Conductor’s Notes – Wednesday 25th October

Hello everyone, I’m so sorry for the delay in these Notes – I know that not having them until the rehearsal day really isn’t ideal, but they completely slipped my mind with the end of half term.
A brief section on what we did and what we will do, and I’ll give a brief summary of what I said in last week’s rehearsal regarding the exciting future projects we’ve got going on.

What We Did – Wednesday 25th October

  • We started with Angry Flames, building from last week’s rehearsal and securing the notes. Have confidence with these, even if you’re not 100% on the note.
  • We ran the second half of the piece, from Angry Flames to the end. Some very good things here.
  • We fixed the notes on pages 74 and 75.
  • We made the Angus Dei smoother by breathing into the space more. S/T, we made sure we came in with confidence at Letter A.
  • We corrected the rhythm on page 89 – short in the second bar, then longer in bar 58.
  • We built confidence in the last movement, especially at the end in keeping the moving parts smooth and flowing.
  • After the break we did sectional work on the below sections:
    • Tenors and Basses (Bernstein only)
      • Movement 1, bars 9-10
      • Movement 1, bars 46-47
      • Movement 2, bars 80-92
      • Movement 2, bars 99-102
    • Sopranos and Altos
      • Bernstein Movement 1, bars 22-28
      • Bernstein Movement 1, bars 40-46
      • Bernstein Movement 2, bars 102-119
      • Jenkins, Movement 7, Letter C
  • We ended the rehearsal by singing through a bit of the first movement of the Bernstein.

To catch up: If you missed this rehearsal, please sing through the latter half of the Armed Man and practice those short sections in the Bernstein listed above.

What We’ll Do – Wednesday 1st November

We’ll start with the Kyrie from the Armed Man, rehearsing in detail letter F. After this we’ll run the first half of the Armed Man, beginning through to Angry Flames. We’ll then spend some time working on sections of this.

After the break we’ll look at Bernstein movements 1 & 2.

Marked Scores

Below are two scores where I’ve outlined the beats and subdivisions of the beats, all to help with our counting and rhythm. Also below is a resource prepared by Rowena which shows how rhythms are broken down, also to help in counting (we’ll do more of this in the Theory Workshops in the new year).

Learning Aids (Updated)

Tenors and Basses, below are some speaking guides to help with the rhythms in the second movement. Please practice these slowly, getting the words under your teeth, and then speed it up at home, using a metronome. Please follow the link to this HERE!

Spotify playlist is HERE.

Choralia links are:
Chichester Psalms
The Armed Man

CyberBass has the Bernstein on it, so you may find it useful HERE.

Eric has sent round the link I provided with all of the speaking guides on. Please do use these as they are excellent!


The poster is below for you to share, and do make sure you take physical copies and plaster them round the local area.

Share the link to the tickets and encourage a huge audience for this one; it’s going to be so special! The link is HERE.

Update on future projects

Following on from what I spoke about on Wednesday 25th, this is a very exciting time for the choir!

We’ve done a slight reshuffle of concerts, so we’ll be performing Will Todd’s Mass in Blue in the Spring term, and have delayed our performance of the Bach St John Passion until 2024. We also look forward to our Christmas Come-and-Sing on Sunday 17th December, and a couple of theory workshops in the spring.

I’m in talks with Hazel Gould (librettist) and Ben Parry (composer) about our 155th Anniversary Commission project, which is very exciting!

We’re planning to launch our Youth Choir next year, beginning with a series of workshops. We’ll keep you all updated on this project as things happen.

Thank you all for your support – I feel that these exciting steps are key to our development as a choir, and will support music and music-making for the next 150 years!

Other Events

Two concerts for you to take a look at this week.
1) Our friends at the Cherwell Choral Society have their autumn concert, also accompanied by the Adderbury Ensemble. Do go and support them this Saturday.
2) My Oxford chamber choir, newCHOIR, have their concert on Saturday 11th. A few members of CNCS sing in this too, so we’d all appreciate seeing some friendly faces in the audience there.

This Week’s listening

In preparation for next year, and our newly rejigged concert, I want to share with you the first movement (Kyrie) of Will Todd’s Mass in Blue. We’re so lucky that our very own Karen Sharp will be leading her quartet in accompanying us for this!

Have a listen HERE.

Thanks all, see you later!