Royal Opera House Thurrock Community Chorus at London International Cruise Terminal, Tilbury. Photographed by Rachel Cherry
Royal Opera House Thurrock Community Chorus at London International Cruise Terminal, Tilbury. Photographed by Rachel Cherry

Royal Opera House Thurrock Community Chorus – Frequently Asked Questions

Who can join?

Anyone aged 8 and above who lives, works, studies or volunteers in Thurrock. Under 16s must attend with a parent/carer.

Do I need any previous musical experience?

None at all! We welcome everyone from complete beginners to experienced singers

What about being able to read music?

Many members of ROHTCC join us not being able to read music. We teach everything by ear, and provide practice tracks to listen to in your own time, to really help the music sink in. For those that are interested to develop music reading skills, we help with that too.

Is there an audition? Will I be asked to sing on my own?

There are no auditions and you will not be asked to sing on your own in front of the group! Once you make the decision to join, we'll organise a short 1:1 voice part check with the Musical Director – this is to get to know you a bit better and decide which voice part (soprano, alto, tenor or bass) is right for you.

Where and when do you rehearse?

Every Monday evening in term time, 7.15-9.30pm, at Palmer's College in Grays (Chadwell Road, RM17 5TD). We have additional weekend rehearsals, usually once or twice a term, plus performances – usually around six per year.

What do you perform?

As a Royal Opera House ensemble, the vast majority of the repertoire performed by ROHTCC is drawn directly from the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. We take our inspiration from the operas that are currently being performed, and have fun exploring their music and stories. We usually perform pieces in the original language, in several parts, from memory, and stage them, sometimes with props, scenery and costumes. It sounds daunting but those joining us are always amazed at what they can achieve, even in a short amount of time!

Where do you perform?

Anywhere and everywhere! We often perform in the front of house spaces at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, as well as other London venues such as the Southbank Centre. In Thurrock we've performed everywhere from Grays High Street and the green in Purfleet to the Civic Hall and the Tilbury Cruise Terminal.

Do you work with ROH artists?

Yes. Weekly rehearsals are taken by Musical Director Jeremy Haneman and Assistant Musical Director Ashley Beauchamp, whilst guest artists such as directors, choreographers, vocal and language coaches and designers join us for special sessions.

Is there a fee to participate?

There is a termly fee of £40, or £20 concessions, to be a member of ROHTCC. This is the equivalent of roughly £3, or £1.50 per session. ROHTCC is generously sponsored by Thurrock Borough Council and Kim Samuel, which means that membership is heavily subsidized. Additionally, we are committed to ensuring that no one is prohibited from joining ROHTCC due to cost, and so if meeting the cost of the fees is prohibitive for you, please talk to us and we can discuss a reduction, or even waiving the cost altogether.

How regularly are there opportunities to join?

We usually recruit once a year in the autumn for all voice parts, and then sometimes there's an additional recruitment session in January for lower voices only – this would usually be for men. The reason we only accept new members twice per year, is because of the amount of music we learn from memory – there's just too much to catch up on to join part way through the year.

What happens at the taster sessions?

We run our taster sessions like a normal rehearsal. We start with a physical and vocal warm-up, and will then learn some new music together. Part way through we pause for a cup of tea and a biscuit, during which you can meet and chat to other Chorus members. After the session you can let us know what you thought, and have a think about whether you'd like to join.

I'm interested but a bit nervous! Is there someone I can talk to, to find out more?

Yes of course – please give us a call on +44(0)1708 891 200 and we'll be happy to talk to you. Alternatively, e-mail getinvolved@roh.org.uk. We can explain things in more detail, provide more information, or put you in touch with a 'buddy' from the Chorus who you can have a chat with ahead of the session, and perhaps make plans to meet up when you get there so there's a friendly face to greet you.

It all sounds great! What do I do next?

E-mail us or call us to sign up for a taster session on Monday 23 or Monday 30 September – you can come to either or both. It's a free opportunity to meet the group, find out more, and sing with them, to decide if you would like to join. We hope to see you there!

Contact us

Telephone +44(0)1708 891 200 or email getinvolved@roh.org.uk