1. What is Rev?
Rev is short for Revelation Rock-Gospel Choirs. We’re a national charity that co-ordinates a network of choirs at universities all around the UK.
2. How many choirs are there?
Numbers can go up and down, but there are currently twelve official choirs. You can find a list of them here.
3. How do I join Rev?
Just turn up. Any rehearsal, any event, we’ll always be happy to see you. There’re no rules about who can or can’t join and we don’t make you audition. Find your local choir here.
4. But I can’t sing. Am I still welcome?
We don’t mind. If we were worried about how well members could sing, we would have auditions. You’ll be surprised what you can learn just from hanging out with other people who love music.
5. No, you don’t understand. I really, really can’t sing. I’m not like all those other people who say they can’t sing but can really. I make nails on a chalkboard sound preferable.
Honestly, we don’t mind. We will help you get better. Even if you never become the greatest singer in the world, you can still bring something to the choir.
6. Seriously, I can’t…
Just come and give it a try! What can it hurt?
7. I got a Distinction in Grade 8 singing and I play six different instruments at concert standard and I have a Fellowship of the Royal Schools of Music. Is there still a place for me amongst all these people without musical training?
Well, first…wow. Second…you are definitely welcome. You can share your talents with others and maybe even learn something yourself. The dialogue between people with different levels of ability is one of the things that helps make Rev special.
8. I’m just an average person, neither terrible nor brilliant. Can I come as well?
That makes you like the vast majority of Revvers and we welcome you with open arms. We like the brilliant, the less brilliant and everyone in between. No one is excluded and everyone can learn something.
9. Are you like Glee?
We get asked this a lot, probably because a lot of the things are distinctive about Rev – such as the focus on inclusiveness and the willingness to incorporate other performing arts – are things that can be seen on Glee. You might get some frowns from older members of Rev if you ask this question though, because we’ve been round a bit longer than the television programme (sixteen years longer to be more precise). If you enjoy Glee because it allows the traditionally marginalised to have a chance to shine, then you’ll probably like Rev. If you don’t like Glee, then don’t worry. We’ve been doing this for a long time and we’ve developed our own thing that we’re pretty good at. Rev isn’t just a Glee copy.
For more info on Rev’s basic principles, check out the Aims and Values.
1. What kind of music do you sing?
As the hyphen in rock-gospel suggests, we sing a mixture of different music. We try to balance it so it’s half religious and half secular. Secular music can cover rock, pop, jazz, blues, musical theatre, soul, contemporary and pretty much anything else you can think of; maybe even some things you can’t.
2. How do you choose what songs to sing?
Most choirs and events will have song suggestion sheets (either on paper or online) available beforehand, so everyone can suggest potential songs. If you want to arrange the song for the choir yourself, you can, but if not we can probably find someone else to arrange it for you. If you’d like to arrange it but don’t know where to start, we can help you with that as well. We’ve even had people write their own, original songs for us before!
3.Who teaches the songs?
Anyone can teach a song. You don’t have to have suggested it or arranged it; we want everyone to have the opportunity to give it a try. The same goes with conducting – we rotate conductors for every song so that every person who wants to can give it a go. There will be people around who know the song who’ll be willing to help you out if you’re unsure what you’re doing and no one’s going to be angry with you for getting something wrong.
4. Are you a cappella?
We do sing a cappella songs (especially when we’re busking and don’t have the tech to support voices plus instruments), but we also have opportunities for members to play in a band that accompanies the choir.
5. What instruments are in the band?
Bring us an instrument, we’ll write you a part. It’s always exciting when someone brings something new along.
6. Will you even write a part for my bagpipes?
7. And my didgeridoo?
Yep. Any instrument, it may take some experimentation but we’ll find a way to make it work.
8. But I got thrown out of my school orchestra for playing the triangle out of tune.
Don’t worry. We’ll help you get better and we’ll never be upset with you if you get something wrong. Besides, those triangle parts can be more difficult than most people realise.
9. I’ve always wanted to play the guitar/piano/djembe/spoons but I’ve never had the chance to learn.
The good thing about having a choir where all abilities are welcome is that there will probably be someone who’ll be willing to help teach you.
10. If you’re writing all your parts for beginners, there’s not going to be much of a challenge for me as someone with a Fellowship of the Royal Schools of Music, is there?
Oh, no. We have lots of talented arrangers who are just waiting for someone skilled enough to play that technically impossible piece of music that they wrote but everyone else is too scared to touch. You’ll be given more than enough challenges.
11. What sort of performances do you do?
Each choir has their own concert schedule, normally two or three times per academic year. National events tend to involve a performance or two, whether it’s a fully-fledged concert with tech and band or a busking session with just voices. Throughout the year there tend to be other opportunities for smaller performances as well, if we’re invited somewhere or if a university is having an event.
