Bylaw-based Policies

As of May 6, 2002

The following policies, based on the Dessoff Bylaws, have been adopted by the Dessoff Board of Directors. Some of these policies are called for in the Bylaws themselves; some reflect long-standing practice; still others have arisen from reflection on the experience of seasons past.

The setting of policies by the Board represents an attempt to meet three goals:
Clarify the usual procedures of Dessoff for all concerned.
Inform all Singing Members of their rights and responsibilities in Dessoff.
Allow the Board to clarify its own responsibilities under the Charter and Bylaws.

Any policies adopted by the Board can of course be changed by the Board. Comments from Singing Members on altering present policies or adopting new ones are always welcome.


The usual manner of admission to Singing Membership in The Dessoff Choirs is through a private audition conducted by the Music Director. The Music Director alone decides who is admitted to Singing Membership, and so informs the Membership Chairperson, in accord with the Bylaws of Dessoff and the Policies of the Board.
May, 1993

To maintain the high standards of Dessoff performance, re-auditions for all current Singing Members are held annually.
May, 2002


The usual term of Membership is for one full season.
May, 1993

New Singing Members may be admitted to Dessoff by audition during the course of the season, at the discretion of the Music Director, provided that the new Member intends to continue that status for the subsequent full season. Membership dues and fees for such new Singing Members will be pro-rated by the Treasurer of Dessoff.

Professional Singers hired to augment Dessoff shall be hired at the discretion of the Music Director according to terms and at fees approved by the Executive Committee or full Board. Any contracts shall be signed by an Officer of Dessoff.

Other Individual Singers may be invited to join Dessoff for one or more concerts by the Music Director for special reasons only, in consultation with the President and Executive Committee of Dessoff. Dues and fees will be set by the Treasurer of Dessoff. A listing of such Singers shall be maintained by the Membership Chairperson. Such Singers shall have no Membership rights in Dessoff.

For Dessoff appearances as The Dessoff Symphonic Choir, additional Singers from a list approved by the Music Director and maintained by the Membership Chairperson are invited to participate. Such Singers have no voting rights in Dessoff.
May, 1993; final section amended May, 2000

A Singing Member may make a written request for a leave of absence because of some life event or unavoidable conflict. A leave is granted only with the approval of the Music Director and the President of Dessoff. It may not extend for an entire season. Such status should be recorded in the Membership List by the Membership chairperson. At the conclusion of the Leave, a Member may return to active status. However, if the requested Leave is not granted, or if the inactive status lasts for an entire season or more, a new audition is mandatory.
May, 2000

Chamber Choir members are chosen by the Music Director from among the Singing Membership. Any Singing Member may request to be considered for placement.
May, 2002

The Dessoff Membership List is maintained and updated under the direction of the Membership Chairperson, with the assistance of the Manager. It should include all current names and addresses of all Singing Members both active and inactive. A current list should be supplied to all Members as often as necessary; an updated list should be available on public display. A separate list of former Singing Members and of additional Singers shall also be maintained.
May, 1993

The Dessoff Mailing List shall be maintained and updated by the Manager, and shall be used only for the purposes of Dessoff. Any other use of all or of a portion of this list must be authorized by the Board.
May, 1993

Dues and fees for Dessoff are regulated by the Board. The level of annual dues is set by the Board before each Season. Annual dues are to be paid in full each September. Other payment plans must be personally arranged with the Treasurer during the month of September.
May, 1993

Pro-rated dues for a partial season for New and for Inactive Singing Members, as well as for additional Singers, are set and regulated by the Treasurer.
May, 1993

A preliminary music deposit, the amount of which is made known to all Singing Members, is to be paid in full each September, at the same time as the annual Membership dues. Other payment plans must be personally arranged with the Treasurer during the month of September. Later in the season, when all music costs are known, additional amounts may need to be assessed; full payment of these additional amounts is due prior to the last regular concert of the season.
May, 2002

The Board has the overall responsibility to see that such dues and fees are paid.
May, 1993

Singing Members are expected to attend all regularly scheduled rehearsals, and to be in place and ready to sing at the scheduled time. Whenever this is not possible, prior notice should either be given to the Section Leader or called into the Dessoff answering machine. If Singing Members miss three of more rehearsals for any particular concert, the Music Director shall hear them in order to judge if they are adequately prepared.
May, 2002

The usual Dessoff season consists of three Dessoff-produced concerts, with one or more performance per program. A Singing Member of Dessoff is expected to fully participate in these concerts.

Any other Dessoff performances, whether major concerts or special events, must be approved by and contracted for by the Board, with the full knowledge and consent of the Music Director, and-during the concert season-after the opinion of the Membership has been sought. A major determinant of such approval will be the assessment of the Music Director that sufficient numbers of Dessoff Members are willing and available to ensure that the quality of the ensemble will uphold its usual standards.

