After a two-year silence we were able to give vent to our voices with two well received performances of The Messiah. David’s e mail which has been circulated says it all. Thank you to David for having the courage to suggest it was a good idea to rehearse the Messiah for all the autumn term. As it turns out not a good idea but an excellent one!
Thanks also to the soloists and Colin and the support of Coventry Phil.
As always attending rehearsals is only part of producing a successful concert. A lot of other things need to be organised. So, a big thank you to all those who worked behind the scenes before the concerts, those that helped set up and clear away for each concert and the front of house team who all contributed to making a success of both occasions.
It is our intention to start rehearsals on Monday Jan 10th, 2022, for a performance of Haydn’s Creation at St Mary’s Church Warwick on Saturday April 2nd, 2022.
However, as we are all aware the pandemic is yet again rapidly evolving and becoming more widespread. If policies and regulations change, we may need to review our future plans. I will consult with the committee early in the new year to decide whether we need to change our programme. I will try and inform you as early as possible if there are changes.
Despite everything, on behalf of the committee I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a healthy New Year.
Ivan (Chair WKCS)
At long last we have a definite date in the diary for our first rehearsal at 7.30 pm on Monday 6th September at Coten End School. We will be rehearsing The Messiah with the intention of singing two Concerts in December.
At a recent committee meeting we discussed what if any procedures we would put in place considering the advice from government, Making Music and that we are a group of sensible pragmatic adults!
On that basis we assume most of you, if not all, are fully vaccinated and will not attend a rehearsal if you are feeling unwell. For your own re-assurance you may also wish to take a lateral flow test (LFT) prior to a rehearsal.
We decided the following steps were prudent
Ventilation – Windows and doors will remain open throughout rehearsals to ensure a good flow of air. This means as it gets colder you will need to dress accordingly
Distance – Chairs will be placed a metre apart
Sanitisers – hand sanitisers will be provided at the entrance. Please use them
Masks – please wear a mask when not singing, however, you are welcome to wear one when singing (masks specifically designed for singing are available) if you would feel more assured doing so.
Refreshments – no refreshments will be provided so please bring your own.
Interval – there will only be a short 5 min break during the rehearsal. We may choose to finish before our normal time of 9.30pm
Do let me know if you think we have missed anything. We will of course keep all this under review and make changes when appropriate.
I was going to finish by saying I look forward to seeing you all on the 6th of September. Unfortunately, back in the spring when a holiday was being re-arranged yet again, I overlooked the possibility we might be back singing this autumn. I shall be in Wales so look forward to seeing you all on the 13th of September!
I now hope we will be continuing uninterrupted with our normal rehearsal schedule. On this basis the membership fee will be £100 for the year. If rehearsals are restricted due to COVID 19 then we will roll over the subscriptions to the following year.
I hope the Choir rapidly re-establish itself. If you know anyone who is interested do bring them along. To encourage new young members the committee decided to offer free membership to those between 18 and 25 years old.
April 2021 Update
We are sure you will all agree that it is fantastic to be able to begin to plan towards singing together again. We have now finished a fun Spring term, with the end of term ‘performance’ on Monday – thank you to everyone who improved the occasion with concert dress. We hummed our way through The Turtle Dove, danced along The Keel Row, stretched our voices for Brahms’ Wie Lieblich and finally had a full sing of the Mozart Requiem with soloists. Thank you so much to David (who also sang the bass part) and to Colin, for making the rehearsals this term possible, and also thanks to David’s soloists – Alexandra Wynne (soprano and alto), Edward Harrisson (tenor) and James Druce on the trombone. The Zoom recording of the evening is on the Dropbox account for anyone who missed it, or if you want to enjoy it again.
