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ChoralNet: Code of Conduct for Singers on Tour

Dear List,
As there was in fact enough interest in my request for a code of conduct
for touring choirs, here is the compilation!
Thanks to everyone for their valuable help in this matter! The responses
were most interesting, and very helpful!


John Brough. B.Mus, ARCT, ARCCO
University of Alberta
Masters of Music program (Choral Conducting)
Edmonton, Alberta. Canada.


Original Inquiry:

Dear Colleagues,
I am currently in the final stages of planning an extensive tour to
Ireland with a University choir from Canada. (about 36 people all
averaging in age around 25). Anyhow, as the tour manager, I have been
asked to put together some sort of "code of conduct" for the tour,
regarding curfews, behavior during traveling (busses, planes etc.),
behavior during concerts, and of course, after concerts. I was wondering
if there was anyone on the list who has had experience in this field. I
would be most grateful if anyone has an effective code of conduct already
prepared and used on previous tours that I could edit accordingly to our
Please respond to me privately, and if there is interest, I will post a


I can't help with a written code, tho' I make it VERY clear that they
are representing the unviersity, not themselves, in evreything they
do, and that they WILL behave or they will be sent home at their own
expense (not that I've ever done that!). That means "decent" dress at
all times (clean, neat, no holes, not necessarily fancy), no loud
noise in hotels after a reasonable hour (this is crucial, as they
sometimes want to play their boomboxes late!), no drinking the day of
a concert and only moderate drinking after - drunkenness will not be
tolerated. The firmer I've been, the more they've actually enjoyed

David Griggs-Janower
Albany Pro Musica



I do indeed have experience of such, although in a different context which
would not be especially helpful to you.

However, I must emphasize one thing. Decide in advance whether these are
unbreakable "rules" or "expectations." Will a tour member be punished for
lapses? How? By whom? Having tour members sign a conduct contract which
spells out expectations and sanctions is a Very Good Idea. And when it
comes right down to it, the person in charge has to be willing to carry

Yes, I've had some experience!!! And I've lost some good performers. For
sufficient reasons.


John & Susie Howell
Virginia Tech Department of Music



Hi! Here are the guidelines I use for our tours. I print up a "tourbook"
for each to have and go over the contents. The contents include: basic
idea of the tour; itinerary; concert program; job assignments (every
member has a job that gets everything done, from risers to programs,
etc.); behaviour guidelines; roster; room assignments; "words of wisdom";
and puzzles (name searches, etc. using members names). They are
responsible to know all the info and it save a lot of grief. It's worked
pretty well and I've refined them over the years. We're a Christian
liberal arts college, so some of the statements are slanted that
direction. However, I used very similar language when I was teaching in
public institutions. I wish you the best.

David Anderson
Choral Music
Seattle Pacific University


We represent a medium by which the Glory of God can be communicated. Our
behaviors on a tour will be observed by others which will reflect upon the
image of God we project, the image of SPU, and the image of ourselves.

1. Behavior. Student behavior is to reflect the SPU guidelines,
conforming to standards and rules of the University.

2. Do NOT be noisy on the bus or vans! Keep a very low level of talking
while traveling. DO NOT SING ON THE BUS! Dont try to be heard over the
road noise, it will destroy your voice and our performances!

3. Your Voice Take care of your voice- weve a lot of singing to do so
dont be stupid. Nuff said.

4. Be Punctual! The precise timing of the tour is important. The
schedule depends on everyone being at the right place at the right time.
All times given mean exactly what they say, so be early. If you are left
behind because you are late, you are responsible to secure transportation
to the next event on your own. Taxis are expensive! (note: I have left
students before!) Please report to your attendance taker whenever we

5. Dress. Attire, while travelling, should be neat and clean. Clothes
worn in hosts homes need not be dressy, but should be presentable. Use
your good judgement. You may ask your hosts if it is possible to wash
your concert dress.

6. Job Assignments. Everyone has an assigned job. Please do your own
job (unless instructed otherwise) to assure all is done properly and
efficiently. If you do anyone elses job, make sure that person knows it.
Any questions about jobs, assignments, etc. should be referred to a crew
chief. Change from concert dress if possible before any heavy work after
a concert, if possible. TRY NOT TO MOVE EQUIPMENT IN CONCERT DRESS! Keep
em neat and clean!

