The San Antonio Symphony Mastersingers are holding auditions for their 2017-18 Concert Season.
The San Antonio Symphony Mastersingers are holding auditions for their 2017-18 concert season. Credit: Courtesy / The San Antonio Symphony Mastersingers

The San Antonio Symphony Mastersingers are calling all trained singers to the stage. The chorus will hold open auditions for all voice parts for its 2016-2017 season on Aug. 6-13.

John Silantien, the Mastersingers director, expects about 60 individuals to audition for roughly 30 available spots. Candidates will be tested on vocalization, sight-reading, ear testing, and an optional but highly recommended prepared solo. The Mastersingers will provide an accompanist during the audition.

Those interested in participating must schedule an audition appointment by calling 210-843-9237.

Silantien said they have a wide variety of singers in the choir at the moment. Some have master’s degrees in music, while others are lawyers who sing on the side. The common thread is a high level of performance ability and commitment to the choir.

If you are serious about singing, this is an opportunity no other chorus can give you,” Silantien said. 

Established in 1944, the Mastersingers accompany the San Antonio Symphony as its official chorus but have grown over the years to perform independently of the Symphony, sometimes alongside acclaimed figures like opera singer Andrea Bocelli or under the conduction of some of the world’s leading directors.

Last year, the chorus traveled to New York City’s Carnegie Hall and toured through Spain and Italy in 2015 and 2013, respectively. This year, Silantien said they are taking a break to catch their breath.

The 125 volunteer performers who make up the Mastersingers meet every Tuesday evening for three hours to rehearse. Music is learned individually during the week so that the three-hour rehearsal can focus on other details. Rehearsals for the 2016-2017 season start on Aug. 16.

This year, the choir’s first performance will be Carl Orff‘s Carmina Burana on Sept. 17-18 at the Tobin Center for Performing Arts, followed by Handel’s Messiah which will take place on Nov. 27, Dec. 2, and Dec. 4. at various venues. The choir’s annual Holiday Pops show will run from Dec. 16-18 at the Tobin Center, and a few weeks later, the singers will perform Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus on Jan. 6-7, 2017. The choir will close out the season with the 14th Musical Shower of Roses performance on April 23, 2017 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Little Flower.

For performance times and a full schedule of the 2016-2017 season, click here.

Andrea Melcher has been a Mastersinger on-and-off for 10 years. As a trained singer and choir veteran, Melcher said she enjoys everything about Mastersingers in addition to the joy of representing her city.

“It’s almost being like a part of a championship team – when you’re part of choir and (you) nail it, it feels so good,” she beamed. “It’s great to be with people who share your passion. We have done all sorts of neat things together and created those bucket list memories – not everybody has those.”

Silantien, who has been the director for 33 years, feels similarly. Working with the high-level musicians that come through the Mastersingers program is an ongoing pleasure, he said.

“As a director, (I enjoy) the opportunity to work with symphony musicians and do major works that you can’t do (in) any other place.”

Top image: The San Antonio Symphony Mastersingers perform at Carnegie Hall in May 2016.  Photo courtesy of San Antonio Mastersingers.

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Katie Walsh studies journalism and English at the University of Texas at Austin and will graduate in May 2017.