Joining Rock My Soul

Audition Process & Choir Membership

Our vision and our mission are behind every song we sing. If you are considering Rock My Soul choir membership, we ask that you take a moment to consider both and be certain you can commit to them.

Our Vision

We envision a world transformed by the healing power of music, where spirits are uplifted and prejudices cease.

Our Mission

ProjectMusicWorks is a nonprofit, arts and cultural organization whose purpose is to bring diverse communities and individuals together through life-affirming American roots and gospel music, and other forms of music that come from it. Through performance, charitable outreach, and other community-building activities, we seek to uplift, enrich, and educate.

Audition Process & Frequently Asked Questions

Initial auditions are usually scheduled either before or after a rehearsal. If you wish to audition, please be sure to let us have your name, address, email, and telephone number so that we can set up a time for you to visit a rehearsal and audition. You may email us or call 207-698-4494.
In the initial audition, you will be asked to sing scales and intervals, which will first be played for you on the piano. Your vocal range will also be measured. The entire process takes only a few moments and usually occurs immediately before or after your first rehearsal.
Rock My Soul is a volunteer choir with professional standards, but formal experience is not necessary. We are looking for the ability to hear notes and sing them back on pitch, as well as the ability to blend well with other voices and retain memory of parts once they’re taught. We also focus on voices that meet the musical needs of the choir.
No. To respect the oral tradition that gospel music comes from, our songs are taught by ear. Sheet music is available for those who read and learn visually, but the ability to read music is not mandatory.  Our emphasis is on fine-tuning the ability to hear parts and sing “gospel style.”
Because most of our music is taught by ear, a small, portable recording device is essential. Choir members are expected to practice by listening to their recordings during the week.
We sing black gospel music, slave songs, spirituals, jubilee, Civil Rights songs, and blues gospel. We also sing roots-based white southern gospel, as well as a few contemporary and original gospel songs. During the holidays, we sing “gospelized” Christmas tunes.
Every Tuesday evening, except when on break.
About 12 times a year. We hold four large concerts—during the spring, summer, fall, and holidays—and perform at least once a month at various venues, including summer festivals, brunches, and charitable outreach facilities.
Specific breaks are determined at a Town Meeting once per year in January. Usually, breaks occur for a few weeks after Christmas, and during the week immediately following each of our four large concerts.
Yes, in New England. For now, we perform mostly in New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts.
Being a soloist with the choir carries high expectations, as well as extra obligations and responsibilities. Members need to be part of the choir for 3 months before auditioning as a soloist. Please see the Soloist Guidelines and Criteria, which are included in your membership packet, for more information.
See the introductory membership information, which follows. Successful completion of the audition is at the sole discretion of the Choir Director and Artistic Committee, taking the musical needs of the choir into account. Successful completion of an audition grants the auditioner introductory membership in the choir.

Introductory Membership

The introductory membership period lasts for eight weeks or at the discretion of the Choir Director and Artistic Committee. During that period, the member is expected to adhere to the following requirements:

  1. Attend all rehearsals. The rehearsal schedule is as follows: Tuesday nights from 7 to 9 p.m. at First Parish Federated Church, Corner of Main and Academy Streets, South Berwick, Maine. Promptness is expected.
  2. Attend all performances as an observer, except those specified by the Choir Director.
  3. Adhere to the PMW Standard of Conduct and performance dress code.
  4. Take on one additional role as a volunteer, such as helping with CD sales, setting up and breaking down equipment, making up press kits, and the like. A list of duties to sign up for is provided in your membership materials.
  5. There are no dues for introductory members, but a $25 payment is required for the binder of membership materials you will be given. This binder consists of a signup sheet for you to fill out and hand in to your Section Leader, membership policies and information, music and lyrics for songs in the choir’s repertoire, a CD, and a roster of all choir members.
  6. Any member who is going to be absent from a rehearsal and/or performance is required to notify their Section Leader in advance, or in an emergency, at the earliest possible time after the absence. You will be given a roster and membership packet, and introduced to your Section Leader at your first rehearsal.

