Small Ensemble Music Director Job Description

By  GALA Expert 

 November 28, 2023 




The following is a description of the position of Music Director of It is not intended to be a contract and the list below is intended to be a guide only and is not necessarily an exclusive list of requirements, duties and/or responsibilities.


The Small Ensemble Music Director is usually drawn from the active membership of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus (SFGMC). The MD is appointed by and reports to the Artistic Director. The MD is a non-compensated, volunteer position. The MD’s primary responsibilities entail conducting a weekly two-hour rehearsal, conducting additional rehearsals as necessary, directing the Ensemble’s performances (approximately one per month, except more frequently in December and June), plus any necessary planning and administration. The Ensemble may also participate in an Ensembles Concert in the fall, and occasional touring and recording projects.

(See Small Ensemble description attached for further details regarding the function of the Ensembles within SFGMC.)

Qualifications and Experience

While the MD is not expected to be a professional choral conductor, he must be an accomplished musician able to read and direct music confidently and competently. He should be an exceptional leader, communicator and educator, willing and able to work as part of the Artistic and PR team of the Chorus.

Each Small Ensemble needs an accompanist for rehearsals and/or performances. If the MD is not able to fulfill this role himself, the Artistic Director will appoint a pianist (if one is available). A small stipend may be available to the pianist under certain circumstances.

Duties and Responsibilities

The responsibilities and duties of the MD include but are not limited to:

Working closely with the SFGMC Artistic Director (AD) and/or SFGMC staff, the MD will ensure that the following duties and responsibilities are met for the Ensemble:

1) Artistic Responsibilities

  • Oversee the musical health and growth of the Ensemble in accordance with the Chorus’s mission, vision and strategic plan;
  • Supervise the musical needs of the Ensemble, delegating tasks where necessary with follow-up as needed;
  • Direct the musical portions of the Ensemble’s rehearsals and performances;
  • Work with the AD to develop the concepts and specify the production requirements of performance elements;
  • Supervise the recruitment and addition of new members to the Ensemble (drawing from the SFGMC membership-at-large);
  • Working with the AD, select repertoire for the Ensemble (ensuring that there are funds for purchases or permissions);

2) Administrative Responsibilities 

  • Communicate effectively with the members of the Ensemble regarding rehearsal and performance schedules;
  • Provide communications as necessary via Chorus Notes, email lists etc.;
  • Manage the rehearsal schedule, including such related duties as distribution of music, attendance policy, memorization schedule etc.;
  • Provide any potential performance (e.g. SingOut! outreach) information to the AD for consideration;
  • Ensure that all clientsare well informed of your performance requirements (e.g. keyboard, microphones, PA, parking, water, music stand, payment);
  • Provide clientswith any pertinent PR information (e.g. Ensemble photos, bio);
  • Provide monthly, written summaries to the Artistic Director (for inclusion in the Artistic Director’s reports to the GGPA Board of Directors);
  • Serve as a spokesperson and liaison on behalf of SFGMC;

*client = organization, company, or private party requesting Ensemble

3) Professional Development

  • Identify areas needing development;
  • Seek advice and/or mentoring as necessary.


SFGMC has several ensembles consisting of approximately 8 – 16 voices per ensemble. The membership of the ensembles is drawn primarily from the wider membership of the Chorus. All members of the ensembles are “members” as per the rules of SFGMC’s membership. The ensembles rehearse in addition to the Chorus, and perform alone and also with the Chorus at the discretion of the Artistic Director. The small group experience offers those members willing to devote additional time and energy the opportunity to perform challenging repertoire in a wide variety of venues beyond those offered by the Chorus. Members of the Ensembles find that their participation leads to improved confidence, music reading, voice production and performance professionalism. This in turn helps to improve the overall quality of the Chorus. The Ensembles play an important role in the Chorus’s SingOut! Program, often representing the Chorus at private sector and/or corporate events. Such activities provide invaluable public relations and important revenue for the Chorus.

The Chorus has three ensembles:

The Lollipop Guild

  • Founded 1979 – oldest small ensemble in GALA Choruses
  • Music Director: Paul Saccone,
  • Administrative Director: Mike Holland,
  • Sings all kinds of music, but especially Barbershop
  • Rehearses Wednesday evenings
  • Members are auditioned
  • Featured on CDs Our Boys Will Shine (sold out) and Divas’ Revenge
  • Performance highlights: Pacbell Park for Giants game; many GALA Chorus Festivals
  • Plans: touring to Washington DC in May, 2006

Vocal Minority

  • Founded 2003 by Scott Mills
  • Currently seeking Music Director (and pianist)
  • Administrative Director: Mike Bankert,
  • Repertoire includes all kinds of music, but especially close harmony vocal jazz
  • Rehearses Thursday evenings
  • Members are auditioned
  • Featured on CDs Oh Happy Day and Divas’ Revenge
  • Performance highlights: GALA Choruses Festival in Montreal, 2004; GALA Choruses Conference, 2005, Kansas City
  • Plans: touring to Washington DC in May, 2006

del Castro

  • Newest SFGMC ensemble, debuted in December, 2005, founded by Yann Jouvenot and Matt Prather
  • Directed by Matt Prather,
  • Currently seeking pianist
  • Repertoire: specializes in music with Spanish lyrics (outreach to Hispanic/Spanish-speaking community)
  • Rehearses on Thursday evenings
  • Not currently an auditioned ensemble; fluency in Spanish is not a requirement
  • Performance highlights: debut at Castro Theatre in Dec. 2005; Holiday SingOut! in Mission District
  • Plans: find a pianist and complete membership