Conductor’s Notes – 05.03.22

What’s this?! Another Conductor’s Notes in the same week?! How exciting!

A massive congratulations to you all for the success in the Music Festival yesterday. I’m so, so pleased with how it went, and am so proud of everyone who took part. It’s always a scary experience working with a new conductor/choir in performance for the first time, but I think you all handled it perfectly, and the performance was just wonderful. The other Acafellas were incredibly impressed with both the quality of the sound and the level of sophistication of the performance.

For those who couldn’t stay for the feedback, Steven Roberts, the adjudicator, said some brilliant things – a lot of great observations and ways to enhance our performance (some of which I’ve been telling you for weeks... haha!), as well as some very nice commendations. To achieve a ‘Distinction’ for our first performance together is something we should all be very proud of.
(If Eric lets me keep the feedback sheet, it’ll go in a frame on my office wall, next to the Puccini poster)...

Below are the “Adjudicator’s Remarks”, along with my comments (credit to Eric for helping me decipher some sentences...):

Adjudicator’s Remarks


A beautifully shaped piano introduction. – absolutely. I think we can all agree that Bernard played phenomenally, and we’re lucky to have both him and Terry with us this term.

Choir – why are you looking at your copies? Faces forward will build your rapport with the audience and your conductor. – agreed. He spoke about not following along the introduction and that I will be nice and clear to bring you in. Big smiles too! Having said all of this, I felt like the connection we had as choir and conductor was tenfold what we have in rehearsals because you all watched me like hawks! I loved it!

A lovely rich sound – nicely shaped phrases. – yes! So musically shaped.

Some positive dynamics – emphasise a little more your < – I thought the contrast between the “Kyrie” and “Christe”, especially with the dynamics, was fab. Even more though!

Clear diction – watch word endings. – Most of the time this was good, it’s just the odd quaver (I know I held the final quaver on too long, sorry!)

You have a warm tone and you sing with passion and consideration to the text. – Perfect!

Emphasise articulation ^ and >. – Yes, but I’m not too worried about these, haha.

Some lovely phrasing and shaping, your control is good – your bigger dynamics are well handled and controlled. – 100% agree, the musicality was excellent! Let’s see if we can control the quieter dynamics now.


Nicely sung Sops and Altos – now dance a little more. – Haha, yes!

Ensure full value on crotchets on “Glorias” – Exactly what we worked on on Wednesday...

You feel the excitement and energy in the full choir. – Yes, yes, yes! It looked like you were having fun, too, adding to that wonderful performance!

Support your Ab Sopranos at the Andante. – We’ve done a lot of work on well-supported high-singing... I’m going to put this down to a lack of warm up...

There is some lovely shaping coming from your conductor, ensure you follow every gesture. – What a lovely thing to say, haha!

Ensure a full forte chord at “Laudamus Te” – ATB, support the Sopranos here. – Absolutely, and I think we’ll just do a tiny bit of work on that on Wednesday, especially while we’re nice and fresh.

You build dynamics very successfully through the “Adoramus Te” section. – I though this was particularly exciting, and was a real pleasure to conduct this section in particular.

Give long notes their full value. (A small point) – Small but important...

An excellent accompanist! – I think we can all agree how lucky we are to have Bernard!

A rich and secure performance with lovely attention to detail. Good luck with your performance. Well done! – I’m so pleased with this everyone, well done indeed!

Well done all, and I look forward to seeing everyone on Wednesday.
– Ben