Frequently asked questions

The choir

If you're an experienced singer in any genre and you'd like to get involved in some of our projects, we'd love to hear from you. Currently there are vacancies in all sections, though like most choirs we're particularly in need of more tenors. Take a look at the questions below to get an idea of how we work, and if you're still interested get in touch about an audition.

How big is the choir?

The size of the choir is flexible - a normal size is 16-24 singers, but we've occasionally performed with only 5 voices, and for works with orchestra we may number up to 40.

What kind of music do you perform?

In principle, anything. Originally we concentrated on the a cappella chamber choir repertoire, but nowadays our repertoire includes more works with accompaniment. We are at home performing early music as well as contemporary pieces, and we have plans to put on concerts of jazz, madrigals and small-scale opera. Suggestions from singers of pieces we might perform are always welcome.

Do you charge your singers a subscription?

No. Singing with HELIOS is on an amateur basis, but we don't charge any kind of subscription to sing with us. However, we have to pay our way somehow, and normally for our own concerts all singers are asked to sell a minimum number of tickets, and pay for these up front.

When do you rehearse?

We rehearse currently on Thursdays, but not every week (or in a three-term pattern). Instead we fix a number of rehearsals in the 6-8 weeks preceding each concert. Rehearsals usually run from 7:00-9:30pm, and are rarely if ever at weekends. We are currently experimenting with our rehearsal schedule to see what works best.

Where do you rehearse?

We don't have a regular rehearsal venue - rehearsals tend to be in Central and South West London, within easy reach of transport links (and good local pubs!)

What standard are your singers?

We try to be flexible over singing standards. You don't need to be a perfect sight-reader or have a highly trained voice. On the other hand, we don't have very long to put most performances together, so ability to learn quickly, a good blending voice and the ability to watch the conductor are very important. Some performances may require a certain level of reading or a certain vocal sound, and if you don't fit the bill you may not be invited to sing in that concert. What is most important, though, is that whatever your musical background you have good experience of singing in choral groups, and a flair for performance and communication with an audience.