Porgy and Bess Chorus

Singers Sought for Porgy and Bess

For our concert on 10 February 2018, as part of the Ealing Music and Film Festival, we will be performing Gershwin’s groundbreaking opera Porgy and Bess, in a concert version arranged by Robert Russell Bennett.

Programme change: Originally we hoped to perform Andrew Litton’s version. Due to staging requirements this has now changed, we will be doing the Robert Russell Bennett arrangement. 

Porgy and Bess features many well-known classic songs such as SummertimeAin’t Necessarily So and I Got Plenty O’ Nuttin‘. Our Porgy is Keel Watson. Russell Bennett’s version is about forty-five minutes long (compared to Gershwin’s original three-and-a-bit hours) and uses soloists for the main cast, orchestral accompaniment, and SATB choir.

That’s where you come in! We are putting together a Festival Chorus and are seeking all voices. Our Choirmaster Mel (see the Voice Section) will be taking rehearsals. Mel is a singing coach too so don’t worry if you haven’t sung for a little while, she’ll get your voice all warmed up again!

Click the banner above, or visit http://tinyurl.com/ESOPandB, to sign up.

This is not binding, if you change your mind or need to withdraw you can, please do let us know though.

Rehearsals for the premiere, Boston, 1935


When and where is the concert? 

The concert is Saturday 10 February 2018, 7.30pm, at St Barnabas Church, Pitshanger Lane, London W5 1QG. It is part of the Ealing Music and Film Festival.

When and where are rehearsals? 

The first rehearsal is Friday 8 December, 7.30pm, at Ealing Green Church. The chorus should all have received an email confirming the date and time.

The following dates in February are also confirmed:
Thursday 1 Feb, 7.30pm
Thursday 8 Feb, 7.30pm
Saturday 10 Feb, 2pm rehearsal, 7.30pm concert

There will be other rehearsals during January, dates and times to be confirmed.

Do I need to read music?

While we won’t stop you joining in if you’re not a music reader, we will be working from vocal scores, so you may struggle if you don’t read music. Although not essential, some experience of a choir environment and reading vocal scores will be an advantage.

Is there acting or dancing involved?

This is a ‘concert performance’, which if you haven’t seen one before means that rather than being fully staged with props, sets and costumes, the cast and choir simply sing the songs with the orchestra accompanying, cutting out the dialogue. The chorus will not have to act or dance.

What is the dress code? Do I have to wear a costume?

You do not have to wear a costume. The dress code for our choir is ‘long black’.

Do I have to have a score?

We will provide vocal scores; if you wish to use your own please check with us first so we can make sure it’s the right version and publisher (or else it’s hard to match up rehearsal figures). Our scores are hired, so please make sure you return yours when asked, and do not write in it with anything except soft pencil.

How much does this cost?

It is completely free to sing in Porgy and Bess with us.

Can I listen to it first or see the music in advance? 

We will be providing vocal scores. If you wish to purchase your own in advance to learn the part, check with us first to make sure you get the same edition. The opera is still under copyright so you will not be able to download a part from IMSLP (as you may have done if you sang Messiah with us).


I want to play in the orchestra instead! Can I do that?

We’re always happy to hear from potential members! Check out our Join Us page (ealingso.org.uk/join) for details of any current vacancies.