Weekly Notices

18 May 2022

Dear All,

St Andrew’s Thursday 19 May, 8-9.30pm.
We will be rehearsing at St Andrew’s tomorrow. Please arrive by 7.45pm so that you can pick up a folder for your music and find your place on the staging in time for an 8pm start.
Please also look at Duncan’s email from earlier in the week. It includes stands and sits. Please enter these in your scores before tomorrow night.

Ticket Sales
Sales are picking up, but please keep selling. And to reiterate: there will be plenty of tickets available on the door. Tickets available again tomorrow night from our Treasurer, Ki, or via TicketsOxford.

Staging dismantling
We still need three more volunteers for dismantling the staging after the concert. It takes about 45 minutes. You don’t have to be very strong! Come and give it a try. Contact Martin Berry (bass), our Staging Manager, at tomorrow’s rehearsal.

Please remember to forward the link to the downloadable programme to those you have bought tickets for. We are not printing any copies and it is well worth reading. The link is:

Oxford Orpheus
Their workshop this year is on Saturday 19 November 2022 and the concert on Saturday 3 February 2023. They are performing Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle. Details will be available soon on their website.

Philip Booth
11 May 2022

Dear All,

Embellished programme notes
Julian has added photos and pictures and links to the programme notes written by Valerie Worth. They now represent a splendid document. They can be downloaded here. They can also be downloaded from the website here. Could you let those whom you have bought tickets for know of the link to this last page:
so that they can also download the notes before the concert?

Returning music
Tomorrow is the last night for those not singing in the concert. Could you please return your music to our Librarian, Simon Wratten, at the end of the rehearsal. If you are not coming tomorrow (and are not singing in the concert) and still have your music, could you return it to Simon at a rehearsal, in person or via another choir member, or leave it at his house (2 Moreton Road, North Oxford).

Please keep up your efforts to sell tickets. Also spread the word that tickets will be available on the door.

Next week’s rehearsal
A reminder that next Thursday’s rehearsal, 19 May, is at St Andrew’s.

Julian and Chopin
Julian would like to practise before an audience some Chopin he is performing elsewhere soon. You are invited to stay behind for ten minutes after the rehearsal to be the audience!

Philip Booth
10 May 2022

From Catrin Roberts, Concert Manager:

Concert arrangements

Concert seating
Thanks to everyone for their cooperation to date. The seating plan can be downloaded here. I think I have managed to accommodate all requests put to me about seating preferences. If there is a problem with where you have been seated, please arrange a swap, mindful of the distribution of voice parts, and let me know. All changes will need to be in place before our rehearsal on Thursday 19 May. We have slightly more elbow room for this concert as we are a slightly smaller choir and we’ll be using folders to hold our music.

Thursday 19 May
We shall be rehearsing 8-9.30pm in St. Andrew’s, in concert formation. Folders will be available to collect at 7.45pm in St. Andrew’s, so please arrive early enough to pick up a folder and arrange the music in your folder. The running order for the choral music is: Faure, Gounod, Franck, Saint-Saens, Vierne. Please be seated for a prompt start at 8pm. You are encouraged to use the hand sanitiser provided by the church and wear a mask when moving around the church. The church will be well ventilated with open doors and windows, so the good people of North Oxford will hear beautiful music and be incentivised to come to the concert on Saturday 21….

Saturday 21 May Rehearsal
Please arrive at St Andrew’s for the rehearsal, with your music folders, at 1.45pm for a 2pm start. The main hall has been booked for the choir’s use from early afternoon until after the concert ends. There will be a break at about 3.30pm and we are reinstating the welcome tradition of providing tea, coffee and biscuits for all during the break. The rehearsal will end by 5pm. We would normally then lock the church until the front of house team comes is ready to open the doors at 6.45pm

Saturday 21 May Concert
The concert starts at 7.30pm. Members are asked to arrive in good time and be seated on stage ready to perform by 7.20pm. Concert dress is as usual – all black (long/short, trousers/skirt tops/dresses, shoes) for women and black tie for men. No water bottles on the stage and, if necessary, the smallest (black) bag you possess. Hand-sanitising and mask-wearing is again encouraged and the church will again be fully ventilated. The choir is asked to use the upstairs facilities (where possible) during the evening, leaving the facilities downstairs available for the audience. There will be a short interval but we will not be serving drinks, so do bring with you your own libation. We expect the concert to finish at around 9.30pm. 

