Conductor’s Notes – Wednesday 24th May

Good morning friends, I hope you’ve all had a lovely half-term break? We’ve been steaming ahead with wedding planning, and with 2 months to go today, it’s feeling awfully close! Regular notes below, but then some important information, so please make sure you read all of this post – much appreciated.

What we did on Wednesday 24th May

We began refining some of the harder, more complex numbers, beginning with Scarborough Fair, confirming how the melody passes between the parts, and how the harmonies fit in. We also did some good work on blend, so that less-important parts don’t stick out, such as the T/B final note. Then we looked at Greensleeves, making sure all notes were correct, beginning with the Bass harmony part at the start – please sing through this at home if you’re still not 100% happy with it. We also looked at the countermelody in the S/T part in bar 27 which is tricky, so have your wits about you with that one.

After the break we worked on the Cantique, which was sung beautifully; we’re now drawing out as much from the text as possible to help shape the music. Just remember to do as much with the colours on page 8. We made sure all of the fiddly notes were secure in bars 48 and 50. We ended with work on The Long Day Closes, keeping that beautiful blend across the choir.

What we will do on Wednesday 7th June

Back to it! We’ll start by running Greensleeves to see how much we can remember from before half term. Then we’ll split off into sectionals, with S/A working on The Lily and the Rose, and T/B working on The Sally Gardens (I’ve confirmed that the lower hall is back up and running, so thanks for your patience with this!)

After a break we’ll look at Fine Knacks for Ladies, It was a Lover, and finish with Sing we and chant it.

Recommended Recordings

It’s a bit of a bitty term, as I’m sure you’ve realised; a great programme formed of wonderful, but shorter, pieces. For this reason, and given some of the arrangements/editions we’re doing haven’t been recorded, the recommended recordings are meant to help you understand and get to grip with the pieces, not necessarily learn them note-by-note. They’re good to have on in the background, and to follow some of the text, melodies and rhythms, but they’re not always going to line up 100% accurately with your copies.

You can listen HERE.

Learning Resources

I’ve been able to find some learning resources for some of the pieces we’re doing, so do check them out below. I hope they’re helpful, and will aid your learning of the music over the term. Just click the title of the piece and it’ll take you to the link.

Fauré – Cantique de Jean Racine
Bruckner – Locus Iste
Tallis – If ye love me
Jones – Farewell, Dear Love
Morley – Sing we and chant it
Dowland – Fine knacks for ladies
Gibbons – Drop, drop slow tears
Gibbons – The Silver Swan
Mozart – Ave Verum
Elgar – As Torrents in Summer
Sullivan – The Long Day Closes
Chilcott – The Lily and the Rose (paid subscription only, sorry!)
Chilcott – O Danny Boy (paid subscription only, sorry!)
Isaac – Innsbruck


A few of you have asked for the translations for the pieces. Please see below. If it helps you to write in what certain words or phrases mean, please do!

Post-it note suggestions

I’ve now collated all of your Post-it note suggestions, and can say there’s an amazing mix! I look forward to learning the pieces suggested by you that I don’t know, and the whole process has been really interesting for me to see what you would like to do. I’ve not had time to comment on each piece, but I’d like to share with you your ideas.

Autumn 2023

This brings us neatly on to my announcement of Autumn 2023. The Programme is called Music for Remembrance and Peace, and will be on Saturday 18th November in St Mary’s Banbury. A full schedule is below, but the pieces we’ll be performing are: Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, and Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man! This will be with an orchestra, and the orchestra will also perform Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings.

Wednesday 6th – Rehearsal 1
Wednesday 13th – Rehearsal 2
Wednesday 20th – Rehearsal 3
Wednesday 27th – Rehearsal 4

Wednesday 4th – Rehearsal 5
Wednesday 11th – Rehearsal 6
Saturday 14th – All-Day Rehearsal*
*We’re hoping to run an All-Day rehearsal from 10:30-16:30 – more info soon.
Wednesday 18th – Rehearsal 7
Wednesday 25th – Rehearsal 8

Wednesday 1st – Rehearsal 9
Wednesday 8th – Rehearsal 10
Wednesday 15th – Rehearsal 11
Friday 17th – Rehearsal 12 (In Concert Venue)
Saturday 18th – Concert day
-Rehearsal: 14:00 – 17:00
-Concert: 19:30 – 21:30

It promises to be a very exciting term, and a very poignant and emotional concert, so get these dates in the diary now as it’s not one to miss!

A Spotify playlist is HERE, to whet your appetite!

There’s also a lot of other VERY exciting news I have to share with you, so don’t miss the rehearsal on Wednesday 14th to be the first to hear! (I will of course share it on Conductor’s Notes too, following the announcements)...


There’s two important ones to mention this week. The first is a reminder to sign up for the Mozart Requiem Come-and-Sing Day in memory of Shauni. She did so much for CNCS, the Music Festival, and music in the area, that even if you didn’t know her personally you’ve all felt the affects of the work she did. Come and celebrate her life and legacy by joining us for the Wednesday rehearsals on the 21st and 28th June, and 5th July, and the event itself on Sunday 9th July. Sign up HERE.

The other one is in preparation for the Autumn – the Standish Consort are running a Come-and-Sing of the Bernstein Chichester Psalms! Mark Wilson, their conductor, and I used to sing at Birmingham Cathedral together. I’m sure it’ll be a fun day, and a great introduction to the piece, if you don’t know it. It’s on Saturday 1st July, and you can check it out HERE.

This Week’s listening

Two things I want you to listen to – some of the music for this concert, and then go and listen to the Autumn programme, all above. Enjoy!

See you on Wednesday 7th.