CHORAL SOCIETY WebMag
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Which composers are going to be popular in 2011?
Jean Harlow and Ginger Rogers were born in 1911 but did they write choral music? Mahler died in May 1911. What about singing his Alles Vergaengliche (Chorus Mysticus) as a stand-alone item or do the whole symphony? Liszt was born in 1811. Tomas L de Victoria died in 1611. William Boyce was born in 1711. Fauré’s Requuem seems to be just about everywhere at the moment and well into 2011. Are choirs giving audiences enough variety of choice? Any ideas?
For SALE (still)
I have still 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.
Did you perform Sleep with Eric Whitacre on Youtube?
Too late for your entry but read all about it here ____________________________________
Can you help the Kathleen Ferrier Society? I have been contacted by David Whittaker as follows. “I am presently doing research for the Kathleen Ferrier Society. We are compiling a performance chronology of the great contralto's career, which we aim to complete for her centenary celebration in 2012.
I have discovered she sang in two performances of the Messiah at:
'The Regal Cinema' Chesterfield
on January 7th 1945 and
'The Regal Cinema' Chesterfield
on January 6th 1946
If you could find the time and you have access to this information would it be possible for you to give us any further details of these performances? Who the other soloists were? The orchestra? The conductor? (I feel sure it must have been the Chesterfield Philharmonic Choir?). The KFS would be very grateful for your co-operation, our Chronology will have two more completed performance details and there will be a record of the professional link between Ferrier and the Chesterfield Choir.”
Contact David at
Singing Holidays (Contact Jeff Stewart) is a new venture, which takes amateur singers to Umbria, Italy for a week. During that time, guests will be treated to 2 hours of daily rehearsals plus some short rehearsals in idyllic locations. Do you know of anybody who went who would like to give a report?
Where do you find your
I am approached sometimes by choirs, wishing to find a professional soloist. Similarly, professionals ask me about opportunities. I have regular contact with Jill Davies who knows about these things. She has a list of sopranos, mezzos, tenors, bass-baritones, counter-tenors to offer. Here is Jeanette Ager who is singing Verdi’s Requiem with the Chester Music Society on Saturday 20th November in Chester Cathedral more
Jill is very good at promoting your concerts, albeit indirectly. See who is singing what by downloading the Davies Music 2010-2011 Diary here. See Davies Music.
John Hooper is a like-minded singer, musician and doer of all the sort of things which would interest you. The title of his site is "John's (downloadable) Midi File Choral Music".Go to www.learnchoralmusic.co.uk where there are lots of Midi Files that might be of assistance to Choral Singers far and wide. Also very good advice on how to play midi files and what NOT to expect when you play them!
Yet another Orlando; Orlando Singers is based in the middle of Dorset, with singers from London to Somerset. They perform in cathedrals including Canterbury, Winchester, Lincoln, Truro, Bristol and Ely. The choir does not meet weekly. Instead, they have six Saturday "sing-days". Take a look at their site.
There is yet another Orlando in Cambridge. Who can tell us more?
A regular and reliable contributor is the Orlando Chamber Choir based in London. Most of the members work in or around the City (which makes rehearsals near Paddington very convenient). Quite a few are students or working on a PhD.
See New Events
for details of their 17th March concert which includes a specially commissioned work.
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 “Words and Music” five times a year. This magazine is for those of you in Surrey, Sussex and Kent and London boroughs South of the Thames who love the Performing Arts. I originally saw this about ten years ago in my local library where it is distributed free. But hey, it has developed enormously so is worth ordering by post for £8 a year from Roy and Angela Goodall, 28,Northcote Lane, Telscombe Cliffs, Peacehaven, East Sussex, BN10 7ED. Visit their web-site words-and-music.info
“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!.
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
New Requiem for choirs.
Philip Ledger's new Requiem "A thanksgiving for life", was written for performance by choral societies. Commissioned by William Owen and the Choir of Christ Church, Christiana Hundred, USA, the choir gave World Premiere on 4th November 2007.
English Arts Chorale is going to sing this. English Arts Chorale is singing this in the Autumn.
More information about Ledger scores from Encore Publications in Matfield.