Next term will begin on April 19th and end on June 14th. We will be singing choruses from Elijah, and also possibly some pieces from Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle. We will still be meeting by Zoom, but we have approached Coten End and hope we will be able to meet again in the Autumn. We plan to sing Handel’s Messiah in the Autumn term with two performances in December in Warwick and Kenilworth – dates to be confirmed later. We will be learning it thoroughly (many of us have picked it up as we sang rather than knowing every detail) and also give anyone who hasn’t sung for some time a relatively easy term’s singing
The committee recently discussed the financial situation, and we will not be charging full subscriptions again until next year (assuming it will return to near-normal). We appreciate that we have had some people pay for this year, and we have also had some very generous donations. We do understand that many of the choir have not wished to participate in the Zoom sessions, but it would be a great help if any members who have not already done so could make a contribution of at least £20. Our account details are : Account Name: Warwick and KCS. Sort Code: 30 99 15. Account Number: 00023188.
We are sorry to have to tell you that Caroline Robertson and Jill Wiglesworth have both decided to step down from the Committee. Caroline has put in many years of sterling service helping to run the choir, doing a wide variety of jobs, but especially as our Librarian, helping with the Friends’ group and in running the Facebook page. Jill has been with us for a shorter time but has made a much valued contribution. We would like to thank them both very much for everything they have done, and look forward to many more years of singing with them.
This does mean that we would welcome anyone who would be able to help us to run the choir. The duties aren’t onerous, and are shared out amongst the group so no-one is overworked. If you feel you could give even a little help, please contact Ivan (email@example.com) or Steph (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you aren’t able to commit to being a full committee member but could give some help (by running the Facebook page for example) we would welcome that as well.
Finally, we have some good news. We are planning a Tea and Pimms Evening, which will take place at Adrian Hopkinson’s home (Norton Curlieu, Curlieu Lane, Norton Lindsey, Warwick, CV35 8JR,) on Monday 28th June between 4.30 pm. and 7 pm. We would ask you to bring your own food and drink, picnic chairs and rugs (and possibly a gazebo in case of inclement weather). All choir members and partners are welcome. Please do come and get together with people you have probably not seen in person for well over a year, even if only for an hour or so. It would be helpful if you could you let us know if you think you would like to attend to email@example.com.
The minutes of the last committee meeting are also attached.
Stay safe and well and happy singing
Ivan and the Committee
2nd April 2021
CHAIR’S REPORT TO AGM 2nd NOV 2020
You don’t need to be told this has been an extraordinary year. What appears to be a life time ago in another universe we gave a well received performance of Rossini’s Petite Solennelle at St. Nicholas Church Warwick in November 2019. This was under the musical direction of Rebecca Mills who had volunteered to fill the gap between Benedict Wilson leaving and David Wynne arriving. She did an excellent job.
Our new musical director David arrived in time to take us through our annual performance of the Messiah at St Nicholas Church in Kenilworth.
After Christmas we launched into the delights of Haydn’s Seasons galloping around the school hall in pursuit of the stag! We were all getting well into our stride, beginning to get to know our new ‘Master of Hounds’ when we all faced a new unexpected challenge. I think we were aware of looming problems and I can remember the phone calls prior to cancelling rehearsals and the spring concert. Had we over reacted?
At the time we thought the summer concert was in jeopardy but we could start planning for the autumn. Unfortunately even this was optimistic. The sad news is there will be no further concerts this year. We will of course keep matters under constant review. The realist in me says there is very little chance of a spring and possibly summer concert next year. But the optimist won’t have any of that nonsense. Rest assured as soon as it is safe to do so we will be back rehearsing.
In the meantime David has used his technical wizardry and provided online rehearsals, with Colin’s help as accompanist. This is never going to allow us to achieve a concert standard, but does enable us to ‘get together ’and sing. I know that it is not the real thing but hope those who have not sampled it will give it a go. Before Christmas we will ‘do’ some of the Messiah choruses and carols. I trust that will tempt the doubters!
None of the above would have happened without the hard work of the committee of which I am a mere figurehead. On behalf of the choir I would like to thank Nick Gilbert, Jane Brock, Caroline Robertson, Stephanie Lane, Adrian Hopkinson, Rosemary Lawrence, Sheila Verrier, Joan Stevens and Jill Wiglesworth who for their sins have agreed to continue as committee members.
