Pre-Concert Conductor’s Notes

Thank you for your hard work this term – some of you I know have been working hard continuously since the start of October, and others have taken the ‘student-exam-approach’... cram as hard as possible at the last minute. I’m sorry to have been a little more stern than normal in Wednesday’s rehearsal, but given how close we are to concert day I need to know you’re all putting in the work at home to ensure the success of the concert. For this time you’re putting in, I’m so grateful.

What we did on Wednesday 14th December

We started with Good King Wenceslas – it was great to solidify it all, and we worked fairly efficiently in clarifying notes and giving phrases direction. After this we spent some time on the Gloria, going through and making sure each section was accurate. The opening got there once we were reminded (please ensure you know how it goes – it may be worth writing in what each carol is). It’s all about confidence and energy. Altos in particular, the moment you committed to pages 7 and 8, it transformed the sound.
After the break we finished the Gloria and then worked on the Credo from page 18. Similarly to the first half, a lot of this was spent on building confidence, which can be done by you at home by listening to the piece. Just 2 more days and you never have to hear it again! We finished with the Fantasia on Christmas Carols from Letter H; a very good start Tenors and Basses, just remember the small details with this. Keep the energy and ‘buzz’ going through the longer phrases, such as Letters N and P. I want to see everyone’s eyes at Letter U, so we can keep the excitement going together. A beautiful ending – sing it like that (if not even better) in the concert, and I’ll be a very happy man.

It’s the last time I need to say this... LISTEN TO THE CORP! Familiarising yourselves with the piece is vital. Know what’s coming up next, so we can transition straight into it.

I think many of us found that getting our head around the text with the music is one of the hardest things, but you can practice this by listening to it at home, and speaking through the text, if not singing.

Friday 16th December

This is our first rehearsal in the venue (St Mary’s Church, Chippy), as it’ll be for the concert. Please arrive for a prompt 19:30 start, which means getting there for 19:15 latest.

We’ll spend this rehearsal doing the main bulk of the programme, including the Fantasia, the Gloria, the Credo, the Sanctus, and ending with Hark! the Herald-Angels.

As you’ll notice, we won’t have the time or ability to note-bash. Please come prepared as though this were the concert, so we’re able to get used to the space, rather than focusing on getting the notes right.

Saturday 17th December

This is it... concert day, wahey! All the information is below, and hopefully I’ve not missed anything.

Rehearsal time: 13:45-17:00 – ‘baton down’ at 14:00, so make sure you’re there with time to spare.
Concert: 19:10 reconvene for a 19:20 warm up in the parish rooms, and a 19:30 concert.

St Mary’s Church, Chipping Norton.
Please note that parking by the church is limited, and is therefore reserved for those who are less mobile. Please make sure that when you park by the church, or nearby, wheelchairs can still get through and onto the paths.

Dressing Rooms
We’ll have the Parish Rooms, which will be locked when unoccupied, so we can change and leave everything in there while we sing. Please only take what is necessary onto stage. (NB – handbags are not necessary).

Concert Dress
Either ALL BLACK or DINNER JACKETS (black shoes, black trousers, white shirt, black jacket, black bow tie). We’ll make sure the heating is on, but it’ll likely still be cold outside, so make sure you’re wearing layers, and aren’t showing too much skin. Please also wear things like black socks or tights – it can be quite noticeable if you wear bright pink…

Running Order
This has caused a bit of confusion, and I completely apologise for this. Originally I hadn’t factored in some fabulous solos from Bernard on the organ, so to accommodate these I’ve just slightly rejigged the order of the second half. Please see below, and make sure the ‘To page...’ markings in your copies are right.

A Christmas Mass
– Interval of 30 mins (mince pies and mulled wine) –
O come, O come, Emmanuel (page 230)*
Past three a clock (page 269)
Coventry Carol (page 212)
Organ Solo
Fantasia on Christmas Carols
Christmas Reading
Good King Wenceslas (page 102)*
Silent Night (page 304)
In the bleak mid-winter (page 173)
Organ Solo
Ding dong! merrily on high (page 82)
Hark! the herald-angels sing (page 107)*
Jingle Bells (page 73)**

* Audience participation
** Unpublished encore – they’ll love the concert so much the cheer for more... but we’ll keep this a secret until the night!

You’ll be given a ‘running order’ on the day, to help with the navigation of music.

If you know you’re unable to make the Friday rehearsal or, in the exceptional case, the Saturday rehearsal, please do let Mark know so we can make sure a seat is left out for you.

That’s all folks, see you all on Friday 16th!
– Ben