SEATTLE PEACE CHORUS
Fred West, Music Director
/ How do I get on the e-mail lists?
SEATTLE PEACE CHORUS
P.O. Box 30152 - Seattle, WA 98113-0152 (206) 264-5532
Welcome to the Seattle Peace Chorus (SPC)!
The Seattle Peace Chorus was founded in 1983 to help build a more humane and peaceful world through music. Our international repertoire and citizen diplomacy have come together to build bridges between people.
This handbook has been created to help new members gain a better understanding of who we are and what we do. For all members, it is designed to serve as a reference to and reminders of chorus policy and procedures.
Questions and Answers about the ChorusWhat are my responsibilities as a chorus member? / p. 4
Who are the members, and how are they chosen? / p. 4
What are the benefits of being in the chorus? / p. 4
When and where do we rehearse? / p. 5
How much are dues, when do I pay them, and to whom? / p. 5
Do I have to pay for my music? / p. 5
What is the attendance policy? / p. 6
What if I miss a rehearsal? / p. 6
What kind of support is there for new members? / p. 7
Who is my section leader? What do section leaders do? / p. 7
What if I know someone who wants to audition? / p. 7
What do I wear to concerts? / p. 7
What is the stage etiquette for concerts? / p. 8
How do I get onto the e-mail lists? / p. 8
What is the difference between SPC-Business and SPC-Talk? / p. 8
Are there opportunities to serve on committees? / p. 9
I Sexual Harassment Policy / p. 12
II Discrimination Policy / p. 12
III Governance / p. 13
IV Statements of Common Understanding / p. 13
To communicate through music the desire for a
just and peaceful world;
To consistently present our message through choral excellence and nonviolent activism;
To celebrate life in all its diversity;
To build and sustain harmonious relationships and cultural bridges locally and globally.
MEMBERSHIP AND RESPONSIBILITIES
What are my responsibilities as a chorus member?
The success of the Seattle Peace Chorus depends upon your support of the chorus mission, "to consistently present SPC’s message through choral excellence." You are expected to:
- Attend rehearsals, major concerts, and retreats.
- Learn or memorize music as directed.
- Practice parts between chorus rehearsals.
- Sell a minimum of 10 tickets per concert
In order to "to build and sustain harmonious relationships and cultural bridges locally and globally," you are further asked to learn, practice, and model communication skills that nurture harmonious relationships.
The success of the chorus also depends on your active participation in the events, roles, and committees that are critical to the functioning of the chorus. To the extent that you are able, you are expected to:
- Participate in concert ticket sales, fund raising activities such as, yard sales, auctions, and other activities as needed.
- Volunteer time and skills for roles and/or committees within the chorus. Roles include positions on the Board of Directors and the role of section leader, music librarian, or historian. Committees encompass many tasks. See the descriptions of committees.
Who are the chorus members, and how are they chosen?
The Seattle Peace Chorus is composed of 40 -60 singing members from the Greater Seattle area. We strive to be diverse culturally and ethnically, honoring a range of perspectives. Members are chosen on the basis of musical ability, commitment to the SPC mission, and willingness to contribute skills toward the growth of the chorus.
Auxiliary (Supporter) Members
The Seattle Peace Chorus also has openings for auxiliary (supporter) memberships. Auxiliary members support the chorus mission and want to participate in ways other than singing. They are interested in serving on an SPC committee or as a board member. They pay a nominal fee and are invited to join us for choral tours.
What are the benefits of being a member?
- By singing together during rehearsals and performances, our spirits and hearts grow through the collaboration of music.
- We gain satisfaction by using singing talents to entertain and make social contributions to our community.
- We make new friends through a supportive, non-competitive community of people.
- We enjoy travel opportunities through SPC choral tours, giving us an opportunity to learn and use our citizen diplomacy skills.
- We meet and collaborate with a diverse group of performance artists and community groups.
- We develop singing, volunteer, and leadership skills through our involvement with SPC.
Easier for all to park
Get to know your fellow singers
Better for the environment
When and where do we rehearse?
When: Mondays, 7:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. (doors open at 6:45pm)
Where: Keystone Congregational Church (Wallingford neighborhood)
5019 Keystone, Seattle 98103
How much are dues, when do I pay them, and to whom?
The dues amount per member is determined by the board and is subject to change. Full payment is due by the third Monday rehearsal in September. A full year’s dues are required in the fall and one year’s participation is expected for each returning and new member.
Payment of dues may be made to the chorus Treasurer.
If you are unable to pay in full by the third Monday rehearsal, you may pay in installments. For example, you may pay $100 in September, $100 in October, and the remaining balance due in November. For exceptions to this policy, please see below, “Guidelines for Members Seeking Assistance with Dues.”
Singers joining for the second half of the season shall pay a reduced amount as determined by the board, and are expected to pay full annual dues the following fall. There are no refunds once the choral season is underway.