Once the Board of Directors has approved such a performance, all Singing Members are expected to participate both in rehearsals and in the concert. Potential conflicts are to be handled in the same manner as conflicts with Dessoff-produced concerts, with the Membership Chairperson and the President.
May, 2000

Former Singing Members who have left of their own accord may apply for readmission through new audition at any of the usual times. Anyone whose Membership has been terminated by the Music Director may apply for readmission through new audition only at the discretion of the Music Director. Anyone whose Membership has been terminated by the President may apply for readmission through new audition with the permission of the President, after consultation with the Board and with the Music Director.
May, 1993

The major responsibility for concert ticket sales rests on the Singing Members of Dessoff. While there is no requirement to sell a certain number of tickets, the Ticket Chairperson distributes tickets for each regularly scheduled Dessoff performance to each Singing Member. Any tickets not returned to the Ticket Chairperson prior to the Dress Rehearsal will be considered sold and the individual Member will be responsible for those tickets.
May, 1993; amended May, 2000.

The Membership Chairperson, in cooperation with the Manager, is responsible for all written notifications of admission to, re-audition for and termination of Singing Membership.

The Section Leaders, in cooperation with the Membership Chairperson and the Manager, are responsible for written reminders of absences from rehearsal.

The Music Librarian is responsible for the public posting of music fees for each concert.

The Treasurer is responsible for all written reminders, whether posted or private, of all dues and fees owed by Singing Members.
May, 1993


The Membership Committee assists the Operations Staff of Dessoff in all matters pertaining to: Dessoff membership lists, including The Dessoff Symphonic Choir; records of attendance at rehearsals and concerts; auditions of New Members; re-auditions; maintenance and publication of current Membership lists; notification of admission to Membership, of results of re-auditions, of inactive status and of termination of Membership.

The Membership Committee shall consist of a Chairperson appointed by the President with the consent of the Board, the four Section Leaders appointed by the Chairperson and other Singing Members invited and appointed by the Chairperson. The duties of Section Leaders are as specified by the Board.
May, 1993; amended May, 2000

There shall be four Section Leaders at all times, one from each voice section of Dessoff. Section Leaders are appointed by the Chairperson of the Membership Committee after consultation with the Music Director and serve as Members of that Committee. They are appointed for a full season, or for the remainder of a season is for any reason the previous Section Leader resigns this responsibility.

The duties of Section Leaders, which may be delegated within the Section, include:
Musical duties assigned by the Music Director, such as marking of master scores for reference, assistance with “divisi,” etc.
Attendance: keeping accurate records of attendance at rehearsals and concerts.
Information: keeping the Music Director, the Membership Chairperson and the Manager informed concerning attendance, according to procedures mutually arranged.
Notification: informing Members of their recorded absence(s) and of music rehearsed and to be rehearsed, in the manner determined by the Membership Committee.
Assistance: being of help to the Treasurer, the Music Librarian and the Ticket Chairpersons, as requested and as time allows.
Committee involvement: working together with the Chairperson of the Membership Committee.
Arrangement for a substitute within the Section, whenever unavailable in person.
May, 1993; amended May, 2000


The Secretary of Dessoff shall see to it that accurate and updated copies of the By-Laws and of the Policies of Dessoff are always available to the Officers, Board Members, Music Director and Manager. In addition, the Secretary shall see to it that a reference copy of these same documents is always readily available to Singing Members.
May, 2000

Once the minutes of a particular Board meeting have been approved by the Board, the Secretary will provide to the Dessoff webmaster a summary of these minutes-including all issues decided by formal vote-for posting on that section of the Dessoff website available only to Singing Members. The Secretary shall provide a full copy of the approved minutes to any Singing Member upon request.
May, 2002

SECTIONS 4.01, 6.02, 8.02

The Manager of The Dessoff Choirs shall be responsible for:
Performance Site Management;
Rehearsal Site and Office Management;
Music Director and Artist Services Liaison;
Singing Members Liason;
Marketing and Publicity Administration.
May, 2002

The Board of Directors shall review annually all Dessoff Policies, especially those pertaining to Job Descriptions of contracted positions and to Finance, at a Board meeting each Spring to be designated on the annual Dessoff calendar.


The aggregate draw-down of funds from the Dessoff Endowment for operating expenses during each fiscal year shall not exceed five per cent of the aggregate value of that Endowment, calculated as the average value at the close of the third quarter of the prior three fiscal years.

All draw-downs of funds from the Dessoff Endowment must be first authorized by the Board, or by the Executive Committee subject to ratification by the Board.
May, 1993; later amended (n.d.)

Contracts for all Dessoff concerts, including fees payable for hall rental, soloists and instrumentalists, and fees receivable for all musical services of Dessoff, are the responsibility of the Board and must be signed by the Dessoff President and Manager.
May, 1993