Caius College Choir: should I apply?

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ahws2022
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#1
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#1
Hey! I’m a linguistics offer holder for Gonville and Caius College (Cambridge) and I just got an email about applying for the choir. I’m very conflicted because there are so many benefits but I’m worried about time management and the pressure. I love singing but when it comes to singing individually in front of people, I have a lot of performance anxiety. I’m in my school choirs, both the year 10-13 and the auditioned choir. I only joined them both again this year and I was part of the younger one in year 7 and 8 but I left because it made me feel quite insecure (that’s a very complicated story and I don’t think the specifics are too important). I play piano and ukulele. I had lessons for piano from year 3-6 but never did grades as after my prep test, my teacher gave up on me so my progress was slow compared to my peers. I struggle in the choir now because I’m expected to sight read when I have never been taught how to. I’m hoping that if I were to apply and was successful in joining the Caius choir, I’d maybe get more support seeing as there’s singing lessons as well but I’m worried it could be similar to what I experience now because everyone else would likely have more choral and musical experience than I do.
Could anyone give me any insight into the choir from personal or from a friend’s experience?
Thank you!
(The deadline for the application is 15th February)
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Fibonacci28
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#2
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Hi! Also a caius offer holder but for Natural Sciences. Give it a go. It's a competitive choir so if they don't think you're good enough you just won't get in, although I would expect that they'd require a little bit of sight reading. Another option which is what I'm doing as I left my choir 4 years ago, is I'm planning to join a different uni or college choir that's less competitive and a bit more relaxed to get back into practice and then if I want to I think I could apply in second year.
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ahws2022
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#3
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#3
(Original post by Fibonacci28)
Hi! Also a caius offer holder but for Natural Sciences. Give it a go. It's a competitive choir so if they don't think you're good enough you just won't get in, although I would expect that they'd require a little bit of sight reading. Another option which is what I'm doing as I left my choir 4 years ago, is I'm planning to join a different uni or college choir that's less competitive and a bit more relaxed to get back into practice and then if I want to I think I could apply in second year.
Hey fellow caian!! That’s true, I could always apply for one in second year as well! Thank you. Going to choir at school makes me so anxious because everyone’s so good and knows what they’re doing and I just don’t 😂
Last edited by ahws2022; 3 months ago
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Reality Check
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#4
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#4
(Original post by ahws2022)
Hey! I’m a linguistics offer holder for Gonville and Caius College (Cambridge) and I just got an email about applying for the choir. I’m very conflicted because there are so many benefits but I’m worried about time management and the pressure. I love singing but when it comes to singing individually in front of people, I have a lot of performance anxiety. I’m in my school choirs, both the year 10-13 and the auditioned choir. I only joined them both again this year and I was part of the younger one in year 7 and 8 but I left because it made me feel quite insecure (that’s a very complicated story and I don’t think the specifics are too important). I play piano and ukulele. I had lessons for piano from year 3-6 but never did grades as after my prep test, my teacher gave up on me so my progress was slow compared to my peers. I struggle in the choir now because I’m expected to sight read when I have never been taught how to. I’m hoping that if I were to apply and was successful in joining the Caius choir, I’d maybe get more support seeing as there’s singing lessons as well but I’m worried it could be similar to what I experience now because everyone else would likely have more choral and musical experience than I do.
Could anyone give me any insight into the choir from personal or from a friend’s experience?
Thank you!
(The deadline for the application is 15th February)
Chapel singing is probably quite different from what you have been accustomed to. You need to be a good, and I mean good sightreader, as you will need to get through quite a lot of pieces and not have a huge amount of time to rehearse them. You also need to have a good ear, for much the same reasons. Are you a tenor or bass? You'd have an interview with the choral director which would be the usual sort of thing in terms of singing at sight, singing back fragments played on the piano to test your ear and sense of key/tone, rhythm tests etc. Whilst you don't need to be Grade 8 singing to be in the choir, be aware that the general standard is extremely high, and you do need to be a good, competent singer with some experience to stand a realistic chance of being selected. That said, you only know if you apply!

Time-wise, it is a commitment, and I would strongly recommend that you do not apply before you've got to Cam and seen what your workload is like. You can always apply later.
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ahws2022
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#5
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#5
(Original post by Reality Check)
Chapel singing is probably quite different from what you have been accustomed to. You need to be a good, and I mean good sightreader, as you will need to get through quite a lot of pieces and not have a huge amount of time to rehearse them. You also need to have a good ear, for much the same reasons. Are you a tenor or bass? You'd have an interview with the choral director which would be the usual sort of thing in terms of singing at sight, singing back fragments played on the piano to test your ear and sense of key/tone, rhythm tests etc. Whilst you don't need to be Grade 8 singing to be in the choir, be aware that the general standard is extremely high, and you do need to be a good, competent singer with some experience to stand a realistic chance of being selected. That said, you only know if you apply!

Time-wise, it is a commitment, and I would strongly recommend that you do not apply before you've got to Cam and seen what your workload is like. You can always apply later.
Thank you so much! Once again Reality Check is bringing it😂 I think I will apply later on in my course rather than now. I’m a decent singer but I struggle with sheet music a bit. I can just about follow it but I can’t play from it. I’m actually a soprano (I sing under soprano 2 at school because I’m more a Mezzo so I dip between both alto and soprano depending on the song). I have an ok ear but I haven’t had a lot of chance or time to actually work that out yet. Once again, thank you so much!
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Reality Check
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#6
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#6
(Original post by ahws2022)
Thank you so much! Once again Reality Check is bringing it😂 I think I will apply later on in my course rather than now. I’m a decent singer but I struggle with sheet music a bit. I can just about follow it but I can’t play from it. I’m actually a soprano (I sing under soprano 2 at school because I’m more a Mezzo so I dip between both alto and soprano depending on the song). I have an ok ear but I haven’t had a lot of chance or time to actually work that out yet. Once again, thank you so much!
Thank you, and no problem!

I'd completely encourage you to apply at some point - I really enjoyed it. As well as developing your musicianship, you also get some good perqs: we had several trips abroad, termly Feast, all sorts. To prepare yourself, I'd really strongly recommend you regularly practice and improve your singing at sight and know your intervals - you should be able to sing a minor seventh, for instance when asked, and recognize a minor seventh in the music (as with all intervals). Being secure with this is key to good reading, I think - along with a general fluency with reading music at sight. If you get really good, you could audition to be in CUCS and move up another level again. So many opportunities!

Have a wonderful time at Caius - you must be so excited
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ahws2022
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#7
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#7
(Original post by Reality Check)
Thank you, and no problem!

I'd completely encourage you to apply at some point - I really enjoyed it. As well as developing your musicianship, you also get some good perqs: we had several trips abroad, termly Feast, all sorts. To prepare yourself, I'd really strongly recommend you regularly practice and improve your singing at sight and know your intervals - you should be able to sing a minor seventh, for instance when asked, and recognize a minor seventh in the music (as with all intervals). Being secure with this is key to good reading, I think - along with a general fluency with reading music at sight. If you get really good, you could audition to be in CUCS and move up another level again. So many opportunities!

Have a wonderful time at Caius - you must be so excited
That sounds amazing! I had a little read of all the perks. I think because there’s the lessons as well I could be alright but I think I’ll see how I feel in year 2. I’ll likely join the jazz society or something because that’s more my vibe.

Oh I really am! I cried for ten minutes after I found out. It was a huge relief. I’ve been wanting this for maybe 5 years and I’m so happy it’s coming together!
Last edited by ahws2022; 3 months ago
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