Thank you for taking the time to check out our group. We hope you’ll find it as rewarding an experience as we have. Marin Men’s Chorus has been around for over 35 years. We are a friendly, welcoming, and supportive group. No prior singing experience is necessary – the only requirement is a love of music and a desire to sing with others. The range of musical experience in the group varies widely – some of us are just learning how to sing while others are working on improving existing skills. You are not required to read music. Some chorus members – and indeed, some professionals – do not read music, and it is not a requirement for our group.
We are led by two outstanding musicians, our director Shawn Aluk , and our accompanist Heather Creighton.
Shawn completed his music degree at the University of Michigan and is a music educator in San Francisco. Learn more here.
Heather is the former principal keyboard player for the Marin Symphony and performs both as a soloist and collaborative pianist around the Bay Area. Heather earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Piano Performance from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and a Master’s Degree in Piano Performance from the New England Conservatory of Music.
Tom Cromwell is our General Manager. It’s an informal role, and there is definitely a “herding cats” aspect to it. About once a month, a leadership meeting is announced. The leadership group is fully self-nominated – if you want to be part of the leadership group, just show up!
Andy Shaw is our Treasurer, and Will Chang handles publicity.
During your first visit, Shawn will take you aside for a few minutes to listen to your voice so he can decide which of the 4 sections you fit into—bass, baritone, tenor 1 or tenor 2.
Each section has a Section Leader. He will introduce himself to you and will try to seat you with a mentor at your first rehearsal. The mentor is there to support you, answer questions and concerns, and generally make you feel welcome. The Section Leaders are:
Basses: Tom Cromwell
Baritones: Rich Pollack
First Tenors: Eric Rekdahl
Second Tenors: Phil Richardson
Learning the Music
The chorus provides sheet music for all of our songs. Shawn is a terrific teacher. We learn each song slowly, so everyone understands it. To help us in learning our parts, rehearsals are recorded and made available as online downloads. Since they are digital versions, you can download them to your computer, phone, or tablet and listen to them wherever it is most convenient for you.
Some chorus members save their music on their iPad, and use the digital version rather than paper sheet music. If you’re interested in learning how to do this, talk with Rich Pollack.
Our website address is MarinMensChorus.com. You’ll see the roster of members, the history of the chorus, and links to YouTube performances of the songs we are rehearsing.
Members will be given a roster, which includes a picture of each member, to help get acquainted quickly. Pius Kampfen keeps the roster. He will ask for your contact information, especially your email address.
We present two public concerts each year, a holiday show in December, and a themed show in May or June. Our usual concert venue is St. Stephen’s Church in Belvedere. We also give 5 or 6 performances at local assisted-living facilities during the weeks leading up to each of the public concerts.
It costs money to run an organization like this, so we collect dues – $225 for each concert season (spring and fall). The money is used to cover costs including:
Salaries for our director, Shawn Aluk and our accompanist, Heather Creighton
Rehearsal and performance space rental
Other miscellaneous costs
Andy Shaw is our treasurer. He collects dues at the start of each concert season, but there’s no rush for new members to pay – it’s fine to take a couple weeks to make up your mind about the chorus.
Be aware that we don’t want paying dues to prevent anyone from joining the group. If this would be a hardship for you, talk privately to Andy and we will work something out.
We want to look our best when we perform, so we have adopted the following attire for our performances.
Public concerts: For our end-of-season concerts in May and December, we wear tuxedos--traditional style with black bow tie and cummerbund, black socks and shoes.
Assisted living concerts: This varies by season. For the spring concerts we wear a black polo shirt with white MMC logo (no T shirt showing). For the fall concerts we wear black long sleeve turtle or mock turtle sweater. Dark gray pants, black belt, black socks, and black shoes (shined) complement the shirts in either season.
The tuxedo can be rented or purchased if you don’t have one. Buying a tuxedo isn’t as expensive as you may think – they are available online for as little as $125-$150. The turtleneck can be bought at any men’s store. We purchase the logo polo shirts in bulk. Talk to Tom Cromwell if you want one. Cost is $22 (be careful on the choice of size—they tend to run large).
We would be delighted to have you as a chorus member. If you have any questions, concerns, ideas or anything else relating to the chorus fell free to talk to Tom Cromwell, your mentor, your section leader, Shawn, or any other member. Very best wishes, and let’s start singing!