Members’ Notes

Hello and welcome to the Notes for Members page!

This page will contain a recap of rehearsals, homework, links to practise websites and rehearsal dates.

At our rehearsal on Monday 11th November, Rebecca concentrated on the slow quiet bits such as the ‘Christe’ at the beginning, and the ‘Dona Nobis Pacem’s p196 and 200. We also worked on the Sanctus P180.

There are two more rehearsals: Monday 18th and the second in the afternoon of the concert at 2pm in St Nicholas Church Warwick on Saturday 23rd.

Please click below for instructions for joining the concert:

Concert 23 11 2019 joining instructions

The Messiah: this year the Messiah will be performed on Tuesday 10th December in St Nicholas KENILWORTH.

The rehearsals will be as follows: Monday 25th Nov at Coten End. Monday 2nd December at Coten End. Monday 9th December 7.30pm at St Nicholas, Kenilworth i.e. the day before the concert. Staging team please come half an hour (or earlier!) to the final rehearsal.

David Wynne will be conducting.

Emily Jamieson has very kindly provided us with some rehearsal links for the Rossini from Chord Perfect.

These are sung recordings with individual voice parts emphasised which you can download to your computer or other device. – soprano – alto – 1st tenor – 2nd tenor – 1st bass – 2nd bass

Click on the relevant link above.

In the section titled “Upgrade to Masterclass”, click on “Add to basket”.

Then navigate to checkout – follow the process, adding the coupon code emm.ja10026-1547/.

Complete the checkout by putting in name, email and password (which sets up an account for you)  and you will receive your order. You get a confirmation email as well as a My Account section on the website.

The mp3 files come in three forms : individual parts with one of the voice parts emphasised, full all voices version and the instrumental line only. The great advantage of these is that the lines are sung by real voices so it is clear how the words fit the music.

MP3 files are also available on Choralia

‘The AGM was held on 14th October and was well attended. The Chairman congratulated the choir on the excellent concerts during the year (please see under Welcome/Recent Concerts). He also thanked the Committee members for all their hard work. Then he thanked Colin Druce for his uplifting contribution to proceedings. He also thanked Rebecca for standing in this term. Special thanks also to Caroline Robertson and Pat Toulmin for their work on the Facebook page and the web site respectively. He acknowledged that the most awkward moment of the year was the resignation of Benedict Wilson to follow his career promotion. He said we all owed Benedict a large debt for bringing the choir forward in quality and performance skill. Out of 17 applicants, we are fortunate in having found a marvellous replacement in the shape of David Wynne, himself a celebrated concert soloist, and also conductor of the Birmingham Festival Choral Society. Our Chairman acknowledged that we, like other choirs have a challenge to finance the costs of full scale concerts. The discussion revolved around ways of increasing long term funding. Several good ideas were put forward by Anne Round and Ian Beveridge among others. Due to a diary clash of our new Musical Director, David Wynne, we are moving the Spring Concert forward to 4th April. This also has some unfortunate clashes. Our Treasurer Rosemary Lawrence reported on the very satisfactory financial condition of the choir. In 2018/2019 the choir broke even, helped by good concert attendance, and Friends and Sponsors. Following sale of the Staging (will we live to regret that??), our total cash jumped to £26,000, and that before the receipt of Gift Aid. The Chairman realised members of the choir couldn’t take any more news and we broke up for drinks, kindly provided by Graham and Edna. Thanks all round.’

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

4/4/20          Haydn The Seasons                                   St John’s Kenilworth

Date TBC      Music for Summer                          venue TBC

New Musical Director

After the successful auditions this is the letter sent to members by our Chairman:

Dear All

I trust you are all enjoying the summer break. This is a brief note about our new Musical Director. 

Thank you all for turning out in force for two auditions. I am very pleased to tell you that David Wynne has accepted the post. He was clearly the first choice of the majority of the choir as well as the committee. He will be unable to start until the end of the year due to existing commitments. He is however hoping to take the rehearsals and concert for our annual performance of Messiah and I am awaiting confirmation of this.

I am very grateful to Rebecca Mills who will be our acting Musical Director for our autumn concert of Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle. 

I will send out a full newsletter once all the arrangements have been confirmed.

Also, a very big thank you to everyone who sang at the wedding at St Charles Borromeo last Friday. Although you may have felt a little lonely in the gallery, the family were very appreciative. We have been sent  a lovely card which will be at the first rehearsal next year (which by the way is on 2nd September). We have also been sent a cheque for £100! 

Well done to everyone who took part – it was a marvellous effort.