Choral Society is not a choir or a club. We've all heard about High society, the café society and so on, which identify people collectively who share a common interest. There exists amongst singers a bond which identifies and unites them in the same way. So this web-site is for choral singers who are passionate about their singing. The site is organic and constantly being developed so please come back if you find something does not work or is incomplete. If you’d like to make a contribution, tell the Webmaster


This site is changing and developing as a result of your input and my self-indulgent additions! This web-site has become a Web Magazine for passionate choral singers. So from now on it will be known as the Choral society Web Mag. So what’s new?

What happens next year when there is a ‘10’ in the date?

Lots of of Handel this year because he died in 1759. Then a bit of Haydn because he died in 1809. It is curious how choirs often perform the same works in their year. The Armed Man was a favourite in 2008 followed by Brahms’ Requiem. A lot of Fauré Requiem and a bit of Cantique. Haydn’s Nelson and Paukenmesse have been ‘in’. Suddenly there is a lot of Puccini’s Messa di Gloria around. Curious that this happens. Are choirs giving audiences enough variety? What do you think? Any suggestions for 2010?


I have five copies for sale of Elgar’s The Kingdom at £9 each + postage.
Click on FEEDBACK in the next column if you are interested.

More news of your events.

What about singing Bulgarian?
Roehampton University Chorus is hosting several Bulgarian Music Workshops. Dessislava Stefanova pictured below will teach you. All welcome! More


Langlais Festival 2009: great success!


First there were the concerts by two soloists from Royal Danish Opera. Then the Choral Course with Malcolm Archer and 39 singers, which resulted in two extremely successful concerts. Additionally, the Scottish group Pigtown Fling, who gave three equally successful concerts.

We have the dates already for next year - 25th - 29th July and are planning something big for 2011, the 20th anniversary of the death of Jean Langlais. Full report here soon. from Brenda Dean, the organiser. More

Where do you find your
professional soloists?

I am approached sometimes by choirs, wishing to find a professional soloist. Similarly, professionals ask me about opportunities. Recently I have had contact with Jill Davies who knows about these things. Recently she was asked to take on singers Concert Directory International so she has a list of sopranos, mezzos, tenors, bass-baritones, counter-tenors to offer. See Davies Music. Jill works frequently with choral societies. One of ‘her’ forthcoming concerts is presented by the Totnes Early Music Society on Friday 27th November 7.30pm in The Great Hall, Dartington

Soloists is Julia Doyle (below) with James Weeks, harpsichord. More



Sing Carols in Bruges on Saturday 12th December. Day trip from Horsham.

The enterprising conductor Stephen Hope organises lots of singing events - workshops, performances and weekends away - click here for calendar. At the moment he has places for a day trip to Bruges on December 12th to sing carols to raise money for hospices, with suitable ‘jolly’ and visit to the Christmas markets. It's £37.50 for the day and there's a few spaces left. All enquiries to Stephen: stephen_hope@btinternet.com

Gee-up and sing at the races.

Newbury Racecourse is looking for a choir to sing during their Winter Events. Can you help? Contact Nicky Hares nicky.hares@newbury-racecourse.co.uk

Has anybody tried Warwick Audio? If you have then you’ll know that they offer concert recording, double audio CD with on-body printing, jewel case, colour insert and pay MCPS fees. All this FREE! What is your experience? See www.warwickaudio.com

One of many useful contributions from Brian Maskell is this. He has used NoteWorthy Scriptorium to prepare electronic versions of pieces for himself and fellow choristers are learning. He says it is a very versatile tool and fantastic value for money. He adds, “I am not on commission!”

Ever heard of MULAG?
Well, you have now!

In 2002, the Eastbourne and Hastings Music Libraries closed and their Music Librarians were made redundant or moved elsewhere. The Lewes Music Library was demolished and its music collection severely reduced.

So what happened to the music?

The music scores, reference books and recordings from all three libraries were either 'weeded out' and sold or put into storage.

These actions by East Sussex County Council have deprived local musicians, music lovers, teachers and students of an essential resource. MULAG was formed to campaign for long term Music Library provision. If you are concerned about this loss, please consider joining MULAG. You can read the the most recent Newsletter which I have by clicking here.

Go to www.mulag.org.uk. Register your interest who will keep you informed.

Two ‘High Note’ MULAG campaigners are Roy and Angela Goodall. They publish the excellent bi-monthly publication “Words and Music”, a valuable survey of the Performing Arts in Surrey, Sussex and Kent. I originally saw this about seven years ago in my local library (as in most) where it is distributed free. It has developed enormously so is worth ordering by post for £8 a year from R.S.C. Sparey, 14 Fox Close, Clapham, Bedford, MK41 6GF 01234 215953

A new aid from the USA to Learning the Notes. I don’t accept commercials or advertisements but if something interesting comes up for singers, I will include it in the editorial. SingleParts CDs are available to choral singers in the UK. I have had a look at this and think it is good. I personally continue to use midi files because I haven’t found anything why suits me better. Go to their web-site for more information and a demo. Tell me what you think by clicking FEEDBACK at the top of the next column.

