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 this year when there is a ‘9’ in the date?

Expect a lot of Handel because he died in 1759. Next 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 has been a favourite for the last 18 months 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? Now then, 2009 would be a wonderful year for everybody to sing Haydn’s Creation. Somebody has suggested that it to be sung up and down the country on the same day. What about considering having a combined concert with another choir and paying for an orchestra? The Creation needs a big choir and could offer the opportunity for small chamber choirs to enjoy a really big work.

Request for help (1)
Has anybody a copy of Sibelius software for sale? It doesn’t have to be the latest version. Click here Webmaster if you can help.


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.

Now here’s a happy group of singers at last year’s Langlais Festival, sent to me by Brenda Dean.


Brenda promotes the Summer Choral Course as part of the 5th Langlais Festival in La Fontenelle, Brittany. It takes place from 27th to 31st July. This is confirmed and Brenda says there are a few vacancies for sopranos and tenors so the closing date has been extended. More

Do you sing south of Eastbourne?

If you do, you’re probably very good at gargling. If you live within a 15 mile radius of Eastbourne (forgetting the water) Maggie Bennett would like to hear from your choir.  She has formed an association of amateur choirs rehearsing and performing in Eastbourne and the surrounding area. The association was founded to promote the mutual benefit of the individual organisations, local singers, potential singers, and local audiences and to encourage and support the development of choral music. Tell Maggie that you read about it on this site, choralsociety.org.uk

Just to show that this site caters for choirs other than in the South East, I have been contacted by The Chanterelles Female Choir from Leicester and The City Of Bath Male Choir (as seen on the TV series ' Last Choir Standing'). They have a concert on 18th November. More on New Events

Calling all fans of Carmina Burana!

I have sung Carmina Burana with Jo Forrest, Press Agent for Tony Palmer. She tells me that Tony Palmer's new film about Carl Orff - "O Fortuna", is now on DVD on and is due to be screened on Sky Arts.

Drawing extensively on his personal circumstances, plus exclusive interviews with three of his surviving wives and his only daughter, a tale of almost unbelievable sadness emerges. It's a MUST SEE for all Carmina Burana fans! www.tonypalmer.org

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


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.

Want to know what other choirs are doing? 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.

“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; more when I have seen a synopsis.

Hayd’n seek his Creation
To celebrate the 200th anniversary of Haydn’s death, Sir Colin Davis’ 50th year with the London Symphony Orchestra and the release of a new recording of Haydn’s Creation the LSO is making a complete performance of Haydn’s Creation to watch online free at www.lso.co.uk/haydn between 12th and 15th June. Features Ian Bostridge, Sally Matthews, Dietrich Henschel and the London Symphony Chorus conducted by Sir Colin Davis.
Thanks to Gavin Bayliss, LSO Live Product Manager. Did somebody read my comment in column one!?

Something Curious in Chatham, on Friday 24th July. A Lieder recital. Still curious. So am I. more

The ubiquitous Jo Forrest not only promotes choral groups but also sings! On Leatherhead Choral society Saturday 4th July will perform an evening of jazz and gospel music including John Rutter's Feel The Spirit. more

On Friday 10th July National Westminster City Chorus is presenting something very different for lovers of Baroque. They have sent this pic. Send yours and it could appear here. To see the programme click more

City Chorus.

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

Interested in singing with Cantamus Reigate? This is an ad hoc choir which is inviting singers for their concert on Saturday June 13th at St. Mark’s, Reigate. Only five rehearsal so it won’t interfere with your other arrangements! Learn more

On July 2nd Bob Porter, Artistic Director of Brandenburg Sinfonia is promoting the opening concert of the St Martin’s American Festival and how better to capture the buzz of America’s finest musical era than a concert centred on Gershwin’s popular masterpiece RHAPSODY IN BLUE?

So having established the jazzy flavour, who better to deliver the goods than Bob’s great friend James Pearson and the internationally acclaimed Ronnie Scott’s Allstars?

Throw in a couple more of Bob’s old friends – beautiful, characterful singer Debra Andrew and the multi-talented Lizzie Ball combining violin and vocals - and a superb evening of entertainment lies ahead.

Not the regular Brandenburg repertoire but an equally high standard in a different genre. more

I have been contacted by Richard smith about The Liturgical Music Courses. There are three major events to come which offer splendid opportunities for choral singers to perform in some of England’s most beautiful settings. More here soon or you can go directly to their web-site.