At the end of the concert, there are three things that everyone is asked to do. Firstly, take responsibility for your chair and replacing it in the chair stacks. Secondly, drop off your hire music (Gounod, Messe Solennelle) in the red boxes provided. Thirdly, drop off your music folders in the boxes provided. Anyone who can stay on for a little bit longer to help with restoring the church will be very welcome. And then we can all depart for that well-deserved drink.

Catrin Roberts
Concert Manager
4 May 2022

Dear All,

Catrin Roberts, our Concert Manager, needs volunteers to help in setting up in St Andrew’s on the day of the concert, as well as putting things back in place at the end of the concert. Martin Berry (bass), our new Staging Manager, also  needs volunteers to help with the staging: between 12.30 and 2 on Thursday 19 May to set it up and after the concert to dismantle it. Look our for sign-on sheets as you come in and leave the rehearsal tomorrow.

Party for Duncan’s 25 years of conducting us
We have decided the party on 28 May will be open to partners as well as choir members, but please ask partners to fill out the Google Form, so that we can have an idea of numbers. Obviously, also bring more food and drink than if you were coming alone!
A rough timetable is as follows:
6 pm onwards, arrrival, followed by food and drink;
8 pm singing of the Party Pieces, followed by any formalities;
10 pm end of party.
We are of course hoping for good weather, in which case the Church will be wide open and we will be both outside and inside; and, whatever the weather, the Church will be well ventilated. Numbers at the moment are around 80, including a number of past members. We have decided not to ask you to take an LFD test on the day. Bring your own glass if you would like.
For more details, see the original Party Invitation below a copy of this email on the Weekly Notices page.

Ticket sales are going slowly, so please do what you can to promote the concert. More posters will be available at the rehearsal tomorrow – please put them everywhere! If you can’t locate the advertising email sent to you on 22 April, refer family and friends to the Next Concert page of the website, where the same information is available as well as a link to TicketsOxford.

Philip Booth

Party Invitation

Whether you are a current or a past member of SCS, you are cordially invited to a Party at St Michael’s Church
on Saturday, 28 May, 6-10pm,
to celebrate Duncan’s 25 years as our Music Director.

The Party will include at some point a rendition of some of Duncan’s favourite part-songs.
A pdf of the music for the part-songs can be downloaded here. If you are a current member, you can pick up a printed copy at a rehearsal. If you are not a current member and would like a printed copy, fill out the relevant section of the RSVP below.
If you know the songs well enough, you are welcome to join in on the night

For the party itself, we would be grateful if you would bring a dish of food and a bottle. The Party will be held inside and outside the Church to allow for concerns about Covid.

all RSVP via the linked Google Form.
Partners are welcome, but should fill out the Google Form too.


27 April 2022

Dear All,

Are you singing in the concert?
A good number of you have not responded to the request to let us know. Please fill in the Google Form we sent you. The deadline is this Sunday, 1 May. For more details scroll down this page to the message of 20 April from Catrin Roberts, our Concert Manager.

These will be on sale at the remaining rehearsals and via TicketsOxford online. They are £15. Under 16s are free but need a ticket. We would encourage you to buy tickets at rehearsals, as we lose a percentage on online sales. To make it easier at rehearsals, we have acquired a card reader, so that you will be able to pay by credit or debit card, which is our preference. However, you can also pay by cheque or cash (preferably exact).
We are limiting the number again – this time to 250. So please buy early. You should know that the gallery will not be available, due to the loudness of the organ there.

Please distribute widely the posters that we have had printed – more will be available at tomorrow night’s rehearsal. And please also pass on the email sent to you last Friday which has all the details of the concert.

Philip Booth

20 April 2022

Dear All,

Reminder about Covid requirements
We are staying with the same current Covid arrangements until the end of this term. So please continue taking a LFD test before each rehearsal. For more details, see our Covid page.

28 May Party for Duncan
Do fill out the RSVP Google Form, if you haven’t already. For more details of the Party, see the invitation – which goes to all members, past and present, of the choir – lower down on this webpage (scroll down to 24 March 2022).

Translation of this concert’s texts
Valerie Worth (soprano) has kindly provided a translation of the French text we are singing, as well as of all the Latin texts, together with some notes. They can be downloaded here. (Valerie will also be writing the full notes for our concert programme.)

Weekly Notices page of the website
A reminder that this email and all other weekly emails go immediately onto the Weekly Notices page of our website, making it an easy place to reference all recent emails to you as a choir member.