Contact Tim Rogers 01892 725548 email@example.com
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.
Liturgical Music Courses. I’ve not heard from them so I shall remove this item unless somebody tells me what is happening.
Leith Hill Musical Festival
Rehearsals have started for the LHMF events. The participating choirs will know all about the programme but did you know that you can sing as an outsider? Brian Kay is conducting Bach’s St. Matthew Passion which will be performed at the Dorking Halls on Sunday 13th March. Robin Gritton (father of Susan Gritton) is the Chorus Master. If you would like to take part, e-mail Liz May Secretary or visit the LHMF web-site. Tell Liz you saw the mention on choralsociety.org.uk
Langlais Festival 2011
Brenda Dean has planned something BIG for 2011, the 20th anniversary of the death of Jean Langlais.
Download the 2011 brochure here.
Oriana Singers make Headway
On Saturday 29th January, more than 200 people attended Oriana Singers' Charity Concert at St. Paul's Church, Tunbridge Wells. The event raised funds for Headway Tunbridge Wells & District, the Brain Injury Association www.headwaytwells.org.
The programme appropriate to Candlemas, was created by Caroline Johnson, Oriana's Music Director (right). It comprised thought-provoking readings and music based upon Handel’s Messiah. The accompaniment was provided by Alistair Curtis, organ and a string ensemble of choir members with harpsichord.
Why not tie-up with a local charity, make friends and contribute to your local community?
Tired of singing the same old thing? Want something different?
Write your own
Music Notation and scanning software interests me very much. I have just been introduced to Music Publisher by Kay and Peter Bates. Has anybody else tried this? Read more.
or commission a composer such as
David Bednall (see below) or
Patrick Hawes who is is currently number 3 in the Classical Charts with his Highgrove Suite. Read about his Song of Songs collection of six pieces for voices and strings. This was Classic FM’s April 2009 CD of the Week.
Malcolm Archer composes wonderfully melodious music to sing.
Then consider Alexander Campkin. The BBC Singers directed by David Hill are to perform one of his Christmas Carols to be broadcast on BBC Radio 3, Christmas 2010.
James Weeks’ new composition will be performed by Orlando Chamber Choir. “Orlando Tenebrae (2010)” revisits from a modern secular standpoint the Tenebrae liturgy which marks Jesus' suffering before the symbolic rebirth of Spring.
How good are your ticket sales?
Ashtead Choral Society based in Ashtead near Epsom, Surrey had a sell-out for their ‘Out of Africa’ concert in January. What made it a success? Was it the efforts made by members to sell tickets? Was it the programme? The venue? What is the secret?
Zimbe! the African inspired work by Alexander L’Estrange will be performed as part of the Guildford Music Festival on 26th March. Rehearsal schedule is on the New Events page here.
Want to know the score?
More news here very soon of new sources of music to hire at very reasonable rates.
The Brandenburg Spring Choral Festival 2011
The enterprising Bob Porter, Artistic Director and creator of the Brandenburg Spring Choral Festival 2011 in London between 3rd January and 17th April. There are over 27 concerts given by hand-picked choirs who perform in St. Martin-in-the-Fields, the National Portrait Gallery, Savoy Chapel and King’s College Chapel, New Players’ Theatre and Lincoln’s Inn . Music ranges from Tallis to gospel to swing to jazz. James Galway and his wife will be performing - flute not singing! Here is a chance to hear the cross-over. Worth a visit. Give yourself a break from singing. Read all about it here.
Our First French Feature
Jean-Claude Rollet (right above when you see the right pic) is the President and Founder of the Association Let’s Sing. This was formed in response to many people close to Paris who want to sing, who would like to learn how to sing and who would like to have the pleasure of meeting like-minded people. It is open to anybody who has the burning desire, be it experienced singers or those who are about to make their début. Their Music Director Gilles Gaubert (pictured left) is a ’professeur de chant so there is great concentration on breathing and relaxation. They perform as a Vocal ensemble entitled Polymnia. These are pictures of their concert on Saturday 18th September at Vaux-sur-Seine which filled nearly every seat in the church. Click More to read what they sang. This might give some UK choirs something to consider.