7. Free Time. On occasions where there is free time, do not leave tour
party without permission- including just going over to the store to get a
drink etc. At times when leaving the tour party is permissible, check out
your absence with either an attendance person, an assistant director, or
Mr. Anderson. Be sure to return when you are supposed to and dont make
anyone go look for you. Always go places in groups of 2 or more, dont go
off by yourself. Use your intelligence when choosing recreation! BE

8. Attitude. Consider yourself representative of our Faith and the
Institution. Reflect the fruits of the Spirit in all you do and in all
your interactions with peers, school personnel and students, church staff
and members.

9. Your Belongings. Keep track of your own belongings, especially your
concert dress. Take care not to leave something behind like your tie,
etc. If you loose something, look for it first and check with Lost and
Found person.

10. Everyone will always ride on the bus.

11. Be courteous to the bus drivers. Thank them often.

12. DONT BE A JERK!!!!

13. No whining, moaning, or complaining. I am not your mother and this
is not a vacation!


1. Be quiet and respectful when in a church, remember you are in the
Take off your hats in sanctuary.
Don't stand on pews, podiums, no climbing up walls.
Don't play with nick-nacks, holy water, other church furnishings.

2. No food or water in sanctuary.

3. Clean up after yourself (wherever you are- bathroom, changing room,

4. Don't go in areas that say "EMPLOYEES ONLY"

5. Don't use church notecards to pass notes during service. Pay

6. Be careful which dressing room you are entering, knock first and wait
for response!

7. Be respectful of classes (school or church) going on while were there.
Dont disturb them.


The SPU Concert Choir is a select performing group and a professional
performing attitude is expected of all members toward every performance,
in any setting. Behaviors should reflect that attitude.

1. Be Punctual for every call time. Be ready to go at the right time and
place. Avoid over primping yourself and causing everything to get fouled
up on your account.

2. If for any reason you are unable to perform, you must tell an
assistant director or Mr. Anderson ASAP!

3. No noise on stage or backstage.

4. No gum chewing onstage or whenever rehearsing.

5. Carry folder in arm away from audience. Raise and open them on cue.

6. Watch out for those little things like scratching your nose (or
something else!), itching, adjusting, fixing hair, etc.

7. Keep hair styles neat and out of your face. Men- be clean shaven for
every performance.

8. Respect each other and facilitate. Respect other performers during
shared performances. Be respectful and attentive during church services.
During song introductions, keep alert and be ready- listen.

9. Every concert is important. Remember that each time we sing, it is
the first time a particular audience has heard our program. Each concert
should be as if it were the one and only. Stand tall, be excited,
involved, intense, and SMILE! BE AN ARTIST!


1. As quickly as possible, change from concert dress, if instructed to do
so. DO NOT change if not instructed to.

2. Fulfill your job responsibility as quickly and effectively as

3. After jobs are completed, gather all belongings and go to designated
meeting place for instructions, housing assignments and instructions for
the next morning, etc. When housing assignments are being made, PLEASE be
quiet and attentive! This process is tedious and will be difficult if you
are not listening or distracting others.


HOME STAYS - things to remember

1. You are a representative of this institution. Do so in a positive

2. Please be respectful and courteous during home stays. We are grateful
for the hospitality shown and our behavior and attitudes must reflect
this. Be responsive when your hosts want to visit with you, it is part of
why they have opened their home to you- be prepared to share yourself and
your talents. However, dont be afraid to request to retire when you
really need to.

3. Dont expect anything- theyre doing this for free.

4. Clothes worn in hosts homes need not be dressy, but should be
presentable. Use your good judgement. You may ask your hosts if it is
possible to wash your concert dress.

5. Make your bed and leave your room as or better than you found it.

6. NEVER FORGET TO LEAVE A THANK-YOU NOTE!!!!!! (get one from Thank-You
Note crew)

MOTEL - things to remember

1. Behavior. Student behavior is to reflect the SPU guidelines,
conforming to standards and rules of the University. Respect the needs of
others, dont be selfish.

2. Do NOT be noisy! Respect others, both in your room and other people
paying money to sleep there.

3. Be in your own room at specified times and respect lights out. Honor
your commitment to excellence- this requires you to have adequate rest.
Violators will be fined.

OTHERS (church facilities, gyms, etc.)

