15 January 2021
NEXT TERM: 4 February – 10 June 2021
This is addressed to everyone on the choir’s mailing list, not just to those who signed up for Zoom rehearsals last term. If you did not sing last term, do consider the format outlined below, as it may appeal to you. We have also done a good deal over the term to adjust the format of the rehearsals to the fact that they are online, and we have ironed out a number of technical difficulties. The end result has gone down well with many members, with ‘live attendance’ remaining stable, while others have watched the recording. The endorsements appended to this email bear witness.
Just want to support us?
If nonetheless you decide you won’t be doing the online rehearsals, you may be willing to sign up for the term just to support the ongoing life of the Choir. This seemed to be the case for some people last term. We would be very grateful.
This email is also addressed to any possible newcomers, who will be most welcome. We are sorry only that it will be a somewhat anonymous joining.
Next term continues with Zoomed online rehearsals, beginning, after a week’s break, on Thursday 4 February, at the online time of 8.20pm, for one hour. The term will end on Thursday 10 June (so 18 weeks in all). We have Saturday 12 June pencilled in as a concert date, but we are pretty certain this will not be possible. There will be a break on Maundy Thursday, 2 April.
As of now, rehearsals will be transmitted from a music studio in North Hinksey Village and will involve our Music Director, Duncan Saunderson, and our accompanist, Julian Littlewood. As soon as circumstances permit, we will return to the online format we also used last term: of four voices singing in St Michael’s Church. The choir invested in microphones, a mixer and a camera last term to make both types of online rehearsals of good quality.
The cost will be the same as last term, £30, which will go towards covering Duncan’s and Julian’s fees. (Our normal subscription is £65 per term.) This gives you access to the Zoomed rehearsals and to the recordings of them that are made available, with timings, a day or two later.
What will we sing?
This will be determined by you! When you sign on, we want you to submit a list containing the titles of shorter pieces or the titles of movements from longer pieces (so, for example, Unto us a child is born from Messiah, but not Messiah itself) that the Choir has sung since January 1997, that is, in the years that Duncan has been our Musical Director. The full list is available on our Concert History page. Your list should be no longer than 10 pieces, which you may or may not have sung, and should be listed in order of preference. We will then collate your choices and rank them overall. We will then rehearse and sing your favourites. You will be alerted the week beforehand to the pieces that will be sung the following week. A recording will be made available should you miss a session.
We are assuming that regular members of the choir will have many of the scores from having sung the pieces with the choir already. But there are so many scores available online nowadays that we envisage that nearly all the pieces chosen will be downloadable. They can then either be printed out or be viewed on a second computer device (laptop, iPhone etc.) running alongside the computer running the Zoom rehearsal. Or they can be viewed alongside the image of the Zoom session on the same computer. We will provide the links for the scores. (N.B. Bear in mind that, for copyright reasons, we will not have free access online to the scores of any composer who died after 1951, so you should exclude from your choices pieces by the following composers: Britten, Bush, Copland, Durufle, Dyson, Finzi, Haazen, Howells, Montgomery, Sayers, Stravinsky, Tavener, Thompson, Tippett, Walton, Vaughn Williams, but not the pieces we have commissioned by Gant, Ives and Moore.)
Message from Duncan
“I’m delighted SCS has kept afloat over the last year and many thanks for the huge amount of support. Before long we will be swapping ‘lockdown’ stories over a glass in St Michael’s after some great music.
The ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ is exciting. Nothing firmly in place, of course, but we have our lovely French programme and there has been a lot of interest in Handel’s Samson, one of his greatest oratorios, written just after Messiah.
Also, Brahms’ Requiem alongside the Brahms-friendly composers we are looking at (Clara Schumann, Rheinberger, Max Reger and Bach).
A wonderful orchestra and soloists are waiting in the wings, and all of this on our doorstep.
Our next season’s repertoire is indeed up to you! Rather than a big new work, a very good suggestion has been to revisit some of your favourite pieces we have sung over the last few years.
It will be fascinating to see where these pieces come in your top ten!
Much thanks to Philip and the team for transforming the sound over Zoom.
Regarding the ‘Z word’, I spent an entire day teaching on it yesterday, saving me, and the planet, a 100 mile round trip, so it’s not all bad!”
AND NOW, HOW TO SIGN ON:
Transfer £30 to the Choir’s bank account. For details, see the Bank Details page of our website (please be sure to enter your name and voice as a reference). If you need to pay by cheque, contact our Membership Secretary, Jackie Weaver (click on her name or use email@example.com), and she will explain how to do this.
Send an email to Jackie Weaver, telling her that you have paid your £30. (If you are a new member, please indicate this and Jackie will get in touch with you for more details. And if as a new member you would like a free session before signing on, let Jackie know.)
Go to our Concert History page and choose up to 10 short pieces or movements from longer pieces from the list available there, not going back beyond January 1997. Rank your choices in order of preference and send them by separate email to our Webmaster, Jean-Louis Metzger (click on his name, or use firstname.lastname@example.org). Only choices received by 30 January will count towards the final list as we need to give Members notice by that date of what we will be rehearsing on 4 February. So register in good time and any time from now!
Any enquiries, from old or new members, should be addressed to Jackie Weaver.
And finally, feedback from Choir members about last term’s Zoom rehearsals:
That was marvellous! I was sorry that the end came so quickly! I can’t wait for next week! Many thanks for making this such a rewarding experience. (Alto)
I really enjoyed the sing tonight. LOTS of singing. It’s great getting the new pieces of music to learn. (Alto)
Excellent quality yesterday evening. I also really like the modified formats which have evolved. (Bass)
Please can you convey my thanks and congratulations for the hard work to keep the choir going. The sound has been much improved. It was great to have voices to follow too, and I’ve appreciated the recordings to have another chance when not at live rehearsals. (Alto)
Just to say how much I’ve been enjoying the Thursday online rehearsals. The move to St Michael’s was transformative, and the rapid improvements in audio-visual quality since then have been remarkable. It seems as close to an actual rehearsal as can be achieved. (Bass)