Weekly Notices


17 September 2020

Dear SCS Zoom singers,

A warm welcome to newcomers to the Society, of which there are several this week. Any information you will need is contained in the other emails on this page.

For everyone, here is the link for tonight, 8-9pm:
(Note: not public here, but sent to members by personal email)

Talking and ‘Chatting’ will be possible from 7.30-8pm as before. The rest of the instructions are as last week (see the email of 10 September below). This week you should find the keyboard audio quality much improved. We will try to take account of last week’s feedback, but do send more in after tonight (to Jackie Weaver, Membership Secretary).

If you are having difficulties signing on to the John Fletcher website, contact Jackie Weaver.

Tonight: Vaccaj (p.8 of the pdf), Rheinberger (details of both are below, in the email of 7 September), Brahms Movements 1 & 2.

Philip Booth

10 September 2020

Dear Members,

Here is the Zoom link for this evening:
(Note: not public here, but sent to members by personal email)
We start at 8pm, but you will be able to sign in from 7.30pm to talk (and Chat) with anyone else who is early. It will probably get chaotic after a while as only one person can talk at a time, so be prepared. Everyone will be muted at 8pm when we start. (We had thought of allowing this kind of exchange at the end of the meeting, but we need to do some extra recording then with Duncan and Julian.)

Some suggestions for the evening (for general instructions about using Zoom, see the 24 August email to the Choir on the website Weekly Notices page):

  1. Chat will be on until 8pm, so those familiar with that function of Zoom will be able to Chat with anyone and everyone publicly or privately. Chat will not be available during the rehearsal itself.
  2. Use Speaker View (rather than Gallery View), though you can go between them if you choose.
  3. If you don’t want anyone else to see you, click on your Stop Video button.
  4. You will be muted throughout the rehearsal by us, so there is no danger of anyone being heard or of hearing others.
  5. Be sure you know how to turn your own sound up and down when listening to Duncan and Julian.
  6. Experiment with earphones – for best sound, but you may not like how it sounds singing with them in your ears.
  7. If you have several computers (laptop, PC, iPad, iPhone etc), by all means experiment to find out which works best for you. But be sure to Leave The Meeting (button usually bottom right) before you switch machines. We have a maximum of 100 participants and will be close to that figure. On the other hand, if you are several in a household and you don’t want to sing together, you are each entitled to use a separate machine.
  8. Since you are at home, you might want to experiment with using a keyboard or piano yourself during the rehearsal if you find a note difficult to get. Or you can download something like the Pitch Perfect app from which you can get individual notes.
  9. Importantly for us all, please send any feedback afterwards, to Jackie Weaver, our Membership Secretary. We have had three dress rehearsals, so are hopeful that all will go smoothly. But many of the variables can be changed, so there will be room for improvement. Any detail will be of interest to us: for example, is the keyboard loud enough (but check your own audio controls first)? Can you hear Duncan clearly? Is the image clear? Are you given enough time to find the right page and the right entry note? How is the balance between practising individual lines and singing together? How is the balance of the sound between Duncan and Julian? And anything else you can think of!
  10. We will be recording the rehearsal (a button on your screen will tell you this) from 8pm (so no recording of any chatting beforehand!). If we have got it right, the recording will not include any images of members. You will be sent a link to the recording, which you can download and store on your computer for reference. Obviously we ask you not to share these recordings.
  11. Finally, don’t forget to print out the Vaccaj page sent with Monday’s email… and then it’s the Brahms first movement and the Rheinberger.

See you this evening!

Philip Booth


7 September 2020

Dear All,

Online rehearsals of the Brahms Requiem will be starting this Thursday at 8pm. If you have expressed an interest and paid your subscription (almost 100 have so far), you will be sent a Zoom link on Thursday morning. Meanwhile this email is going out to everyone on our mailing list and it is still not too late to join up and take part. Just contact our Membership Secretary, Jackie Weaver, who will also tell you where you can pick up your copy of the Brahms (yours to keep).

After Thursday an email Zoom link will be sent to paid-up members for each subsequent rehearsal. Rehearsals will be recorded and a link to those recordings will also be sent.

