Selection and workshop
While the selection of Honors Choir nominees is left to the discretion of each director, it is intended that the very best singers, who are the best readers and performers regardless of their age, be considered for this honor. Eight potential nominees, an SSAATTBB octet, may accompany the director to the fall workshop.
In order to become an Honors Choir member, each candidate must successfully complete a February audition at Western Michigan University (usually the first or second Monday). A school may send from one to eight singers to the auditions but no more than two per vocal part. However, if a school sends a balanced octet (two on each part), it may send as many as four more singers regardless of part. Above all, schools are encouraged to participate even if they can only send a few singers following the guidelines above (i.e. you could bring up to two altos and two sopranos without any tenors or basses).
To successfully complete this audition, each student must exhibit the ability to sing the assigned music using good tone quality and intonation. While memorization is not required, thorough preparation is critical. The nominees will audition “in ensemble” by school before a panel including Western Michigan University voice faculty members and high school choral directors. (These high school directors will not hear their own students.) The students will not be identified by school and are instructed not to wear clothing identifying their school. The various directors will not be allowed in the room while their students are auditioning. During eight-part music auditions, all eight parts will be heard at once. During four-part music auditions, the judges may elect to hear no more than four singers at one time. Piano will be used only to assist the audition which are intended to be mostly a capella. (A pianist will be provided by WMU.)
In order to remain in the Honors Choir program, each selected student must attend all scheduled rehearsals at Western Michigan University. These include late afternoon rehearsals on the two Mondays preceding the festival and two Wednesday rehearsals on the day preceding the festival. A precise schedule is always published one academic year in advance.
No exceptions are made to the above attendance requirements.