Conductor’s Notes – Wednesday 22nd November

Good evening friends, I hope you’re all well and had a lovely weekend.

Firstly, a huge thanks to those who sang on the Town Hall steps for the Chippy Christmas Lights Switch On. It was fantastic, we went down a treat, and you did not only the Choral Society but the town proud!

A quick update for this week, plus something for this weekend.

What We Did – Wednesday 22nd November

  • We made a start on our new pieces for the Spring Term – choral jazz!
  • We began the rehearsal by getting an overview of the Shearing Songs and Sonnets, briefly talking about each movement.
  • Then we sang through every movement, getting a feel for the changes in style between each movement, and how the jazz style comes through.
  • After this we looked at the Kyrie of the Will Todd, during which we saw a completely different type of jazz influence, talking about rhythm and extended harmony... more on this to come.

To catch up: If you missed this rehearsal, please give the Shearing Songs and Sonnets from Shakespeare a listen.

What We’ll Do – Wednesday 29th November

We’ll look at the first 3 movements of the Mass in Blue.

In the second half of the rehearsal we’ve got our AGM. It’s so important that you all come along to this, so please come to this rehearsal! I also can’t wait to update you with plans for the future, as things are progressing really well with the Commission and Youth Choir projects.

Marked Scores & Learning Guides

A little busy at the moment, so haven’t finished the marked score yet – I’ll be sharing this very soon, once the big concerts are out the way.

You can hear the pieces here:

There are a couple of places that offer learning guides for these songs. The ones I’ve found are:


Todd – OUP
Todd – Choralia

Christmas Lights Switch On

Very excitingly, we’ve been asked to sing at the Great Rollright Christmas Market on Saturday 2nd December. The timings are 10:30am arrival for free festive drink and cake/mince pie; 11am singing; all finished by 11:30am.

I asked for a show of hands from those doing the Christmas Lights Switch On, and a few people couldn’t make it. If you’re happy with the below carols, out of 100 Carols for Choirs (PDF below too), could you let me know on Wednesday. They’ll be collecting donations for the choir, so I know we’ll put on a good show for them... please do let me know on Wednesday if you can sing. Thank you!

O Come all ye faithful (p.226)
Away in a manger (p.61)
Hark the Herald Angels sing (p.107)
O Little town of Bethlehem (p.234)
God rest you merry, gentlemen (p.83)
It came upon a midnight clear (p.194)
While shepherds watched their flocks (p.378)
In the bleak mid-winter (p.173)
Ding Dong merrily on high (p.82)

Future Events

Two events on the same weekend: First is NC3 on Saturday 9th December. Those who went to Dartington with Peter will know Edward Caswell, and of course I encourage you to go and support our members who also sing in NC3. Secondly is Papagena, who are STUNNING!! Some of you may know Sarah Tenant-Flowers who sings with the group. A great weekend of concerts!

This Week’s listening

I thought I’d share with you a piece of music that I did at the weekend. Originally a ballet, we performed the suite for 13 instruments; it’s Aaron Copland’s amazing Appalachian Spring. A truly stunning piece of music, and certainly a tricky one to perform with limited rehearsal time, I hope you enjoy it! It features the famous Shaker tune ‘Simple Gifts’, or as we would know it ‘The Lord of the Dance’.

Listen to it HERE.

Thanks all, see you on the 29th November.