Slavyanka Chorus' Statement of Purpose (Winter 1996-1997)

This document attempts to define what the chorus finds special, valuable and/or fundamental about Slavyanka. This document neither seeks to prevent nor to force change, rather to ensure that our values persevere through changes in membership, circumstance and/or music directors, and that fundamental changes only be enacted with the explicit consensus of chorus singers. This document represents an informal agreement among Slavyanka (through its Board of Directors), its music director and its singers, and therefore should be discussed, modified and approved each year along with the more specific goals delineated in associated chorus documents.

I. Objectives - Slavyanka is an a cappella men's chorus with six principal objectives:

A. To develop our musical excellence as a chorus;

B. To acquire knowledge of the religious and secular choral traditions of Russia and other regions of Eastern Europe;

C. To take on works of contemporary Russian composers;

D. To present that music to an ever increasing number of Americans;

E. To pursue international and intercultural understanding between East and West through the special language of music;

F. To make Slavyanka a musical enterprise which will endure through changes in the membership of either the chorus or the music director.

II. Amateur Constraints - Slavyanka is a special kind of amateur chorus that must operate with certain necessary constraints:

A. All singers have other obligations to family, work and other interests. Attendance at concerts and rehearsals is therefore voluntary, but with the understanding that each singer make a good faith effort to attend every rehearsal and concert, and will inform the section leader in advance of any unavoidable absence.

B. Slavyanka requires a minimum level of musical and vocal proficiency from its singers; however it is by definition an organization of differing musical skills and abilities. Singers commit themselves to constant musical improvement.

C. Work in the chorus is voluntary and unpaid with the following exceptions:

1. The director receives a salary as set by the Board;

2. The Board may agree to pay singers or others from time to time for services rendered.

III. Expectations of Singers - While the chorus respects the constraints outlined above, it nevertheless asks of each singer a good faith commitment to the following:

A. To pronounce correctly and to learn the words of each piece in the repertoire, individual ability permitting;

B. To understand and to reproduce faithfully the content and context of the repertoire;

C. To memorize the music and words for each piece, as requested by the music director;

D. To practice the repertoire regularly at home before rehearsals;

E. To improve and to contribute to the ensemble at each rehearsal and concert;

F. To contribute to the non-musical duties of the chorus in some fashion.

IV. Decision Making - The chorus attempts to arrive at decisions based on mutual consent; hence important organizational details, such as the number of singers, the length, number and type of rehearsals, the number of concerts per year, the production and/or content of albums, tour itineraries, the question of dues, etc., should be proposed each year by the board and/or music director and agreed upon by the chorus as a whole. However, Slavyanka is not a political organization and its decision-making does not extend to taking official positions on public issues.

V. Fun and Friendship - Although Slavyanka is primarily a chorus, it also functions as a social organization. Working to make good music together has created a sense of closeness and camaraderie among us over the years, and should be kept in mind in all aspects of what we do. Regular time should be allotted to various social activities, such as rehearsal breaks, post-concert parties, retreats and other occasions for celebration and fellowship.