Here’s something interesting; a site called Helping You Harmonise. It is all about Liz Garnett and what she as a professional musician, can offer singers. In her own words “Helping You Harmonise offers ideas to help choral directors and singers in vocal ensembles to rehearse and perform more effectively.” We now have reciprocal links because we both feel that we can benefit one another. Take a look. It’s an interesting site. www.helpingyouharmonise.com

A new contributor is the Buckland & Betchworth Choral Society. I have known of them for quite a long time but they have just decided to enter the limelight with a new web-site bbcs.org.uk. This should be up and running over the next few days but in the meantime you can read details sent to me by Chris (a lady Chris) Harris. more

“The Choral Society” a novel by Prue Leith to be published in 2009. She’s not just a foodie! This is about relationships in a choir. Read the STEAMY SYNOPSIS!.


Web-masters of contributing sites, please make the link to this site simply
Don’t point to specific files because their location might change!

I wish you all a Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year. Many thanks to Maura Fanshawe, Vice-Chairman of Mayfield Choir who sent this picture for all to enjoy.


Something to add to this site?
If you click here you can fill in a form to send to Johann Sebesten Bark, the Webmaster. Or if you would like some midi files sent to you, then click here.

Would you like the opportunity to discus ‘things’ on this site? For example, what do you think about auditioning? A board can be arranged but will it be worth all the work?

Want to know what other choirs are doing in 2010? Conflicting dates are always a worry when deciding when to hold your concerts. Here is a new facility to check what is on when you might be considering a date. See what other choirs are doing, add your own, enter your events. This does not replace the New Events pages which are primarily for your retail customers to see. Either navigate from the Calendar & Choirs drop-down button below Useful Links or go there now.

They’re not just pretty faces:
they can sing too!

A new contributor is Dorking Camerata. As part of the Mole Valley Arts Alive Festival, they gave a concert at St. Martin’s Church, Dorking on 17th October. Report soon.

Know the name Gareth Malone?

If you do, it is because you have been following his choral programmes on BBC TV. If you don’t, you will have missed out on how he’s made singing Cool to reluctant young men. You’ve also missed out on his creation of the South Oxhey Community Choir and the South Oxhey Youth Choir. More soon. southoxheychoirs.org

Bachfest '09 25th October to 20th November. Some wonderful events more

How far is far?. So far, New Orleans

One of the singers of Symphony Chorus of New Orleans, named Ginger, asked for some help on Bernstein’ Chichester Psalms. I was delighted to answer her and in passing, I said I lived about 60 miles from Chichester. She replied,
“WHAT??!!!! In England??!! Ohmygawd! Oh well I shouldn't be surprised; I just thought that this was a web site from the American Chorus Society! Great!”

The site is worth a visit. You can always learn something from other choirs.

Sing Hallelujah
is a nationwide project run by the BBC to encourage people across the UK to find their voices and discover the joy of singing.

The BEEB wants to get thousands of people to sing Handel's famous Hallelujah Chorus as part of a nationwide celebration of one of the most popular choral pieces in the world.

The BBC also invites you to record your performance of the Hallelujah Chorus in any style and upload your recording to the sing web-site to reach an even wider audience.
You’ll find it all at www.bbc.co.uk/sing/

Singing Season in full swing.
What are you doing about recruitment? Don’t wait until next year.

Capriol Chamber Choir, directed by Graham Dinnage, based near Westerham in Kent is seeking experienced singers to boost their numbers in January 2010 for a recording of new arrangements of carols for brass quintet and choir + soloists with the renowned brass group Mardi Brass. Capriol has given recitals for mainstream music societies such as the RVW Society. Mardi Brass has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe and has appeared on BBC TV and radio. Enquiries to the choir secretary,
Vivienne Cox or ‘phone 01732 866372.

Dorking Choral Society would like more men. Their next concert on Sunday 13th
is Christmas Celebration. Want to sing? Contact Ges Ray, Chairman

Cantamus Reigate’s conductor Nick Landauer, has found lots of tenor so don’t miss their concert on Saturday 28th November. More

City Chorus (aka National Westminster City Chorus) kicks off the Christmas season with an evening of swinging Yuletide music, including Rockin' around the Christmas tree, Let it snow, Winter wonderland, Ding dong merrily, Go tell it on the mountain, and the Louis Armstrong number that gives our concert its title: Cool Yule.

The eighty voices of City Chorus will be accompanied by Joanna Forbes and the L'Estranges in the Night quartet. Joanna is a former musical director, and Alexander L'Estrange a former bassist/arranger, for the Swingle Singers.