This Thursday we will be rehearsing the first movement of the Brahms and also the Rheinberger piece, Abendlied. The music for the latter can be downloaded for free here. Note that the first Alto line should be sung by the second Sopranos and the Tenor 1 line should be sung by the second Altos (so SSAATB). If you are a newcomer to the Choir and perhaps to Choral singing altogether and don’t know what voice you are, experiment. At this point it doesn’t matter which you choose. (And if you are an Alto2 and would prefer to read your part as you are used to reading it, you can download a SSAATB version here for a modest fee.) 

We will also be looking at the first lesson, in C Major, from Vaccaj’s Metodo Pratico di Canto Italiano (click this link). It is page 7 of 40 in the downloadable pdf version, page 5 in the book itself. We suggest you print it out. Duncan will explain on Thursday!

Given that you will be singing by yourself (or in some cases with the other person or persons allowed by the coronavirus rules) and will not have the benefit of hearing others around you, you may find it advantageous to rehearse using the various aids mentioned on our Rehearsal Aids page, particularly the John Fletcher website described there.

For any other information, have a look at the Weekly Notices page of our website, where there are more details about setting up and using Zoom (in the 24 August email). These will be simplified and reiterated in the email coming to you on Thursday with the Zoom link.

Philip Booth


31 August 2020

Dear All,

As promised, here is a functioning link to the recording of the Choir Zoom Meeting held last Thursday, 27 August:

Philip Booth


28 August 2020

Dear SCS Member,

Choir Zoom Meeting
We hope you got something out of the Choir Zoom Meeting last night. If you missed it or want to see any of it again, click here for a recording of it.

We gave out more information last night about the online rehearsals and Duncan talked (starting at 13.49) about the music we will be singing. (And, by the way, the answer to Duncan’s quiz question is Purcell’s Fantasia on one note.)

The score for the Rheinberger piece, Abendlied, that is played (at 18.32 in the recording) can be downloaded at

The version we listened to is at

Please give us any feedback on the meeting – about content or any technical issues relating to it.

Other items:

Music collection
The Brahms Requiem score is now available for those who have paid their subscriptions (see my recent letters for details about this). Details of where to collect your copy have been sent to you individually by Jackie Weaver, our Membership Secretary.

Music theory
There was a question at last night’s meeting about whether the choir might provide some tuition about music theory. You can see our response at 25.19 in the video. If you are interested, let the Choir Secretary, Alison Jones, know, outlining what you are interested in learning, and we will give it consideration.

Term start
The online rehearsals start in two weeks, 8-9pm on Thursday 10 September. We will be sending some final details out to paid-up Members (some 90) in the next week or so, including the necessary Zoom link. It is,of course, still open to anyone else to join the Society.

Philip Booth


24 August 2020

Dear SCS Member,

We have had a lot of interest in our proposed Zoom rehearsals for the autumn term, and we hope as many of you as possible will be able to join us this Thursday (27 August) at 8pm, for up to an hour, when we’ll talk a bit about how we hope these will be run, and will answer as many of your questions as possible.

The meeting is open to anyone on our mailing list, and not just those who have opted for the rehearsals already (currently 75 in number). Our thinking is that there might be people who have not yet committed who want to hear more.

Jackie Weaver (Membership Secretary) and Philip Booth (Chair) will be acting as ‘co-hosts’ for the meeting.

There is a limit of 100 participants, but if you can’t ‘get in’ or if you miss the meeting for other reasons, you will be able to see a recording of the meeting, a link to which we will be sending around to everyone on the mailing list afterwards. From that point of view, we are assuming that participation in the meeting means that you are willing to run the risk of your face appearing in such a recording. (If you want to attend the meeting but don’t want to be seen, you can turn off the video* of yourself in your Zoom commands.)

