What type of singers are accepted into your program? How many singers?
Our choral program attracts a variety of participants who are all avid choral enthusiasts who strive for excellence, including experienced amateurs, as well as seasoned professional singers, voice teachers, choral conductors, music educators, and church musicians. All bring their unique strengths, vocal colors, and positive attitudes, as well as the drive, the dedication, and an open heart to make music at the highest possible level. Participants are chosen by vocal category, unique vocal color, choral background, ability to blend within a small chamber ensemble, ability to hold pitch while singing a cappella, and, of course, an amiable personality. Our ensemble is limited to 36 singers.
Do you prefer straight tone or a sound with vibrato?
While we do not specifically ask for straight tone, we do not reject it as long as it is freely produced with head voice, is lofty, and non-pressed. We also look for voices that have a freely produced vibrato, spin, or ring, with no signs of a wobble or a slow vibrato rate. Ultimately we look for a “blendable” voice.
What repertoire do you perform? When will we find out the final list of repertoire for this summer?
The ensemble performs a cappella vocal works, spanning from Renaissance to Spiritual and contemporary repertoire. Please visit our REPERTOIRE page for a complete list of all performed repertoire to date. Since the repertoire is chosen with program participants in mind, the final repertoire list will be posted on our private Umbrian Serenades 2017 FaceBook group page sometime in March of 2017.
Do you provide the music for participants or do we need to order it ourselves?
It is the participants’ responsibility to purchase his or her own scores. More detailed information will be provided regarding this in the Spring of 2017 on our private program FaceBook page.
Will we need to sight-sing for you?
There is obviously no sight-singing requirement to apply for our program, nor during our ensemble rehearsals in Europe. Participants are required, however, to have thoroughly learned the entire repertoire prior to arrival for the program, including note learning, interval drilling, and diction.
Does the music need to be memorized for the concerts?
While there will be no test for memorization we do expect every singer to be out of the music and able to connect with the conductor at all times; for many this may require memorization.
I have some mobility issues with walking long distances or up and down steps. Will there be transportation I can use to get around?
If you have serious physical limitations that preclude you from walking or going up and down stairs and hills, this might not be the best program for you, due to the steep terrain. We walk everywhere in our towns and there are oftentimes many sets of stairs. Transportation is limited, and taxis are extremely expensive.
What hotel do you use for your program?
Hotel Alfonso VIII offers good-value accommodation set in the heart of Soria, in Castilla y León. This functional, modern hotel has a fitness center and a sauna. Rooms at the Alfonso VIII are bright and spacious, and all have air conditioning. They all have a TV and a minibar. Rooms also have an en suite bathroom with a hairdryer. The hotel has a café and a restaurant, serving fresh local dishes. There is also a relaxing lounge area with sofas. The hotel’s gift shop sells typical regional products.
I’d like to bring a non-singing travel companion. Would my travel companion need to participate in the entire program or can he/she visit for a shorter period of time?
“Non-singing travel companions” are not only welcome but are encouraged to join our program, be with us during all transfers, dinners, and other cultural events, as well as listen to any of our ensemble rehearsals. They have a full understanding that choral music is the center of our unique program, and participate as avid audience members during our performances. These “travel companions” slots, however, are limited, as we first need to fill our singing participant roster and keep the entire group less than 40 people. We can only make final decisions about people who cannot participate in the entire program once the selected ensemble members and their full program participating travel companions have committed to the program. At that time, we will determine if there is room for “add on” travel companions. These visiting travel companions will be charged a different daily visitor’s fee and contract to sign than a full program participant.
I see that the full participation fee will be due by Friday, February 17th, 2017. May I split the payments up and pay the balance later?
Yes, for an additional fee. Please contact us directly for more information.
What is the concert dress for singers?
Black outfits for both men and women. More specific details in the private Umbrian Serenades 2017 FaceBook Group.
I have to adhere to a gluten-free and/or vegetarian diet. Is it possible to enjoy meals with my dietary needs?
We will make our very best effort to communicate your dietary needs to any restaurant or caterer the program uses.
Is the program sensitive to those of us who do not drink alcohol?
We have had several participants in past years who choose not to drink alcoholic beverages, for various reasons. Everyone knows his/her own level of comfort being around alcohol and we encourage each individual to discern what is best for him/her. There is abundant bottled water flowing at all meals. One can certainly opt out entirely from any cultural event should one choose to do so.
I am very interested in applying for your program but would like to speak to one of your past participants. Are there any past participants willing and available to talk to me on the phone?
There are many past participants who would gladly share their unique choral and cultural experiences as an “Umbrian Serenader” with you, or answer any questions you may have. Please let us know and we will have someone contact you at your earliest convenience. We do encourage you to read the TESTIMONIALS page of this website