Pre-Start Conductor’s Notes

Good morning friends, I hope you’re well and have had a good start to the week. It’s been all go here, and we’ve had a really great start to the term, covering all the music (some of it already in good detail) in the first 2 weeks!

What we did – Wednesdays 17th & 24th April

In the first 2 rehearsals we saw all of the music, so the most important thing to do, if you missed either, is to sing through the pieces with a recording, and get used to how they’re structured.

  • In week 1 we went through the booklet, looking at some of the new pieces, and understanding how they work. Particular ones to note are Parratt Give Rest, O Christ, which asks for a flowing, chant-like movement; Cusins Of Old Sat Freedom, where we had some awkward key changes; and the psalm settings in A Short Requiem by Walford Davies.
  • In the psalms, we learnt how to read the chant and how it related to the text, but we also began to feel it though it was speech – I’ve written out the ‘rhythms’ of the text to help, but it’s a fun challenge to be able to use the psalm as written.
  • In week 2 we sang through the Elgar From the Bavarian Highlands, getting to grips with all the styles and really beginning to put in some good detail from the start! Elgar is one of the first major composers to include EVERY detail in his music, so we must follow it all!

To catch up: If you missed these rehearsals, please sing through as much of the music as possible at home.

What we’ll do – Wednesday 1st May

Goodness me, May already!

We’ll start with My Guardian Angel by Weir, and then we’ll look at The Marksmen, and bash through some notes and entries in that. After the break we’ll look at Of Old Sat Freedom, and end with the 1st and 2nd movements of the Elgar, and finish with a sing through of Parsons’s Ave Maria as a whole choir.

I’ve been asking for volunteers for a small semi-chorus to perform the Parsons Ave Maria, and to support the audience in the Weir. We’ve had a good number of volunteers, but it’s not too late to join.

We’ll spend 15 minutes after the rehearsal (and our whole-choir run through) going through this, so thank you for staying on.

I’ve got the below people down to sing – apologies if I’ve missed anyone, please do drop me an email and I’ll update it!


Juliet W
Katie N
Catherine W
Sian T
Rachel S

Kipper C
Caroline S-B
Corinne T
David N
Susannah H
Livi M
Emma C
Deborah J
Bobbie K

Ruth N
Richard T
Gareth W

Jonathan T
John N
Eric C
Callum S

Marked Scores

You’ll notice all the markings are in the booklet for you, so you only need to mark up the Elgar!
I’ve tried to help with the number of markings by putting ‘essentials’ in red, and ‘desirables’ in blue.
Thank you for putting the markings in, it really does help with rehearsals.

A lot of learning guides for this concert are available online.

From the Bavarian Highlands (and a lot of the other music) is available FREE OF CHARGE on John Fletcher Music, HERE.

As always I try to provide good recordings for you to listen to to help with the learning.

Most of the music can be found on my Spotify playlist HERE.

If you don’t like Spotify, you can find all of the music on YouTube, including a good recording of the Elgar (accompanied by orchestra) HERE.

Cotswold Youth Choir

We’ve had our first two rehearsals, but it would be great to get more kids along – please keep publicising this!

Future Events

I’m running a G&S Come-and-Sing with the Cumnor Choral Society in a few weeks! It’ll be a great day, and would be lovely to see some Chippy friends there!

This Week’s listening

Last night I played in a chamber concert in Oxford – it was great! The piece I was in was Beethoven’s Octet for Winds and it’s absolutely fiendish in places, especially on modern instruments. Have fun listening to the piece HERE.

See you all on Wednesday 1st May!