1. Again, respect each other and what were doing.

2. Respect the facilities and take care of it. Leave it neat and whole.

3. Be quick and efficient in getting set up for the night, getting ready
in the morning, and cleaning up.


hi john,
i tour with high school choirs, but here is ours.
this year we are doing NYC, last year great britain, next year germany.
hope it helps.

greg cleveland
walled lake western high school
walled lake, michigan usa

Choir Guidlines and Tour Rules:
While on our tour you are responsible to your directors, Mr. Cleveland and
Mrs. Klammer, and to your chaperones 24 hours a day, from departure until
Remain in a group of at least THREE people at all times!
Check-in times must be strictly observed. This is to ensure the safety of
You are expected to participate in ALL scheduled activities. The only
exceptions are death or extreme illness. Promptness to all activities is a

A nightly curfew will be announced for the evening and enforced by
chaperones and our own night time security guards. Students are not
permitted to leave their rooms for any reason once the nightly room check
been made by your chaperone. The definition of curfew means in your own
assigned room with the door locked. "Quiet hours" take into consideration
the presence of other hotel guests.
Girls are not allowed in boys rooms and boys are not allowed in girls
Exceptions are for meetings with your Chaperone or Director.
Never go out on your own, night or day. Always travel in groups of THREE
more. During a period of free time chaperones must be notified as to your
destination and expected time of your return. After you have returned, you

MUST check back in with your chaperone.
You may not ride in any privately owned vehicles. (cars, etc...)
You are not allowed to change rooms or buses.
Students must pay for any room service, phone calls or 'hotel souvenirs'
before the group is permitted to check out on Sunday morning. Your
will check you out of your room.
Maid service is expected to come in and change towels and make beds. They
will not do this if your room is overly messy. If your room gets
all of the roommates will pay for the damages.
You must be considerate and respectful of the rights of other hotel guests.

Unnecessary loud noises, running in the hallways, yelling out windows,
guns, fireworks, water balloons, etc... are STRICTLY FORBIDDEN!!! If you
not sure of something, don't do it!!!! Noisy times tend to be when groups
are returning to rooms together after an activity. (Late at night after a
Broadway Show…) Please be respectful of other hotel guests. If your room
number is on the NIGHT REPORT from the Security Guards, please plan on
up some of your FREE TIME the next day.
Students are expected to take care of their own personal belongings,
tape players and money! We will not be held responsible. Neither will the

hotel management. The safest place to keep money is with you at all times.

It is suggested that you use a personal money belt.
This should already be understood, but here's a reminder. Absolutely no
illegal substances! While you are on this trip, the WLW Student Conduct
is in effect 24-hours a day. Any abuse will result in you being sent home
the expense of your parents. The following week you will then receive the
full disciplinary procedures as though you had been at Walled Lake Western
High School. It will also jeopardize any future WLW Choir trips and your
future in the WLW Choir Program. We should have more pride in our selves
in our choir to let this kind of thing happen!
If you choose not to follow the tour rules #1 - 13, then things like
privileges and free time will be taken away from you. If you choose not to

follow #14, you are choosing to send yourself home and to give up a normal,

satisfying life as you know it now!! Make the right choice!


The motor coach is our home for 5 days. We will be in closer company
than we usually keep at school. Help our 'home on wheels' to stay clean
pleasant for everyone. Think of it this advantage of being on
bus for long periods is to get to know each person better. You can do this

by making it a point to sit with different people at different times. Feel

free to even talk to the Chaperones...they came on this trip because they
WANTED to travel to NYC with us!!
Here are a few rules which should help everybody to enjoy the close
of a bus a little better.
For the first time on a choir trip we will have ASSIGNED SEATS on each of
four buses. You are to be seated in that seat only during the bus check in

time or when asked by your BUS CAPTAIN. After the bus count is complete,
students may exchange seats and sit with others. In fact, we encourage you

to get-to-know others on your bus. You may change seats, but you may not
change buses during the trip.
Whenever we make a stop, please stay in your seats until your bus captain
calls to let everyone off. This will really save a lot of confusion!
Only 'walkman' type stereos with headphones are allowed on the tour. If
really want to 'share' your music with someone else bring along two sets of

headphones. Sorry, but you must be entirely responsible for your CD's &
walkman gear.
Please don't bring anything on the bus that will cause a messy situation.
Yes, you will have to clean up your mess, but it also makes bus-living
uncomfortable for others.
Keep your garbage in the plastic sacks provided.
Even though choirs are supposed to sing, we must limit our singing on the
to New York so that no one will lose their voice. Sorry, I know it's fun
sing on buses, but it's so easy to lose your voice. Remember one of our
purposes is to sing the best that we can while on tour. After we are done
with our festival performance we can sing wherever (well, almost). Of
course, no loud shouting.
Be polite and show good manners. Yelling, swearing, rude gestures,
shoving or teasing other bus riders is not appropriate and not allowed.
Keep the upper luggage racks well organized.
Take any purses, carry-ons or valuables with you when you are leaving the
bus. Remember, you are responsible for whatever you bring at all times.
are not!
The primary responsibility of our bus drivers is to transport us safely.
Let's remember to respect and let them know how we appreciate their help.
Respect property. Writing on or damaging the bus in any way costs money
can be a safety hazard. Violators will pay for repair costs.
Using the back-of-the-bus restroom can be hazardous to the entire welfare
the bus. Please use in emergency occasions only.
For safety reasons, all students must remain seated and isles clear of your

