Singer Audition Guide and FAQ

Keith Lancaster has once again assembled worship music — arrangements of songs of worship for the next set of Praise and Harmony CDs from The Acappella Company.

We are seeking talented singers to audition as quartets to record the next album during recording sessions in November, 2017 in Ardmore, Oklahoma.  We are in search of outstanding singers who are willing to commit to plenty of rehearsals with the goal of impeccable blend, pitch, and interpretation of the songs.

Read below for details on how to audition.  You can also contact Tammy@Acappella.com for more information.

Praise and Harmony Recording FAQ

Who: 
Devoted singers in a SATB quartet with a passion for sharing the joy and good news of Christ in 4-part harmony are essential to the successful recording of the next Praise and Harmony project.

What: 
The goals of the Praise & Harmony recordings are four-fold:

  1. Encourage 100% participation among all Christians in singing and worship (not just the musically gifted.) We believe that the entire church should “join in the song with sweet accord.”
  2. Teach as many as possible how to sing four-part harmony. Millions can learn, but have never been taught. In fact, the two-disk packages of every album, which include the “Training Disk,” are designed for non-musicians and beginners to use on a daily basis to learn how to sing harmony.
  3. Streamline teaching the church new songs. Teaching new songs is very important to the future of the church, and these recordings provide an effective tool and method to combine with regular singing classes for the entire church (not limited to a select few.) The Praise & Harmony training CDs and DVDs simplify the process of teaching new songs as encouraged by a simple three step process:  After you assemble all of your church or class into four sections (soprano, alto, tenor and bass), ask everyone to listen to the disc with the lower voices listening to the right stereo speaker, and the higher voices listening to the left speaker.  Emphasize that they don't sing, but listen while reading sheet music, powerpoint slide notation or watching the notation DVD. Secondly, sing along softly with the training disc, while making sure you can still hear the training disc parts prominently. It's important not to sing too loud, but concentrate on hearing the training disc clearly. Lastly, turn off the disc and sing with only the musical notation (sheet music or powerpoint.)  Results can be amazing!
  4. Celebrate and encourage the preservation of precious hymns of our faith. Realizing that people learn “by ear,” these recordings help keep these relevant, classic songs alive with their rich harmonies.

These recordings are the foundation for Keith and Sharon Lancaster’s Praise & Harmony Workshops which equip churches around the world in singing and worship, celebrating the participation of every voice of every believer.

When: 
Session: November 8-12, 2017

Where: 

Session:  Ardmore, Oklahoma

How:
By volunteering your time and talents, you'll help us create a new album in the Praise and Harmony Series from The Acappella Company.

Why:
As churches are losing their ability to sing four-part harmony – you are helping to preserve this tradition, revive precious hymns and teach new music.

Housing & Meals: 
There will be specific hotel recommendations.  Housing in host homes is extremely limited. A number of fellowship meals are provided during the sessions. 

Audition Requirements:
As with previous Praise and Harmony recordings, we are auditioning quartets only.  We require this to ensure that the four part sections (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass) are balanced.  If you are an individual singer, we encourage you to find other singers to join you in this challenging and encouraging singing project (and who knows, you may enjoy singing together enough to continue in your local areas after this recording project is complete!)  The quartets also provide the necessary configuration for essential private rehearsals to master the music well before the recording session.  Most quartets come from the same church. Some quartets are members of the same family! Other quartets are from the same region (necessary for the convenience of rehearsals.) Larger churches often assemble multiple quartets from the same church.  It is encouraging to see teenagers participate in the process.

Audition Song: 
Salvation Has Been Brought Down   - You can download the PDF here This link will open a dialog box and ask for a username and password: 

Username:  phmusic
Password:  PandH2016

Do we have to audition again if we were approved after successfully going through the audition process as a Praise & Harmony quartet before?

Yes.  This year we are requiring ALL quartets to audition.  We are excited by the way quality continues to increase with every recording project.  We can hear it in your voices!  In order to continue this direction, every quartet, including all past quartets, will need to audition to participate in the next recording. One of the reasons the quality continues to increase is our Praise and Harmony singers’ dedication to regular rehearsals. Auditioning by quartets provide participants the opportunity to commit to regular rehearsals which combine all four voice parts to experience blend, intonation, and dynamics -- in order to effectively master all the songs in a participatory context. Regular rehearsals with other singers are essential, which is the reason lone vocalists are precluded from the P&H projects. The personal training materials, designed for private learning, are meant to augment the quartet rehearsals and provide daily reinforcement of your group practices. Your private practice is not meant to be a substitute for regular group rehearsals. 

Audition Procedures:

Make a recording of your quartet singing the audition song. Please sing the entire song. Make sure that all four parts can be clearly and distinctly heard with no special effects added.  A pleasing blend is mandatory to the P&H recording process.  We seek a sound with no vibrato.  Think BLEND. Avoid "scooping" on beginning notes. This recording can be audio only, or you can post a video on YouTube or Vimeo.  For audio recordings, the file formats we can accept are: .MP3, .wma, .mpeg, .wav, or .aiff.  E-mail your recording (or a link to your video) to: tammy@acappella.com.  Along with your audition recording, please include the following information.

