Information for Prospective Members
How to Audition
The next audition dates for the Blair Children's Chorus will be held on:
Monday, December 11th, 2017 - 5:00pm to 7:00pm
Blair School of Music, Room 1109c (signs will be posted)
Tuesday, December 12th, 2017 - 5:00pm to 7:00pm
Blair School of Music, Room 1109c (signs will be posted)
*No new Concert Choir students will be admitted at this time.
Audition procedures will vary according to age, ability, and previous musical experience. No prepared selection is required. Prospective students should be prepared to sing a familiar song like 'Row Row Row Your Boat', 'Happy Birthday' or 'My Country 'tis of Thee'. Students may also be asked to sight-read a simple melody and/or rhythmic exercise. Audition results will be e-mailed approximately one week from the date of the audition.
For more information about auditions, please email Alison Warford
Costs of Participation
For EACH semester 2017-2018, the tuition for 15 weeks of instruction for Training Choir, Boychoir, Young Men's Chorus, Blair Choristers and Concert Choir will be $365. If your student participates in Chorale, it is an additional charge of $50 per semester. In addition, families with two students enrolled will receive a 25% discount for the second child enrolled. For more information, please download our precollege brochure.
Limited scholarship funds (based on need and ability) are available for qualified candidates who submit a completed scholarship form by the deadline of August 29th. We are not able to award scholarships for Training Choir students.
Each child is expected to procure the appropriate concert attire. These items are purchased through BCC, and specific amounts are printed on page 12-13 in our BCC Handbook. In addition, girls in Concert Choir and Choristers must purchase black character shoes, available at dancewear stores throughout the area. Boys must wear black shoes and socks, also purchased independently.
Students in Concert Choir, Choristers, Boychoir and Young Men’s Chorus participate in a mandatory fall camp each year at Hillmont Camp in White Bluff, TN. $130.00 covers the cost of all meals, lodging for two nights, tuition and materials.
Choirs of the Blair Children's Chorus
Boys (treble) and Girls, must be members of another BCC ensemble
Rehearsals: 4:45-6:15 p.m. Wednesdays - Choral HallChorale provides an opportunity for our advanced students to sing in a treble ensemble that is not restricted by age or gender, but by a higher standard for musicianship, repertoire and performance. Students will rehearse for this choir in addition to their primary choir, and must have completed at least one semester in that ensemble to be eligible.
Girls in grades 8-12
Rehearsals: 4:45-6:15 p.m. Mondays - Choral Hall
Young Men's Chorus
Boys with changed or changing voices
Rehearsals: 6:10-7:30 p.m. Thursdays - Rm. 2192/Choral Hall
Girls in grade 5 and older
Rehearsals: 6:20-7:20 p.m. Mondays - Choral Hall
This intermediate choir sings multiple concerts per year and attends choral camp each fall. Choristers repertoire includes music with multiple parts, and singers alternate voice parts on each piece in order to develop strong vocal technique and musicianship skills. Choristers sometimes joins Concert Choir in performances in the Nashville area and have enjoyed weekend tours to several states. For admission to this chorus, a child should demonstrate singing that is on pitch and in tune with a pleasant quality.
Boys in grade 3 and older
Rehearsals: 5:45-7:00 p.m. Thursdays - Choral Hall
This chorus sings repertoire that boys have enjoyed for centuries, including classical music, art songs, folk songs, and modern compositions written specifically for boys' voices. Members of the Boychoir have performed with the Nashville Symphony, the Boston Camerata, at civic events, in local schools, churches and at Blair. Travel has taken them to several states, as well as an international tour to Germany. This year, the Boychoir will be traveling with the Young Men’s Chorus to St. Louis. For admission to this chorus, a child should demonstrate singing that is on pitch and in tune with a pleasant quality.
Boys and Girls in grades 1-5
Rehearsals: 4:30-5:30 p.m. Thursdays - Rm. 2190/2192
Singing, music activities and fundamentals are the focus of this choral group. Singers will learn how to find the singing voice and produce it. They will begin learning the language of music and they will enjoy making music as they learn. This group performs once a semester, but the primary focus is on learning and enjoyment. Previous choral experience is not necessary - we look for a free singing tone that is on pitch and in tune, a love of singing and a desire to be part of a team.
