My thanks to Bernard for taking last week’s rehearsal. I received a fulsome and encouraging report of the evening and it sounds like you made much progress. He highlighted the challenge that we are discovering with the Britten and that is the ‘bitty’ nature of the music, being in short sections, with the possible exception of Serve the faith..... Compare that with the Messiah choruses, or the Rossini longer movements, in which the melodies hang around and develop, so you ‘stay in the zone’ for longer. The tactic for mastering this is to listen to the Britten so much and sing it frequently, so it becomes familiar, becomes so ‘sticky’ that it sticks.

Last week’s Messiah choruses were less secure than I had imagined so we won’t neglect or consider them an ‘afterthought’. From now on they will get equal billing with Britten in rehearsal and likewise in your practice at home, please.

This is the opportune moment to mention that we will add some Christmas music to the concert too, just a few simple pieces, to be issued later in the term.

What we will do on 20.10.21 and 27.10.21 – Conductor auditions – Starting at 6.00

Eric has written to everyone with the arrangements and explained what is required of everyone involved. Please treat them as rehearsals with a guest conductor! Your feedback is crucial and will form part of the decision-making. You might ask, how is it possible to rehearse and at the same time assess a conductor’s effectiveness and whether you could work with them regularly? It’s a tough call, particularly for something so personal and bound up with your own feelings of satisfaction, enjoyment, and pleasurable achievements. I recommend ‘considered gut instinct’.

Here’s the considered bit – keep these at the end of your antennae:

Are you engaged and enthused?

Are you set any expectations and are you helped to improve – are you learning?

Do you sense any improvement in your singing over the (short) 45 min session?

Based on this small sample, could you work with this person every week?

After each audition, don’t think too much, rely on your gut feeling at this stage and trust yourself that you have sung with enough conductors to know what’s right. I trust you – good luck, have fun.

Music extracts for the auditions:

Britten – Movements 1 and 8

Messiah – Worthy is the Lamb (p217)

Peter