Upon successful completion of the introductory period, introductory members will be accepted as active members. Successful completion is determined by the Section Leader and Choir Director, and for new members is not subject to appeal. See the membership materials for more information on what is expected of active members.

Active Membership

Requirements for active membership are similar to the above, with a few additional requirements:

  1. Members are expected to take part in at least 80% of dress rehearsals, sound checks, and performances. As a rule, participation in dress rehearsal and sound check is required for each performance.
  2. Members can miss no more than two rehearsals per quarter.
  3. Members are expected to pay regular dues of $25 per month. Dues are set by the PMW Board of Directors, based on the budgetary needs of the choir, and are due and payable at the time of the first rehearsal per month. Members are expected to keep dues current. If a member is unable to pay dues because of financial constraints, he or she may apply for a scholarship or make other arrangements by speaking with the dues collector.
  4. Probation status is imposed if a member fails the attendance requirements or falls two or more months delinquent on his or her dues. Probation status for two quarters in a row will result in the membership being reverted to introductory status for one quarter. Membership terminates if the member again fails to make his/her commitment either in the introductory status quarter or the following quarter.

Complete guidelines and policies for active members are provided in the membership binder. It is expected that each member will read through and understand all the material provided. Section leaders and volunteers on the Membership Committee are available to answer questions and provide assistance whenever it is needed.

Rehearsals

Rehearsals are held every Tuesday evening from 7:00 to 9:00 PM at the First Parish Federated Church, corner of Main and Academy Streets, in South Berwick, Maine. Rehearsals begin promptly at 7 PM. There is a 15-minute break at 8 PM to allow for chat and socializing and occasional business matters.

Rehearsal Guidelines and Conduct

The goal of rehearsals is to learn, to become as professional and polished a choir as possible, and to have a good time doing so. Courtesy and consideration are keys to making the process successful and fun, as well as to engender a strong and healthy sense of community and connection. The following guidelines are designed to ensure that these goals can be achieved.

  1. Choir members are expected to arrive on time and to attend all rehearsals. If you must be late or miss a rehearsal, please relay that information to your section leader. This requirement is not simply for organizational purposes but also out of consideration for your fellow choristers and friends: Unexplained absences can cause genuine alarm.
  2. Be considerate and respectful of your fellow choir members. While learning and practicing comes easily for some, it can be a struggle for others. Chatter, horseplay, and inattention can transform an enjoyable experience into an arduous one. The use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs in any manner that affects rehearsals will not be tolerated under any circumstances, and will be grounds for revocation of both Choir and PMW membership.
  3. Do not use perfume or any other scented personal products when attending rehearsals. This is both a courtesy and a health issue; many people are allergic to such products and are unable to remain in close proximity to those wearing them.
  4. ProjectMusicWorks is dedicated to providing service to others through the performance of music. Therefore, we all share the same commitment of coming to rehearsals with our parts learned and singing to the absolute best of our abilities. We realize that in order to best reach our audiences according to our mission, we must have high standards and adhere to them.

Performances

To serve the community, we perform for low fees or gratis at facilities such as nursing homes, hospices, hospitals, and other areas where people need to be uplifted but can’t come to hear the music for themselves. We also hold concerts and brunches and perform at festivals and other venues.

Performance Guidelines and Conduct

The guidelines and conduct required at rehearsals obviously extends to performances as well. Because performances are in public view, professional and respectful behavior is an absolute must. This does not preclude being light-hearted and relaxed; on the contrary, a sense of inclusive, welcoming joy is intrinsic to the gospel music experience. But, again, always remain aware that you are representing a professional charitable organization whose mission is one of respect, inclusion, and sharing. Consumption of alcoholic beverages and/or behavior-altering drugs before or during a performance is absolutely prohibited and will result in immediate termination of choir membership.

We do not wear choir robes; we do ask that you dress appropriately for performances, and that you wear black with an accent (ties for men; jewelry or scarves for women) of any combination of royal purple or royal blue, since those are the official PMW “colors.”