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Conductor's Notes - Tuesday 18th April

So good to see you all again on Tuesday 18th April. We had a great start to the new 'jazzy' term, and I'm really looking forward to working on all of this music with you. I've just realised that I never shared my feedback for the Spring concert, so that's below too, as well as the 'regular' stuff.


Spring Concert Feedback

A huge well done for this one! I thought Dove's The Passing of the Year would be the hardest thing we ever did, but then we did the Mäntyjärvi! But, we opened the concert brilliantly with an excellent solo by Simon J, and some beautiful a Capella singing... and you did what no choir ever does... go sharp!! It all settled once the organ joined, and it was a confident opening, setting the mood for the rest of the concert. The Mäntyjärvi was really very good! It wasn't 100% note-perfect, but the confidence of the sections, the passion behind the music, and the quality of the sound was very impressive - you should all be so proud of this. A massive congratulations to Sian and Forrest for absolutely stellar solos! The ending of the piece was a real highlight for me, with the broken "Requiem"s really moving me.

The Sumsion was a very assured performance too, and you captured all of the different aspects, creating such fire in the grittier sections, and a beautiful sense of serenity in the gentler and more placid moments. The Arbo stood out as a special moment in the concert; it was stunning, and I know how much it meant to dedicate it to Alison. Ensemble, blend, tuning, vowels - everything was perfect!

The Stanford was an utter triumph, and it was a pleasure to welcome Ben Watkins to join us. Your first opening was bold and immediately captured the feel of the piece. Again, a highlight in this one for me was the final movement, which was sung so beautifully - the "Farewell"s were just goregous. Having said this, Tenors and Basses were so much fun in movement 4.

It goes without saying how wonderful it was to work with Bernard West for this concert. His rendition of Farewell to Stromness was exquisite, and his accompaniment flawless. A huge thank you to Bernard, and to James for all his work in rehearsals during the term!

An excellent concert, and a brilliant term! Here's to the next...


What we did on Tuesday 18th April

As it's the start of term and we're still working through the music, I'm not worried yet about you 'being ahead of the game', so these notes come as a reminder and a brief head's-up, rather anything too detailed.

We were back with a bang, making a great start on our Summer programme. We sang through Chilcott's A Little Jazz Mass, rehearsing the odd moment here and there. After the break we looked as some of the music from 'The Pink Book' - Ain't Misbehavin', Autumn Leaves, In the Mood, Summertime, and Over the Rainbow.

A huge thanks to Pete McMullin for accompanying the rehearsal!


What we'll do on Tuesday 25th April

We'll make a start on the rest of the programme, so we'll look at Rutter Birthday Madrigals, and then the rest of the music we're doing from 'The Pink Book': Tea for Two, Deep Purple, Blue Moon, Begin the Beguine, Night and Day, and 'S Wonderful.

It's a pleasure to welcome James back with us.


Dates for this term:

I just wanted to remind you all of the dates for this term, as well as share a new one.

  • Weekly rehearsals start on Tuesday 18th April.

  • No rehearsal on Tuesday 30th May for half-term. Rehearsals will resume on Tuesday 6th June.

  • The concert is Saturday 1st July in St Michael and All Angel's Church, Summertown. Hoping for good weather so we can have a joyous and Pimms-filled interval outside in the wonderful grounds in the sun, pairing nicely with this term's programme.

Summer Party! Linda and Gerry have very kindly offered to host another summer party at their place. More details will be shared closer to the time, but the key details are:

Tuesday 4th July, starting at 19:00.

A huge thank you to Gerry and Linda for this!


Spotify Playlist:

The Spotify Link only includes the Chilcott and the Rutter.

Music from 'The Pink Book' will be shared via email as a private link.


Marked Scores:

I'll share the marked scores after Tuesday 25th's rehearsal, once we've seen all of the music. Then you can start putting markings into your copies.


See you on Tuesday!

- Ben

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