Caroline Weiner, their Publicity Manager sent me full details more.

◊ Ian Maple, Chairman of Oxted & Limpsfield Choral Society tells me that singing is good for you. So forget the Health Farm, lipo-suction and Botox: tune yourself up by contacting Debbie Wren, their Membership Secretary, 01892 822352. Next is their December Christmas Concert which includes Mozart’s Te Deum and Chilcot Jubilate

Scores needed of Howard Goodall's Love Divine. Can you help, please?

Nick Landauer, Conductor of Cantamus Reigate, says he could manage with what he has

Oxted & Limpsfield Music Society has some very good music coming up. Looksee here.

Incitement to free-lovemaking in Dorking on 4th July

“How much passion and theatre can a choir put into singing 'Kyrie, Kyrie'? Not a lot. So it must have been refreshing for the Dorking Choral Society under their conductor Justin Doyle...“ Read Rupert Street’s report here

On Sunday 26th July, Over 40 members of the Dorking Choral Society performed Zimbe! at the Ryedale Music Festival. This is a collection of African songs which was commissioned by DCS from composer Alexander L'Estrange.


The choir was joined by over 50 singers who took part in a workshop earlier in the day. In the first part of the concert, Dorking Choral Society sang a collection of African songs, many written by their conductor Justin Doyle. Justin spent time teaching in Kenya where he collected 75 recordings of songs which are an intuitive part of daily life. He said the Kenyan’s never sing flat! The concert was a sell-out. The choir’s faithful accompanist Gavin Roberts, had to rush to catch a train to Ghent where he was giving an organ recital the next day! The composer Alexander L'Estrange also took part in the performance where he played double-bass with his accompanying Jazz group.

Requiem for Jan Palach.
This Requiem, written in July, 2008, was first performed in Luxembourg and is now recorded on CD. Scores are available from the website www.bullockmusic.info.
Read about the music and Jan Palach here

“You can sing ...
But can you Swing?”


This was the title of the Choral Workshop sponsored by East Surrey College on Saturday 11th July. It was conducted by Alexander L’Estrange writer of Zimbe! other African and Gospel music. Now this was really something special and a new adventure for choral ‘traditional’ singers. You can buy his score but why not ask him to run a Workshop with your choir? He also does similarly for schools.
See his web-site here. Try it!

Liturgical Music Courses. In Exeter, Malvern and Wells. Not heard from them but I should think they’ll be doing similarly in 2010. web-site.

Mayfield Choir invites sops and tenors to the two pint test?

A touch of unintended humour from Eric Scott, Publicity Manager, in his call for new singers. “They are very friendly occasions with lots of laughs! Members are encouraged to go to the pub afterwards. Then if it appeals, you would be invited to attend a short but relatively easy audition.” Two pints and you’re in? More. The conductor, Graham Caldbeck makes rehearsals fun as well as hard work. www.mayfieldchoir.co.uk


Marcus Farnsworth singing at the Mayfield Choir concert on 1st November 2009. ead the review here.

Their next concert is a Charity Concert on Saturday 5th December 7.30pm at St. Dunstan’s Church, Mayfield.
Mayfield Festival Choir conductor: Graham Caldbeck

St. Leonards-Mayfield Schola Cantorum.
conductor: Peter Collins

Skippers Hill Manor Prep. School Senior Choir, conductor: Dorothy Bridger

Melanie Scott soprano
Jane Money alto
Philip Snowdon baritone
Andrew Benians organ

The interesting programme includes Bach, Rutter, Britten, Holst, Handel with some audience participation.

If you want to know more, contact Robin Howden 01825 830277 e-mail: robinhowden@aol.com


Here’s a new choir - well, nearly new.

The UCS Centenary Choir was formed as a direct result of University College School’s centenary celebrations in 2008. (Zingy web-site.)The singers had such a good time that they just kept going! There are about 100 members at present and the only requirement for joining is an ability to sing in tune, hold a part, and most of all, be enthusiastic. Membership is open to all SATB singers. You don’t have to be a pupil, parent or anything like that. They meet at the school in Frognal, Hampstead, North London. Next concert is Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. more

Concert at St. Margaret the Queen, Buxted Park. Saturday 10th October

Lev Parikian with chorus and orchestra.
See more pics here

The Buxted Event has now run for 15 years. The 2009 concert was a sell out. This was a Voices for Hospices event and over £4,000 was raised for the St. Peter & St. James Hospice, Sussex Reports in the Courier of October 30th p.20 and Sussex Express of November 6th p.26.

