Conductor’s Notes – Wednesday 23rd November

Thank you all for a good rehearsal and an effective AGM – it was certainly a good week.

What we did on Wednesday 23rd November

A great start to the opening of Fantasia on Christmas Carols, doing some brilliant work on ensemble through this tricky section. We need to be aware of what Charlie will do, how he’ll sing it, and being ready with page turns – I’ll follow Charlie, you just need to watch me, haha! I’ll also be really clear with the entries at Letter G, so be ready for where you come in. After this we did the opening of the Sanctus – very well done. After about 5 minutes of reminding ourselves of it, it was a really solid opening and I’m very pleased with how it sounded by the end of the rehearsal... “File-Save” please!
We ended with Jingle Bells, which was very good! A few note-problems, so we fixed those (such as Basses in bars 15 & 16), but the main thing we worked on was performance; good quality singing, but still sounding fun and exciting.

What we will do on Wednesday 30th November

*A reminder that we’ll be rehearsing in ST MARY’S CHURCH – Not the Methodist Church. This is only for this week.

We’ll warm up with In the bleak mid-winter, then split up into sectionals with S/A staying in the church with Rowena and T/B coming to the Parish Room with me. We’ll do the Agnus Dei and Gloria from the Corp, and after the break we’ll do from Letter R in the Fantasia on Christmas Carols. In the last 25 minutes we’ll come back together in the church and have a tutti on those sections we’ve been working on.

It’s the final push towards the concert now, so please do come prepared with the bits we’ll be looking at.

Marked Scores

Please take the time to put the markings in. Thank you so much to everyone who has already done so. It’s so worth the time, as it not only makes the rehearsals more efficient and the quality better, but it helps you learn it and become more familiar with the music.

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!


As you’ll have seen last week, we have posters and fliers available! Take these and disperse them everywhere! Also, share the one below on social media and online.
Charlotte has also set up the Facebook event, so share that too if you’re on Facebook.

AGM Feedback

As I said, it was a brilliant AGM, and I really enjoyed sharing some exciting news with you all. Eric will be sending out his and my report in the next couple of days, and they’ll be shared publicly on here next week. In the meantime, a little summary from me about the important dates and notes for the future:


Sunday 11th December ’22 afternoon – Christmas in Chippy – singing carols in the town centre.

Saturday 7th January ’23 – Breathing Workshop.

Saturday 11th March ’23 – Chipping Norton Music Festival – singing a bit from our Brahms Requiem concert.

Sunday 26th March ’23 – Brahms Requiem concert at St Mary’s Church, Banbury.

Saturday 17th June ’23 – Summer Concert at St Mary’s Church, Chipping Norton – singing madrigals, folk and part songs.

Sunday 9th July ’23 – Shauni Sing Day – Singing the Mozart Requiem in memory of Shauni.

*More details for all of these will be provided soon.

155th Anniversary and Commission

As I said, this year is our 150th Anniversary – we discovered this too late to do anything major to celebrate. Instead, we’ll be working towards a commission for our 155th Anniversary in 2027. We’d love to hear your ideas, so please do share composer text or theme suggestions with us, as we’d love for it to be a collaborative event. Please do email myself or Eric, or write your thoughts down and I’ll collect them at the end of a rehearsal.

Other Forthcoming Events

Quite a lot on this week, with all posters below... here we go:

1) North Cotswold Chamber Choir (NC3) have their concert “Sweet was the song” on Saturday 3rd at 4:30pm at St Nicholas Church, Chadlington. It looks like a lovely programme of carols, wassails and lullabies, with our brilliant former accompanist Bernard West playing. Given its earlier time... you might be able to make this one and either one of the next two;

2) Cherwell Choral Society have their concert on Saturday 3rd at 7:30pm at Deddington Parish Church. they’ll be joined for their performance of Handel’s Messiah by the incredible Adderbury Ensemble – the group we worked with in Spring.

3) Oxford Bach Choir have their Vaughan Williams-fest with Dona Nobis Pacem, Sancta Civitas and Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis. It’s in the beautiful Sheldonian in Oxford, and is also on Saturday 3rd at 7:30pm.

4) On Sunday(!) 4th at 3pm, the CRAG Sunday Concert is the Somerville College Choir performing Music for Advent. At the Memorial Hall in Charlbury, the Charlbury Refugee Action Group is a great organisation, so go along and support this concert.

This Week’s Listening

Another interesting piece to listen to this week; a piece composed by a friend for the NYCGB Fellowship and Young Composers programme. This is Derri Joseph Lewis’s Something Exciting, which is a “vivid autobiographical testimony to the complex experience of coming out to parents.” Derri was recently nominated for an Ivors Award for this work, and has recently been signed by the publishers Stainer & Bell. You can read more about it HERE.

In a gratuitous self-promotion, you can hear Something Exciting sung by yours truly as part of the NYCGB Fellowship Showcase at the start of this year. Listen HERE.

See you on Wednesday 30th.
– Ben