On Saturday February 5th the Internationally Acclaimed Skowronki girls choir will be visiting from Poland and will be performing a concert in St. Mary's Church in Chiddingstone, Kent. The choir has been brought to the UK by The Imagine Club. This is a not for profit organisation which seeks to challenge and stimulate the minds of young people. The choir will be working with 6 local primary and secondary schools during their stay and will also be working with the Newham music project for disadvantaged children. This is the only formal concert whichthe choir will give during their visit. See www.theimagineclub.co.uk if you would like further information.
Get smitten with SMITF.
St. Martin’s in the Fields is a magical venue for choral concerts. Bob Porter (Brandenburg Sinfonia) presents many concerts there and our choir could be one of them. Bob’s ‘band’ has accompanied many choirs. If you are interested in performing Brahms’ Requiem but lack the resources for a full orchestra, Bob has written an arrangement for small orchestra (Brandenburg Sinfonia ideally!). Contact him at Brandenburg Sinfonia.
2011 Singing Season has started
What have you done about recruitment? Don’t wait until 2012!
◊ A few months I met Ron Billard who sings with Surrey Fringe Barbershop Chorus They sing what it says on the box and sounds a lot of fun. Contact Mike Hurdle, Chairman 01483 223255 firstname.lastname@example.org Give it a try!
◊ The London based City Chorus is celebrating its 90th birthday season in 2010-2011: the culmination of their anniversary year will be a concert in July 2011, which will feature a newly commissioned 20-minute work for chorus.
If you would like to join them, they are holding a special Open Evening on Tuesday 11th January 6pm. Just turn up below. Rehearsals are held on Tuesdays, 6.15-8.15 pm at the NatWest building, 1 Princes Street, EC2R 8BP right next to Bank station (Exit 1). If you join, you will be performing on 1st April, A Celebration of Motherhood and on 8th July, 90th Birthday Concert, Charles Ives and Ralph Vaughan Williams.
Contact Caroline Weiner at citychorus.info
Feel like singing
without months of note bashing?
Nick Landauer, conductor of Cantamus Reigate is planning a concert for Saturday 12th March at 7.30pm in St. Mark’s, Reigate. The main works will be Vivaldi’s Gloria and Zadok the Priest. Their Rutter Requiem is postponed until the summer - date to be decided. Details here.
A number of rehearsals are planned for February and March. Contact Nick here or go to the Cantamus web-site.
Workshops in 2011
(Tell me the response you receive.)
From the enterprising Stephen Hope, 5th February Come & Sing Messiah Croydon Parish Church - All day Workshop
and performance with Sinfonia da Chiesa in aid of St.Christopher's Hospice, Sutton (£25).
Saturday 11th June 2011 Shalford Choral Society & Guildford Symphony Orchestra. 'Come & Sing' the Durufle and Faure Requiem’, Holy Trinity, Guildford. More
Latest from Shalford Choral Society
Shalford Choral Society (near Guildford) appointed Matthew Jelf as their new Music Director. Since Matthew took over Shalford Choral Society in December 2009, he has seen them through a very successful Christmas concert and the 2010 Leith Hill Music Festival. Matthew reports that the choir performed extremely well and received very positive reports across the board. Matthew was also pleased to receive positive feedback on his individual input as a conductor in the competition from the judges. The choir are currently planning for their 2011 season which boasts a Christmas concert of the Britten Ceremony of Carols and William Lloyd Webber's cantata A King is Born.
The Oriana Singers have sung at every Anglican Cathedral in the country and in recent years have also sung in Wales and Northern Ireland. Their next engagement is in St. Alban’s Cathedral & Abbey on 26/27th February. See their web-site
TCC2:a new Children’s Choir
for Thame, Oxfordshire is Born.
The choir has been started by Thame Chamber. The organiser of TCC2 is Alison Green who is a well-known local music teacher. She says, “We’ve all seen the TV choirmaster Gareth Malone do his stuff and we all know that singing in schools can be a bit patchy: some excellent, some less so. When we realised there wasn’t a really good concert choir for children locally, we decided to found one. And so TCC2 was born”. You can hear TCC2 for the first time at Thame Chamber Choir's Christmas Fantasia concert conducted by Duncan Aspden on Saturday 18th December More.
