We are looking forward to welcoming friends new and old to our 2023/24 season which starts on Wednesday 6th September, when we will be rehearsing three works, Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, Gerald Finzi’s In Terra Pax and Benjamin Britten’s Saint Nicolas – links are provided for those wishing to familiarise themselves with the music.
Concert details and tickets
The concert is on Saturday, 2nd December starting at 19.30 in The Great Hall, University College School, Frognal, Hampstead NW3 6XH.
Tickets will be available from 27 October 2023 via Trybooking. Having maintained ticket prices at £20 since Autumn 2018, we have, after much discussion, decided that we must increase them. We have at the same time raised the fees we pay our professional musicians in the Centenary Orchestra and added an offer of free tickets for all those 16 and under. We hope you will agree that the tickets, which include interval refreshments and access to a programme, remain good value.
We will start rehearsals in the Music Lecture Theatre at UCS on Wednesday 6 September and we are planning an eleven-week term concluding with a concert on Saturday 2 December. We will have a two-week break for half-term on 18 and 25 October – a detailed rehearsal schedule will be provided before term starts.
Don’t worry if you miss the occasional rehearsal or join the term a bit late – you can always use the learning resources described on our website to catch up.
The first two weeks’ rehearsals will be taster sessions for those who would like to try out so, if you have friends and family who would like to have a go at choral singing, please ask them to come along. And, if you have friends in the choir who have not been attending recently, please encourage them to re-join too.
If you are on our mailing list, you should already have received an email with an invitation to register for the term – if you cannot find it, please check your spam folder.
If you are not on our mailing list and would like to sing with us, please contact us via this website.
The subscription for this term is £90 (of which the tuition element, for those who have kindly signed up to allow us to claim Gift Aid, is £18). If you would like to sign up for Gift Aid, which allows the choir to recover 25 per cent of your subscription at no cost to you, please let us know when rehearsals start. Termly membership fees are not due at this point – a separate email will be sent to you with payment details after the trial two-weeks if you decide to sign up.
We had hoped to provide copies of the music for this term under a new licensing arrangement but this has not been possible. Instead we intend to provide rental copies for which we expect to charge £15 for the term. All three works are published by Boosey and Hawkes and, for those who would prefer to buy them, are available from the usual sources – but you should be aware that the total cost for all three works is nearly £40.
As we will be using rental copies please only mark your scores in pencil so markings can be removed.
The rehearsal schedule for the term is available below. Copies will also be available at rehearsals
All our rehearsals start with warm-up vocal exercises. Simon has prepared videos to help those who are less familiar with the exercises:
If you want to keep your voice going between rehearsals, these are the tools to use.
If you want to get to know the music here are links to some recordings
Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms,
Gerald Finzi’s In Terra Pax
Benjamin Britten’s Saint Nicolas
The BBC is always a good source of informative programmes about recordings and the music we are singing.
If you want help with the pronunciation of the Hebrew in the Chichester Psalms, there is a very helpful video on YouTube. There are different forms of Hebrew pronunciation but this is the version we intend to use.
Many of the learning sites provide aids to help you learn your part. We find the following to be particularly useful:
- Cyberbass – a wide range of major works, including both the Vivaldi and the Haydn. You can listen to individual voice parts or all voice parts, you can select a short passage to listen to over and over again, or you can speed up and slow down recordings. This is a very flexible tool, but you cannot download the recordings.
- John F’s Rehearsal Files – John Fletcher has an extraordinary range of music on his site, with individual files for each voice part or for all parts together. You need to set up a membership – this is free for out of copyright music. There is a paid for option if you want to access copyrighted music – there are various options, but the individual rate for one year is £10. The advantage of John Fletcher’s site is that you can download the recordings to use offline. He has all the pieces we are doing this term.
- Saffron Choral Prompt – you can order CDs at a modest price from saffronchoralprompt.co.uk 01799 586269. You tell them the name of our choir (for a discount); which piece of music and name of publisher; your voice part. You will receive a useful (though not beautiful) recording of a voice singing your exact line with a piano accompaniment playing the other parts. This is clearly most useful for large scale works. They have all three works we are doing this term.
- Some choir members find Choralia to be a useful source of learning aids. Choralia have aids for the Britten and the Bernstein.
In-person and online rehearsals
We have been rehearsing in the Music Lecture Room (MLT) and M7 since November 2021 and have been able to achieve good
levels of ventilation. Depending on outside temperatures, it canget a bit chilly, but these are the best conditions we believe we can
achieve in terms of infection management (other than singing outdoors!)
So going forward, here are a few reminders about rehearsal etiquette to reduce infection risk:
1. We are continuing with live rehearsals, combined with Zoom rehearsals (hybrid model). We are regularly reviewing the
situation for any signs of increased infection rates and are ready to take action as necessary.
2. Please only attend live rehearsals if you are fully vaccinated. We ask that if you have any signs whatsoever which could indicate
infection (with or without a positive test) you STAY AWAY from live rehearsal and attend by Zoom.
With these regulations in place, we feel confident to continue choir rehearsals, always mindful of the evolving situation and ready to react if necessary.
How does Hampstead Chorus Online work?
There will be plenty of help on hand but most members have found it quite straightforward:
- download ‘Zoom’ to your computer in advance of the session – it’s free video conferencing software
- each week you are sent a link via email from Hampstead Chorus, which you use to join that week’s Zoom session from 7.15pm for a 7.30pm start.
- a point worth emphasising is that, when you sing in Zoom sessions the only person who can hear you is yourself.
- If there are two of you in the same location, unless you are the same voice part, you may wish to sign in from two devices so that you are put in the right breakout room. If you are sitting near each other, please ensure both devices are kept on mute otherwise there will be a horrible feedback noise.
It would be very helpful to let us know before the rehearsal if you intend to attend online.
Further information on setting up Zoom and what to expect can be found here.