About our Director
Artistic Director of the Blair Children's Chorus
Mary Biddlecombe serves as Artistic Director of the Blair Children’s Chorus at Vanderbilt University. She conducts each of the six graded choirs of the program, including the Concert Choir (high school girls), Young Men’s Chorus (changed men’s voices), Choristers (middle school girls), Boychoir (unchanged boys), Training Choir, and the select treble ensemble Chorale.
Biddlecombe has taught music at every grade level. Choirs under her direction have been invited to perform for conventions of the American Choral Directors Association, as well as symphonic works with significant orchestras. Recent projects have included Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem, Roger Waters’ Ça Ira, and Gustav Mahler’s Eighth Symphony with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, and John Rutter’s Mass of the Children with the Vanderbilt Symphony Orchestra and Symphonic Choir. Upcoming engagements include John Adams’ On the Transmigration of Souls, Mahler’s Third Symphony, and Leonard Bernstein’s Mass.
Biddlecombe is in demand as an adjudicator and clinician, and has presented interest sessions at conferences all over the Southeast. She has been engaged to conduct the Florida All-State Middle School Treble Choir in 2017. A native of Syracuse, N.Y., she holds a Master of Music in Conducting from Florida State University and a Bachelors of Music Education from the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam. Biddlecombe makes her home in Nashville with her husband Tucker Biddlecombe, Director of Choral Activities at Vanderbilt, and their dog, Bernice.
Assistant Director of the Blair Children's Chorus
Matt Smyth, Assistant Director of the Blair Children's Chorus, started singing choral music as a member of the Young Singers of Pennsylvania in elementary school. Since then Matt has sung with and directed children’s choirs, honor choirs, collegiate and graduate level ensembles. In 2005 Matt graduated with honors from Moravian College with a BMA degree in vocal performance. After singing for a few years in New York City, Matt moved to Oklahoma to study with renown educator Eph Ehly. In 2009, he graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Masters of Choral Conducting from the University of Oklahoma. Currently, Matt spend most of his time as the Music Director at Montgomery Bell Academy where he directs the junior school and upper school choirs. In addition to his work as a music teacher, Matt enjoys spending time outdoors and coaches MBA’s Rock Climbing Club.
Assistant Director and Accompanist
Lauryn Moody serves as Assistant Director and Accompanist for the Blair Children's Chorus. Mrs. Moody has been involved at Blair since 1999, when she began accompanying the Boys’ Choir. Under the direction of Hazel Somerville, these maturing voices soon grew into the Young Men’s Chorus. In addition to these two choirs, Mrs. Moody began accompanying Concert Choir and Choristers in 2013, and the next fall she began co-directing Training Choir with Mrs. Biddlecombe.
She received her Music Education degree from Samford University, where she studied piano with Witold Turkiewicz and Betty Sue Shepherd. Graduate studies in Music Therapy were done at Florida State University, where she accompanied the University Chorus under the direction of Clayton Krehbiel. She taught elementary music for two years in Homewood, AL, before coming to Nashville in 1979. She served as Music Specialist at Crieve Hall Elementary School for one year before moving to Julia Green Elementary in 1992, where she enjoyed teaching for nearly 20 years. Mrs. Moody has directed and accompanied student choirs since she was 14 and is delighted to be involved at this time with our students. When not at the piano, she is gardening and playing with grandchildren.
Director of Choral Activities
Tucker Biddlecombe is Associate Professor and Director of Choral Activities at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music, where he serves as conductor of the Vanderbilt Chorale and Symphonic Choir, and teaches courses in choral conducting. In addition, he serves as Director of Blair's five-year Bachelor of Music/Teacher Education degree (Ma5) program offered in conjunction with the Peabody College of Education at Vanderbilt. He oversees and occasionally directs the Blair Children's Chorus program, as well as providing mentorship and supervision of collegiate music education students who work with the choirs as part of their practical experience at Blair.
His full bio and faculty page can be found here.