SDG Member Area


All rehearsals at Trinity Lutheran Alameda unless indicated otherwise.

Member Handbook

MISSION: “We rejoice in God’s gift of music by dedicating ourselves to the quality performance of sacred music in a concert setting.”

WHO WE ARE: Soli Deo Gloria is an auditioned San Francisco Bay Area community choir dedicated to the performance of masterworks of the sacred repertoire in a concert setting. The choir’s membership is drawn from six Bay Area counties. Founded in 1976, SDG sang until 1999 under the name Bay Area Lutheran Chorale and has been conducted by Allen H Simon since 1991.

AUDITIONS: Auditioning singers are welcome to Soli Deo Gloria for a probationary trimester. The artistic director will advise you at the end of the trimester whether you have been accepted as a returning member and/or counsel you on steps you must take to be accepted as a returning member.

DUES: Membership dues are collected for each of the three semesters to support the operations of the choir. Dues are $95 per trimester, including the cost of music. Please pay by the first rehearsal, or make an arrangement with the treasurer. Limited financial assistance is available; for details speak to Mauna Arnzen.


WHEN: SDG rehearses from 7:15 pm to 9:45 pm on each Monday night leading up to a concert, with one or two extra dress rehearsals the week of the concert. We have two Saturday rehearsal for each concert series. During each rehearsal there is a 10 or 15 minute break in the middle for snacks and socializing. All Saturday rehearsals are shown on the calendar above.

WHERE: Rehearsals are in the fellowship hall of Trinity Lutheran Church, 1323 Central Ave. (at Morton), Alameda, CA 94501. UPDATE FALL 2021: rehearsals are temporarily relocated; contact us for details.

REHEARSAL DECORUM: Arrive no later than 7:10 to check the seating chart, sign in, pick up any materials, put on your name tag and get yourself settled. BE READY TO SING AT 7:15.

We use the first minutes of each rehearsal as a vocal workshop to help you improve as a singer. This time is just as important to the chorus as when we practice the music. Please show respect for the other singers and conductor by arriving on time and ready to sing. Focus on the director and sing only your own part unless requested to do otherwise. We do not discourage you from asking questions about your own part, but please refrain from “deputy director” remarks as they are distracting and eat into rehearsal time.

Anyone missing more than two regular rehearsals may be given a performance check to make sure they are able to sing in the concert.

What if I have to miss a rehearsal? Ideally none of us ever misses a rehearsal. If you know in advance that you will be absent on a Monday night please sign out on the member website. Click on rehearsal sign out above. Password is sdgloria.

If you become ill or find you must miss rehearsal at the last minute, please call or text Allen.

What if I am running late? Please call or text Allen.

MUSIC: SDG does not keep a music library; music costs are included in your dues, and you may keep it when the concerts are finished. Write your name in the music, and bring it to each rehearsal along with a pencil to take notes.

PREPARATION: SDG rehearsals focus on ensemble and musical interpretation; singers are responsible for learning notes outside of rehearsal. Sectional rehearsals and practice mp3s/midi files are sometimes made available on this page.

BREAK/SNACKS: During each rehearsal, there is a 15 minute break. Volunteers each week will bring drinks and snacks for the break. A sign-up list is usually out during the break. Each member usually volunteers at least once during a season. The snack volunteers for that week should wipe off the table and carpet sweep the snack area. Recycling items should be placed in the recycling bins in the kitchen.

SETUP/CLEANUP: Tables in the fellowship hall must be moved out of the way and folding chairs set up and arranged in three curved rows. Those who arrive first help set the chairs up (extra chairs are stored under the stage) and move the piano as needed. After the rehearsal, each singer will fold and put away his or her own chair and help restore the room to its original condition.

DRESS REHEARSAL: Two mandatory dress rehearsals are held during the week before a concert series to review the music under performance conditions and with the instrumental musicians. You do not need to wear concert uniform for the dress rehearsal.


Women: Standard black blouse, long black skirt or slacks. For details, please contact Joan Dark.
Men: Fall and winter: Black dress pants, black dress jacket, (tuxedo recommended) white dress shirt, bow tie, black shoes. Spring: black concert shirt, black slacks.

Black music folders are required. Standard choral folders are not required, but may be ordered at the beginning of the season.


  • Avoid perfumes, cologne, scented hairspray, or similar items, since other singers may be allergic to them and heat may amplify fragrances.
  • Always be prepared to sing at the pre-arranged call time, and be attentive to the director.
  • Upon entering and exiting the stage, always carry music in the hand away from the audience.
  • After entering the stage, keep your music at your side until the Director gives the signal for the choir to raise its folders.
  • Stand still during concerts, with good singing posture and knees unlocked.
  • Avoid distracting the audience during a performance: do not speak to other singers; do not hum a pitch before singing; do not unwrap throat lozenges. Minimize movement and appear engaged.
  • Do not turn pages during solos. Mark ahead of time where your next entrance is (e.g., with a paperclip) and know the cues to your entrance so that you don’t need to follow along.
  • Do not put your music down during solos, between movements of a piece, or between pieces (unless instructed by the director).
  • After finishing the last piece before an intermission or the last piece of the concert, put your music down as soon as the audience starts clapping.
  • Do not applaud for other performers.
  • Don’t bow, unless you are being acknowledged for a solo. Just beam at the audience.


A great deal of work goes into a concert, and all choir members are expected to assist in at least one of the following tasks at each concert:

  • Help the stage manager prepare the performance space by arriving early and assisting with moving and arranging items. After the concert, help return the performance space to its original configuration and lock up.
  • Identify locations for child care, valuables storage, and rest rooms; give this information to other performers.
  • Get parking information for the venue; give this information to other performers well before the day of the concert.
  • Help with the reception by
    • buying food and drinks, (you will be reimbursed)
    • coming early to set up the tables before the concert,
    • ensuring that the pitchers and plates are kept full during the recep

Section leaders

Section leaders are chosen by the Artistic Director in order to better support the singers. Leaders have the following tasks:

  1. Rehearsal discipline
    1. Discouraging excessive chatter during rehearsal
    2. Speaking with members who frequently come late
    3. Making sure everyone in the section has music, folders, pencils, performance attire, etc.
  2. Musical discipline:
    1. Assisting members who have been absent to get marking they have missed
    2. Encouraging members in their section to get out of their music and look up
    3. Noting if an individual is consistently missing a note or other musical marking, isn’t watching, or isn’t blending
    4. Noting when many members of the section are making a mistake on a particular passage

Section members are encouraged to take their concerns in either category to their section leader.


SDG has a long history of dedicated, effective, and just plain wonderful volunteers. Singers make up the core of those who get things done, but fans, families, SDG alumni, and others also give their time and talents. Friends of SDG have been particularly helpful on the Board of directors and as ushers at concerts.

For ideas about how you can strengthen the group by contributing your skills, you can:

  • Read this handbook—many volunteering tasks are listed throughout (see concert tasks, rehearsal snacks, rehearsal setup, all of which each singer is expected to help with). Others include helping with mailings, photography, web site assistance, database management, printing, and ticket handling
  • Ask the volunteer coordinator how you can help—if you have a specific interest, say so!
  • Respond when choir members announce an upcoming task—sign up!
  • Volunteer for the Board of Directors—in addition to managing choir finances, Board members help identify and address tasks that need to be done to keep SDG solvent, energized and musically excellent.


  • Lord Nelson Mass (N.B. this isn’t the same edition we’ll be using in rehearsal)
  • Vater unser (not available yet)

Rehearsal Aids