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Technology Discussion from the GALA Artistic Director Discussion List

Conversation from 10/2012

Just curious how various choirs are dealing with the use of eReaders in rehearsal, including music distribution.
Bob Mensel, Artistic Director,
Portland Gay Men's Chorus

Where publishers have made it possible to buy electronic versions of the sheet music at a discount, we take advantage of that. Otherwise, we buy a full set of music for all singing members. We already do a high-quality scan of the music to create MIDI rehearsal files, so we distribute that scanned version to members on request.

One variation specific to our chorus is that we purchase music on behalf of the singers, who then own their copies and reimburse the chorus by paying a music fee. We do not maintain ownership of the sheet music in a chorus library. The best application for marking music, by our group's consensus is "ForScore." It's a few bucks, but really handles marking and page-flipping (repeats, D.S., coda) well.

Peter Padilla, Sine Nomine
Denver, Colorado

I work closely with the Singapore Men's Chorus and also sing with two other local groups that perform mainly a cappella music and frequently commission or premiere new works.

So far, only about a quarter of our Men's Chorus uses iPads for rehearsal and only one singer in The Singers. Most of us in all three groups still prefer using printed scores, either originals (which we pay for and own after they are purchased in bulk on our behalf - marginalizes handling and postage costs) or pdf versions of unpublished music (which members have to download on to their iPads or print out for themselves before the scheduled rehearsal). Just as we adopt a fairly flexible approach much like Tim's with CGMC, we have also experienced the same problem with marking scores, especially because each season's repertoire tends to span multiple languages from Asia, the Americas and Europe. While translations are emailed to members in a Word document, the general consensus is that penciling them in against the original text allows for a more effective rehearsal process and memory work. Many thanks, Peter, for the lead to use ForScore. ๐Ÿ™‚

Greg Director, Singapore Men's Chorus
Member, The Singers Vocal Ensemble, Singapore
Member, The Philharmonic Chamber Choir

I allow the use of tablets, iPads etc. in rehearsal as long as they are only used for music reading. I provide pdfs of only unpublished songs and newly-created arrangements (vocal line only, no piano-vocals); no published songs. Even though we purchase enough copies of published works for performance, I'm still a little leery of CGMC providing a pdf of them.

In future concerts where all the arrangements are new and unpublished, I am considering providing pdfs for singers to either use on tablets or print themselves. Hard copies will need to be pre-ordered and perhaps pre-paid as well. It's a great way to cut down on copying costs.

Tim Sarsany
Columbus Gay Men's Chorus

Surprisingly, we don't have any, despite our high number of techno-geeks. I had one member who used it the last time he sang with us (about a year ago) until I discovered he had no way to mark his music. If someone has a pad and pen that allows them to mark things, then fine. Otherwise, it's out.

A note about published music: The decision to use these, if the director permits, is the singer's. If they want to use it, then they should be the one responsible for creating their own PDF's. The risk is then assumed by the singer, not the chorus.

Kevin Robison, Artistic Director
Atlanta Gay Men's Chorus