Founder Members of TCC2 at the first rehearsal on Sunday 7th November 2010
Is it time you read The Guardian?
This site was mentioned in their issue of 21st October 2010 (WOW!) under hOW TO HAVE fUN fREE. This has already brought a very interesting response from Tony Lynes Librarian of the Community & Youth Music Library.
He tells me “I saw the reference to you in today's Guardian and looked up your amazing website. I'm one of the two volunteers who run the Community & Youth Music Library at Lilian Baylis Old School, Lollard Street, London SE11 6PY. The CYM Library is an enormous collection of choral, orchestral and band scores, inherited from the London County Council and the Inner London Education Authority but with lots of material added in more recent years. Until recently we were attached to Trinity College of Music but now we are an independent charity (about to be registered by the Charity Commission).
Our catalogues can be accessed via our web-site, www.cymlibrary.org.uk. We can be contacted by telephone on 0208 127 1027 or 0207 733 7235. We make a modest hire charge: £12 per month for a set of vocal scores of a major choral work, with much lower charges for "minor" works (part songs etc.). A "set" can be anything from 20 to 100 scores.
We want the Library to be used by as many groups as possible, but most potential users don't know that we exist - so any help you can give in publicising it will be greatly appreciated. I'll be glad to supply any more information. Tony Lynes”
So here’s helping and hoping. Please mention this site when you contact him
Concert at St. Margaret the Queen, Buxted Park. Saturday 9th October
This was a sell-out. Details here soon of how much money was raised for St. Peter & St. James’ Hospice. North Chailey, Sussex. Thanks to everybody who took part and the audience who gave so generously in addition to paying for their tickets.
The Buxted Event has now run for 15 years. (See pics here) in aid of the St. Peter & St. James Hospice, Sussex.
Of course you are and will
Anna Martindale of Marie Curie writes as follows: “I'm writing to you on behalf of Marie Curie Cancer Care to ask if you would be interested in promoting an event of ours called 'Sing Out' on your web-site. The event it aimed at choirs, carol singers, anyone with a love of music and asks them to hold a singing event to raise money for us.” Find out more here
Ever wondered where the young choristers go when they grow up?
Mystery partly solved thanks to Chairman, Malcolm Bury (pictured right), of St. Albans Cathedral Ex-choristers’ Association This is very interesting reading. See their Newsletter pdf here. Have official site of the Federation of Cathedral Old Choristers’ Associations which might be a source of new tenors for your choir!
Stephen Hope can be relied upon to keep the music pot boiling! He is organising a trip to Krakow in 2011. Please look at the Sussex Festival Choir web-site for details. There is a big list of his enterprises coming here soon.
February 5th 2011 Workshop. Messiah. Croydon Parish Church
July 31st 2011 Arundel Cathedral. Bach B minor Mass. Joint rehearsals June 26th &
July 24th. More to come nearer the date!
BBC Performing Arts Fund, a charity that was set up within the BBC in 2003 to help everyone achieve their musical ambitions, from choirs, hip hop artists and musical theatre performers to folk musicians. Since its inception the fund has awarded over 3m to aspiring musicians, performers and groups across a range of genres through funding instruments, training and development. To learn more about what the fund does and how you can apply, visit the website
Here’s something new;
Easton Rabble Chorus
Fancy a trip to Ipswitch? Easton Rabble Chorus’ repertoire is very eclectic. Folk songs, 'pop' songs by bands like Divine Comedy and the Kinks, world music, songs from musicals and the odd bit of classical for special occasions eg. Really Big Chorus events. Basically they perform whatever their MD feels will work for the voices and has time to arrange! More soon.
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 if this resonates with you. (See Cantamus Reigate on New Events.)
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
Do you ever complain and wish somebody would listen?
There was an interesting item on Radio 4’s Today programme which I followed up. There is a complaints organisation called Complaints Choirs Worldwide here and if you want a bit of fun, go to this item on YouTube. The things which people complain about (up with this I will not put) transcend nationalities and geographical boundaries. Why not compose your own piece and I will post it on this site.