Philip Booth
20 April 2022


Dear All,

Are you singing in the concert?

This is an invitation to all this term’s choir members to sing in the concert on Saturday 21 May. There are over 100 of us, so we’re hoping for a great turnout to sing this lovely French music. Thanks to Jean-Louis, our webmaster, we have a great new digital form (see below) by which you can register and submit with the press of a button, so no more signing of scruffy sheets required. Your responses, whether yes or no, are required  as soon as possible and no later than 1 May.

We would like all those singing in the concert to attend as many rehearsals as possible from now on. The rehearsal on Thursday 19 May (in St. Andrew’s in concert formation) and the final rehearsal on Saturday 21 May (in St. Andrew’s in the afternoon, at a time to be arranged) require your attendance: please speak to Duncan if this poses a problem.

Members who are not singing in this concert are asked not to attend the rehearsal on 19 or 21 May. 

We will be singing, as with Messiah, in close formation on the staging in St. Andrew’s. We are hoping choir members will wear face masks when moving around the church and are asking all performers to take an LFD test on Saturday morning before the concert. Additionally, the church will be ventilated: it will be summer so it will be great to sing with open doors and windows.

Once your responses have been received, a seating plan will be prepared. As last time, please do email me with any seating preferences: likes/ dislikes of singing at the boundary of other voices, a wish to be seated with particular fellow singer(s), a wish to be seated close to the front because of height, eyesight, anything else. This is not an exhaustive list: please keep the emails coming. I will undertake to meet all preferences as long as requests come in by 1 May, the same day as the deadline for form submission. After that, it becomes more difficult to change things, so please submit your requests early on. No changes will be possible after Thursday 19 May, as Duncan will need at least this time to become familiar with where his singers are placed.

Well, that’s it and here’s the Google Form.

I look forward to being deluged by positive responses.

Catrin Roberts
Concert Manager
16 April 2022


Dear All,

Happy Easter to you all!

Just 5 Thursday rehearsals until the concert on the 21 May. Next Thursday we’ll be covering as much of the Saint-Seans, Gounod and Faure as possible.
To speed us through the rehearsal, please take a listen:




A few notes to help with preparation:

The Kyrie can be a little tentative, and the single voice entries on p.4 and 5 need to be soloistic and sure-footed.
Dies Irae – entries at figure A need to be brassy. 
Please have the words prepared on p.12 and 13.
Sanctus – confident brass entries at figures A and B.

Gloria – soprano and alto solo at figure A. Confident and soloistic.
Credo, p.44, figure J, “Et Expecto” needs careful preparation.
P.58, figure D, “Pleni sunt Coeli” – basses lead.
Benedictus – careful preparation needed.

The notes are relatively easy and well known. 
Just the text to bring out. The recording above is sung by The Maitrise of Radio France.
Beautiful French, lovely conducting and exemplary watching and folder holding from the choir.

Let’s have another triumph on the 21 May!

27 March 2022

Dear All,

Party for Duncan
On Thursday you received your invitation to the Party for Duncan on Saturday, 28 May, 6-10pm, at St Michael’s, which is now available in the email above of 4 May. Please fill in the RSVP Google Form at the bottom of the invitation. (We are trying to get experience with Google Forms, so your cooperation with this and any feedback are welcome.)
You will notice that if you are a current member, we are asking you to collect your copy of the Party Pieces at a rehearsal. They will be available at all rehearsals from now on. The booklet is yours to keep.
The rehearsal/workshop at which the Party Pieces will be rehearsed is a free one on Saturday 23 April, 10-1pm, at St Michael’s, led by Duncan. We are not asking you to register for this if you are a current member. The first two hours will cover the Party Pieces and the last hour the French music for the concert on 21 May. We hope as many as possible will come to the full rehearsal, to get an experience of or improve their ability at a cappella singing, but also to put in some extra work on the French music. But if you don’t want to come to the first two hours, please try to come to the last hour if you are singing in the concert. (There will probably be a break around 11.45.)
Please note that the Party Pieces are available for practice on the John Fletcher website (under the heading ‘Music for our summer party’).

Next term’s music – September 2022 – January 2023
You may have missed the announcement of this by Duncan at the 17 March rehearsal:
from September we will be rehearsing Handel’s Coronation Anthems and Haydn’s Nelson Mass (also referred to as Missa in Angustiis – Mass in troubled times). The concert will be at the end of January 2023.

Next rehearsal
As usual, see the Next Rehearsal page of the website.

Philip Booth