New Members

Welcome to Rochester Choral Society!

This page was originally designed as a sheet for new members to help them to feel 'at home', but it would also be useful for anyone who would like to know more about how the Society operates.


Rehearsals and concerts

We rehearse on Tuesday evenings during term-time, including half-term, from 7.30 to 9.30 pm at the Vines Church, Rochester, which is between The Terrace (off Victoria Street) and Crow Lane (off the High Street) [map]. There is a car park outside, although there are not enough places for everyone to park who might want to, but we can certainly give priority to those with limited mobility. Access is via the cul-de-sac (which is called The Terrace), off Victoria Street (the B2097), which is off Star Hill (the A2). The church entrance is on the right at the end of The Terrace. There is a pay-and-display car park in The Terrace before you get to the church. You can also park in the Crow Lane area and enter via the small gate and pathway opposite the Vines. If you come this way the lighting is poor, so take care and bring a torch, as there are a few steps. If you are late, there should be someone, who will let you in.

We have three or four concerts each season. They are usually held in Rochester Cathedral on Saturday evenings at 7 pm, but we have also held concerts recently in local parish churches or the St. George's Centre, Chatham Maritime. We rehearse in the Cathedral (or other venue if the concert is to be held elsewhere) on the Thursday evening and Saturday morning prior to the concert. We sing a wide variety of music, including less well-known works, as well as the usual choral repertoire. (Please see our concert archive for an idea of what we sing.) We have a strong relationship with the Cathedral, which we value highly, and occasionally members of the Cathedral choirs sing with us.



We are fortunate in having a team of excellent musicians to lead us. Our Director of Music is Scott Farrell, who is the Cathedral's Director of Music and Organist, and our rehearsal accompanist and Assistant Director of Music is James Norrey, who is the Michael James Assistant Sub-Organist at the Cathedral. We are accompanied by the Rochester Sinfonietta for most of our concerts: for others, the magnificent Cathedral organ is used.



Our Membership Secretaries are Mary Burslem and Sarah Anderson - email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  They will give you a membership application form and any information that you may need. This may also be accessed from the Policies & Documents web page. You are welcome to come for a couple of weeks to see if you would like to sing in the choir. After that, speak to Mary or Sarah and one of them will arrange for you to have a simple voice assessment with Scott, either during the break or after a rehearsal. This is partly to see which voice part you should sing and the best place to seat you. You may borrow music for each rehearsal until after your voice assessment, then it can be hired for a small fee.


Voice reps

Each part has a voice rep, who will answer any questions and see that you know what to do while you settle in. Members can find out who their Voice Rep is by clicking on the Personnel tab in the Members' Pages.



The normal subscription is £44 per term, (which is £11 per month or £33 per quarter), reduced to £15 per term for students and those under 25. We encourage you to pay this by monthly Standing Order and to Gift Aid it if you are a tax payer.



Members are expected to attend at least 75% of rehearsals if they intend to sing in a concert. This is flexible and can be waived at Scott's discretion. We don't like excluding anyone, but can only give good concerts if we have good rehearsals! If you think that you cannot get to enough rehearsals or have a problem, speak to your Voice Rep.


Dress code for concerts

Standard concerts:
Ladies: Long black dresses, skirts or formal trousers (no jeans or leggings), long sleeved black tops and a teal scarf, which will be handed out before each concert and returned afterwards. Sparkling (and thereby distracting) sequins should not be worn. Please keep jewellery to a minimum.
Gentlemen: Dress suits, with white shirts and black bow ties.

Christmas concerts:
Ladies: Long black dresses, skirts or formal trousers (no jeans or leggings), long sleeved plain coloured tops. Jewellery may be more visible.
Gentlemen: Dress suits, with white shirts and coloured bow ties.

Chamber Choir concerts and events:
Ladies: Long black skirts or formal trousers (no jeans or leggings), white tops and a light blue scarf, which will be handed out before the concert.
Gentlemen: Dark suits, with white shirts and light blue bow ties, which will be handed out before the concert.

Outdoor carol singing:
No dress code - just appropriate clothing for the weather.

We use black music folders with our logo on them. These, and the scarves, will be handed out before each concert and returned afterwards.


Keeping in touch

The committee endeavours to keep you informed and to take back any situations and concerns to its meetings. We keep members informed via this website's extensive Members' Pages. The AGM is in September, when you can speak on any matters and have an opportunity to elect your representatives.

We are a friendly choir, and hold a number of social and fundraising events throughout the year. Many people have joined the RCS Friends, which has the added benefit of a discounted ticket per concert. We do hope you enjoy singing with us. 



* To read PDF files, you may need to install Adobe Reader, which is available here.


The Rochester Choral Society is on Facebook, Twitter and Gerontius.net.
We are a Registered Charity no. 253877 and regulated by the Charity Commission