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?

This year is what matters but what happens next 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 Mozart C Minor Mass 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)
Mike Dabney who is a 1st bass with First United Methodist Church choir, Livingston, Texas needs a tutorial for the Magnificat by Mark Hayes. A midi file or Choraline equivalent would do. Click here Webmaster if you can help.

Request for help (2)
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.

Request for help satisfied.
A reader in Australia requested some midi files which I was able to send him.


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.

Eastbourne Choral Society had a very successful Brahms’ Requiem on Saturday 15th March in All Saints Church in Eastbourne. The choir concentrates on singing two or three major works a year. They occasionally combine with other choirs and also invite peripatetic singers. That is why the event is in the news column. Singers from Seaford choral Society said how much they enjoyed the event, particularly because it was a chance to sing the Brahms with a full orchestra. Liz Barker says, “the site is such a great idea”. Look where the flattery has got her!

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!”.

Leith Hill Music Festival

This is one of the big musical events in 2008 for both singers and audience. The first event was Bach's St. Matthew Passion on 9th March at the Dorking Halls. Conducted by Festival Director, Brian Kay (Radio 2 and Radio 3), the performance was accompanied by the brilliant Baroque ensemble Canzona. They play very well. Flute and oboe obligatos were a performance on their own and it was a pleasure to hear such accurate playing by the strings without poor intonation being covered by vibrato. It was encouraging to see so many young singers. Not just the professionals - Huw Rhys-Evans, Bibi Heal, Daniel Auchincloss, Christopher Dixon, Anna Stéphany, Samuel Evans - but the Soprano ripieno from Dunottar School. The main choir was pretty good too! In all, an excellent concert experience. There’s more to come in the Festival.
See all details on their web-site or on the New Events page.

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.

The first major EADCA venture was a Gala Concert on March 28th, as part of the first ever Eastbourne Festival. They sang the Rutter Requiem and Jenkins’ The Armed Man. They were hoping for a choir of 200. Here’s the first 170!
wEADCA Festival choir 1px200
A report is awaited.

For more information, go to

If you get the chance, tell Maggie that you were sent there by this site, choralsociety.org.uk

On Saturday 15th March, The English Arts Chorale sang Mozart’s Requiem from memory and Haydn’s Nelson Mass. Their next concert is in July


Here they are last year when they gave a particularly good performance of Fauré’s Requiem and Brahms’ Requiem.

Darfur Appeal in Seaford

On Good Friday every year, the Seaford Choral Society runs a Nearly Instant charity concert. Singers from all around the South East of England take part. This year they sang Mozart’s Requiem. The choir was 150 strong and they sang with great enthusiasm. It was a sell-out. Money raised will be shown here.


It’s OK for some. After the choir finished rehearing, John Underhill had to take to soloists through their parts!
John is retiring as conductor and his last concert will be on Saturday 10th May. more

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.

Next event is Monteverdi Vespers which the choir will sing in the Mayfield Festival 2008. Their venue is St. Dunstan’s Church, Mayfield. If want to know more, contact Robin Howden 01825 830277 e-mail: robinhowden@aol.com

Something to add to this site?

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. The first UK performance was given by the Choir of King's College, Cambridge, on Remembrance Sunday 2007 as the musical setting for a service in King's College Chapel. Both performances were conduced by the composer.

The first performance of the orchestral version will be given in a concert by Eastbourne College and the Eastbourne Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Graham Jones, in Chichester Cathedral on 3rd May 2008.

Sir Philip Ledger was educated at King's College, Cambridge. When appointed Master of the Music at Chelmsford Cathedral, he became the youngest cathedral organist in the country. Subsequently, he took up the post of Director of Music at the University of East Anglia where he was also Dean of the School of Fine Arts and Music. He was Director of Music at King’s College, Cambridge, from 1974-82 and he became Principal of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in 1982.

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

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.

Arun Choral Society and Horsham Symphony Orchestra in concert
at Arundel Cathedral


A combination which others might try

The Arun Choral Society’s next event is a Charity Concert for the Motor Neurone Disease Association and ACS funds. For the first time they will be joined by Horsham Symphony Orchestra. Isn’t this a sensible thing to do? Here are two talented conductors - John Henville (ACS) and Steve Dummer (HSO) - who can work with one another because they are complementary. This is the kind of co-operation which is worth encouraging if it works, of course! All of the performers become accustomed to working together which can sometimes be difficult when working with an ad hoc orchestra when the only time they meet is at the final rehearsal.

