There seems to be a pattern of behavior in most large choirs that, over the years, has evolved into stereotypes associated with the different SATB voice parts. You’ve sung, I’m sure you’ve seen it.
Basses – The pachyderms of the group, often need a little boost to catch up with the beat and would really like to sing an octave (or two) below the score. Gentle vocal giants who grin rather than smile.
Sopranos – Very serious; very, very serious. Stratospheric singing demands painfully perfect posture and that “O” shape of the lips. Tend to whisper among themselves when other groups are singing. A lot of them are tall.
Altos – The workhorses of the choir. Great focus on their music every second of every song, only peeking at the Director during the rests because their line is always crazy, scary hard. Brows furrowed, eyes focused.
Tenors –Well…they’re just nuts.
“I don’t sing because I’m happy; I’m happy because I sing.”
In the Windward Choral Society, the “one big family” vibe has blown these stereotypes away. It’s a happy group with no cliques or egos regardless if the singer has been singing for 5 minutes or 50 years.
Basses – A tight-knit small group that makes SURE they’re heard. The process is always the same for a complex piece. The first time they see it, there’s a tentative quiet (except for Bruce), the second time there’s an “oh, I get it” sound and the third time they just blast away. They laugh a lot.
Sopranos – Always smiling, the first to dance around during a “whacky warmup”. A little silliness from time to time, but all in good fun and they can sound absolutely angelic. And they’re still tall.
Altos – Have a zen-like sense of humor about how ridiculous their line can be. Probably the best at memorizing their part (they have to because it’s so hard) and a very supportive bunch. They help each other through the rough parts.
Tenors – Okay, they’re still nuts. Some things are universal.
“The more excited the rooster gets, the higher his voice goes. He’s got a little bit of a Barney Fife quality to him.”
– Jeff Foxworthy