Pre-Start-Of-Term Conductor’s Notes

Hello all! It’s been quite a while since I last posted on here, and a lot has happened since. Firstly, I hope you’re all well and have had a lovely summer – it’s not always been the warmest or driest, but it’s certainly been a good one. Secondly, welcome if you’re new to the choir this term; this is where you’ll get all of your between-rehearsal information from me, and we look forward to singing with you. Finally, there’s lots of stuff below, so please do read through carefully.

Wedding & Honeymoon

What an absolutely incredible day, it was really very special indeed! Lots of great music, food, drinking, and especially friends and family. We’re so grateful for the lovely messages we received, and know that you were all thinking of us on our big day. A few photos for you below – I’ll bore you with them all in the pub if you ask!

Most importantly, we’d like to say an enormous thank you for the very generous gift you gave us! The boat trip during our honeymoon to Skye was unforgettable; such beautiful scenery, stunning food and drink, and a really fun day out that we’d never have thought of treating ourselves to. Again, pictures below – unfortunately no dolphins or whales on that trip, but seals, sea eagles, and a distillery tour!

The rest of your incredibly kind present has also been put to good use. For those of you who don’t know, we’ve just moved down to Chippy, and we thought of some lovely ways to spend your donations to our wedding/house fund, including on some gorgeous art from Skye. It really does feel like the perfect way to come back from a perfect honeymoon!

First Rehearsal Back

Term is nigh, and we’re all set to begin rehearsing our new programme. The first rehearsal is Wednesday 6th September, 19:30-21:30 in the Chippy Town Hall. Music will be handed out before the start of the rehearsal, so please do try to get there early so we can kick the term off promptly.

The other important thing we’ll do at the first rehearsal is remind you all/introduce our Section Reps. These guys are brilliant, and you can talk to them about anything – they’ll also be communicating with you about certain things across the term and year. A reminder that they are:
Sop – Sian
Alto – David
Tenor – Ruth
Bass – Martin

This Term’s Dates

A reminder that the concert is Saturday 18th November at St Mary’s Church, Banbury. The afternoon rehearsal with the orchestra is at 14:00-17:00, leaving us plenty of time for dinner.

There’ll also be the standard dress rehearsal on the evening of Friday 17th November, 19:30-21:30.

We’ve planned a Saturday rehearsal with a come-and-share lunch this term too. It’s on Saturday 30th September, 10:30-16:30, in the Chippy Town Hall, and will be a really important rehearsal, so please put this in your diaries!

All details for the project are below.

Marked Scores

The marked scores for the term are here. As always, I know you all understand the amount of time that goes in to learning, making decisions, and then marking up these scores, and I’m so grateful that you all put the markings in. I’ve tried to keep it as simple as possible to save you time in marking your copies, so please do try to get these in as soon as possible so we can make excellent progress in these rehearsals.

Learning Aids

As I try to do for each term, I’ve provided some learning aids for our programme this term. You can hear the full playlist on Spotify HERE.

As both the Bernstein and Jenkins are still in copyright, practice files are hard to come by free of charge. However, there are the ever-delightfully tinny Choralia links below:
Chichester Psalms
The Armed Man

I believe John Fletcher has rehearsal files for both works on his site, but those are both subscription-only.

We’ll be doing a lot of pronunciation work on the Chichester Psalms over the next couple of months as it’s in Hebrew. Please don’t let this scare you, it’s not too difficult. If you want to get ahead of the game, there are a few pronunciation guides on YouTube, including THIS.
There are even a few helpful recordings such as THIS, for the 3rd movement, where the parts are sung individually.

There’ll be lots of help for this term, but do feel free to do your own exploration of these pieces.

Other Dates For This Season

So you’ve got a heads-up of the entire year, the dates below are what we’ve got confirmed in the diary. We’ll be sharing more detailed information as things draw nearer and plans become clearer, but for now please do put these in your diaries.

Autumn ’23
Music: Chichester Psalms & The Armed Man.
Rehearsals start – Wednesday 6th September.
Saturday rehearsal – 30th September, 10:30-16:30.
Friday rehearsal – 17th November, 19:30-21:30.
Saturday rehearsal & concert – 18th November, 14:00-17:00. Concert 19:30-21:45.

Christmas ’23
Music: Christmas favourites.
Weekly rehearsals for Spring term – Wednesday Nov 22nd to 13th December.
Christmas Come-and-Sing – Sunday 17th December, 10:30-17:30.

Spring ’24
Music: Bach’s John Passion.
Rehearsals start -Wednesday 10th January.
Friday rehearsal – 22nd March, 19:30-21:30.
Sunday rehearsal & concert – 24th March, 14:00-17:00. Concert 19:30-22:00.

Summer ’24
Music: Choral jazz.
Rehearsals start – Wednesday 17th April.
Friday rehearsal – 14th June, 19:30-21:30.
Saturday rehearsal & concert – 15th June, 14:00-17:00. Concert 19:30-21:30.

We’re also hoping to run a couple of workshops, focussing on music theory. More on these will be available soon, but they’ll likely be on a Saturday in 2024.

Commission Comments

We’re still open for comments on text to use for the libretto for the commission to celebrate our 155th anniversary! We’ve already had a few people contact us or write down their thoughts, but we want you all to email me or Eric with:

– Any Local poems that you find interesting/exciting/mean something to you and are about our lovely part of the world.
– Your thoughts on what the choir, singing, music, and the Chipping Norton and District area means to you.

Forthcoming Events

A few events to share with you, plenty of amazing opportunities in the area!

  1. The Burford Singers are holding a Come-and-Sing Carmina Burana on Saturday 16th September. It’s an epic piece, and a great chance to learn it in a day. Check it out HERE.
  2. Cello’s Angels are playing at the Chippy Town Hall on Sunday 3rd September. Kath, who shared the poster below with me, played for the recent Mozart Requiem Sing-Day we did in memory of Shauni. I’d highly recommend going to this! Poster below.
  3. Oxford Orpheus are having some great workshops, their first at the end of September. Do check out the poster – you may recognise the odd thing or two...

This Week’s listening

I’m off to Germany this weekend to record a CD – we’ve also got a concert on Friday afternoon, and one of the pieces is just stunning; it’s the third movement from Poulenc’s Quatre petites prières de Saint François d’Assise (Four small prayers of Saint Francis of Assisi) – “Seigneur, je vous en prie”. If you’re interested in finding out more about these pieces, you can read about them here.

Although I’m sharing just the third movement here, I’d highly recommend listening to all four movements, they’re very short. You can hear it HERE.

I’m really looking forward to seeing you all on the 6th September!