Suffolk Soul Singers Information, Rules and Regulations
The choir shall be known as SUFFOLK SOUL SINGERS, hereafter called ‘the choir’.
The choir shall rehearse weekly on an evening decided by the Musical Director. The regular evening for rehearsal sessions is to be a Thursday from 6.00pm until 8.00pm. The choir shall meet at Ipswich Academy. In the event of this venue being unavailable then arrangements will be made to relocate. If relocation has to be done after a choir rehearsal then the Secretary or a nominated person will contact all members to advise of any changes.
Rehearsal will commence promptly at the start time. There may be a break during the rehearsal for refreshments. The choir will meet during term time but will break for the Christmas, Easter and Summer holidays. Other breaks will be at the discretion of the Musical Director.
Aims and Objectives
The choir has been established to meet the following objectives throughout the Eastern Region:
To learn and perform music to the highest possible standard to educate members about soul, pop and gospel music and therefore promote well-being.
To perform publicly at events and functions for the purposes of entertainment and fundraising.
To promote soul music to the general public.
To donate money or time to designated charities, when appropriate.
The choir shall be the responsibility of the committee. The committee will ensure the choir is managed in a democratic way, and all committee members shall take collective responsibility for the decisions made at a meeting of the committee or sub-committee. The committee membership shall consist of:
- Musical Director (appointed by committee and paid a fee) The fee will be negotiated between the MD and the committee and reviewed on an annual basis.
- Chair (elected)
- Vice Chair (elected)
- Secretary (elected)
- Treasurer (elected) and
- ONE representative from the sopranos, altos and tenors (elected)
Members can be co-opted into roles such as marketing, fundraising, designing flyers/t-shirts, providing refreshments etc as necessary. The committee can also co-opt sub-committees from time to time to take on specific tasks such as the organising of fundraising ventures.
Term of Office
In order to maintain a sense of continuity, all officers (except Musical Director) shall serve for a period of one year in the first instance but be eligible for re-election. Committee members are free to resign from their position at any time. Should a committee member resign from their position a replacement can be co-opted onto the committee pending the next AGM. The appointment of Musical Director will be reviewed by the committee on an annual basis.
Areas of Responsibility
Musical Director – The Musical Director (or MD) shall have ultimate and overall responsibility for the repertoire and performance of the choir. The MD shall be appointed for their professionalism in music production and performance. The MD shall oversee all choir tuition, stage presentation and concert management and other choral activities. The MD shall consult with the officers of the committee and liaise with them in decision making. The MD will also oversee press releases in the name of the choir. In addition to the Chair, the MD will act as ambassador of the choir. The MD will have sole discretion of stage management and has the necessary authority to prevent a member from taking part in a performance after stating the reasons for the decision being taken. The MD will also be responsible for selecting the choir’s repertoire. The MD also reserves the right to appoint a stage manager as required.
Chairperson – The Chairperson (or ‘Chair’) is appointed from the membership of the choir. The Chair must be a person of good standing and promote the interests of the choir. The Chair shall be the official ‘spokesperson’ of the choir in consultation with the MD. The Chair will preside at meetings of the committee and sub-committees (where possible) and direct members through the agenda and maintain good order in all choir proceedings. The Chair is to clarify specific points, especially the names and acronyms that might be unclear within any choir document. The Chair must also encourage the active participation of everyone in fundraising and social activities of the choir.
Vice Chairperson - The Vice Chair will support the Chair and committee where necessary and deputise at meetings in the case of the Chairperson's absence
Secretary - The Secretary is appointed from the membership of the choir. The Secretary shall have the overall responsibility for the organisational affairs of the choir. The duty of the Secretary is to be a point of contact for the membership and the public and also take and record minutes of all choir meetings. The Secretary will notify committee members of meetings and shall provide them with notice of the agenda. The Secretary will also write communications on behalf of the choir. The Secretary must be grammatically literate and able to communicate proficiently.
Treasurer – The Treasurer is appointed from the membership of the choir. It is the responsibility of the Treasurer to keep the accounts up to date and in good order; to bank all monies received and pay invoices promptly. The Treasurer shall also be responsible for ensuring that the accounts are inspected and published prior to the AGM. The Treasurer must keep the committee informed of the financial position of the organisation. The Treasurer is assisted in their duties by 3 authorised signatories to the Suffolk Soul Singers bank account.
