Previously known as The Burnt Hills Oratorio Society
The Power of Singing

The Power of Singing

Bring out your Inner Music with the Joy and Power of Singing

 

Over the past five years, Saratoga Voices has blossomed in audience attendance, in diversifying its repertoire, and in broadening the definition of the choral arts in the greater Capital Region. It is now operating at a higher level of artistic achievement and features guest artists with a national reputation.

You are invited

There are many reasons to sing with Saratoga Voices.
  • We are a welcoming and diverse group who actively encourages people of all ages, skill levels, and backgrounds to get involved and exercise their power of singing.
  • We seek opportunities for collaboration across the arts and culture spectrum, including beyond the accepted choral canon.
  • We are committed to finding new ways to further diversity, equity, and inclusion within Saratoga Voices and throughout our larger community.
  • We strive to make singing an integral part of our lives and share its many benefits and rewards with others.
  • We are building our educational activities to serve a need outside of schools and churches for training, performance opportunities, and singing-related resources.
  • Our choristers describe our artistic director’s rehearsals as “vocal master classes.”
  • Our choristers enjoy making new and deeper connections with music which, in turn, enriches their own lives and brings history and the human experience to life for others.
  • We are respectful of different levels of vocal competence, enjoy learning, and wish to provide opportunities to people who do not readily have them.
  • We have fun! Historically, our members host open houses and social receptions outside of rehearsals. We are moving forward in this endeavor after our COVID-19 intersession.

Quick Links

Registration Form for Spring 2024 Concert

FAQ

What special Covid considerations are there for performers at the rehearsal venue and for the concert venue?
  • Agree to the Saratoga Voices Wellness Policy (COVID-19 Update, located in the registration form)

  • Masks optional

See above right-hand column in the section entitled “Quick Links” (under the image) for the registration form.

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How many performances are there this year? When are the performances and rehearsals?

For the 2023-2024 season, Saratoga Voices has planned three performances. Rehearsals are weekly, with additional rehearsals (typically two or three) the week of the performance.

 

Fall 2023

 

Magnificat! Music That Makes The Spirit Soar

Dress Rehearsal:

Thursday, Nov. 2 5:30-9:30 pm

Performance:

Friday, Nov. 3, 7:30pm

Spa Little Theater, 19 Roosevelt Drive, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

 

Winter 2023

 

Saratoga Voices Presents:A Choral Christmas

Dress Rehearsal:

Thursday, Dec. 7 7:30-10:00 pm

Performance:

Sunday, Dec. 10, 3:00pm

St. Edward the Confessor Church, 569 Clifton Park Center Road, Clifton Park, NY 12065

 

Spring 2024

 

Vestiges, Heroes, and Legends

Collaboration with Schenectady-Saratoga Symphony Orchestra (SSSO)

Dress Rehearsal (TBD)

Performances (Two Dates):

Saturday, April 27, 2024  at 7 p.m.

Universal Preservation Hall (UPH); 25 Washington Street; Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

AND

Sunday, April 28, 2024 at 3 p.m.

Proctor’s Theatre, Main Stage; 432 State Street; Schenectady, NY 12302

Are singers required to sing in all concerts for the performing season?

Ensemble balance is critical in the choral arts.  Singers are encouraged to sign up for annual registration, and this is reflected financially in the percentage discount singers receive when signing up for the year.  Musically, it not only aids the chorus in having a strong foundation in which we learn to breathe and grow as an ensemble, but it also helps determine what repertoire we may pursue.

You may choose to register to sing in any number of concerts, paying “a la carte” (per concert) registration.

When and where does Saratoga Voices rehearse?

Saratoga Voices rehearses Wednesday evenings, 7-9:30, at the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School, 88 Lakehill Road, Burnt Hills NY 12027.  See map rendering and zoom in for more detail. Additional directions to the chorus room are listed under the “When is the first rehearsal?” (next accordian).

On occasion, rehearsals may be at Burnt Hills United Methodist Church, 816 Route 50, Burnt Hills, NY 12027. Enter the front door of the church (to the left of the building from the main parking lot area on Route 50) and follow signs within building to the practice area. This location is around the corner from the usual location. Please note that any location alterations are indicated via email.

