We hold auditions at the beginning of fall term every year (look for posters and NNB notices or check out our table at the Student Activities Fair to find out where and when). Sometimes we hold auditions during the year as well (for example if some of us are going abroad winter term, we may need more people!) If you get accepted into the group, you’re in for life (really, we’re not joking—once a ‘dental always a ‘dental!) so you won’t ever have to re-audition. We are completely student-run, so the only people present at your audition will be the current members of the Accidentals.
The most important thing to remember in Accidentals auditions is that our goal is to hear you sing and decide how good a fit you’ll be with the rest of the group, not to scare the crap out of you. So relax, be yourself, and maybe even try to have some fun. We’re not scary. We promise. Here’s a basic rundown of how auditions go:
Stage 1: First Round Auditions
In your individual audition, we’ll let you choose whether you want to do your solo song first, or if you’d prefer to wait. We’ll lead you through a warm-up exercise to test your range, and have you do “sing-backs,” where you sing series of notes after they have been played on the piano for you. These are some (but certainly not all) of the things we look for in women auditioning:
- Solo Voice This is your turn to shine! Show us your personality and your musical taste. We want singers with all types of voices. Now, it’s important that you can carry a song on your own, but we are also looking for...
- Blend This includes being able to control your vibrato and the volume of your voice, in addition to shaping the “color” of your voice.
- Intonation This is about pitch accuracy. And try to hit notes directly rather than sliding up or down to them. It’s important that everyone in the group be able to hold their pitch because there isn’t any instrumental support to keep it where it’s supposed to be.
- Range Even if we love your audition, we might be looking for someone with a specific vocal range. Many of our song arrangements span nearly three octaves from the highest part to the lowest, which means we need people with freaky ranges to sing some of the more extreme parts. Try to pick a solo song that shows off your range!
- Sass We take our music seriously, but we also love to have a great time together. Chocolate, hugs and general group lovin’ are almost as important as music sometimes, because it really does show in the music when group members get along. We want to see how much you love singing. Group decisions are made by consensus rather than by elected officers, so flexibility is key.
These aren’t all the things we consider, but they are some of the more important ones. It’s always amazing to see the different women who come through auditions. Even if you don’t make callbacks, please audition again! The group’s sound is constantly changing as different people leave and return. One term we might not need any high sopranos, and the next we may be begging for them. A lot depends on what voice parts we need. Some of the current Accidentals auditioned more than once before they made the group, so keep auditioning! So after a period of painful deliberation, we narrow the auditionees down to a smaller list (usually 5-10 people, but it depends on how many people audition, and how many of you impress us!). We will invite you folks to...
Stage 2: Callbacks
Congratulations if you’ve made it this far. We think you’re pretty groovy, and we want to hear you sing a whole lot more. To start, we’ll go through group warm-ups again. Try not to be intimidated (I know, not likely) if one of us walks by and sticks an ear near your mouth. We’re just trying to hear you better.
When you're warm and ready, we will teach you three different parts a song that we do (low, mid, and high). When it seems like everyone has the parts down pretty well, we send everyone out of the room and bring you in one, two, or three at a time. You will sing all three parts with members of the Accidentals singing the parts you aren’t singing. We’re looking for your ability to hold your own part, blend with the other singers, and hold your pitch. We might ask you to try changing your vowel shapes or sing with a straight tone. We might call you in a bunch of time, just roll with it. Once we're all done singing, the only thing left is the waiting.
We'll let you know either way. And don’t be surprised if someone comes to kidnap you from your dorm room in the wee hours. Again, if you don’t make it this time, please audition again. Good luck to everyone auditioning!
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