Role of the Committee
The committee has the responsibility to ensure the organisation meets its aims and objectives and that members observe the constitution, rules and regulations. The committee will also receive the accounts of the choir and decide on future fundraising actions and policy. The committee will ensure that activities are carried out and decisions made are in the best interests of the choir. If necessary the committee can organise sub-committees to take on specific tasks such as finance or fundraising or the organising of a specific event. No member of the committee shall exercise their right to power for the adverse effect of the choir.
Members will usually have reached their 16th birthday before being eligible for membership of the adult choir. Anyone between the ages of 7 and 16 can join the youth choir. Anyone wishing to join the choir must meet the criteria of the Musical Director in all cases. Such criteria are as follows:
- Follow the instructions of the Musical Director or other nominated officer.
- To embrace the ethos of the choir.
- Be able to attend 80% of rehearsals and concerts in any given year.
- Be proactive and promote the aims and objectives of the choir.
Subscriptions are to be paid termly to the Treasurer within three weeks of the start of each term. If a member has not paid by the fourth week of term, the Treasurer will alert the Musical Director, who will then speak to the member. If payment hasn’t been received by the fifth week, without a valid explanation, the committee will temporarily suspend the individual’s membership, (i.e. ask them not to attend rehearsals or gigs), until the overdue subs are paid.
The amount of membership subscription is determined by the committee. If, for whatever reason, a member is unable to meet the subscription, a decision will be made at the discretion of the committee on a case by case basis.
Choir Bank Account
The choir will bank with the Co-operative Bank plc (the Bank). The Treasurer plus three other choir members will be authorised to make requests and give instructions to the Bank on behalf of the choir. When making any request or instruction to the Bank, two of the four authorised signatories must sign.
Meetings of the Committee
The committee shall meet at least once a term and as required to discuss business and finance. A meeting can be called at any time by the Secretary, Chair or Musical Director. To be quorate there must be at least 4 committee members present.
Annual General Meeting (AGM)
The AGM shall be held in April of each year. The purpose of the AGM shall be to:
- Elect a new Chairperson (or to re-elect) - Elect a new Vice Chair ( or to re-elect)
- Elect a new Secretary (or to re-elect)
- Elect a new Treasurer (or to re-elect)
- Elect a new Soprano representative (or to re-elect)
- Elect a new Alto representative (or to re-elect)
- Elect a new Tenor representative (or to re-elect)
- To receive a report from the Chairperson
- To receive a statement of accounts from the Treasurer
- To decide the amount of membership subscription and consider any other business.
Matters can be debated at the AGM after prior notice has been given in writing to the choir Secretary at least seven days prior to the meeting.
Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM)
An EGM can be called at any time provided that the request has been made in writing – proposed and seconded. At least seven days’ notice has to be given for any motion to be raised at an EGM.
Member Code of Conduct and Attire
Members attending a public performance not correctly attired may not be permitted to take part in that performance. In such cases the decision of the Musical Director shall be final.
Members are not permitted to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs at a rehearsal or public performance. Any member thought to be so will not be permitted to participate.
Members are not permitted to discuss any details of choir finances or policy outside the confines of the choir. Any member found to be doing so may be asked to resign membership of the choir.
When engaged in choir business no member shall take it upon themselves to make any official complaint to the hiring organisation. If a member has a concern or grievance with the booking agent or venue then the member will inform the choir Secretary who will bring the matter before the committee. A decision will be taken by the committee and it will be their decision if a complaint will be forthcoming from the choir. Any member who officially complains to a booking agent, venue or hirer without going through the choir committee will be deemed to have brought the choir into disrepute.
The choir’s music and musical arrangements are the intellectual property of the Musical Director. Members are not permitted to sell or pass on choir recordings to persons who are not members of the choir. Members are also not permitted to distribute these in any way in the public domain.
Members are expected to play their part in ensuring that the Suffolk Soul Singers is an inclusive organisation in which everyone is treated with respect and dignity regardless of their race, age, gender, religion or beliefs, sexual orientation, disability or social and economic status.