Saratoga Voices follows the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake School District emergency closing schedule.  The district may delay their announcement of canceling evening activities late in the day.  If you wish to sign up for emergency closing notification (email or text) from the school, please visit their website for instructions on how to do so or follow this link [https://asp.schoolmessenger.com/burnthillsballstonlake/subscriber/newsubscriber.php].

Hidden - When and where does Saratoga Voices rehearse?

Saratoga Voices rehearses Tuesday evenings, 7:00 to 9:30, at the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School, 88 Lakehill Road, Burnt Hills NY 12027

Saratoga Voices follows the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake School District emergency closing schedule.  The district may delay their announcement of canceling evening activities late in the day.  If you wish to sign up for emergency closing notification (email or text) from the school, please visit their website for instructions on how to do so or follow this link [https://asp.schoolmessenger.com/burnthillsballstonlake/subscriber/newsubscriber.php].

 

When is the first rehearsal?

Wednesday January 10th, 2023 at 7-9:30 pm at the Burnt Hills United Methodist Church, 816 Route 50, Burnt Hills, NY 12027.  Come by 6:30 pm on Rehearsal #1 to register or sign in, pay (if needed—by cash, check or credit card), and receive your music.

Only new singers or those who did NOT sing in 2023 fall or Christmas concerts need to register. Only new registrants pay the $55 registration fee in addition to music fee.  All singers must pay the $15 music fee. New singers: You do not have to complete a vocal placement interview (VPI) prior to registering.

Is there an audition to sing with Saratoga Voices?

There is no audition, but singers will be asked to participate in a “Voice Placement Interview.” If you can match pitch, your voice and talent will be welcome in Saratoga Voices.

The purpose of the voice placement is for our Artistic Director to get to know you and to recommend a voice part. Are you tenor or baritone? Are you soprano 1 or soprano 2? Our Artistic Director will be able to answer such questions and guide you to sing the music for which your voice is most suited.

What can I expect during the Vocal Placement Interview?

The interview will last about 10 minutes. Since this is the only opportunity for the Artistic Director to chat with you one-on-one, s/he will spend some time getting to know you. Other pertinent interview participation:

  • Be prepared to sing “America (My Country ‘Tis of Thee)” in a comfortable key (piano accompaniment provided) (to assist in your preparation, click on hyperlink for a copy of the score);
  • a range assessment;
  • ear training evaluation;
  • and sight-singing evaluation.

(NB: All sheet music will be provided at the Interview.)

Saratoga Voices uses the Vocal Placement Interview (VPI) as a chance for our Artistic Director to meet new singers and hear their voices to determine sectional placement and understand how each voice will fit with the whole ensemble.

“We want everyone to return” assures our Artistic Director. “My agenda is not to cut people out. My agenda is to move us all forward together.”

The Vocal Placement Interview is not an audition — all singers are invited to join Saratoga Voices — it’s simply an opportunity for the conductor to meet you and assess your voice. All singers joining Saratoga Voices who have not done a VPI must sign up for an Interview.

Hidden (CSS) What are the participation fees? How do I register to sing?

Registration fees are $55 for one concert or $132 for all three concerts, plus the cost of music. The annual fee reflects a 20% discount.

The first step is to sign up for a vocal placement interview. At the interview, you will be provided with a registration form.  There are links to forms above on this page in the right-hand column.

Vocal placement interviews are being conducted for new singers who did not sing at any point during the Fall 2021- Spring 2023 seasons.

To be informed when vocal placement interviews will be offered for future performances send us an email at this link and request to be added to our singer outreach. You are also encouraged to check the website regularly.

How do I schedule a Vocal Placement Interview? When and where will they be?

