Q) Where do the performers come from? Are they all from a high school?
A: The cast members of The RockNRoll are high school students, but they are not from one school. The RockNRoll Chorus consists of singers from many high schools, mostly throughout New Jersey, and sometimes beyond. RNRC is a privately-operated project, and as such, any high school student from any area may audition.
Q) Are there any costs associated with being in a RockNRoll Chorus cast?
A: Yes. Although it is unusual in professional-level production settings, each member of the cast is responsible for a portion of their own production-related expenses. The sum total of cast members’ contributions, together with funds raised solely by the RockNRoll Chorus Administration, allows for this project to exist and grow. The RockNRoll Chorus will always have a competitive audition process. The costs only apply to qualified, talented and driven performers, who are successfully placed in a RockNRoll Chorus cast. These costs vary from season to season based on the needs and plans of that season. When a prospective singer is ready to explore setting up an audition appointment, a fully detailed conversation with an RNRC executive, with specific cost information for that upcoming season will take place for mutual consideration, prior to the singer’s audition. Payment arrangements are available.
Q) What is the audition process?
A: Auditions are scheduled by appointment throughout the year, based on the needs of the casts. Most often auditions take place by appointment. Prior to the audition, we ask that the singer’s family review some administrative material on how the company operates. The audition involves singing and vocalizing, and a personal interview, so that the staff can ensure that the prospective cast member is at the necessary level of maturity. Finally, parents of the singer will join in the process, and a ‘family meeting’ will take place, so that if the singer is offered a role, the working relationship between the singer’s family and the company can begin from the same exact point of understanding. When a singer is ready to explore setting up an audition appointment, a more specific audition requirements will be provided for review, prior to the singer’s audition.
Q) What is the schedule like for a RockNRoll Chorus cast member?
A: The RockNRoll Chorus enthusiastically believes that people should honor commitments based on the order in which they are made, in life.
Scheduling is the backbone of The RockNRoll Chorus.
Our singers are enormously talented and therefore are involved in a lot of activities and obligations. RNRC has a clear and detailed Conflicts Request Procedure that allows cast members to balance this priority commitment with other equally significant life obligations. A representative from our company will meet with your family, prior to an audition, to discuss the process of our attendance policy. Rehearsals are scheduled as needed (but are most often Sunday afternoons when they occur) for approximately four hours throughout the Off Road Season, with needed rehearsals called when necessary. Shows during the Off Road Season almost always occur on weekends. Only very special appearances are considered by the office of booking for weeknights during the school year.
For the Tour Season, rehearsals begin on weekends in late April and conclude with our well-known Vocal Boot Camp. VBC is an intense process of rehearsals that take place from 10AM to about 6PM, every day for about eight to ten days in a row at the very end of June and the beginning of July. This very special time is the final stage of preparation for the Tour each year. Shows during the Tour Season, both on the road and here in the NYC metropolitan area can take place at any time during the week.
Q) Where are RNRC rehearsals located?
A: RNRC rehearsals are located in a variety of locations based on the localities of the current cast(s). We utilize relationships with dance studios, recording studios, rehearsal facilities, and stages. Sometimes we even rehearse at the residences of our cast members (who offer that to us); this provides a very comfortable environment for the cast to get to know each other when they are not ‘at the piano’ learning new parts. Rehearsal locations vary for several reasons. Other Tour season rehearsals will take place at locations that make the most sense at that time.
Q) How is transportation handled for RNRC rehearsals and events?
A: Most RNRC shows and activities that take place out of NJ will utilize a charter bus for transportation. Often, the meeting point for the bus is the Monmouth Rest Area near exit 100 on the Garden State Parkway. If the event is north of NJ, then singers from South Jersey drive to the bus pick-up location and then board the bus to the event. Return works the opposite way. At the same time, if the event is north of NJ, singers from North Jersey may choose to either come to the bus pick-up location, or simply meet us at the venue, whichever is easier for the family. If however, the event is south of NJ, the process works inversely. This policy works for both RNRC seasons throughout the year. Sometimes full-day events even in NJ may warrant the use of a charter bus. Although this is rare, it does happen. Other than that, all RNRC activities within NJ will rely on strategic car-pooling by the families and good communication to get singers from place to place.
For the Tour Season, all non-local events, including tour legs travel by charter tour bus.
Q) How are the performance seasons structured?
* Each singer enters the project with a 12-month or 13-month contract, with specific ‘Begin” and “End” dates included in the paperwork. A full Performance Agreement Contract will include at least one Tour Season and one adjacent Off-Road Season.
A: Tour Season: We operate all year long; Tour Season refers to June/July/August. Learning tracks with some ‘homework’ will be sent to tour cast members beginning in January. Some weekend rehearsals start in April (after the high school musical season). Vocal Boot Camp/Tour at the Shore will be the last week in June and the first week in July. Touring and local Tour Season shows take place in July, August and September (without interfering with school days). Graduated seniors who will be leaving for college must leave the cast when they leave for college, not before. Cast members still in high school conclude the Tour Season on or about the first weekend in October.
