Chorale Handbook

The Blue Ridge Chorale

Blue Ridge Chorale
of Culpeper, Inc.
Member Handbook
(Updated 2024)

Welcome to the Blue Ridge Chorale!
We are delighted to have you as a member. Whether this is your first season or you are a returning member, we welcome you to our community chorus. Our Chorale singers join together in the spirit of dedication, patience and goodwill to work toward a goal of excellence in our musical performances. Our desire is for the rehearsals to be enjoyable experiences for all. Promptness, minimum chatter, attentive eyes and ears, friendly attitudes and hard work accomplish this, and a feeling of satisfaction for each of us!!

The Blue Ridge Chorale (BRC), previously known as Culpeper Piedmont Choral Society, has been providing music to the central Virginia area since 1967, with two concert seasons yearly.
The FALL/WINTER Concert Season begins rehearsals the last Monday night in August and culminates in two or three scheduled performances held in early December.
The SPRING Concert Season begins rehearsals the 3rd or 4th Monday night in January, culminating in two or three scheduled performances held in early May.
Concert participation is required of all Chorale members.

Various other events may occur in a chorale season.

Any individual is welcomed to join the choir regardless of race, creed, religion, handicap, gender, or national origin.
Members will be accepted during the first three weeks of Fall rehearsal, or first three weeks of Spring rehearsals. Only the music director has the authority to make exceptions to this membership policy.
The only requirements for membership are an ability to sing and a willingness to abide by BRC policies. Our director may ask you to sing a familiar song to determine your vocal range and voice section.
Registration fee is $40 per person per season for adult choir. All fees are subject to change at the beginning of each concert season. Those under 18 years of age wishing to join must be approved by the director and have their registration form signed by a parent or guardian.
BRC reserves the right to also form smaller more specialized groups within the larger choir. These groups are by invitation/audition only. The choir consists of volunteer singers. However, the executive board and music director reserve the right to pay professional musicians to enhance concerts.
All solo parts will be posted well in advance of required audition schedules. To maintain a balanced sound among sections it may become necessary to form a membership waiting list. The music director will determine when a waiting list becomes necessary.

Day of Week: Monday Evenings
Location: Culpeper United Methodist Church, 2133 Oaklawn Dr. Culpeper, VA.
Time: 6:00 to 8:00 pm
Choir rehearsals begin each week precisely at 6:00 pm.
If you arrive late, please wait for a break in the warm-ups or song before taking your place quietly in your section.
Please stay focused on the music director instructions and limit unnecessary talking. Our time is very precious.
Once the rehearsal begins no formal breaks will be taken. However, if you need a break, excuse yourself quietly and return as quickly as possible.
Additional rehearsal time may be required as concert time approaches. Some rehearsals may be deemed mandatory.

Attendance is taken each week. Members may miss no more than three rehearsals in the concert season without consulting the Music Director. If you are to be late or absent, please contact your Section Leader via email or the Chorale President, Phone: 540-718-4252 or email [email protected]

In the event of inclement weather, emails/calls will also be sent out in an attempt to contact all members.

* All members of the choir are expected to participate in all concerts. They must notify the music director if there is a conflict.
* Concert attire to be determined, and members will be notified well in advance of concerts of what attire is expected.
* Be certain that rehearsal and concert sites are left as we found them. The facilities are often loaned to us by the good graces of the organization or church and we want to maintain a good relationship with them.
* Assume professional attitude during performances. This includes watching the conductor and not the audience, being uniform in handling music, and not talking between numbers. Maintain composure if the chorus makes a mistake!
* Be ready to help when needed. This includes set up and take down for rehearsals and concerts alike.

All music used by BRC is either property of BRC or is on loan to BRC. Music is only on loan to members. Therefore, we ask that you treat it with care, making erasable marks only and never using any permanent markings. It is unlawful to copy BRC music.
You will be provided with a folder and assigned music at the first rehearsal, and may take it home as soon as membership fees are paid.
Until that time, please return all music to the librarians before leaving the rehearsal hall. Additional music may be introduced later in the rehearsal season. You will receive a performance list prior to the concerts.
Your BRC music folder should be turned in immediately following our last concert. There will be a charge for any music not returned. Should personal circumstances warrant you leaving the chorus mid season, you should notify the director and contact the librarians to make arrangements for returning your music and folder.

One of the benefits of chorale membership is contact with like-minded music lovers.
Once per season, we set aside time for a social gathering with refreshments. Many members meet before or after rehearsal to get to know each other better. A contact sheet for members is available each season.
ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING AND SUPPER: All members and supporters are welcome and encouraged to take part in our annual membership meeting and covered dish meal. This meeting is usually held on the third Monday of May. The date, time and location will be announced as part of the Spring schedule. A typical Annual Meeting schedule is:
Annual Meeting – 7:30 pm to 8:45 pm. Meeting Agenda: Annual Minutes, Treasurer Report, Election of Officers, Director Report, Old and New Business.

The Blue Ridge Chorale provides a professional, well-supported environment in which, under skilled professional direction, singers grow their skills, sing beautiful and sophisticated music, both unique and traditional, and enjoy fellowship with other music lovers. This costs considerable money and time.
REGISTRATION FEES: A goal of the Chorale is to make membership available to all interested participants, so the Chorale Board strives to keep the cost of Chorale registration modest. Typically, member registration covers only small percentage of the Chorale budget. If Chorale costs were covered only by membership dues, these dues would cost $400 per member annually.
CONCERT DONATIONS: Chorale music performance is, and should be, a benefit to the community, and so the Board aim is to keep the cost of concert attendance within popular range. Concert donations, usually provide at best 10-15% of the Chorale annual budget. If the Chorale budget was covered only by concert donations, those donations could cost $35-$40 per audience member.
MAKING ENDS MEET: The balance of the budget (68% or more of the budget) comes from fund raising activities and private donations. The Chorale usually stages one or more major fundraising activity each season, under the direction of the Fundraising Chairperson.
Chorale members assistance is critical to making fundraising activities successful. We need volunteers in a wide variety of roles and every Chorale member is expected to do his or her share. We also need our members to make our seasonal fundraising and concert attendance successful.

The Executive Board oversees the Chorale functions: hiring, evaluating and replacing staff, developing each season schedule, managing the Chorale budget, organizing concerts and fundraising events and performing other executive operations as indicated in the By-Laws and according to Chorale needs. A Board position term is two years, renewable, starting June 1 and ending May 31. Board officers are voted in by the Chorale Membership at the Annual Meeting.
Executive Board positions are:
President – (Term June 2023-May 2025)
Vice President / Fundraising – (Term June 2024-May 2026)
Treasurer – (Term June 2024-May 2026)
Secretary – (Term June 2023-May 2025)
Librarian – (Term June 2023-May 2025)
Communications and Social Media –  (Term June 2023-May 2025)
Publicity – (Term June 2024-May 2026)
Social Affairs – (Term June 2023-May 2025)
Production – (Term June 2024-May 2026)

Music Director: Melanie Bolas
Chorale Accompanist: Brittany Bache
Asst. Director/Accompanist: Kathy Pellegreen

Blue Ridge Chorale of Culpeper, Inc.
PO Box 1871
Culpeper, VA 22701
Web site:
Email: [email protected]