Vocal placement interviews (VPIs) are scheduled by the Artistic Director Noah Palmer with assistance from the Chair of the Music Committee, Cathie Grant-Goodman. New singers need to complete a registration form and pay registration & music fees, but not a VPI prior to participating. Simply check the box in the online registration form indicating that you (a new singer) need a VPI. Someone will contact you to schedule the interview, which will occur sometime after Rehearsal #1 on 1/10/24. Or you can email or call us using our contact information.

Can I use my own music?

Saratoga Voices are guest participants in Schenectady Saratoga Symphony Orchestra’s spring performance of Mozart’s Requiem.  SSSO’s Artistic Director Glenn Cortese has chosen a specific edition that is not often used. For the sake of consistency and efficiency at rehearsals, we ask singers to purchase these scores from us, with little markup, for $15.

Do you have a dress code for performances?

The dress code varies, depending on the genre performed, but is chosen with the goal that singers need not purchase special concert attire. Most likely, you will find what is needed already in your closet.

How do singers get to know each other better?

In addition to our scheduled social break at rehearsal, Saratoga Voices hosts gatherings throughout the year and over the summer. There have been events such as our Open House, which is geared toward welcoming new members and Summer Sings, which welcomes current, new, and former members to sing with us. In addition, we will be gathering to celebrate and welcome our newly appointed Artistic Director on Sunday, August 27 from 3-7 pm. Join our mailing list to partake in our meet and greet!

Further questions

You can send us an email at this link or call the Saratoga Voices phone: 518-416-4060.

What are people saying about Saratoga Voices!

"I have worked with the Burnt Hills Oratorio Society [now Saratoga Voices] since 1984 from the tenure of Glenn Soellner to its [current] director...

I have been concertmaster of the orchestra for most of that time, as well as contractor. The passion and enthusiasm for singing the chorus displays is both contagious and delightful. Under the leadership of Dr. Gray and Derek Stannard the quality of singing continues to refine, and it's a joy to make music with the group. Dr. Gray's leadership a few seasons ago of Haydn's Creation was one of the highlights of my many years of orchestral playing. Here is wishing BHOS an incredible next 50!!"

Ann Marie Schwartz Director, Musicians Of Ma'alwyck

"Singing with Dr. William Jon Gray and Derek is a thrill, not only because of the programming and level of quality to which we aspire, but because every rehearsal is a music education class. Whether it's the historical events surrounding a piece, something in the life of the composer, or the performance style of a musical period, I don't think I've ever left a rehearsal without learning something new."

Ann Marie Adamick Soloist, Saratoga Voices

"Our desire is to broaden the definition of what we do."

Dr. William Jon Gray, Former Artistic Director, Saratoga Voices

"If it involves singing, we like to do it."

Dr. William Jon Gray, Former Artistic Director, Saratoga Voices

"I discovered a musicality I didn’t know I had. The experience has transformed me as an artist."

Stacey Shinske Singer

"The magic of [Saratoga Voices, fka] the Burnt Hills Oratorio Society is that its mission is not derived from the charisma of any individual, but from its devotion to great music and to coming together as a group to create something which is more meaningful than anyone could produce by oneself. Singing in [Saratoga Voices] allows participants to contribute at their own highest level of personal intellectual commitment, physical control, technical discipline and to gain new strength and self-respect through this common endeavor."

Dr. William Jon Gray, Former Artistic Director, Saratoga Voices

"Every rehearsal with Dr. Gray and Derek is like attending a vocal master class."

Doug Davis Singer

I really appreciate the opportunity the Oratorio Society gives to High School singers through the Spring competition. Music and singing are so important to me and it really was a wonderful compliment to be recognized during this competition. I leave for college on Tuesday to further pursue my acting and singing and I want to thank you again for the scholarship money. The Oratorio Society does great work instilling confidence in young singers.

Zachary Simpson 2020 Winner of Burnt Hills Oratorio vocal scholarship

When open calls came for the group I came running, paid for the entire season. I plan on coming for the next open call... cuz I LOVE singing. I enjoy it. I relish it and it's in me. This is where I want to be.

S. A. Singer

I leave every rehearsal with a song in my heart.

Terry Johnson Singer

Our director continues to amaze me with his knowledge.

Johnine Simpson Singer

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