For our Spring 2023 programme, we will be performing Rossini’s delightful Petite Messe Solonnelle. We will start rehearsals in the Music Lecture Theatre at UCS on 11 January 2023 and we are planning a ten-week term concluding with a concert on 25 March 2023. The ten-week term will have a one-week break for half-term on 15 February 2023 – a detailed rehearsal schedule is set out below. Don’t worry if you miss the occasional rehearsal or join the term a bit late – you can always use the learning resources described below 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.
Tickets and concert details
Tickets for the concert are now on sale via the Trybooking website, the link to which can be found here.
To make our concert a great success, we will be relying on you to bring your friends and family, so please direct them here to buy their tickets. A concert flyer, which you are welcome to distribute, can be found here.
In-person and online rehearsals
With the declining incidence of serious Covid-related illness, we were able to rehearse normally last term with increased numbers of singers. We have reintroduced the coffee breaks which allow members to socialise.
However, we will continue to be vigilant and rehearse in well ventilated spaces (so remember to dress warmly! We will also continue to offer hybrid in person/online rehearsals, which mean that, if you are feeling unwell or are unable to attend in person for any other reason, you can still participate in the rehearsal. We ask members to be respectful of each other and not to attend if you are showing any symptoms of illness.
For reference our simple COVID guidelines on behaviour are here. We hope that compliance with these measures will make our rehearsals safer.
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.
The subscription for the term (whether in person or online) is £80 (of which the tuition element, for those who have kindly signed up to allow us to claim Gift Aid, is £16). You should pay online and details of how to do this will be sent to those who register. 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 or contact us.
Here is the rehearsal schedule for the term:
There are many recordings of this piece in both the full orchestral versions and the original chamber version (with piano and harmonium). As always, the BBC Building a Library programme is a good source of suggestions. Their recommendations for the Petite Messe are as follows
- Daniela Dessi (soprano), Gloria Scalchi (mezzo), Giuseppe Sabbatini (tenor), Michele Pertusi (bass-baritone), Orchestra e Coro del Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Riccardo Chailly (available on YouTube)
- Krassimira Stoyanova (soprano), Birgit Remmert (alto), Steve Davislim (tenor), Hanno Müller-Brachmann (bass), RIAS Kammerchor, Marcus Creed (available on YouTube)
- Simon Bucher (piano), Andreas Grasle (harmonium), Kirchheimer Vokal-Consort, Tonu Kaljuste
- Carolyn Sampson (soprano), Hilary Summers (alto), Andrew Tortise (tenor), Andrew Foster-Williams (bass), Gary Cooper (19th-century piano), Matthew Halls (19th-century piano) & Mark Williams (harmonium), The Choir of The King’s Consort, Robert King
After the first two weeks when music will be provided, you will need your own score.
Simon has selected the Oxford University Press edition edited by Fleming (£19.95).
Other cheaper editions are available but please note there may be differences in the arrangement, bar numbers etc. The link provided here is to Presto Music, but you should also be able to source scores from Amazon or local music shops such as Dot’s in Camden Town or Les Aldrich in Muswell Hill. Used copies may also be available from, for example, AbeBooks.
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.
- 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.
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 7.30pm start
- sessions are an hour long and will be led by Simon Walton with assistance from Heather Tomala
- sessions are typically a warm up, some rehearsal time in parts (you will be introduced to ‘break out rooms’!), a sing-through probably with a recording and finish with time for feedback and a catch up
- 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.