In the short time we were ‘live’ with David I think he has laid the foundations for a successful partnership. It is also an annual joy to thank Colin for his professionalism, patience and good humour. I am sure you will all support the committee’s decision to continue to employ David and Colin as normal, which we will review in March 2021.
In these unusual times existing membership is rolled forward to April 1st 2021 when we will review the position. In the meantime there are still costs associated with our on line rehearsals. Please feel free to make a donation.
Usually at the end of the chairman’s report there is a list of our forthcoming concerts. For obvious reasons this year is an exception. No matter how far off our next concert may be I ask that you remember the exhilaration that comes from a live performance. So even if you do not join in the online rehearsals you will hold that emotion and launch with gusto into our first rehearsal whenever it occurs.
Chairman’s Newsletter 15.8.19
Dear Choir Members
Summer greetings to you all and trust you are all enjoying our typical summer weather! This is the traditional end of term summary and looking forward to a new season.
We said farewell to Benedict in June and wish him all the best with his new job in Shrewsbury. He joined the choir at the same time as I five years ago. I certainly found singing under his direction challenging at times but I think we can all agree that he lifted the standard of our performances.
We have appointed a new Musical director, David Wynne. Those of you who were at the audition on Monday 8th July will have met him already. He has supplied a short biography included below so you can get to know him before he starts!
For the last 4 years David has been Music Director of Birmingham Festival Choral Society. He is relinquishing his current role as MD of the Ryton Chorale (Worksop) where he has been director for 6 years.
As a visiting lecturer at the Royal Birmingham Junior Conservatoire, David works as choral director of the Senior Chorus and the Vocal Ensemble. He teaches choral conducting, singing and musicianship, and is also vocal co-ordinator for the department.
With his wife, Alexandra, they co-run (and co-founded) the St. Chad’s Cathedral Junior Choir and the extensive Choral Outreach Programme which sees them teaching choral singing to approx. 500 children a year across Birmingham. He has worked with some of the country’s leading music education organisations, including: Opera North, Welsh National Opera, the Armonico Consort and Leicester and Leeds Cathedral’s education departments. He holds a masters’ degree in Vocal and Operatic performance from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, and studied choral conducting with Paul Spicer after receiving a scholarship. He is a busy freelance baritone soloist, up until recently, a lay clerk at St. Chad’s Cathedral Birmingham, and has performed several times as a musician of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Away from music David enjoys cooking and walking his Dalmatian, Sherlock. He and his wife Alexandra are proud parents to Sidney (aged 1), who is now eating them slowly out of house and home.
Unfortunately he has to give notice to his existing choir so will not take up his post until 25th Nov when we start our rehearsals for the Messiah. For our autumn rehearsals and concert Rebecca Mills who all of you know will be acting Musical Director. I am very grateful to Rebecca for stepping into this role.
I would like to thank all members of the choir who turned up for the auditions on July 8th and 15th. Not only did it mean the committee where able to gauge opinion from across the choir it also meant our prospective MD had a full choir to work with.
We can reflect on a successful and varied programme. For our November 2018 concert marking the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War we had the reflective Faure’s Requiem and the optimism of Rutter’s Gloria. This was followed by our annual performance of the Messiah at St Nicholas Church in Kenilworth. Our spring concert was the well received St John Passion. Lastly our ‘Music for a summer evening’ more Madrigals and a venture into Opera Choruses performed for an enthusiastic audience.
We had intended to start the new season with Handel’s Israel in Egypt. However the cost of the orchestra would amount to about £4,000. Given all the other costs involved and our average audience size we estimated that the potential loss would be approximately £5,000. Although we do have reserves it would not be prudent or sustainable in the long run to cover such losses from reserves. We are therefore performing Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle.
I think we all wish to put on the larger scale works with orchestra. To cover losses there are a number of options such as increasing membership fees and increase the price of tickets. We have done both of these recently but only substantial further increases could cover the cost of performing large scale works. This is not an attractive option.
We have started a Sponsorship Scheme and a Friends of the Choir scheme. This is beginning to bear fruit with just over £1,000 raised so far. This is a good start but more needs to be done. Please assist in any way you can.