Keep your hands, feet, objects and other body parts to yourself and in the
bus. We 'are' in high school now!!
No one is to leave the bus when it stops unless the bus driver or Bus
gives permission. Please remain seated until asked to get off the bus.
for any new instructions or changes of plans and/or a time to return.
You may bring videos on the trip to watch on your bus. Please write your
name on the video. We are not responsible for the tapes. A reminder that
the videos we watch while on the bus will range from G to PG13. More
importantly, we are not just concerned with the rating, but instead with
language and the content of the video. Of course you may watch anything
like at home, but not anything you like on a WLW school- sponsored choir
Each bus will have a BUS CAPTAIN. They are in charge of making the
while on the road. They will be in contact with Mr. Cleveland or Mrs.
Klammer at all times via radio. What they say, including the "editing" of
video choice goes. Thanks for your understanding in these matters.


John: I happened to locate my current "policy" in one of my files at
home, so I'll share it with you. You may use whatever portion(s) you feel
will fit your needs:


I. All students who are members of the performing groups are required to
make all trips for performing purposes. Exceptions will be granted
for emergencies, pre-arranged absences or termination from the groups
prior to the tour.

II. All groups are required to travel in transportation provided by the
University Music Department; to stay in assigned housing, and return to
the point of departure unless previously arranged with the director.

III. Students must remember that touring is a Music Department-University
affiliated event-not a personal tour-and must conduct themselves


I expect you to always perform at your highest level. Our audiences
deserve and expect our very best. This means, of course, adequate sleep
and a desire to represent (College or University name), our Music
Department, the Concert Choir and the Chamber Singers and YOURSELVES in a
positive manner. I want you to feel good about our performances, knowing
that you put forth your VERY BEST effort in ALL concerts. I look forward
to our tour and our time together, and hope that this tour will be
remembered as a musical, fun, and a pleasant and rewarding experience for
us all.

I also have prepared a sheet relating to appropriate attire on the bus or
plane; keeping a relaxed atmosphere on the bus which means not sharing CD
players or radios. All such sound equipment mus have an earplug. No
singing on the bus. I have about 10 items on the list-if you want them, I
can send them, as well. I might add that NEVER have I had a student
complain about our policy. I have however, gotten favorable comments,
telling me that they (choristers) are pleased to know the "parameters".

Hope you will be able to find something useful for your situation.



Charles E. Ruzicka, D.M.A.
Professor of Music
Director of Choral Music
Moorhead State University



One thing I would include is that students and people
of Europe and the British Isles are somewhat quieter
in public places than are Americans. In a crowd, it
is usually easy to spot people of any age who are from
America. I always explain this first and then ask
that my students try to respect the "space" of other
travelers, of locals and of anyone sharing a room,
bus, plane, restaurant, etc. Please don't be labeled
"obnoxious Americans". Have fun!


Barbara Wygal


Dear John,
At my university, any group which travels as an official university entity
must abide by the university's code of behavior as outlined in the student
handbook. If the travel involves lodging, the university's residence life
manual also applies except for the provisions regarding visitation hours.
Have you spoken to your university solicitor about liability insurance
coverage? There may also be a code of conduct expected by the insurance
carrier (which there was in our case).

I told my singers the above restrictions 'by title' and then told them that
I only had one rule: 'Be a credit to your mother and don't do anything that
would hurt her or disappoint her.' That always draws a laugh and rolled
eyes, but I've never had any trouble (other than one chronically late
student whom I couldn't just leave behind as the provost had specifically
instructed me that we would never leave someone‹ despite the fact that they
are adults and should have to be responsible for their own actions as well
as the consequences of their actions on the rest of the group!).

I suspect that with your particular average age, a list of do's and don'ts
may be chafing if given with a heavy hand, but giving out the rules and
then summing them up in a single behaviorial credo puts the responsibility
squarely on the singers.

Best wishes for your tour.

Patricia Romza, D.M.A.
Director of Choral Activities
St. Ambrose University

on May 6, 2003 10:00pm
These guidelines are right on. But what about adult professional choirs, secular or otherwise? With my group, I've pretty much let them make their own rules - but there have been problems. I'd like to hear from someone experienced with these kinds of groups.