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 year is what matters!

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?

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. Can anybody help? 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.

Liz Barker, Chairman of Eastbourne Choral Society informs us of their Brahms’ Requiem on Saturday 15th March at 7.30pm in the lovely 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. LiZ 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 solos 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. The 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.

Plaxtol Music Festival
returns in 2008

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.

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 which is a Gala Concert on March28th 2008, as part of the first ever Eastbourne Festival. They are singing the Rutter Requiem and Jenkins’ The Armed Man and are hoping for choir of at least 150, possibly 200. Why not take part? You don’t have to live in Eastbourne!

Click here for more details where you can download an Application Form.

For more information, go to

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

What about a Summer Choral Course in Brittany from 14th to 18th July?

More here.

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. Rehearsals started on Thursday 7th February. If your are interested in joining or just 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
at Arundel Cathedral

Nothing succeeds like success.

The Arun CS performance of Verdi’s Requiem on 3rd November brought calls of 'encore' with many people on their feet.Their next concert is Charity Concert for the Motor Neurone Disease Association and ACS funds. Music by Barber, Dvorak, Elgar, Faure, Handel, Strauss, Wagner, Weber and Vaughan Williams, with Horsham Symphony Orchestra. Conductors - John Henville & Steve Dummer. Watch this space or better still, go there on Saturday, 26th April, 2008 at 7.30 pm

Click here for a concert report and to see a panoramic picture of the choir. Is there somebody there you recognise?

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

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. Those of you familiar with Peter Warlock will recognise the title of his famous work, the Capriol Suite for Orchestra which he wrote in Eynsford , Kent in 1926.
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

Saturday 8th December

Once again, Graham Caldbeck worked his magic as conductor of the Mayfield Festival Choir on Saturday 8th December. The event was held in aid of CLIC Sargeant, the charity which gives help to children with cancer and their families.
The concert started with Bach’s Wachet Auf which would certainly have awoken any sleepers. It was refreshing to hear such a strong tenor line in view of the reported world-wide shortage of the species. No kidding. If you are an amateur tenor in Australia, choirs will pay you to sing with them. It wasn’t about just bashing out the notes either. Bach is difficult to sing and so is Handel. Trouble with the Messiah is that all choirs think they know it because they heard it from birth, pushed out by the Huddersfield Choral Society, Kathleen Ferrier and all that. ‘Been there. Done it here. Don’t need the score. Know the notes.’ Yes, you’ve got it; complacency it’s called. Graham’s approach was to make Messiah light without making light of Handel, to make it fresh for both the choir and the audience alike. I dare say, the audience even heard the words “And the glory of the Lord” and certainly did when Claire Palmer told us the good tidings in Zion. Pity there was no Recitative because it is the only place which tells us the message, ‘the virgin shall give birth’. It is refreshing to hear the words in which Handel wrote the oratorio. By that time, English had probably become his native language.

The Piet Kee Fantasia on Wachet auf was played by Andrew Benians who showed how to make the organ sound spectacular. (More on this report by Rupert Street, later).

Click for Nick