Rising Stars Auditions: A How-to Guide

Get excited, everyone – Rising Stars audition season is here!  Whether you’re auditioning this weekend for our Beverly program, or next month for our Gardner or North Reading programs, you can rest assured that this post will tell you everything you need to know about our unique, thorough Rising Stars audition process!

Auditions of any kind can be nerve-wracking, even for the most experienced singers.  So, our goal is to make your audition experience as enjoyable for you as it is for us.  What’s a Rising Stars audition all about?  Read on to find out!

The Format

First of all, it is important to remember that your Rising Stars audition is non-competitive.  Meaning, you don’t have to worry about “getting in.”  We take everyone.  The auditions are simply a chance for us to meet and hear you.  Since our camp program is a musical revue instead of a single show with a fixed cast, we choose the musical selections based on the talent we see in the auditions.  So, you get to participate in a program that is tailored specifically to your strengths, and the strengths of your peers – how cool is that?!

The auditions are one-on-one appointments.  You will not be singing in front of your peers (you’re welcome).  You will be singing for me and Kim Lamoureux, our artistic director.

What to Prepare

For your Rising Stars audition, you must prepare some kind of solo selection.  It does not have to be long – one verse and chorus is enough – but it does have to be memorized.  Let me repeat that.  THE SONG MUST BE MEMORIZED.  

Acceptable genres for an audition song include musical theater, Disney, church songs, folk songs, or classical art songs.  You should choose a song that will highlight what you believe are the strongest parts of your voice.  The song should show us your comfortable range, and have a character that is suitable to your age and acting abilities.

Please please please, do not sing a pop or rock song.  We have very good reasons for this stipulation:

1. Pop songs usually have a very small, low range.  A song with a five-note range that sits in your vocal basement is not going to tell us very much about your voice.

2. Young singers usually just end up imitating the artist who sings the song, even if they are trying not to.  We want to hear YOU, not an imitation of the pop star du jour.

3. Singing a pop or rock song with good technique is much harder than you think, and can put quite a strain on a young, inexperienced voice.

4. Our camp is musical theater, and while the lines these days between pop and musical theater styles are becoming increasingly blurred, we’d ideally like you to choose something squarely in the musical theater category to give us an accurate baseline of how you sing in that style.

You should come to the audition with the sheet music for your song three-hole-punched into a hardcover binder.  This is for the pianist who will be playing for your audition.  Yes, a real live pianist!  No karaoke tracks please.

During the Audition

First, we will do some simple stretching and breathing exercises with you.  This warms your body up for singing, and also helps you to relax a bit.

Next, we will do some vocal exercises with you, which will give us an idea of your vocal range and comfort zone.  If you’ve never done vocal warm ups before, you might feel very ridiculous at first, but don’t worry.  We singers do these weird warm ups every day, so we will not think you are ridiculous.

After the exercises, we’ll have you sing the song that you’ve prepared.  After you’re done, we may ask you to sing all or part of it again and change something about the way you sang it before.  Don’t worry – it will be something simple, like stand up straighter, or smile more, or stop wiggling your fingers.

We may also ask you questions based on the info you provided on your audition form.  Usually we’ll ask about your dance experience, or ask you to tell us about your experience playing other instruments if you’ve listed them.

What Are We Looking/Listening For?

1. Your voice.  This means overall range, tone quality, and where you are most comfortable singing (high or low).

2. How well you respond to direction.  For example, if we ask you to adjust your posture, or sing something slightly differently, are you able to adapt quickly?

3. If you adhered to the audition requirements.  Was your song memorized?  Did you pick the right kind of song?  Did you three-hole-punch your sheet music?  We’re more apt to bestow responsibility on you at camp (read: assign you a solo) if we see that you followed directions for the auditions.

4. Your personality!  We want to get to know you!  Believe it or not, aside from vocal quality, this is probably the biggest deciding factor for us as directors when we are choosing the camp repertoire.  We want to choose pieces that you will have fun singing!

So there you have it.  Haven’t scheduled your audition time yet?  Be sure to get your registration in ASAP!  Our registration deadlines are Wednesday, May 9 (tomorrow!) for Beverly; Friday, June 1 for Gardner; and Friday, June 15 for North Reading.

See you all at camp!