Code of Practice for Chorus


For more than 150 years, Cambridge Philharmonic chorus and orchestra have brought together members from in and around Cambridge to perform a broad repertoire of classical and contemporary works, opera and concerts and projects aiming to engage local communities.

Our shared vision ‘to be recognised as the leading, most exciting and innovative orchestra and chorus in our field’ is supported by codes of practice for the orchestra and chorus which outline members’ expectations of themselves and each other. Adhering to the chorus code of practice supports our vision and the Director of Music and Chorus Master in their roles, helps to build our commitment and collective sense of community and enables us to balance our desire to improve and be as good as we can be with enjoyment, fun and broader wellbeing.

The Chorus Secretary role (currently shared between two members) is to oversee the administration and running of the chorus, supporting members to fulfil the expectations of membership. The Chorus Secretary role is supported by the Chorus Representative, elected by members at each Annual General Meeting, who gathers and responds to members’ feedback and queries. The Chorus Secretary and Chorus Representative roles are members of Cambridge Philharmonic committee which oversees the running of the charitable organisation. All committee members give their time voluntarily and we are grateful for chorus and orchestra members’ input to and support for the running of the charity.

New chorus section representative roles will be developed during the 2023/24 season, aiming to support existing and new members’ motivation, attendance and involvement, acting as the focus for communication between members of each voice part, Chorus Master and Director of Music and picking up on musical and artistic aspects to support progress towards our shared vision of continuous improvement, innovation and quality.


Regular chorus rehearsals are held on Tuesday evenings during term time. Rehearsals begin at 7.30pm and end at 9.45pm. Members are expected to attend occasional rehearsals on other days, for example, on the evening before and the day of a concert.  Notice of dates and times of these additional rehearsals will always be released as soon as possible.

Named lanyards will be made available at the start of each year.  These support the chorus to build a community where we know each other’s names so we encourage members to wear them at rehearsals.

Members are expected to study between rehearsals to make the best possible use of rehearsal time together (especially those who find sight-reading more difficult).  When available, resources to support personal preparatory work are emailed and posted on the members’ section of the Cambridge Philharmonic website.

The season is planned with full chorus membership numbers in mind so all singers are expected to perform in all concerts for which they are required and to attend all relevant rehearsals. If a member is unable to perform in a particular concert, they should mark the register with a cross and inform the Chorus Secretary at the earliest opportunity (at Please do not simply cease attending rehearsals – we need your feedback and reasons to inform our planning so we can avoid losing your voice at future concerts.  It is common to feel a lack of confidence as we are learning a new piece – do speak to your section representative or Chorus Secretary if you have any concerns.


Members should inform the Chorus Secretary if they are unable to attend a rehearsal by marking the register in advance or by emailing  The Chorus Master (in consultation with the Chorus Secretary) will have the final say whether a member can perform in a concert if they have missed too much rehearsal time (usually equivalent to two rehearsals).  The final two rehearsals before a concert are particularly important.  Singers may not be able to perform to the required standard in a concert if they have missed either of these, unless prevented by exceptional circumstances (such as their employment, caring responsibilities, ill-health) and granted permission by the Chorus Secretary.

New members

Prospective new members are very welcome and are encouraged to attend at least two rehearsals before deciding whether to seek to become a member. If they wish to join, they should inform the Chorus Secretary who will arrange an audition as soon as practicable.

Auditions and re-auditions

All members are required to re-audition every three years, organised by voice part.  New members must re-audition when it is the turn of their voice part unless it is less than a year since their initial audition.

In an audition, a singer performs with an accompanist a short piece of their choice (whatever they feel comfortable with singing, for example, a favourite classical song, a verse of a favourite Christmas carol or the music they’ve been rehearsing recently with the chorus).  Each singer is given an exercise to check they can read music and their voice is tested to agree their voice part with the Chorus Master. An audition should take no more than seven minutes and we do our very best to make it as relaxed as possible (please do contact the Chorus Secretary for more details or to discuss if you have any concerns).


Membership subscriptions for the season ahead are approved at the AGM (in October/November of each year) and should be paid as soon as is possible following the AGM or the successful completion of an audition for a place in the chorus.

Cambridge Philharmonic aims to be inclusive and supportive.  For those who are unable to afford the subscription, an exemption is available or a monthly or termly payment plan can be agreed with the Treasurer (please contact to arrange a confidential conversation).

Members are encouraged to pay their subscription by Gift Aid donation. This can be done at no cost or obligation to the individual and is of great benefit to the Cambridge Philharmonic (the necessary forms will be supplied by the Treasurer or Assistant Treasurer).


Members’ annual subscription fee includes the cost of hiring scores but members may, of course, buy their own copies.  Hired scores must be returned to the Chorus Librarian immediately after each concert. Any member who fails to return their score, or returns it in a damaged state, will be liable for any costs incurred.

Concert Dress

Concert dress is normally black long-sleeved shirt and black trousers for men and all black for women (skirts below the knee, sleeves any length).

Cambridge Philharmonic Folders should be used (available to purchase for a small fee).

Marketing and communications

Members are asked to help promote and sustain the charity – helping us to market concerts, events and new projects by sharing flyers, posting on social media and encouraging ticket sales and supporting us to recruit new members, supporters, donors and Friends across their contacts and networks.

We will provide flyers, messages and other communications to help with these efforts and ask that members strive to represent the charity in a positive way at all times, especially when using social media.

Updated 23.08.23