As you can imagine, running a Zoom session for up to 100 participants will be quite a tricky undertaking; to help things run as smoothly as possible we’ve decided on the following format

  1. Whether or not you can attend the meeting, we strongly encourage you to send any questions to Jackie (membership@summertownchoral.org.uk) BEFORE 27 AUGUST.
  2. The link to the Zoom meeting is:https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85600583135?pwd=ZWgvV3p1L1dpZVgyU2ZxRXhqNFAxZz09Meeting ID: 856 0058 3135
    Passcode: 442995


    Copy the whole of the URL (from https:// to Zz09 above) and paste it into your web browser and press RETURN. Enter the Passcode if asked for it. Please do this 10-15 minutes before the meeting is due to start (i.e. at 7.45pm-7.50pm on 27 August), and wait for the co-hosts to let you in.

  3. All participants will be muted throughout the meeting and muting will be controlled by the co-hosts. Committee Members, including Duncan Saunderson, our Music Director, will be unmuted by the co-hosts where necessary to talk or answer your questions.
  4. You can use the Chat* function to ask questions or make comments during the meeting. We’ll be monitoring the chat to try and make sure all questions and comments are addressed if possible.
  5. The meeting will start with Philip and Duncan each saying a few words, including talking about how we plan to run the Zoom rehearsals. They and the Committee will then endeavour to answer the questions which have been sent in beforehand. We also hope at some point to play a five-minute segment from one of the trial rehearsal Zoom sessions we have held recently.
  6. You will probably find it best to use the Speaker View* setting on Zoom, rather than Gallery View. And using earphones will improve the sound quality (especially for the rehearsals).
  7. You might also prefer to turn off your video* during the presentations; and in any case we may have to ask you to do so if it turns out that the large number of participants affects internet speed.
  8. We won’t be able to deal with individual problems people may have with their Zoom programme or Internet connection during the meeting. (If you lose contact altogether, don’t forget there will be a recording.) So please download Zoom and familiarise yourself with it beforehand. If doing that is not easy for you, contact Jackie (email above), and someone will make contact with you to help you with it.

*ZOOM FUNCTIONS (accurate as far as we know, but things vary!):
On a PC or Mac:
Speaker/Participant View: buttons on top right of screen
Chat: on the bar at the bottom of the screen
Video on/off: bottom left of screen
On an iPad/other tablet:
Speaker/Participant View: buttons on top left of screen
Chat: drop-down box at top right of screen (under “more…”)
Video on/off: top right of screen
On an iphone/Android
Speaker/Participant View: not relevant, as only four participants can be seen at a time. Swipe phone to right to change which participants are visible to you
Chat: drop-down box at bottom right of screen (under “more…”)
Video on/off: bottom left of screen

A couple of other items:

Research on singing and the coronavirus
We have referred you to recent research on this subject. This is a link to a BBC report on its results:
I think the headline is more optimistic-sounding than the research warrants.

On the basis of the numbers who have expressed an interest in the online rehearsals, we have now ordered copies of the Brahms Requiem score. Obviously you will only be able to pick up your score after you have paid this term’s subscription. (The Society’s Bank details are now on the website at the bottom of the Members Menu.) Details of where the scores can be picked up from will then be passed to you once we have the music.

Philip Booth


14 August 2020

Dear SCS Member,

Your committee met, virtually, on Wednesday and have decided the choir should spring into life again – well, as much as is possible at the moment!

What we are proposing is weekly online rehearsals of the Brahms Requiem, in English.

These will be at 8 pm on Thursday, our usual starting time, for one hour, beginning on the date we were due to restart, September 10. They will take place via Zoom, with Duncan conducting us while Julian accompanies on the piano. You will be singing along at home, alone or with any small group you are able to put together safely. All other singers on the Zoom call will be ‘muted’ for you. It will be appreciated that with different broadband speeds a cacophony would be the only result of us trying to hear each other. You will be able to see Duncan on your screen as the sole face, with Julian in the background.

The session will be recorded and made available afterwards so you can go through any of it again. Duncan will let us know each week which movement or movements we will be focussing on, so you will have a chance to practise these beforehand using the John Fletcher website which we subscribe to.

The rehearsals will be in the usual format, but may include sectional rehearsals and also invited soloists to perform chorus parts individually or together. We may also include the occasional rehearsal of a single shorter piece such as a motet or part-song.

