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 ‘’ 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? Now then, 2009 is a wonderful year for everybody to sing Haydn’s Creation. The Creation needs a big choir so why not think of joining Dorking CS?

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.

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 anniversay 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. She works frequently with choral societies. One of ‘her’ forthcoming concerts is Music Makers at St John's Church, Harpenden on Saturday 17th October 7.30pm Vivaldi: Gloria, Gounod: Missa Sancta Cecilia. Soloists: Rebecca Hodgetts, Clare McCaldin, Martin Hindmarsh, James Birchall.



A note from a frequent contributor!

On Sunday 13th September Tony Palmer's new film about the Wagner family will start the final series of the South Bank Show. Jo Forrest who supplies me with much information about other people tells me that Tony Palmer has asked her to do a voice-over! 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

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


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? 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.

Singing Season Starts Soon So...
what have you done about recruitment?

Dorking Choral Society would like more men. Their main concert in November is Haydn’s Creation. (Wonder if they read column one?) Contact Ges Ray, Chairman

Cantamus Reigate’s conductor would like lots of tenors - and a few basses. This ad hoc choir is doing Puccini’s Messa di Gloria+ in November. Contact Nick Landauer

City Chorus (aka National Westminster City Chorus) has an Open Evening for potential new members on Tuesday, 22nd September at 6.00pm. Venue: NatWest building, 1 Princes Street, next to Bank station (Exit 1). Just turn up or contact Rosie Marciniak, membership@citychorus.info 01923 283179

Caroline Weiner, their Publicity Manager sent me full details so you can download the pdf.

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, needs 60 scores of Howard Goodall's Love Divine - SATB version - from the beginning of October to the end of November. He says he could manage with just November if necessary. E-mail Nick and mention this site - choralsociety.org.uk.

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, 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


Mayfield Choir’s next concert is in November. Their programme is Joseph Haydn, Maria Theresa Mass: Jonathan Dove, Bless the Lord O my Soul: Purcell, O sing unto the Lord a New Song: Handel, Let thy hand be strengthened: Mendelssohn, Hear my prayer. If you want to know more, contact Robin Howden 01825 830277 e-mail: robinhowden@aol.com

“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!.

Cathedral Season


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

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

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


Learn Brahms for Buxted - click here

The Buxted Event has now run for 15 years for the benefit of the St. Peter & St. James Hospice, Sussex. The October 2008 concert raised £3286. The 2009 concert will be a Voices for Hospices event. performed by the 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.

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

On Saturday 10th October. Hurst Green Singers is running a Voices for Hospices concert in aid of St Catherine's Hospice, Crawley. Members of other choirs and anyone who would like to sing are invited to join them for a workshop performance of Handel's Messiah. Conductor Michael Barlow with 4 soloists. more

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

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 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. Currently the choir has bookings for cathedral visits up to October 2010. Next is Coventry Cathedral during the weekend of 24/25 October. They also perform one or two concerts per year and are available to sing at weddings.

Wingrave Singers

This is a robed choir (pictured with Alex in St. alban’s Abbey) 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.

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

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.

The Robert Bouffler Music Trust is to return to the Oxted United Reformed Church for another concert given by their beneficiaries. The date is Sunday 1st November 7pm

Arun Choral society has just returned from singing Elijah with their 'twin choir’ KANTOREI MARIENFELDE in Berlin. The choirs will join to sing to sing Elijah in Arundel Cathedral on 24th October 7.30pm. Arun CS is also having a singing day in November with Bob Chilcott. More here soon.