Off Road Season: We operate all year long; Tour Season refers to September through June. Learning tracks with some ‘homework’ will be sent to cast members beginning in July. Off-Road Vocal Boot Camp will take place at the end of August in preparation for the transition from the tour cast into the Off Road casts. Then, rehearsals, events performances and recording sessions will take place from September through May.
Q) What is the general philosophy and outlook of The RockNRoll Chorus?
A: “We have two kinds of young adults in The RockNRoll Chorus: those who will go on to pursue a career in the business of Arts and Entertainment, and those will pursue a career in other endeavors. For those who pursue the Arts, we want The RockNRoll Chorus to be the best, most effective and realistic training program possible. We want our alumni to be able to step onto a professional ‘bus and truck’ tour the day after they leave us, and be literate, functional and credible immediately. …and for those pursuing amazing things in other areas, then we want this to be as close to the ‘big leagues’ as they will come. For those kids, too, we want this to be as ‘real’ an experience as possible, so that they have those stories to tell their kids (one day) about the time they spent on tour with The RockNRoll Chorus. Either way, the life lessons, professional etiquette, and performance skills learned in this project will lead them to become better Artists, people, students, future parents, citizens and audience members…..and we get to sing really cool and complex music as the vehicle for it all.” (J. Cantaffa)
Q) What are the expectations that RNRC has for its singers, student crew and families?
A: There are several expectations for this project. Nothing great is ever achieved with a sense of casuality. The RockNRoll Chorus expects everyone involved to be responsible for, and respectful of, the music and the show, as well as all other personnel at all times.
We expect our singers, staff and crew to be fully aware of their calendars and be highly prompt in communicating personal schedules with our Conflict Request system. We also expect all performers and crew to be willing to turn down opportunities that come up for them at the ‘last minute’ that they feel may be better for them, or perceived as more fun by them or their families, if it means that they will miss an RNRC event that was booked and posted in advance, where they don’t have an Approved Conflict in advance of the booking.
We expect everyone to make practicing at home a regular occurrence, as part of school homework. RNRC singers should want to practice. Regular dedicated/focused practicing at home is how we are able to rehearse as infrequently as we do and still capitalize on the best invitations to perform for the kids, sometimes with little notice.
We expect no ‘drama.’
We expect all singers to understand that, although (healthy) ‘lead singing’ is essential in any song, RockNRoll Chorus music is not about the lead singer. We expect all singers to be willing to make each moment be ‘NOT about them, but be about the ensemble and the needs of everyone else first.’
We expect singers (guided by their parents) to ‘do right’ or be willing to be coached into identifying ‘right’ and then ‘do right’ – even when ‘right’ may not be what’s best or most exciting for the individual.
We expect all cast, crew and staff to fully apply themselves to this project, learn, improve, and most of all – have fun and make memories (for us and for our audiences).
Most importantly, we expect the whole RNRC family to have fun and improve the lives of those around us through music, effort, and good energy.
Finally, we expect to be impressed and inspired by our performers/musicians.
Q) Does The RockNRoll Chorus play benefit events?
A: Yes. The RockNRoll Chorus enthusiastically believes in the idea of using one’s strengths and efforts to benefit the lives and experiences of those around us. Throughout the year, RNRC will ‘adopt’ causes and promote awareness by performing at (and promoting) charity and benefit events.
Q) What will The RockNRoll Chorus bring to each singer’s life?
(answered by former and current RNRC Staff….)
– A sense of confidence and power:
If there is something you want, and you put yourself in the right circumstances, surround yourself
with talent, and then work harder than you thought you could, you can achieve almost anything.
– An understanding that nothing great ever started as a reasonable idea
– An improved set of performance skills
– An improved set of healthy vocal technique and musicianship skills
– An improved set of listening skills
– A better command of music theory and its value in the creation and performance of music
– Legitimate future networking opportunities within the industry
– The vocabulary and culture of professional production
– A sense of discerning between what is important to ‘you and your teammates’ over what is popular
– The ability to balance your schedule
– The ability to communicate openly, honestly, and without being intimidated, to adults and peers
– An advantage in being prepared for college, musically and socially
– An understanding of what it truly means to appreciate your parents
– Friends(that become family)
– Challenges, laughter, and support structures
– An adventure
– The kind of smile that shows your family that you are truly fulfilled and happy to
be using your gifts in a way that lifts audiences the way that RNRC does.
*On the day this document was created we were at rehearsal. We asked the cast members to give us one word that describes their answer to the above question. Their responses were:
“This project, touring, allowed me to find my confidence.”
“A new beginning.”
“A second chance.”
“Family, a great experience.”
“Professional experience, unified family, most of all you get to sing and learn from people who are truly passionate about music.”
“A young musician’s fantasy.”
“It makes you become responsible.”
“Making something out of nothing with people who share your love of music.”
“I found who I am in this project.”
“Most friendly people I know.”
“More confidence as a singer.”
“Professionalism, I’m a better singer now and I know how to take of myself as a singer and a person.”
“It’s my second family.”