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Frequently Asked Questions

1.  Do I need to audition to join a group?

No. Auditions are not required for any of our ensembles. However, the Ransom Street Big Band is only available by invitation of the Director in order to ensure appropriate instrumentation.

2.  How do I know which group to join?

Speak with the Director about your background and together you will decide on the most appropriate ensemble. Click here to view list of ensembles.

3.  How good do I have to be to join an ensemble?

We have ensembles for all skill levels: beginners, intermediate, and advanced. Many of our beginning members have never played an instrument or want to learn to play a new instrument. Some have not played an instrument since their school days while others have been playing for many years.

4.  Are there tryouts for a chair within a section?

No. Members declare what part they would like to play on their registration form. If you feel you could handle, say, second trumpet, then every effort will be made to give you that part.

5.  Do I need to provide my own instrument and music stand?

Yes. Members have to provide their own instruments and stands with some exceptions (notably percussion instruments).

6.  How much does it cost to join?

There is a charge for each ensemble you join and several options for payment. You can find our fee schedule by clicking here.

7.  Where do you rehearse?

We rehearse at Plymouth United Church of Christ, 4010 Kalamazoo Ave. SE Grand Rapids, MI 49508.

8.  Do I have to buy my own music?

No. All music is the property of WMNHME and is distributed to members for use during each semester.

9.  How long are rehearsals?

The length of rehearsals varies depending upon the ensemble. Generally rehearsals last from one and a half to two hours, including a break.

10.  Are the rehearsals fun?

Yes! Although we practice seriously, our Director makes the rehearsals enjoyable and educational.  

11.  Who is the Director?

Nancy Summers is the Music Director. She has a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from The University of Michigan and over three decades of experience playing oboe in orchestras in Michigan and St. Louis (MO). She also performs chamber music as a soloist. She has directed WMNHME since 2001 and has directed at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp and New Horizons International Music Association camps at Interlochen (MI), Chautauqua (NY), Georgia and Maine.

12.  Can I play for part of the year?


13.  Do you rehearse and perform all year long?

No. Our season runs from approximately Labor Day until Memorial Day.

14.  Where and how often do you give performances?

We generally give two or three free public concerts each year. We also offer a number of outreach performances at retirement communities, nursing homes, and elementary schools in the area. Participation in outreach performances is optional. 

15.  What if I’ve never played an instrument before?

Nancy’s Novices, A Beginning Band would be the perfect place for you to begin. You could then move on to another group when you feel ready to do so.

16.  How can I join?

Simply fill out the form here. We will then contact you with more information. We would love to have you consider joining us so that you can experience the lifelong benefits of making music.

      Music for Life!


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