How did the Horsham Symphony Orchestra begin? In 1971 Malcolm McKelvey, the Director of Music at Christ's Hospital School, co-founded a small orchestra together with Horsham residents Christopher Herzig and Francis Phillip. Malcolm McKelvey was a very talented professional musician as you will read if you click on his name link. If you want to know how the Horsham Symphony Orchestra developed from there and learn about their concerts, go to their web-site.

There is both choral and orchestral music by Barber, Dvorak, Elgar, Fauré, Handel, Strauss, Wagner, Weber and Vaughan Williams. All details here. Go there on Saturday 26th April, 2008 at 7.30 pm.

Will somebody please send me a report because this is the kind of thing which might interest choirs and orchestras who are situated in the same district.

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

Plaxtol Music Festival 2008
is now on!

Marius Carboni, Artistic Director of the Festival tells me, “After a gap of nine years the Festival returns with the same breadth of classical and jazz music by respected professionals in their own fields as did the previous series of concerts. The only difference this time is that the events are now spread over several months, from January to September.

The Festival is community based and the 2008 concerts take place in Plaxtol Church, Plaxtol Memorial Hall and Plaxtol Primary School - with artists to cover all tastes.”

The programme is very interesting. Read more on New Events page.

Concert at St. Margaret the Queen, Buxted Park. 4th October 2008

The Buxted Event has now run for 15 years. It is run for the benefit of the St. Peter & St. James Hospice, Sussex.

Parikian Chorus & Orchestra. Programme is Haydn's "Nelson" Mass (because most of you know it!) with Zadok the Priest as a curtain raiser.
There is a Workshop for the Parikian Chorus on Saturday 20th September 11am to 5pm.

The rehearsal on the day of the concert will be at 3.15 pm to arrange seating and start at 3.30 pm. Vocal scores (Novello edition) will be available for hire from July onwards - again to encourage homework! Hire price £2 plus £1 postage, or copies may be collected from Hadlow Lodge (01825-830723) - also available at the workshop but only if pre-ordered.

Read all about it by downloading the application pdf Buxted 2008 .
Main contact is David Waddington,
E-mail: dwaddington@talktalk.net

Capriol Chamber Choir

Warlock Singers has changed its name to Capriol Chamber Choir. Their first concert under the new name is on 24th April at St. Mary’s, Westerham. more

Chiddingstone Castle

Capriol will broaden its repertoire while continuing to promote the choral music of Peter Warlock and other British composers. Chiddingstone Castle (shown here) is one of their venues.
New web-site is www.capriol.org

Hurst Green Singers, Surrey

Have just stared rehearsals for their Summer concerts. Vaughan Williams’ Benedicite and Haydn’s Paukenmesse ‘Mass in time of War’. New singers welcome. www.hurstgreensingers.co.uk

Brief Encounter...

Well, not all that brief. At the Leith Hill Music Festival St. Matthew Passion, I met many members of the choir including ladies from the Buckland Choral Society. One of them was Barbara, their chairman. She told me that as a result of a recruitment blitz and the running of a Workshop conducted by Stephen Hope, the choir put on 27 new members. Is this a record? It shows how just a few members (it usually is) can get around a local district and distribute fliers.

The choir is a no-nonsense community choir but does expect members to be conscientious about their rehearsals. Their conductor is Teresa Carlile. She started piano at the age of four and later (much later) went on to read music at the University of North Wales, Bangor. She knows about singing, being a trained mezzo with a range of three octaves. She fits in music when not running a small family. Or is it the other way round?

You can hear them at the Dorking Halls on Friday 11th April at 7.30pm. They will be performing with Beare Green & Newdigate, Mickleham, and Shalford Choral Societies with the English Festival Orchestra, conducted by Brian Kay.

The programme comprises
Vaughan William: Overture "The Wasps"
Sullivan: Te Deum Laudamus in Eb "A Thanksgiving for Victory".

They will also be singing Rutter’s Magnificat conducted by John Rutter

Close Encounter... and when you've heard what Buckland Choral Society can do and you live in striking distance of Buckland (just outside Reigate), why not join them in September? Altos and basses particularly welcome (if only to get their line heard against all their new sopranos!) For more info, e-mail bcs@roscott.plus.com

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

EADCA Festival choir 2