members, rehearsal fees will be increased to £170 per week; for 100 members it will be increased to £180 per week. (prior to the pandemic we had 100+ members so these numbers are not unrealistic) 

Essential duties:

• Selecting the term’s repertoire (there is a budget for new music)

• Developing the choir, vocally and musically

• Delivering dynamic and fun rehearsals 

• Auditioning a small number of soloists from within the choir  for concert solo slots (usually 20 minutes before and/or after a rehearsal once a term)

• To be active in sourcing additional performances/opportunities from your network

• To have an active interest in recruiting new choir members and retaining current singers 

Desired:

• Knowledge of vocal technique 

• Piano skills (we have a pianist 4 times a term – the other 6 rehearsals are a cappella)

Application deadline – 11.59pm on Saturday 4th February 2023. Please provide your CV and cover letter stating your ideas and desire for this role, plus anything else of interest which would make you a suitable candidate. We’d love to know what your vision for the choir would be over the next 2 to 5 years. 

We will shortlist candidates and invite them to attend and conduct a rehearsal – date to be negotiated. We will notify candidates if they are on the shortlist by 6th February.

We will follow up in person rehearsals with a zoom interview  with Hannah Brine, her assistant Judith and selected members of the choir at a mutually convenient date. 

Please email your application to hannah@hannahbrine.co.uk 

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