I should like, on the Choir’s behalf, to acknowledge the sterling work that continues to be undertaken by members of the Committee – Nick Gilbert, Jane Brock, Caroline Robertson, Stephanie Lane, Adrian Hopkinson, Anne-Marie Reddin, Rosemary Lawrence, Lynne Mann, Joan Stevens and Sheila Verrier.
On this point Anne Marie Reddin is leaving the committee. We do need new committee members. We work not on the principal of ‘many hands make light work’ rather than ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’. So please consider if you can make a contribution.
Look forward to seeing you all with lusty voices on September 2nd at Coten End School.
Dates for your Diary
2/9/19 First rehearsal Coten End School
23/11/19 Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle St Nicholas Warwick
10/12/19 Handel Messiah St Nicholas Kenilworth
Please note this is a Tuesday which gives an extra Monday for rehearsal
28/3/20 Haydn The Seasons St John’s Kenilworth
Date TBC Music for Summer venue TBC
Chairman’s Newsletter 21.5.19
Dear fellow choir members,
As I am sure most of you will know by now, Benedict has sadly told us that he will be leaving us after the end of this term. It has been a challenging and interesting five years with him at the musical helm, and we shall be very sorry to lose his energetic input. He has been appointed Head of Choral Music at Shrewsbury School, and we all wish him every success in his new endeavour. We will be making a formal presentation to him at the annual choir dinner on Monday June 24th at the Moorings. If you are not singing with us this term, please do come along to the dinner to meet up with your fellow singers and enjoy an evening of good food and good company. If you would like to come, please email Ann-Marie Reddin (firstname.lastname@example.org) to put your name down.
Of course, losing Benedict means we are now looking for another Music Director, and a great advert has been put together which is circulating on Twitter and Facebook. (This is also on the Welcome page of this website.) Please do share it with anyone you think might be interested in the post. We have planned to carry out initial interviews on 1st July and we are then hoping that we will be able to get everyone interested from the choir to help us with the musical auditions.
I know that many people find it difficult to meet choir commitments at this time of the year and so don’t actually sing in the concert, but please do come and support us if you can on Saturday June 22nd at St, Nicholas Church, Kenilworth.
With best wishes
Some dates for your diary
- Saturday 1st June 4.30 Coventry Cathedral. Spires Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus. A selection of choral and orchestral music. Ticketsource.co.uk/spiresmusic.
- Sunday 9th June. From 11 a.m. CBSO Song Festival – Learn and perform Baltic and British music. £13. 0121 780 3333 . cbso.co.uk/event/song-festival.
- Saturday 15th June. 7.30 p.m. Holy Trinity Church Stratford. Our own Rebecca directs the Guild Consort Choir in the Brahms Requiem plus a performance by Benedict and his sister Eleanor. £10 on the door.
Chairman’s newsletter 4.4.19
Dear fellow singers,
I hope you are all enjoying singing both the madrigals and the opera choruses this term, despite the fact that they are both such weighty tomes! I wanted to remind you of some dates for your diary.
Rehearsal dates (no rehearsals during school holidays or on bank holidays)
April 8th April 29th May 13th May 20th June 3rd June 10th June 17th
Concert Date: Saturday June 22nd
St Nicholas’ Church, Kenilworth.
The annual Choir Dinner to celebrate another successful season – this will be on Monday 24th June, just after the summer concert. This was a lovely evening last year, so do come along, relax and enjoy a pleasant meal in good company. More details to follow.
I am also adding the rehearsal website addresses from our Facebook page, so ably organised by Caroline. Now we can all practise diligently over Easter!
The John Fletcher site needs you to register. Some files, e.g. the madrigals, are free, but the opera choruses need a £10 fee. It can be awkward to navigate.
Choralia asks for a donation but you can click through to the mp3 files if you choose not to donate. There are lots of confusing additions to their pages but just look around for the small arrow to click on to play the part you need. There are also recordings available on YouTube.
Best wishes and happy singing
Keep checking up/commenting on Twitter: @WandKCS
Facebook: Warwick and Kenilworth Choral Society