Summer Conductor’s Notes

Greetings from Giggleswick (is what I wrote when I drafted these notes a couple of weeks ago when I was staffing the NYCGB Boys’ Choir course)! However, I’m still in Yorkshire but am now sitting in the garden in lovely Ripon enjoying the gorgeous weather. I hope you’re all well and are having a great summer break. Lots to cover in these notes about what we’ve done, and what we’ll be doing in the future, so please read carefully.

Sing Day Success

Firstly, a huge thank you and congratulations for such a successful Sing Day on the 23rd July! We had 116 people sing on the day, about half of whom weren’t already members of CNCS. 11 people have now signed up to join us in September – I couldn’t be more proud of how wonderfully warm and welcoming this group is!

I hope you all enjoyed the day as much as I did. It was a pleasure introducing people to the piece, or shedding a new light on it for those who had sung it before. I’ve had so much great feedback from people saying how much they enjoyed the day, the singing experience, and the whole community feel of the day. Our soloists, Harriet Smith and Eoin Funnell, were also delighted to have joined you all for the day, and said what a privilege it was to sing with you all in such a fun day. Thank you everyone!

It goes without saying that the day wouldn’t have been half the success it was without the hard work, time and dedication the committee and numerous volunteers put in! A massive thank you to everyone who worked so diligently behind the scenes making my job of focussing on the music so easy! A huge thank you to Rowena, whose playing was exceptional and supported the day so brilliantly. And a special thanks in particular to Kate, Annabel and Mark for all the exceptional catering during and after, and of course to all those who brought in cakes.

We’ve had lots of requests to do more Sing Days soon, so stay tuned as we’ll definitely be planning more in the future.

Next Season

Following our recent committee meeting and having met with the Section Reps (more on that below), I’m so pleased to announce our forthcoming ‘22/’23 season. While the details are still a bit ‘rough around the edges’, programmes and concert dates are all confirmed, so please put them all in your diaries and start getting excited!
(Click on the piece to hear it)

Christmas ’22
Programme: Corp’s A Christmas Mass, Vaughan Williams Fantasia on Christmas Carols, and other favourites from 100 Carols for Choirs.
Term dates: Wednesday 7th September – Friday 16th December 2022.
Concert: Saturday 17th December ’22 @ St Mary’s Church, Chipping Norton.

Spring ’23
Programme: Brahms’s Ein Deutsches Requiem.
Term dates: Wednesday 4th January – Friday 31st March 2023.
Concert: Saturday 1st April ’23 @ St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Deddington.

Summer ’23
Programme: A selection of Madrigals, Part Songs, and Folk Songs. Specific pieces to be shared soon.
Term dates: Wednesday 19th April – Friday 16th June 2023.
Concert: Saturday 17th June ’23 @ St Mary’s Church, Chipping Norton.

Please note that specific rehearsal dates, times, locations, etc. will be shared with the choir for each term.

Next Term

This brings us neatly on to this Autumn term, starting on September 7th. Rowena pointed out that it’s way too early to be singing Christmas music – I completely agree! So, we’ll be making a start on the Brahms Requiem, before looking at the Christmas programme.

In September we’ll break the back of the Brahms, getting an overview of the piece, roughly learning each movement, and beginning work on the oodles of German text we have! Then we’ll put this to bed until January, and pick it back up in 2023 having already done some of the initial hard work. From October onwards we’ll be looking at the repertoire for our concert on the 17th December.

Susannah will be in touch soon to ask you all about music for both the Autumn ’22 term and Spring ’23 term. More from her anon.

Section Representatives

When we thought of the Sections Reps idea, we knew how important it would be to feedback information from our meetings, and to let you know your ideas are being listened to and acted upon. We had a great first meeting with the Section Reps following our June concert, where lots was discussed. There were loads of good points made about the concert, and some brilliant suggestions on how we can improve for next time. We had some really good discussions about repertoire, and I introduced them to my proposed programmes for the season, on which they gave great feedback. I can tell this is going to be a wonderfully symbiotic relationship, and something which will benefit the whole choir.

As I’ve said before, I’m always happy to be contacted or have a chat if there’s anything you’d like to raise or talk about, but the Section Representatives are also there for you all – any concerns, questions, problems, suggestions, feedback, etc. they’ll be happy to chat or to pass it on to me and/or the Committee. We want everyone to have a voice in this choir, so don’t hesitate!


Thank you all for reading this all. It’s so exciting what we’ve already done this year, and what we’ll be doing in the future. I’ll do another post before the start of term, and I look forward to seeing you all in September.

In the meantime, my suggested listening is what I’ve currently got going on as I write this – Mahler’s Third Symphony. You can listen to it HERE.

– Ben