Members are not permitted to behave in an abusive, threatening or intimidating manner when engaging in choir activities.
Members are expected to meet an 80% attendance at both rehearsal and public performances during the year. If a member is unable to attend a rehearsal and/or performance then the secretary must be informed and the message passed on to the Musical Director. If members have a regularly-occurring reason for absenteeism then the Musical Director must be informed at the earliest opportunity. Members must attend the final rehearsal prior to a major performance. Failure to do so may render the member liable to be unable to take part in the performance. If a member is absent for more than three consecutive weeks then the choir Secretary may make contact with the member in question.
All members of the choir should engage in a ‘sense of occasion’ and conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times. All members will be expected to follow the directions of the Musical Director at all performances.
Health and Safety
Members have a duty of care, under Health & Safety law, both for themselves and others who may be affected by their actions.
Public Engagement and Fees
The choir shall perform public concerts in order to raise money for charitable causes and organisations. Requests for concert performances should be directed to the Secretary who shall seek authorisation from the Musical Director.
The social aspect of the choir is to be encouraged wherever possible. The choir as an organisation is to nurture a friendly atmosphere and meetings socially are to be encouraged.
The committee may arrange a number of fundraising events during the year and members of the choir will be expected to support as many of these events as possible.
Winding up the Organisation
In the unlikely event of winding up the organisation, any revenue after debtors will be distributed to not-for-profit organisations, with preference given to community music projects.
May 2010 ; Last updated June 2019
Protocol for Rehearsals & Gigs
Please try to arrive for a 6 pm start. Offers of help to transport and/or set up equipment enable us to begin promptly.
If you are unable to make a rehearsal for any reason, please let Viv know as soon as possible. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Members are asked not to chat when Andi is teaching, or when other sections are singing. As each rehearsal is recorded, background chatter can spoil these recordings.
For the same reason, it is not helpful to sing your part when Andi is focusing on rehearsing another section’s part.
As a way of encouraging and recognising the efforts of any member who offers to sing lead vocals, all soloists receive a round of applause at the end of a song.
There is an expectation that members will practise songs at home, outside of the weekly rehearsals, using the recordings that are emailed to them or made available on Google Drive. .
SSS is proud of being an inclusive organisation that attracts a diverse group of members and supporters from across all ages, backgrounds and communities. We want all members to feel welcomed and included, so we need to be mindful of the language used in the group. Swearing or negative behaviour that involves sexism, ageism, racism or homophobic comments aren't what we want to experience at SSS; we're all about celebrating the good stuff!
Members will be given notice about the dates and venues of gigs in a variety of ways: at rehearsals, (via 'Parish Notices'), by email and on the 'upcoming gigs' section of this website. Please endeavour to make a note of these in your diaries.
By far the quickest and simplest way to find out about members' availability for gigs is by using Doodle Polls. Please try to respond to any poll requests as promptly and as fully as possible. If you unsure about a particular date, you can always use the 'Yes, if need be' option, i.e. a double tick, to show that you cannot, as yet, commit to a that gig.
Newer members will be given guidance as to which gigs will be suitable for them in the early stages of membership – busking-type gigs are great for first-timers, for example.
For major gigs, (i.e. gigs like The Wolsey, St. Peter's, Dance East, etc. where SSS hire the performance venue and sell tickets for the gig), the expectation is that members will have attended around 75%-80% of rehearsals that term in order to qualify to take part. This must include the final rehearsal with musicians, which usually takes place a few days before the actual gig. If attendance has been significantly less than this, Andi will have the final say about inclusion.
As a general rule of thumb, members will need to have been with the choir for at least a term before being ready for 'major' gigs, but, again, the final decision about who is included with rest with Andi.
Formal kit , for gigs like concerts, weddings, etc. comprises SSS T-shirts, black formal trousers and black formal shoes.
Informal kit for busking-type & outdoor gigs, etc. - SSS T-shirts, blue jeans, black shoes or trainers & SSS hoodies in cold weather.
In hot weather, cropped jeans may be worn, (but not shorts) along with black sandals.
An SSS T-shirt is given to each new member. Hoodies can be purchased (current price, around £20). Both can be ordered from Sharon Aalders (sops).