  • Main contact name
  • Contact address
  • Contact phone
  • Contact e-mail
  • Quartet’s home church (if the same, or area)
  • Quartet’s name (if any)
  • Soprano name
  • Soprano e-mail
  • Alto name
  • Alto e-mail
  • Tenor name
  • Tenor e-mail
  • Bass name
  • Bass e-mail

Can we send in a CD or DVD audition?
We prefer e-mail and electronic submissions, but if you need to mail a CD or DVD, then address it to:
PRAISE AND HARMONY
708 Loretta Dr.
Goodlettsville, TN 37072

Audition Deadlines:
Audition submissions must be received no later than July 24, 2017.  By this deadline, submit your audition recording of the audition song.

Rehearsal Process:
We will provide rehearsal tracks and PDF’s of the music as they are available.  We will also assemble tips and notes to assist you in learning the music.  We expect your quartets to intensely rehearse together to learn and to perfect the songs.

Song Lists:

The song lists for the recording will be released when the printed music is finalized.

Rehearsal Tips:
As you rehearse the songs, keep these tips in mind.  Work at staying perfectly in pitch.  A pleasing blend is mandatory to the recording process.  We seek a sound with no vibrato.  Think BLEND.  We do not want to hear individuals. The goal if for our voices to blend together into a wonderfully delightful and inspiring offering of worship. Coordinating the attacks and cut-offs so that they are perfectly in sync will be important.  Holding notes to full value will be essential as well.  We may ask some of you NOT to sing the “s’s”.  We will also place special emphasis on dynamics — specifically by “overdoing” the soft passages; in other words, think WHISPER soft.  With many songs, the verses are soft and the choruses are loud.  Pay careful attention to any written dynamics. Avoid "scooping" the attacks. Practice stagger breathing.

Expected Time Commitment:
From the feedback we’ve received, the singers who felt the most prepared participated in quartet rehearsals 1-2 times per week for 1-2 hours per rehearsal and covered at least 10-12 songs per rehearsal.  They also spent a lot of individual rehearsal time in between quartet rehearsals with the voice tracks and sheet music.  In the final two weeks before the recording, they met for longer rehearsals and covered all 25 songs during each rehearsal.

Do we have to memorize all the music?
It is our expectation that you will have as much of the music and words memorized as you can. We will have the music projected on a screen. We don’t want shuffling paper sounds, so we ask that you not sing from your sheet music during the recording. That said, most participants try to learn to sing without music for most of the songs.  If you have learned your part before arriving, you can sing your part confidently, even if the projection system goes out. Please learn your assigned voice part and don’t swap to another part after the recording process starts. If you find your voice becomes too tired, it's better to sit out a few songs rather than try to sing a different part.

Recording Process:

During the recording sessions, we begin by recording each section separately. After completing the sections, we will combine all singers to record together.  No visitors are allowed in these closed recording sessions.

Release Form:
A signed individual release form is required, even if you participated and signed one for a previous recording project.  More information will be coming on this.

What To Bring:
During the recording, you will be listening to the training tracks to guide you on the key, timing, and tempo of the music; it’s essential that you bring an AM/FM receiver with in-ear earbuds.  Only in-ear earbuds are acceptable, as headphones cause unacceptable bleed-over which compromises the integrity of the recording. Also -- bring water, or a refillable water bottle. It is critically important that you stay hydrated before and during the days of recording.

Can I use my BeatsByDre headphones or noise canceling over the ear headphones with my FM Receiver?
NO.  Please bring in-ear earbuds only.  Familiarize yourself with how your earbud earphones sound with your AM/FM receiver.  Practice singing with your earphones in both ears.  Adjust the volume to the minimum level you can hear and continue to stay in rhythm and on pitch.  On production days, we will require that you use keep both earbuds in your ears.  The reason for this is simple…with hundreds of people singing, if each person left one side out, we would have a lot of extra track sounds (click track, guide keyboard, etc…) reverberating throughout the room which would be picked up by the sensitive recording microphones. This extra noise cannot be mixed out, and would spoil the results.

What happens if one of our quartet members drops out of the project?
If you need to replace member(s) of your quartet, you can re-submit an audition recording of the audition song with the new member(s) up to July 24, 2017.  After that point, if one member drops out of your quartet, the remaining three members that were accepted can still come and participate in the recording, given the required commitment to continuing rehearsals and mastering the material.  Participation in the recording is disqualified if more than one person from your quartet drops out after the registration deadline.

What else is happening in Ardmore at that time?   You are encouraged to stay for the special singing celebration, worship and training with the Praise & Harmony Workshop at the Merrick Drive Church of Christ on Saturday evening and Sunday morning. It will be amazing! 

Other Questions:
For more information and other questions contact: Tammy@Acappella.com or call 831.332.8595.