We have had a trial run, without Zoom, which was very successful and encouraging. Before we ‘go live’ on September 10, we will be having another trial using Zoom and a number of singers in their homes to be sure that we have got the technology right.

Subs for the term will be £30 (rather than the usual £65) and can now be paid online. This figure will include a free copy of the music (the latest Novello edition edited by Michael Pilkington, not the edition edited by John E. West) as it is important that we are all using the same edition. (You will be able to collect this from one or two centrally-located committee members’ homes, of which more details later.) Though our finances are in a healthy state, we will of course need to cover Duncan’s and Julian’s fees and those of any soloists we use. In this regard, if you feel able to forgo the £20 refund due on last term (if you remember, we said it would be deductible from this coming term’s fees), this would be appreciated. We also must reserve the possibility of charging the remainder of the term’s fee if a concert becomes feasible, in order to cover the large costs of a concert.

What is the goal? Essentially, to bring some singing-life back to the choir and to keep the choir alive until the good times can roll again. At the same time we can be ready to jump into action should a public concert in some format prove to be a possibility. But also it gives you individually a chance to do some singing – a lot of people have been saying that it is the singing in itself that they miss. We hope the structure the rehearsals will provide will help you to do this, either by yourself or with others.

Because of the huge uncertainty at the moment, we obviously cannot make specific plans. But other ideas we have had include a performance of the Messiah, perhaps on the back of a few rehearsals, as well as a come-and-sing event – all when we can get back together. To discuss these ideas and the proposed rehearsals and to answer any questions or get other ideas from you, we are organizing a Choir Zoom meeting on Thursday August 27 at 8 pm. We hope you will all join us. If you have experienced one of these mass events, you will know they can be quite chaotic, if fun, so we will be circulating the ‘rules of engagement’, along with the Zoom link, ahead of time.

It should be emphasised that in the usual way we welcome newcomers to the choir. We will make every effort to involve them. So do mention it to anyone who is looking to join a choir at the moment.

RIGHT NOW, it is important for us to know how many people are interested in doing the online rehearsals, so that we can get a rough idea of how many copies of the score to buy. Please could you email our Membership Secretary, Jackie Weaver (membership@summertownchoral.org.uk), as soon as possible – and at the latest by 24 August, and let her know:
a) if you are interested in taking part in online rehearsals;
b) if you are unfamiliar with Zoom, and need help in setting up/using it. (We will arrange for someone to take you through the process and be available to contact when you first use it. But we should emphasise that it is not difficult to use once set up.)
c) if you want to claim back the £20 from last term.
We can then tell you how to pay online and how to collect the music.

A final note: you were sent most recently a reference to the research on singing and aerosols being done by Declan Costello, Consultant ENT surgeon. It has been announced that the results will be made public ‘in the coming days’. Look out for them. They may be quite influential.

Philip Booth


26 July 2020

Keith Skerrett (tenor) has brought this very interesting interview to my attention. It is with Declan Costello, who is a Consultant ENT surgeon. He is doing some research on the ‘dangers’ or not of singing. The interview also provides a good summary of the current status of singing in the government’s mind. It is 15 minutes long (the interview, that is).


All the best,

Philip Booth


14 July 2020

Another note from Duncan:

Dear SCS Member,

Today is Gerald Finzi’s birthday! Born in London 14 July, 1901. A man of music, apples, cats, Thomas Hardy poetry and trips in England. A great inspiration to those of us not travelling abroad this summer. He said to one friend “Your effusions about Venice are most dull…..Great Somerford is a tiny little English village. Pigs, fields, thatched cottages, lanes, an inn, a parson, squire and about 200 inhabitants. Perfect quiet – heavenly”.

He collected Apple tree varieties and rescued some from extinction like Vaughan Williams collected folk songs. We also have Finzi to thank for preserving a lot of Ivor Gurney’s beautiful poetry and songs. With his wife Joy, he edited and catalogued Gurney’s works for publication, while Gurney, for the last 15 years of his life was committed to an institution, having been gassed in the War.

