Chairman’s Post

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.

Best wishes


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 ( 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.
  • Sunday 9th June. From 11 a.m.  CBSO Song Festival – Learn and perform Baltic and British music. £13. 0121 780 3333 .
  • 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!…/…/So_weich_und_warm_(Peter_Cornelius)…/the-long-da……/chorus-of-t……/bridal-chor…

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


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