1. What is National Rev?
We’re the group of people who help co-ordinate all the Rev choirs around the country. We give help and support wherever we can; providing music, workshops and advice for committees who need it. We’re not here to tell you what to do, but if you need help, don’t be afraid to ask. We’ll never blame you for things going wrong. We also organise national events where Revvers from all around the country can get together.
2. Who are the national team?
There are currently twelve positions on the national team (it can change depending on circumstances). They are:
- Network Co-ordinator – organises the national team and all the choirs so they’re on the same page. A new NC is voted in by the choirs every two years.
- Deputy Network Co-ordinator – backs up the Network Co-ordinator.
- National Administrator – organises the paperwork, and the Network Co-ordinator when they’re behind schedule.
- Music Advisor – organises the music (including copyright and permissions and the sharing of music between choirs).
- Finance Administrator – organises the money.
- Prayer and Pastoral Support Co–ordinator – organises the prayer list, but also offers non-religious help and advice for real world problems.
- Fundraising Co–ordinator – organises raising the money for the Finance Administrator to organise further.
- Merchandising Co–ordinator – organises things with Rev’s name and/or Burpee on to sell to help the Fundraising Co-ordinator to raise money for the Finance Administrator to organise.
- Network Support Volunteers – travel round lending advice, experience and training to choirs that need a little extra help. We currently have three, but the more NSVs the better.
- Media and Publicity Officer – writes this FAQ and various other bits and bobs for the website. I might even write myself a job description one of these days.
3. What about individual choirs?
Each individual choir has its own executive committee that runs that choir and liaises with National Rev as well as their university and Student Union. Positions on these committees can vary depending on each choir’s individual needs, but they will generally include a president, secretary and treasurer (Student Unions like this) as well as someone in charge of music and someone in charge of environment (keeping everyone happy). Other positions can include National Representative (the one who officially goes to Forum, though everyone’s welcome) Media and Publicity Co-ordinator, Concert Co-ordinator, Warm-up Co-ordinator and Prayer Co-ordinator. Some of these roles may not be officially attached to the committee.
4. Who are the trustees?
As a charity, we are legally required to have trustees to oversee the workings of the choir. Traditionally, Rev trustees have been in the background, but they still provide guidance for the national team and approve its most important decisions.
Other Random Revvy things:
1. Who’s Burpee?
Burpee is the little guy you see cartwheeling around the website and on most Rev merchandise. He’s our mascot and we love him very much.
2. What’s a Pause for Thought?
Sometimes, when we take a break in the middle of rehearsals, someone will want to talk about something dear to their hearts. We’ve had all sorts of topics covered, from stories about how people joined Rev and their first concert to descriptions of working for other charities abroad; from explanations of the importance of hyphens to encouragement to take up bell-ringing. It’s a chance for everyone to stop, breathe and maybe talk about some important things. If you want to give a Pause for Thought, just talk to your Environment Co-ordinator or whoever is in charge of organising your rehearsals and they’ll find you a time and place.
3. What’s Angels and Mortals?
Angels and Mortals is a bit like Secret Santa, except that it lasts for a whole term/event. You’ll be assigned a mortal at random and will secretly do nice things for them until the term/event is over. This can range from buying them sweets to sending them complimentary notes or hugs via other Revvers – don’t think you have to spend a lot of money. It’s just about making your mortal feel happy and loved. Meanwhile, you will have an anonymous angel who is doing similar nice things for you. At the end of the term/event, it’s up to you whether you reveal your identity to your mortal or not. As with all things Rev, participation is entirely optional, so don’t feel obliged to sign up.
4. What’s Cabaret?
On the night before concert day at WiM and at the end of term in some choirs, we have a big celebration known as Cabaret. It’s like a talent show, but there’s no judging, just people putting on whatever kind of acts they like. Music, comedy, poetry, drama, dance – as long as it’s not going to burn the church down, you’re welcome to give anything a go.
5. What’s a paper plate award?
This one always gets a few weird looks. During Cabaret, we like to reward people for everything they’ve done during the term, whether it’s for performing an amazing solo or just for having the most enthusiastic smile when singing. As always, it doesn’t have to be music related – it can just be for being a friend. Anonymous nominations are made shortly before Cabaret (write your nominations on a piece of paper and drop it in the box given to you or talk to/e-mail the people organising Cabaret). Anyone can nominate someone for a paper plate award and anyone can win one. You’d be surprised how good it feels when you hear someone call out your name.
6. What’s the Big Book of Rev?
It’s a big book, and it’s full of Rev stuff…
In all seriousness, the Big Book of Rev contains everything there is to know about Rev – its structure, procedures, history and lore. If you want to find out more about your choir or the network as a whole, ask your committee for your Big Book.
Question not answered? Explore the rest of the website or contact us.