PMEA District 11 Chorus Audition Material

Each year, PMEA–Pennsylvania Music Educators Association–organizes a series of High School Chorus Festivals that bring together students from various school districts in our area, region, and state. Students learn a full concert program of music, rehearse it with a guest conductor, and perform a concert at the end of the three-day festival. Each festival is auditioned. Those students who are accepted into the District Festival in January may have scores that qualify them for the Regional Chorus Festival in February; scores at Regionals can qualify students for the All-State Festival in April.

Here’s an example of what you might do at Districts. This is our 2011 District 11 Chorus, under the direction of Dr. Lynn Drafall, performing Eric Whitacre’s “Sleep.” (Kudos to Justin, Sam, John, Tom, Eliana, Ellie, Alli, and Sami for their work in this great performance!!!)

PMEA’s 2012 District Chorus Festival is open to 10th-12th grade students. Preliminary auditions of CHS students will be held at school before the official PMEA District auditions. The CHS audition and first PMEA audition consist of sight-singing and performing an excerpt of your vocal part in two pieces you have prepared. If you qualify for the District festival, the second audition, on the first day of the festival, tests your preparation and performance on all 6 or 7 of the festival pieces.

Here’s the rundown of District Chorus events:

  • Mon, Nov 7, after school:  In-House Auditions for Cheltenham’s District Chorus Candidates, CHS Choir Room
  • Sat, Nov 19:  PMEA District 11 Chorus Auditions at Upper Merion High School
  • Th-Sat, Jan 26-28 :  PMEA District 11 Chorus Festival at Norristown High School

Auditioning for PMEA District Chorus is a great opportunity for motivated musicians who want to get more experience learning new music, sight-singing, auditioning, and performing. And here’s the best part: you can start preparing now!

Here are the two audition pieces. Download and print each pdf. Then practice, practice, practice!

Audition Piece #1: “He Watching Over Israel” from Elijah by Felix Mendelssohn  (from the Romantic Era)

That’s Dr. Alan Raines conducting. He’s the one coming to work with all of you at Cheltenham in November 2011! (Note: a different piece starts at 3:41 on this recording.)

A lovely Seattle ProMusica performance conducted by Dr. Karen Thomas.

Audition Piece #2: “Exsultate Deo” by Alessandro Scarlatti   (from the Renaissance Era)

That’s Dr. Craig Arnold conducting Luther College’s Nordic Choir. Dr. Arnold is the one who accepted us, based on our Select Choir’s audio recording, to perform in the fabulous Kennedy Center in May 2012.

You’ll need to learn your voice part for each of these pieces very thoroughly. In the audition, you’ll be given a starting pitch, then you’ll sing from a chosen point, a cappella, for a duration of about 12-30 measures. You’ll be evaluated on pitch and rhythm, vocal tone, and dynamics/articulation.

The audition will also consist of two sight-singing excerpts. You’ll be given a starting pitch, 30 seconds to study, then a starting pitch again.

Later in the summer, I’ll point you toward some resources for practicing sight-singing. Until then, if you’re interested in auditioning for District Chorus in November, study study study these two pieces!

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1 comment so far

  1. Sophia Geron-Neubauer on

    -gasp- I love ‘Exsultate Deo’! It’s such a good song.


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