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Music Sheets

“Who are the people who make up the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus? They're teachers, students, doctors (M.D., Ph.D.), secretaries, architects, plumbers, housewives, engineers — all races, all religions — each fissured and fractioned by all matters of daily living”

Edna-Lea Burress, secretary to Robert Shaw

“Entr'acte” program essay on Robert Shaw, 1963

chorus members in costume for hallween

Frequently Asked Questions about COC and BFC

What is the difference between COC and BFC?

Members of The Cleveland Orchestra Chorus commit to all COC rehearsals and concerts from late August or early September through May. Only participation in summer projects is optional.


Members of the Blossom Festival Chorus are invited to participate in our summer projects at Blossom Music Center (of which there are typically two or three between June and August), as well as the annual Holiday Concerts at Severance Music Center in December. BFC members are not required to participate in all concerts series, but may need to re-audition if they take a hiatus for more than a year.

Are members required to audition every year?

No. Both choruses re-audition on a three year cycle. As long as singers remain active members each year, they do not need to re-audition until the end of the current cycle.

When and where are rehearsals?

COC rehearsals take place on Monday evenings from 7 - 10pm, and occasional Sunday evenings from 6 - 9pm. During concert weeks, there are often rehearsals every night leading up to the performance(s). Rehearsals are typically held in the University Circle area, many at Severance Music Center.


BFC rehearsals in the summer are condensed to accommodate summer travel. As a result, rehearsals take place 2-3 days a week, typically from 7 - 10pm in University Circle. These rehearsals are held on consecutive nights, typically focused around Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Is there a fee to participate?

There is no cost to participate in BFC. A deposit of $35 is required of all new COC members, which will be returned upon their departure as long as all borrowed music and performance attire has been returned in good condition.

Additionally, we try to limit chorus member's out-of-pocket expenses. We always cover any parking fees at Severance and any other venues, and we can provide nearly all concert attire if needed.

Are the choruses paid?

The choruses of The Cleveland Orchestra have a "long tradition of excellence and volunteerism."


We do award up to three Shari Bierman Singer Fellowships each COC season to full-time students pursuing a music degree (in any form). See the Fellowship tab above for more information.

Why should I audition?

COC and BFC chorus members are passionate about singing, serving their community, and bringing some of the best choral-orchestral music of all time to excellence. Hailing from nearly 50 communities all over Northeast Ohio, they enjoy being challenged in a supportive environment with peers who share their love for music. Not to mention, members come from a wide array of backgrounds! Our adult choruses consist of college students, teachers, attorneys, professional musicians, baristas, customer service specialists, doctors, speech therapists, yoga teachers, and more. Some of our members have dedicated over thirty years of their lives to these choruses (one reaches fifty years this season)! Between weekly rehearsals, domestic and international tours, and singing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" a million (who's counting) times every December, it's safe to say our Chorus members form bonds that last a lifetime.

Can I audition for both COC and BFC at the same time?

Yes! In the same audition our director will consider you for both choruses. Since the COC audition requirements are more extensive, follow the COC guidelines for your audition, and indicate both BFC and COC on your audition form. That will typically be two solos (one meeting the listed foreign language requirement) and the current COC excerpt. The excerpts change each season, so if there are different excerpts for BFC and COC, you only need to prepare the COC excerpt to be considered for both choruses.

I am only interested in singing one concert. Can I just audition for that?

If that concert is part of the COC season, then the answer is no. BFC members are able to indicate which projects they are available for in the summer, so you would only need to indicate which concerts you can commit to on your audition application. Season schedules for both choruses are available on the Audition Guidelines page.


What is an audition like?

First, look over our Audition Guidelines. Once you fill out an application and sign up for an audition time-slot, make sure you have the time and location of your audition set in your calendar. You should prepare your solo(s) and the required excerpt to the best of your ability leading up to your audition. On your audition day, remember to bring three copies of your solo(s) for the Director, accompanist, and one for you! Feel free to bring a water bottle too! Make sure you check your email for any instructions on parking and how to find the welcome table.


Once you arrive, we will greet you then ask you to take a seat or lead you into the audition room. You will be singing for the Director of Choruses and the Assistant Director of Choruses. A music stand will be available for your use. The Director will give you the option of starting with your solo(s) or the excerpt. Finally, the Director may also ask you to do some sight-reading and/or vocal exercises. She may also ask you some questions about your choral background, based on what she finds on your application.

Congratulations! You've just completed your audition for the Cleveland Orchestra Choruses.

When will I know the results of my audition?

Auditionees are typically given their result via email within one to two weeks of the audition date. Everyone will receive notification, regardless of the outcome.


I don't have a solo that I'm preparing. Can you offer any solo recommendations?

Yes. We love to hear the piece(s) you choose, but are happy to share recommendations if you need them. Please visit our Solo Suggestions page. There, we have a variety of solo selections for different voice ranges. Please note that these pieces are suggestions only and are not required.

I have more questions. Who should I contact?

Contact the Chorus Office at We'll be happy to assist you!

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