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Conductor's Notes - Tuesday 1st November

A great welcome back after the half term, and certainly an interesting experience rehearsing in a completely different venue with a drastically different acoustic.

What we did on Tuesday 1st November

Starting with Bethlehem Down, we did some detailed work on tuning chords, vowel placement, and motion of moving parts. More importantly, we started working in the 'mixed choir' formation, which we stayed in for much of the rehearsal. Rehearsing in this formation is great as it allows you all to take individual responsibility for your parts, and to listen more closely to the other parts around you, increasing ensemble, blend and tuning... we'll be doing more. After this we reminded ourselves on the Britten, finding the colours and character in the text, as well as building confidence with some notes. After the break we read through the Second Choir part, and I strongly encourage as many of you as possible to sign up for an audition on the 8th or 15th.

We then went through Advent Moon from the start, and doing some detailed work on bars 35-47. It's a hard piece so keep looking over it and come with the notes prepared.

We finished by looking over White Christmas (never too early!) - a good first read, especially with all of the jazzy harmonies. We especially focussed on the first page, but we'll be looking at the rest next week, so learn those notes!

What we'll do on Tuesday 8th November

I'd like to build on last week's excellent ensemble work, so we'll start off in the 'mixed-formation' this week. Please make sure you've looked over the notes for Tuesday's set pieces, and having the markings in your scores.

Let's get into the flow of things with Away in a Manger, and then do a solid block of work on Advent Moon, going from the start. We'll work on White Christmas, looking at the second page of music in particular. And finally, if there's time, a reminder of Candlelight Carol.

Please note we are, as normal, back at Holy Rood Church.

Marked Scores

I'm hoping you all have these in by now. If not, please get them in; don't let the team down!

newChoir Christmas '22
Download PDF • 20.79MB

Spotify Playlist

The Spotify Playlist, as always is HERE. I hope it all helps.

A Hymn to the Virgin auditions

If you'd like to be part of the chamber choir (four soloists) for the Britten, please do let me know and we can add you to the audition list. Auditions will be held after the rehearsal on the 8th or 15th November. Please do let me know at the rehearsals, ask in the WhatsApp group, or email me or Wendy.


We have an excellent poster, which you can see below. Share it digitally far and wide, and pick up posters and fliers on Tuesday to place anywhere and everywhere!

Suggested Listening

This week, a piece recently performed by our friends over at North Cotswold Chamber Choir (NC3), and one I came across a few years ago - the deeply moving Canticum Calamitatis Maritimae by Jaakko Mäntyjärvi. It tells the story of the MS Estonia disaster of 1994, and contains a lamenting, wordless soprano solo; the Nuntii Latini report, recited by a baritone cantor who announces the disaster and the initial casualty figures; and the text of Psalm 107 "They that go down to the sea in ships" in Latin.

A fascinating and brilliantly emotional piece of music, I'd love to do it with newChoir... let me know your thoughts. You can hear it HERE.

Thanks everyone, and see you on the 8th.

- Ben

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