Conductor’s Notes – Wednesday 30th November

Huge apologies for the delay in getting these notes out to you all; a very busy weekend of barbershop rehearsals for a few concerts next year (including one on Sunday 12th March at the Chipping Norton Music Festival...!)
Anyway, a lot to be getting on with, so please read carefully.

What we did on Wednesday 30th November

Firstly, a huge thank you for making the best out of the situation at the Church. Their heating system hadn’t activated, so it left us in the cold for a while when in the main church. The other problem with this space if being so distant from each other, so thank you for embracing these challenges. It’ll all be a lot easier in the concert when the church is warm and we’re closer together.

We started with In the bleak mid-winter, which went very well. A reminder that T/B sing the melody in verse 3, and S/A sing the melody in verse 4. Good work from all parts on the Agnus Dei of the Corp – the runs on pages 34 and 35 are tricky, so keep them light and energetic. A good start on the Gloria too.
After the break we recapped from page 12 in the Vaughan Williams, ensuring notes are accurate, rhythms were right, and the blend was good. Again, good work on this.
As always, a huge thank you to Rowena for leading the sectionals, particularly in the more challenging situation presented by the church.

I must say now – please come prepared. For some of you this is learning the notes. For others, it’s simply listening to the music to keep it fresh in your mind. We’ve all put in so much work to this, so it’s now the final push to make it a brilliant concert. Put in the time at home.

The best thing you can do is to LISTEN TO THE CORP! Familiarising yourselves with the piece is vital. The introduction isn’t always the same as what you sing. Know the difference and keep listening to it!

What we will do on Wednesday 7th December

Oh my goodness, December already... I can’t believe it’s almost been a whole year I’ve been with you all!
Back to the Methodist Church this week.

We’ll start with Silent Night, and then move on to Ding Dong! merrily. Then we’ll run the Agnus Dei from last week as well as the Sanctus and Benedictus.
After the break we’ll look at pages 21-23 in the Corp (the Credo) and then pages 10-13 of the Corp (the Gloria). If we have time, we’ll finish with a recap of Letter H – End of the Vaughan Williams.

As you can see, a lot to get through. I appreciate that these notes are out later than the weekend, so you may not have time to look at this all, but please just keep listening to the pieces at the very minimum. We don’t have time to ‘remind ourselves of how it goes’ in the rehearsal.

Marked Scores

If these aren’t in your copies by now I think I’ll cry...

Playlist for Christmas

It’s free to sign up... Listen, listen, listen! You can listen to it HERE.

As well as Spotify being free, you can find the Corp on YouTube too... listen HERE – no reason not to keep it fresh in the mind!

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!

Christmas in Chippy

We’ll be singing on Sunday 11th December for the Christmas in Chippy event. Eric will be sending an email round shortly with all of the details you need to know, but the main things are below:

Rehearsal: 14:00 – 15:30
Performance: 16:30 – 17:00

Rehearsal: St Mary’s Church, Chipping Norton
Performance: Main Stage in the Town Centre

All music will be from 100 Carols for Choirs. The running order is below:

Once in Royal David’s City (Page 260) – Verses 1, 2, 5 & 6 with descant
Past three o clock (Page 269) – Verses 1, 2, 6, 7, 8
O come, O come, Emmanuel (Page 230) – Verses 1-5
Coventry Carol (Page 212) – Verses 1-3
O come, all ye faithful (Page 226) – Verses 1, 2 & 6 with descant
Away in a Manger (Page 61) – Verses 1-3
In the bleak midwinter (Page 173) – Verses 1, 2 & 5
O Little Town of Bethlehem (Page 234) – Verses 1, 3 & 4 with descant
Ding Dong! merrily on high (Page 82) – Verses 1-3
Hark the Herald (Page 107) – Verses 1-3 with descant
Jingle Bells (Page 73)

Susannah tells me that only 29 people have signed up. Please do consider supporting this event, especially as it’s brilliant publicity for our Christmas Concert! We currently have: 6 Sops, 13 Altos, 4 Tenors and 6 Basses – a few more on each part would do wonders, so let’s give a really good representation of the choir on Sunday 11th!
I’ll remind you all of this on Wednesday.

Other Forthcoming Events

Two concerts this weekend, both on Saturday, so you have a choice of which one to go to.

1) newChoir have their Christmas concert, including the Vaughan Williams Fantasia sung by Charlie Baigent. If you’d like to come and hear a different interpretation of this piece, and want to support the 3 members of CNCS who sing with newChoir, please do come and support us.

2) Alternatively, Banbury Symphony Orchestra have their Christmas concert, featuring carols and family favourites.

This Week’s Listening

Inspired by my heavy barbershop weekend, I’d like to share with you a short part of a song called a tag. It’s normally the end of a song, or can be a stand alone ‘snippet’, and their normally incredibly beautiful or very exciting and intense. This is the former, lasting only 40 seconds. It’s a delight to sing, and I hope you agree it’s a delight to listen to. You can hear it HERE.

See you on Wednesday 7th!
– Ben