Dues are a critical means of support for SPC. They are used to pay basic expenses including (but are not limited to) the salary of the Music Director, the cost of an accompanist, rent for rehearsal space, concert production, and the cost of music.
Payment of dues is necessary for a singer to be considered an active member and thereby eligible to rehearse, perform, and travel at home or abroad with the chorus. Anyone who has an outstanding balance of dues at the end of a calendar year will not be eligible for chorus membership the following year until the balance has been paid.
Guidelines for Members Seeking Assistance with Dues If you are unable to pay the full amount of membership dues, you are encouraged to find a sponsor who will pay your dues in part or in full. With the sponsor’s agreement, the SPC will recognize the sponsor as a “Friend of the Peace Chorus” or “Ally in Peace” in the fall and spring concert programs.
If you are unable to find a sponsor, you may petition the SPC Board for a reduction in dues or for a scholarship. In either case, you must volunteer to contribute your skills, services, and time to support the chorus. You will sign an agreement with the details of your volunteer plan. The exact amounts and numbers of scholarships will change with the financial situation of the chorus, but our goal as an organization is to make it possible for auditioned singers who have financial need to join the chorus. Whether you are reporting a sponsorship or seeking financial assistance, please contact the Membership Committee Chair, who will advise you on how to proceed.
Do I have to pay for my music?
Typically, there is no charge for the music, although some musical scores will be available for you to purchase. For some scores, you may be asked to sign out your copy and return it after the concert. Make notations in pencil only. If you damage the score—for example, if you don’t erase your notations—you will be asked to pay the replacement cost.
What is the attendance policy?
The attendance policy is an affirmation of our commitment to the Seattle Peace Chorus’ musical excellence, social cohesion, and organizational health. We recognize that individual attendance affects our collective ability to perform well, to create music in a positive atmosphere, and govern ourselves effectively. Our sense of group wholeness and unity depends upon the steady presence of all of us.
You are expected to attend:
Bring to rehearsals:
- music in binder
- pencil with eraser
- Tape recorder (optional)
- Weekly rehearsals (Mondays, 7:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.)
Plan to arrive at 6:45 p.m. so that you are seated and ready to rehearse at 7 p.m. There is usually a 10 minute break around 8:20 p.m., and business announcements are either made at that time or at 9:15 pm. Sometimes announcements are made during this break. You are expected to stay until 9:30 p.m. to hear announcements, since they concern important business information.
- Extra rehearsals
Typically, two or three extra rehearsals are held the week before the concert. Occasionally, Saturday morning rehearsals may be scheduled.
- Sectional Rehearsals as scheduled by section leaders or by the Music Director.
- Major Concerts (fall and spring)
- Member Retreat
Typically, there is one retreat in the fall and one retreat in the spring. Details and duration of the retreats are determined and communicated each season. You are encouraged to attend retreats as this is an important—and very fun!—community-building event. If this isn’t possible, please make an effort to attend for at least a portion.
- Annual Meeting
The annual meeting is held in the spring, toward the end of the season. Usually, a potluck precedes the meeting. At the meeting, new board members are elected and policy changes, including changes to the bylaws, are voted on.
If you are unable to attend the annual meeting, you may express your opinion in advance of the meeting to any board member, who will convey this information at the meeting. You are expected to familiarize yourself with any policy changes or changes to the bylaws that are enacted at the meeting.
Going to miss a rehearsal or be late?
Let your Section Leader know!
What if I miss a rehearsal?
You may miss no more than three rehearsals during the concert preparation period, which lasts approximately 12 weeks. Missing more than three rehearsals, whether planned or unplanned, is considered an extended absence. If you incur an extended absence, please confer with the Music Director—ahead of time, if possible—to determine if you are capable of performing in the concert and what you must do to make up for lost rehearsal time. At the director’s request, the Membership Committee chair or the board president may assist with these situations
If you know that you will miss a rehearsal, please notify your section leader (s) prior to your absence, if possible. Contact your section leader(s) after missing a rehearsal to find out about any musical notations you might have missed.
What kind of support is there for new members?
Your Section Leader will serve as the primary support function for new members. In addition, experienced SPC singers are expected to support new members by reaching out and helping to answer any questions as necessary.
Experienced members are expected to check in with new members to see how they are getting along. Do they have the music ? Are they receiving the Peace Notes? Experienced members are also expected to help new members get to know other singers.
Who is my section leader? What do section leaders do?
Section leaders will be announced at the beginning of each season. Each music section will have a section leader. Use your section leader as a resource. Call or email them if you plan to be late or absent to a rehearsal. Ask them questions and keep them informed.
• Section leaders are appointed by the director.
• Some sections may have two leaders who share responsibilities.
• Section leaders are evaluated and reappointed each year.
Section leader qualifications and responsibilities:
• Attends rehearsals regularly.
• Keeps attendance records for section members.