Finzi was an agnostic of Italian Jewish descent and wrote some sublime music for the Christian Church including one of the loveliest Amens ever written, from his choral masterpiece Lo! the full, final sacrifice.
Here’s a faultless live performance from St. John’s College, Cambridge.

He studied a little with Edward Bairstow in York. The Summertown Singers had a lovely time with Bairstow’s exquisite Jesu, the very thought of thee in Riga two years ago. Here’s a beautifully paced reminder from Japan.

Gurney’s wonderful Down by the Sally gardens.

SCS has sung I praise the tender flower and My spirit sang all day.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=mjgMz2IiwE4  sung by a one-to-part Dutch group.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyVEM3zNmu4  St. John’s, Cambridge, again on top form.

Here’s that Amen for those in a hurry!

It’s up there with the ones from Handel’s Messiah, Brahms’ Geistliches Lied, Parsons’ Ave Maria and Byrd’s O Lord, make thy servant Elizabeth and Praise our Lord, all ye gentiles.
Have I left any out? Iain?

I hope your spirits, if not your voices, are singing a little every day!
Happy Birthday, Finzi, and another glass of cider please – where’s the app…..to order…

Best wishes,



 8 July 2020

Dear SCS Member,

Diane Benfield (alto) has brought this to our attention:
To keep rust at bay, Radio3 offers a weekly singalong to piano accompaniment just before 9.00am. Lyrics and key provided online.
Tomorrow (Friday) is Where’er you walk from Handel’s Semele.

A bit of news: the dates for the Summertown Singers’ visit to Porto next year have been settled: August 9 – 15 (Monday to Sunday). Put it in your diary!

Otherwise, there is little else to report. Whether we start back again in September is still uncertain. Churches at least have to open first. You may be aware of the various discussions about whether singing is more ‘dangerous’ than normal talking. Here, for example, is a piece from the Church Times, which quotes the thorough review paper written by the baritone soloist Ed Ballard. Petitions have been doing the rounds with regard to financial support for artists, and there have been letters to newspapers from eminent musicians on the same subject. There is also a report of a British study being started on the dangers or not of singing (the Church Times piece quotes a German study). So the case is being argued in various places and on various fronts. All that can be said is that we are keeping abreast of these discussions, but the decision, at least initially, is not in our hands.

That’s all for now!

Philip Booth


15 June 2020

A note from Duncan:

Dear SCS Member,

Another Birthday!

Charles Wood was born today in 1866 in Armagh, Northern Ireland. He lived at 11 Vicars Close, opposite St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which used to be the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland. Here he was a chorister in the then thriving choir, before entering The Royal College of Music as a scholar, and Cambridge University.

By all accounts he was a gentle and lovely man with an amazing place in 20th century English music; a star pupil of Stanford and Parry and went on to teach Vaughan Williams, Herbert Howells and Michael Tippett, three of the greatest.

We sang Full Fathom Five in our “Celebration of English Melody” in 2014, and Expectans Expectavi in “Murder, Morse and Mozart” in 2013 (it was the anthem at a murderous evensong at Magdalen College Chapel in The Case of the Gilded Fly by Edmund Crispin).

Doesn’t time fly!?

Without being a Bach or a Stravinsky, I’m not sure word-setting, craftsmanship and gorgeous vocal writing made for soaring architecture get much better than in the attached perfect miniatures (scroll down for the links). Two Oxford Choirs (The Sixteen was originally from Oxford, with Harry Christophers at Magdalen), the choir from Wood’s Cambridge college and The Victoria Chorale from Singapore.

I trust you are all keeping well, and let’s hope we can meet again before long!

Very best wishes,

Expectans Expectavi

Hail Gladdening Light

O Thou the Central Orb
Tenors – excuse the misprint!

Full Fathom Five

I like the slower tempo bringing out the lovely harmonies, e.g. the alto suspensions on “pearl”

Oculi Omnium
The eyes of all wait upon thee, O Lord: and thou givest them their meat in due season.