Mayfield Festival Choir

Since the choir was reconstructed in 2004, it has grown in size (70-80) and quality. The conductor, Graham Caldbeck makes rehearsals fun as well as hard work. www.mayfieldchoir.co.uk


Their concert on 3rd May was another success. The main works were Handel’s Dixit Dominus and Bach’s Magnificat. The soloists were excellent. Theresa Caudle’s Canzona was a real delight to hear; superb intonation with no distracting vibrato. Mayfield Choir’s next concert is in November. If you want to know more, contact Robin Howden 01825 830277 e-mail: robinhowden@aol.com

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, tells me that singers from churches around Emsworth performed this at an Ecumenical service on Good Friday.

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

Cathedral Season


Bury St Edmunds Cathedral
Saturday 25th April.
English Arts Chorale

Ely Cathedral (Lady Chapel)
Saturday 16th May 7.30pm.
English Arts Chorale

Wells Cathedral
Saturday 25th July 7pm Somerset Chamber Choir celebrates its 25th anniversary with 'Brilliant Baroque!' more

Chichester Cathedral
Saturday 16th May 7.30pm
English Arts Chorale. More
Read Chichester Observer report

Arundel Cathedral
Sunday 2nd August 7.30pm
Renaissance Choir and the Coro de Santa Maria de Belem, Portugal's leading Cathedral Choir. More

Wingrave Singers are looking for a Musical Director. Is this the opportunity you’re seeking?

Based in Wingrave, near Aylesbury, . Buckinghamshire this friendly mixed voice choir of about 25 singers was founded in 1977. They have a wide repertoire of religious and secular music. The choir have a strong background of visiting cathedrals around the country and singing weekend services whilst the resident choirs are on holiday. These visits are generally limited to two per year. They also perform one or two concerts per year and are available to sing at weddings. Wingrave Singers This is a robed choir when singing in cathedrals, church services and weddings. Currently the choir has bookings for cathedral visits up to October 2010. The present musical director who is moving on after a very productive 8 years, has introduced the choir to some interesting and challenging music and the choir would be keen to continue this progress whilst continuing to develop their current repertoire. The choir has a supportive committee who are keen to build a relationship with the musical director and be involved in planning the musical programme for future events. The position carries an honorarium. 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.


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

The Buxted Event has now run for 15 years for the benefit of the St. Peter & St. James Hospice, Sussex. The 2009 concert will be a Voices for Hospices event.

Parikian Chorus & Orchestra. Main work is Brahms’ Requiem.

There is a Workshop for the Parikian Chorus on Saturday 3rd October. There was a workshop last year and apart from being very productive, it was a good day out; warm and sunny.

The October 2008 concert raised £3286.

There are still vacancies for singers in some sections. If you have already accepted, you must confirm this with David Waddington, please. If you are interested but not yet told David, then click HERE to go to a simple form submission. Please act now! Thanks.

More info from David Waddington,
E-mail: dwaddington@talktalk.net

Good Friday, 10th April Seaford Choral Society (and friends) 'Almost Instant' Concert
raised over £1250 for charity. This was conducted by Sion Parry, Seaford CS’s new conductor. With only one hour allocated to rehearsal, Sion managed to make a choir out of 120-140 voices who arrived from a 50 mile radius of Seaford. (Excluding south; didn’t see any singers from Northern France.)


Robin Milford, composer, has been introduced to me by Nick Landauer, Conductor of Cantamus Reigate. Robin grew up in Surrey. 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 in 2009 which will be the 50th anniversary of the composer’s death. 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.)

What’s Organ Recitals doing here?

I’m told that St. Peter’s church, Limpsfield has a very competent choir but this is really an excuse to introduce their Summer Organ Recitals in July and September. It has long been an ambition of Margaret Steinitz of London Bach Society to hear Bach on the fine organ installed and restored from Shorncliffe Camp by Peter Collins. No singing, take a cushion, sit back and enjoy the music. more


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. Their next concert will be at the Blue House Festival in October at Oxted.


Dress rehearsal? This pic has been sent in by Stephen Mills of Hurst Green Singers, to show that it is not just the sops and altos who have good legs.

At their Summer Concert on 9th May they combined as usual with Shoreham Singers to perform Handel's "Samson" in St John's Church, Hurst Green, Oxted. A repeat performance will take place in Shoreham (Kent) church on 27th June as part of the Sevenoaks Festival.


EADCA Festival choir 2