The Boston University Symphonic Chorus is open to all musicians in the campus community: undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, staff, and friends. BU community members sing alongside music performance majors from the School of Music, collectively forming the premiere choral ensemble at Boston University. Each performance typically features a large choral work, often including orchestra and vocal soloists. The ensemble presents one concert each semester, including an annual performance at Symphony Hall, the home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Rehearsals are held in the CFA Concert Hall at 855 Commonwealth Avenue on Wednesday evenings from 7pm to 10pm; extra rehearsals are often held as performances approach and will be announced before the start of the semester. Auditions to determine vocal range are generally held at the first and second rehearsals of each semester. Participating BU students should register for the course, which is offered for either one or zero credits.
Frequently Asked Questions
When do the choirs meet?
BU Symphonic Chorus: 7-10pm every Wednesday night and BU Singers (both Treble and Mixed): 12:20-2:05pm every W,F
What is the different between the choirs?
BU Symphonic is our bigger chorus that performs yearly with our orchestra and requires no audition. BU Singers is a smaller chorus, often divided into Mixed and Treble groups, that includes our vocal major undergraduates and other experienced undergraduate and graduate singers. Across campus, there are also a cappella groups, a Marsh Chapel Choir, and a Gospel Choir.
How often (and where) do we perform?
Symphonic Chorus performs once a semester. Each semester alternates with a performance in the College of Fine Arts Concert hall (usually our Fall concert) and a performance with the orchestra in Symphony Hall (usually our Spring concert). BU Singers performs twice per semester in the CFA Concert Hall as well as the Marsh Chapel and other venues in the area.
Is there an audition to sing with Symphonic Chorus?
No singer will be turned away from Symphonic chorus. However, each new member of Symphonic does need to meet with the Conductor or Assistant conductor once. We call it a ‘conductor hearing.’ In the hearings, we will ask you to 1, sing a song (any song) for us, and 2, we will check your range (how high and low you sing). This will help us place you in a voice part that is comfortable for you and where you will help the chorus sound at its best.
If I have previous choral experience, may I audition for BU Singers?
Yes, you may! All BU Singers also sing in Symphonic Chorus, so at your Symphonic Audition (the first Wednesday of the semester), bring a solo piece and be prepared to sight read if you are interested in this option. The call-back for BU Singers if the first Friday, at 12:20 in room 171. We particularly need more tenors and basses.
What songs do we sing?
In Symphonic Chorus, most of our repertoire is from the Symphonic literature, for chorus and orchestra, including opera literature, symphonies, requiems and oratorios, and other works for large chorus. In BU Singers, we explore chamber repertoire including shorter works from across the world, both accompanied and unaccompanied.
Can I join Symphonic Chorus if I am in Medical / Law / Business school or other graduate program?
Yes. We have many graduate students from across campus that join us.
If I am a BU alum and still in the area, may I join Symphonic Chorus?
We do have guests join our chorus when possible, though you do need to sign up as a non-degree students. Please visit this page to find out more.
I am excited to join Symphonic Chorus. How do I get more information on our first rehearsals?
If you register for the class, you will receive emails from the Choral team! Either CFA MU 099, CFA MU 199, or CFA MP 603.
How much time am I expected to spend preparing for Symphonic Chorus outside of class?
We ask that you spend at least 15 minutes per week reviewing the music.
What if I want to sing in Symphonic Chorus but I have no credits left in my load?
Course CFA MU 099 is a 0-credit option that you can sign up for.
How are we graded in the choirs and do we have a final?
Your grade is determined by you showing up on time for rehearsals and performances. Your attendance at your performance is considered your final. Symphonic Chorus does not meet after your last performance, so there is no ‘final’ during finals week for the choirs.
Will I be graded differently if I am taking the class for 1 or 0 credits?
No, we have the same expectations for those who take the class for 1 or 0 credits and grade them the same way. There is no difference in the different call numbers.
Are there any leadership opportunities for me in the choruses?
Yes! We have section leaders, publicity and marketing chairs, culture chairs, and other assistants that help run the ensemble that are pulled from volunteers in the chorus. Previously assigned are the conductor, assistant conductor, accompanist, School of Music Manager, chorus manager, and assistant manager.
Why are Symphonic Chorus rehearsals held late in the evening?
In order to accommodate the schedules of both undergraduate and graduate students, unfortunately we cannot start the rehearsal earlier. We know this is a long evening so we encourage you to bring water and rest during our breaks. Music and singing is proven to change our bodies and our brains and we hope the music you will sing in Symphonic Chorus will be an uplift for the rest of your busy week.