Conductor’s Notes – Wednesday 19th October

Hello everyone! I hope you’ve all had a lovely half term break, and have enjoyed the time off – I’ve used it to catch up on admin, practice, and much-needed wedding planning.

What we did on Wednesday 19th October

We began with some excellent work on the Gloria from the Corp, working on the main melodies and how the harmony parts fit in around this. There are some really strange key changes, such as the lead into bar 50, so it might just be worth a recap of some of those ‘problem-areas’ in particular. Beautiful singing though, especially at bar 59 in the Tenors and Basses, and then 66 with the Sopranos and Altos.
We then did some really detailed and thorough work on the Sanctus, understanding where the strange harmonies take us, and how our part fits in with this. This is by far the hardest section to ‘feel’ so well done bashing through it. The join into bar 47 ended up really smoothly (well done Altos) but I must commend you all on the opening. It’s really, really worth singing it along with the recording, or with the learning tracks, just to keep it fresh in your minds and to be able to remember where it’s all going – it’s so fiddly!
Finally, we ended with the opening of the Vaughan Williams, ensuring we were always producing a wonderful sound, both in our ‘hum’ and when we open up into the broader sound. We spoke about opening up our mouths when we approach the higher sections, allowing us to support and project our voices a little easier, and when we did this the sound was completely transformed.

What we will do on Wednesday 2nd November

Argh! November already! Well, I guess it’s time to delve into 100 Carols for Choirs...
We’ll start the rehearsal with the jolly (ha!) Coventry Carol (page 212 in 100 Carols for Choirs), then move on to Good King Wenceslas (p.102) and In the bleak mid-winter (p.173). After this we’ll sing Ding dong! (page 82), Hark the Herald (p.107) and Past three a clock (p.269).
We’ll take a break and then look at the beginning of the Credo in the Corp.
Back to 100 Carols for Choirs with O come, O come, Emmanuel (p.230), Silent Night (p.304) and we’ll finish with Jingle Bells (p.73).
Wow, lot’s to get through, so we’ll work very efficiently!

Marked Scores

Here are all of the Marked Scores you’ll need for this term. As I’ve said before, it’s so helpful with everyone doing these markings – such as putting a breath in the right place – it saves us so much precious rehearsal time as I don’t need to stop to tell you what to do. I’m hoping you’ve all had a chance to do this before our rehearsal on the 2nd November, as most of you have had your copies for 4 weeks now... make sure you’re not the person who breathes or puts a consonant in the wrong place!

Playlist for Christmas

The Spotify playlist is designed to help you become more familiar with the programme, and to help you learn the music over the term. You can listen to it HERE.

If you’re new to Spotify, you can sign up really easily for a FREE(!) account, and listen to the playlist.

Learning Resources

As well as the Spotify Playlist above, there are a couple of helpful learning resources for our two main works in the programme:

John Fletcher Music A Christmas Mass
This is a paid-for site, but certainly a useful one, and one of the only places you can find rehearsal tracks for the Corp. Worth investing in if you know you might need the help with note-learning outside of rehearsals.

Choralia – Fantasia on Christmas Carols
It’s very, very rough and ready, but it might help in learning the notes... take it with a pinch of salt...

RFMS Archives – Music from 100 Carols for Choirs
Susannah very kindly shared with me this website which has all of the guide tracks on for everything in 100 Carols for Choirs! Again, rough and ready, but hopefully it’ll help with the learning of notes!

Events Coming Up

Three events to share:

1) The concert shared by Fran, of the Beethoven and Brahms Violin Sonatas, as part of the CRAG concerts. It’s on the 6th November and the poster is below.

2) The workshop shared by Helen:
The Joy of Singing – “A singing workshop using the science of breathwork, posture and vocal techniques.” The posters are up around the town, it’s on Friday 11th Nov 9:30am – 1:30pm. Contact details are: OR 07721 869361.

3) Our very own Chair, Eric, is hosting some local artists in his barn. It would be great for everyone to support them by going along. Go check it out on the 25th Nov (poster below).

This Week’s listening

... is actually something some of you might remember. With the start of our work in 100 Carols for Choirs, specifically the Coventry Carol, I was delight when Eric shared with me the recording of the Tenors and Basses singing an arrangement of the carol at last year’s Christmas concert. I love it, and hope to recreate some of the magic with this year’s concert.

You can hear it here:

See you all on Wednesday 2nd.
– Ben