Aurora Chorealis

Welcome to the adult community choir

Aurora Chorealis is a non-auditioned choir of singers aged 15-70+. We aim to create a supportive community that values artistry and musical growth. More information on us and how to join Aurora Chorealis are below.

Meet the Team

Margo Nightingale

Director

Margo (pronouns “she/her”) has been directing Aurora Chorealis since 2001. She wants singers to be challenged, to have fun, to enjoy success and create community together.   Passionate about singing, Margo has been singing in choirs since childhood. She sang with this choir when she first moved to Yellowknife in 1994 and has since been a performing member in Ursa Miners, Midnight Soul, and Ptarmigan Ptheatrics. She currently sings Alto 2 with the Canadian Chamber Choir.

Shauna Morgan

Accompanist

Shauna Morgan came to Yellowknife in November 2008 on a short-term contract, fell in love with the place, and has decided to make the north her home.  Born and raised near Barrie, Ontario, Shauna began studying piano at the age of 7 and went on to accompany her high school and university concert choirs. She has been accompanying Aurora Chorealis since 2009, expanding her musical skills over the years to include djembe, tuned water glasses, tone chimes and various other percussion instruments.

When and Where do we Sing?

We rehearse Tuesday nights. In the 2021-2021 season, we will start our season on Zoom and will move to in-person singing at the École Allain St. Cyr gymnasium when it is safe to do so.

During the pandemic, there continue to be health risks connected to group singing indoors. The steps to reduce the risks we faced last year are available on the Registration Page.

With the delta variant racing through Yellowknife, the risk assessments of singing together have changed. Singers must understand the risks and agree to apply any additional safety measures to participate at in-person rehearsals. We’ll share what we know once our in-person safety measures are finalized and approved.

Becoming a Member

New members are welcome in September and January. No previous experience is necessary and singers don’t need to read music.

Like last season, due to Covid singers need to join a choir before attending any indoor in-person rehearsals.

At their first rehearsal, all singers must attend a Covid safety briefing and complete a WSCC hazard assessment form.

Voice Placement   

All singers must participate in a voice placement with Margo, the Director – ideally before joining any in-person rehearsal.

A voice placement confirms that each new member can carry a tune – either alone or with some help and helps the Director decide where each singer will sing within the choir.

The choir is divided into 4 large sections:

vocal-range-chart
  • Soprano – for the highest voices;
  • Alto – for mid-high voices;
  • Tenor – for mid-low voices; and
  • Bass – for the lowest voices.

Each of these 4 larger sections are divided into 1st and 2nd singers. The higher voices in a part sing the 1st part, and the lower voices in a part since the 2nd part.

In the voice placement, singers are asked to sing “Happy Birthday” on their own, or with Margo. This is normally private, but if a singer prefers, they can sing with a friend. During Covid restrictions, voice placements are done on Zoom.

After singing Happy Birthday, each singer will be asked to sing a series of notes to identify their highest and lowest notes. Based on this exercise, every singer is assigned a section (soprano, alto, tenor bass) and a part in that section (1st or 2nd). 

If singing a tune is very challenging for a singer, the Director will decide if and how that singer can participate in the choir and will discuss those options with that singer.

The best time to do a voice placement is before the first rehearsal. That way, singers are sure they are learning the right notes from the start.

Rehearsal and Performance Expectations

Our goal is to have fun and work hard to prepare our music to a high standard of performance. This is only possible if singers will:  

  • attend rehearsals regularly
  • be on time
  • practice their music between rehearsals on their own or (where possible) by attending additional scheduled sectional rehearsals

To attend an in-person rehearsal, singers must sign up (creating a contact check list) and provide a health check . At rehearsals, singers must follow additional safety guidelines. Information about all covid guidelines are provided on our Registration Page.

Singers will learn the music through attending rehearsals and by using the practice tools that have been created for singers to use between rehearsals. Many singers learn by ear. Others can already read music. All singers will have access to some elementary music reading tools. if they want to get more comfortable with reading choral music.

In performances, some music each season is sung from memory. Sometimes these songs involve body percussion (clapping/stamping etc) or choreographed movement. In other songs, singers may use sheet music for other music.

If a singer will miss a rehearsal or a performance they are asked to notify their Director in advance. Singers who miss too many rehearsals or for any reason are unprepared for a performance may be told they cannot perform some or all of the music in a concert. This decision is made at the discretion of the Director in consultation with the singer. 

A singer can also withdraw from a performance (but stay within the choir) after discussion with the Director as soon as possible after making that decision.   

Membership Fees

There are 2 fees to be paid each year:

  1. Society membership fee of $50
  2. Choir Registration Fees:  $150 per year or $75 for half a year

Once registered and all fees are paid, members are loaned copies of the music for each season. The music may be shared electronically as a PDF, or in paper form. The music is valuable and we ask all members to use only pencil in their music and to return the music in good condition at the end of each concert.

Once registered, members will also receive the password for the private singer’s website page. There, singers will find learning tracks, weekly announcements, helpful documents and links to recordings of the new and past music. This password will be changed at the start of each season.

Volunteer and Fund Raising Expectations

All singers are expected to volunteer to help with necessary tasks, ticket sales and fundraising activities. Requests for your help are included in the Registration Form.

Please be aware that membership can be denied if, in the Board’s judgment, it is in the best interests of the Society or a Society choir to refuse an application.