12 June 2020

Dear Members,

Just a few things:

Firstly, there is obviously not going to be a summer party for the choir tomorrow. It has remained on the Dates for Diary page of the website in some kind of forlorn hope. And cancelling it now is just an excuse to make some contact rather than because any of you will be wondering about whether it is on or off!

Secondly, the Summertown Singers trip to Porto, planned for 17-23 August, has now been cancelled. The trip has been rescheduled for 2021, though, so it is hoped we will be able to visit this lovely city after all.

Thirdly, there have been significant changes to the website, most of which will be barely noticeable. It now has a new ‘theme’ (the software around which it is built), which is very similar to the old one but much faster. Try it out and see for yourselves. We are grateful, once again, to Paul Crim in Los Angeles for his work on tracking down a new theme and then transferring all the files – at very modest cost to the choir.

Fourthly, Sally Prime (soprano) has brought this to our attention:
It is a petition asking the government to provide financial support to ‘performers and creators’ during the COVID-19 crisis. You may wish to sign it.

Finally, I have not forgotten the question of the heating at St Michael’s. Most things are on hold and this is one of them, but this is just to let you know I will be following up on it in time for our return.

Otherwise, there is nothing, sadly, to report about the date of that return. Any decision about September seems some way off at the moment. We will be in touch whenever there is anything definite.

All the best for now,

Philip Booth


7 May 2020

A note from Duncan:

Dear SCS Member,

I hope you are all keeping well in this prolonged situation. Like me, I’m sure you’re missing the music and singing on a Thursday evening. Let’s hope it won’t be for too long.

Today is Brahms’s birthday! 🍷 (Hamburg 1833).

Below are some lovely links. If you don’t know his Variations and the songs for the Women’s choir he founded in Hamburg, you are in for a treat.

The disheveled bachelor almost became a member of the Schumann family. The Requiem was partly a reaction to Robert Schumann’s final days (and Brahms’s own mother’s death) and he was very close to Schumann’s wife, Clara Schumann.

Brahms and Clara wrote beautiful sets of Variations on a theme by Robert.

The four songs for that extraordinary scoring of upper voices, harp and two horns are brilliantly sung by The Kansas City Chorale.

If you like the Variations, take a look at Julian’s book:


The Violin Concerto slow moment is gorgeous, and maybe it works as a simple part song!

You might also like to look up Schumann’s Ghost Variations – another lovely theme that Schumann famously thought was sung to him by angels or the ghost of Schubert or Mendelssohn. But he’d actually used the theme in the slow movement of his own violin concerto. The Variations is his last piece and he was very ill, poor chap.

I hope to see you soon!

Best wishes,

Violin Concerto slow movement
y arrangement of the slow movement set to the poem “Liebe” by Friedrich Schiller (recorded live…) sung by Oxford Liedertafel
Four songs for female voices, harp and two horns
Variations on a theme by Schumann
Clara Schumann’s variations on the same theme


31 March 2020


Instruments of Time and Truth (IT&T), whose playing calendar has been decimated by the coronavirus, has asked us if we can move the date of our winter concert, planned for 6 February 2021, to allow them to accept another offer on that date.
We are very happy to do this and so have moved the Brahms Requiem to Saturday 23 January (still with IT&T). This means that the usual longer rehearsal the week before the concert will now be on Saturday 16 January, 10am-1pm. Go to the Dates for the Diary page for other dates. You will see there that we are optimistically keeping the date of the Summer Party open for the time being.


And while I am at it, here are a few more links to music online:


Philip Booth


25 March 2020

Jane Amies (soprano) has brought the following links to our attention. You might like to explore them while we are waiting to meet again.