• Demonstrates good musicianship.
• Is proactive in the following ways:
- Schedules sectional rehearsals, as needed.
- Provides feedback to the Music Director regarding problematic musical passages for that section.
- Works with the director to achieve section's concert readiness.
- Contacts members of the section when repeated absence is an issue and consults with the Director as necessary.
What if I know someone who wants to audition?
Have a friend who would like to join the chorus? Auditions are generally held in the fall before rehearsals begin and again in December. Auditions can be held at other times, but special arrangements must be made. To find out about auditions once the season has begun, contact Pat Clayton (Soprano).
What do I wear to concerts?
Women: black long sleeve floor length gown, or black long sleeve blouse with black pants; black opaque stockings; black, closed-toe shoes. Nothing shiny, no fragrances.
Men: black long sleeve shirt (no tees or turtle necks), black pants, black socks, black closed-toe shoes. Nothing shiny, no fragrances.
BLACK MUSIC BINDEr
We memorize short, less formal music. For longer, more challenging pieces, we rely on our music. Please put your music, in concert order, in a regular black, 3-ring binder. A professional music binder with 3-rings and elastic bands for holding bound scores is also available for about $25. In the past, we have ordered these from the Missoula Community Chorus; however, they are not currently available from this source. You can order a professional binder online.
What is the stage etiquette for concerts?
To communicate our professionalism and to contribute to a polished performance, we follow these stage etiquette guidelines:
- Walk on and off of the risers with your music binder at your side and facing away (upstage) from the audience.
- When you walk on stage and face the audience, smile to communicate the joy you feel in anticipation of a wonderful concert!
- Keep your eyes on the Music Director, or, during a performance by a soloist or group, on the performing artist(s).
- Smile back at the audience when they applaud.
- During the applause, quietly turn pages to the next song.
- Refrain from talking, whispering, or sending "knowing glances" to other singers, even between songs.
- Refrain from waving to or signaling to anyone in the audience throughout the performance.
- Refrain from putting your hands in your pockets.
- Refrain from touching your face.
- Enjoy each piece you are singing!
How do I get on the two e-mail lists?
Once you are accepted into the chorus, the Membership Committee chair will contact the e-mail list administrator and provide your e-mail address. The email list administrator will add you to the SPC-Business and SPC-Talk e-mail distribution lists.
What is the difference between SPC-Business and SPC-Talk?
is for information about official chorus matters only.
Only current dues-paying members are on SPC-Business.
Current dues-paying members that have an email account must be on this list, as important information about rehearsals and concert will be communicated here.
Any dues-paying chorus member can post to SPC Business. Appropriate postings are from:
- the Music Director
- the person posting the Peace Notes
- a board member making an announcement
- an individual working on a Seattle Peace Chorus event who needs to convey information related to concerts, travel, fund-raising, etc.
- any current chorus member who has lost their music, water-bottle, etc.
is for chorus community announcements. Being on this list is optional. The list includes current chorus members and other individuals, including chorus supporters and former chorus members. Joining this list is optional. If you want to opt out, contact the email list administrator.
A sample of appropriate topics for posting to :
- social justice
- a rally
- a march
- a speaker
- a film, play, or other cultural even
- a party
- feedback about our concerts
- an apartment for rent
- kittens who need homes
How to Post
Create an email addressed to either:
- You must post using the email address used to subscribe to either, or both, lists.
- Please reserve SPC-Business for official notices so that they can be easily spotted.
- Reply to only the person who has posted the e-mail unless it’s necessary to “Reply to all.” We want to cut down on unnecessary e-mails as much as possible.
- Any changes to your subscriptions can be managed by you by using the links at the bottom of every email received from and .
Are there opportunities to serve on committees?
The chorus welcomes your presence on SPC committees, and you are strongly encouraged to volunteer. Following, in alphabetical order, is a list of the committees, along with descriptions of their activities. Some committees are only active intermittently, as needed. Please consider participating in these great opportunities to support the chorus and to build your community, and sign up as soon as possible. Active participation on these committees is critical for keeping the chorus functioning.
Budget and Finance Team
Required members include treasurer(s), president, and the chair of the Resource Development Committee (see below). Others are welcome to join.
- Oversees budget and review finance issues.
- Proposes SPC annual budget for member comment, board review, and adoption.
- Proposes SPC member dues structure.
- Monitors revenue/expenses, including dues payments, and reports to board on same.
Community Outreach Committee
- Coordinates publicity.
- Oversees SPC community relations and efforts to increase awareness of the SPC in the community, including identification with and support for the SPC mission.
- Proposes ways for the community to support the SPC mission, such as contributions of humanitarian aid in conjunction with SPC travel, benefit concerts, or donation of a percent of proceeds from sales of CDs, tee-shirts, mugs, and other items.
- Maintains the website ( webmaster includes summary of concerts and chorus participation in other events for each season.
Concert Production Committee