These are the sections that were covered in the listening test (taken directly from the letter they sent out - the test covered exactly these sections):
- Tonal Memory (aural):
- Listen to a solid chord and an arpeggiated chord. Decide if the first (1st), second (2nd), third (3rd), or fourth (4th) note of the arpeggiated chord is changed from the notes in the solid chord.
- Melody Recognition (aural):
- Listen to a melody played alone, then harmonized. In the harmonized version, decide if the melody is in the highest, middle, or lowest part.
- Pitch Recognition (aural):
- Listen to the key tone (first note shown) and determine the pitch of the second note. Decide if the first, second, third, or none of the pitches following the key tone is the pitch shown.
- Major-Minor Mode Discrimination (aural):
- Listen to the two chords in question. Decide if they are major or minor.
- Listen to a phrase. Decide if it is in major or minor or if it changes mode.
- Feeling for Tonal Center (key tone, key center) (aural):
- Listen to four chords of the key. Then listen to three tones played separately and decide which is the key tone.
- Listen to a phrase. Decide which of the notes is the key tone.
- Auditory-Visual Discrimination (aural and visual):
- Listen to four measures. Identify which measures are played differently in pitch from the notation.
- Listen to four measures. Identify which measures are played differently in rhythm from the notation.
- Musical Aptitude (aural):
- Your natural aptitude for musical activity is tested by a series of short musical statements followed by musical answers. You are asked to determine whether they are alike or different either tonally or rhythmically.
When someone asked how many spots were available in the choir, the person up front said he couldn't tell us that. He did say that spots are filled from both retirees (who retire in April of each year) and people who resign (who can do that at any point, without giving prior notice). About 27(?) are retiring next April, and he mentioned 5 people who had retired in the two weeks prior to our test. So that means there are at least 32 spots (number of retiree + people who have resigned)... though, in all probability, there are more (because assuming all the resignations happened in a two-week period doesn't make sense). Someone asked how that was broken up between men & women, and we all learned something really cool: the Mormon Tabernacle Choir doesn't have equal numbers of men & women. They don't take equal numbers. The directors listen to the choir and add voices as they feel are needed for their goals.
It took a bit longer than 2 weeks for the letter to arrive - I got mine on the 29th of October; the letter was dated October 24. I found myself wondering if I could weigh it (like some people do with mission calls) to determine if it was a yes or no answer. That takes way longer than opening it.
The letter this time had some specific information in it. Along with the "we are pleased to advance you to Phase III," it had my personal audition time (this Wednesday, Nov 13, at 3:40pm), and an attached sheet of paper with my scores from the music skills assessment.
The score sheet is interesting. Each part of the test is divided into sections, with 12 total scored sections. It shows the possible maximum score (between 8 and 99, depending on scoring), and then has three categories - strong, average, and weak. An example: in the section on intervals, the maximum possible is 8. Strong is 8-7, Average is 6-5, Weak is 4-0. It didn't have exact scores written in on the sheet - just which of the categories you placed in, circled. So the 8-7 was circled on my score sheet - I scored "Strong" in intervals.
I scored "Strong" in all of the sections but one - Feeling for Tonal Center. There I scored "Average." And since that was the section that I had thought I had bombed, I was happy. :)
I'm not really sure what "Strong, "Average," and "Weak" really mean. Is average a comparative to the general population at large? The required level needed for the choir? A comparison among the people who took the test that day? Could I have moved on with a "Weak" score? Maybe having ranges, instead of exact scores, makes it easier for the choir administration to look at people's entire profile (their CD, background, etc) instead of having a firm cutoff for who moves on and who doesn't.
Phase III is coming up in 3 days. This is what I'm expecting (from the letter they sent):
- Arrive early, warmed up and ready to sing (and fill out paperwork)
- Have a short interview with the Choir President (Ron Jarrett - he's one of the choir's champions for social media and appealing to a younger audience... so he might actually read this post)
- Meet with Mack Wilberg, Ryan Murphy, and a choir accompanist
- Perform the hymn I prepared
- Each person prepares to sing the melody line of a hymn of his choice, in the key of his choice. I'll be singing "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go" in the key of F (its original key).
- Side note: This hymn is really symbolic for me. If God wants me in the choir, I'll go. If not, then He will have other plans for me. It's become one of my favorite hymns. The awesome thing about life with God at the reins is that I don't really need to worry. I do my best, and He will put me in the best place to serve. If I'm supposed to be in the choir, it will happen, even if I croak during the audition. If not, it doesn't matter how well I sing. So I can focus on doing my best, and let God take care of everything else.
- Perform rhythm, musical memory, and sight-reading exercises
- Anything else they ask to better hear my voice
Crazy exciting. Wednesday at 3:40. Pray for me?
My Audition for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir: Phase III