Metropolitan Opera | Nightly Met Opera Streams
The Ultimate Classical Music Quiz – Classic FMwww.classicfm.com › discover-music › latest › ultimate-classical-musi…

And from the website of Making Music (an organisation that we are a member of):
1. Making music with others
Virtual choirs:
The Sofa Singers, led by James Sills;
Great British Home Chorus, led by Gareth Malone OBE;
Stay at Home ChoirDistant-Sing, run by Making Music’s corporate member, Choir Community;
Duet Yourself (on Facebook);
Corona Virus Choir (on Facebook);
Choir Choir Choir (on Facebook) led by Nobu Adilman and Daveed Goldman.
2. Making music yourself
Free music download from Pennine Music;
Free brass music from Lode for Publishing – plus an online challenge to create your own recording;
Acapella is an app that lets you create and share music with each other.
3. Learn an instrument online
If you have time on your hands, why not dig out that old trumpet and get practising? There are lots of YouTube tutorials out there to help as well as professionals offering online lessons (Making Music’s Corporate Member Your Space Music, for example).
4. Making Music’s corporate member, Black Dress Code, is turning their website into a temporary digital concert hall to allow musicians to stream performances. Audiences will be charged a fee to watch, which will then be passed on to performers. Email info@blackdresscode.com for more information.
5. Watch music
The music section of this Chatter Pack article lists some streaming of live performances and pre-recorded concerts.

And Marie Bridge (committee member and alto) has drawn our attention to this performance of Va Pensiero by Verdi, by a virtual opera choir and dedicated to hospital staff in Italy.

Philip Booth


16 March 2020

Before Boris Johnson’s announcement this afternoon, the committee had already decided to cancel choir rehearsals from this Thursday. And because the possibility of reinstating rehearsals before 6 June is extremely remote, we have also decided to cancel the concert. The committee will give some thought in due course as to when and how we might perform the French repertoire at another date.

The committee has decided it would like to continue to pay Duncan and Julian, as self-employed individuals and for obvious reasons of good will, for the rest of the term. We will also be continuing to pay our weekly rent to St Michael’s (£35). Bearing this in mind, we have arrived at a figure of £20 that we can offer as a refund on this term’s subscription. We are offering this, however, in the form of a reduction off next term’s subscription. This considerably eases our administration, as otherwise there would be over 120 members to return money to. If next term you decide you would like to donate this £20 to the choir, then you can offer to pay the full subscription when you sign on.

We are left with the memory of the stirring performance we gave of Vierne’s Mass at the last rehearsal and shall have to wait to gather together again! Meanwhile there will only be Weekly Notices when there is something essential to communicate.

Philip Booth


10 MARCH 2020



As I mentioned at the rehearsal last week, the committee is in discussion about what action we might need to take in relation to the coronavirus. I am repeating this now for those who weren’t at the last rehearsal. Basically, we do not think it necessary to go beyond the current public health advice, and we therefore plan to continue with rehearsals for the time being. As you all know, the advice on gatherings may change.
Meanwhile here is rehearsal-specific advice, all of it self-evident, to add to the general advice freely available elsewhere:
1. Do not attend rehearsals if you have been advised to remain at home or isolate yourself.
2. Do not attend rehearsals if you develop any symptoms of a common cold (running nose, cough or sore throat), a flu-like illness (fever, shivering, generalised aching etc), or cough and difficulty breathing.
3. Go home if you develop symptoms during a rehearsal.



If you are a new (or returning) member, please have a look at the Rehearsal Aids page of our website where you will find details of the John Fletcher website. It has all the music for the forthcoming concert on it. There are also links to recordings recommended by Duncan of most of the pieces at the bottom of the Next Rehearsal page.
If you have been a regular member of the choir but didn’t sing last term, you may find that you are no longer registered for the John Fletcher website. If you want to rejoin, please email Marie Bridge, our contact person for the John Fletcher site, at jfletcherrep@summertownchoral.org.uk.
Please explore the new website (http://www.summertownchoral.org.uk). In particular there is a menu for Members. These Weekly Notices and Duncan’s weekly email about the Next Rehearsal can be found there, hopefully making it easier for you to retrieve them.
The links for the YouTube versions of the French music we will be singing in June can also be found on the Next Rehearsal page.
Look at the Summertown Singers menu if you are considering coming to Porto in August.
Work is being done to speed up the website.

This email comes to you from:
Philip Booth
For details of how to contact committee members or Duncan, click here.



The organ of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. 

(This image related to our now cancelled concert of French music.)