Finding prospective choristers is becoming more difficult. There are so many extra-curricular activities available to children these days. Gone are the days when children played sport on Saturday and enjoyed one or two alternative activities during the week – the choices today, combined with the logistics of maintaining these multiple activities, has led to more rigorous recruitment.
Of course, many parents are not necessarily familiar with any potential singers in the family and being a treble choir, these boys need to be identified early so they can be developed sufficiently to allow them time to exercise their new skills on stage.
For this reason, our Artistic Staff, primarily Peter Casey, can visit anywhere up to 60-70 primary schools around Melbourne listening to boys in grades 1 & 2 singing nursery rhymes in anticipation of identifying potential choristers. On average he may offer 3 or 4 boys per school an invitation to attend a second or final audition. It is at this audition where the final 50 or so boys are selected to commence as Elementary NBCA choristers the following year.
This is a tedious – but necessary – process to keep topping up the Performing Choir that suffers a natural attrition rate due to voice change.
In addition to the preliminary audition work, this year, Peter Casey listened to Baa Baa Black Sheep and/or Twinkle Twinkle Little Star 109 times on Saturday 20 June. Spot and Blot had an equally savage workout in the reading comprehension room. There was a higher than usual success rate which only exacerbated the final decision-making for entry next year.
We look forward to welcoming 53 new choristers in February 2016.