Next year’s date is Saturday October 9th with a workshop day on Saturday October 2nd – church, conductor and organist are booked so please put it in your diaries and tell your friends. Tell David Waddington if you’d like to take part. dwaddington@talktalk.net

By request this link is left at the request of singers who want to Learn Brahms’ Requiem - click here

This item about Robin Milford, composer, was introduced to me by Nick Landauer, Conductor of Cantamus Reigate. Robin grew up in Surrey.

Thanks to response from David Pettigrew, Publicity Manager of Epsom Choral Society, I can tell you this. “this Society (Epsom) was founded by Sir Humphrey Milford in 1922 in order to give his son Robin experience as a choral conductor in the Leith hill Musical Festival.

He was a pupil of Vaughan Williams and Holst and was a lifelong friend of Gerald Finzi, all of whom influenced his music. Mainly in the 'English' style, it includes choral, solo and chamber music, cantatas, a symphony and an Oratorio. He took over the direction of the Leith Hill choir, Dorking. Nick is very interested in performing some of Robin's works. I am considering making this a feature on this site, provided there is more than one choir interested in exploring Milford. Please contact me Webmaster if this resonates with you. (See Cantamus Reigate on New Events.)

Christmas singers required for Brighton

For Thursday 17th December St Dunstan's Charity is organising a Carol Singing Day at Brighton's Churchill Square Shopping Centre. They are looking for choirs to volunteer a couple of hours during the day to create a Christmas spirit for shoppers and have a bucket beside them for donations. St Dunstan's Charity has a centre in Ovingdean and will be there to coordinate the day. They just need participating choirs to turn up at an allotted time and sing Christmas songs of their own choice.

St Dunstan's Charity helps give back independence to service men and women who have been blinded either in action or later in life. If you can help, contact Catherine Campbell and please mention this site - choralsociety.org.uk

News here soon about Dorking Choral Society’s new conductor. Keep looking!

Wingrave Singers appoints
new Conductor.

Wingrave Singers welcome their new conductor - Alexander Campkin. He is a young high-flyer, representative of the new wave of high calibre of musicians. See his web-site www.alexandercampkin.co.uk

Based in Wingrave, near Aylesbury, . Buckinghamshire this friendly mixed voice choir of about 25 singers. They have a wide repertoire of religious and secular music. The choir have a strong background of visiting cathedrals around the country. Their recent concert in Coventry Cathedral was a big success. They sang some of Alex’s work.


This is a robed choir (pictured with Alex in Coventry Cathedral) when singing in cathedrals, church services and weddings. The choir rehearse weekly in term time on a Friday evening in Wingrave Parish Church from 7.45pm to 9.30pm. Interested?
Click Brenda Dean for more information or ‘phone 01296 688976.

and yet another new MD ...

Shalford Choral Society (near Guildford) has appointed Matthew Jelf as their new Music Director. He conducts on a regular basis in and around London (Sonitus Chamber Choir) and will be starting in September 2009. The choir will be preparing for the Leith Hill Music Festival Competition in April 2010. His first concert with the choir will be to conduct their Christmas Concert.

Cathedral Season


Season almost over? Can’t believe it is but I need to be told what’s on.

Arun Choral society has just returned from singing Elijah with their 'twin choir’ KANTOREI MARIENFELDE in Berlin. The choirs will joined to sing to sing Elijah in Arundel Cathedral on 24th October. Arun CS is also having a singing day in November with Bob Chilcott. More here soon.

Do you ever sing in The Really Big Chorus events? If you do, you will be interested in their new Facebook page here.


John Hooper is a like-minded singer, musician and doer of all the sort of things which would interest you. Go to his web-site at www.thehoopers.demon.co.uk where there are a few Midi Files that might be of assistance to Choral Singers far and wide. Very good Haydn Creation midi files there.

The Robert Bouffler Music Trust

If you’ve heard of The Robert Bouffler Music Trust, you will know that it was established in 1988 to sustain the spirit and objectives of the late Robert Bouffler's work, by encouraging and supporting young musicians from the East Surrey area. Michael Barlow conductor of the Hurst Green Singers (Surrey, not the Sussex) has been appointed their Musical Adviser. I have attended the RBMT concerts and many of the musicians are outstanding.

The Robert Bouffler Music Trust returned to the Oxted United Reformed Church for another concert given by their beneficiaries on Sunday 1st November. Who went?

New Requiem for choirs.

Philip Ledger's new Requiem "A thanksgiving for life", was written for performance by choral societies. p-ledger_pCommissioned by William Owen and the Choir of Christ Church, Christiana Hundred, USA, the choir gave World Premiere on 4th November 2007.
Sue Ingram, chair of the Renaissance Choir in Hampshire, told me that singers from churches around Emsworth performed this at an Ecumenical service on Good Friday.

Another choir has chosen to perform this next year. Watch for further announcements.

More information about Ledger scores from Encore Publications in Matfield.
Contact Tim Rogers 01892 725548 info@encorepublications.com