This is the members' page. Below you will find the members' newsletter and any other news for members from your committee.

Letter from Vivien – August 2021

Letter from the GMCS Chair to all the Choir

Welcome back everyone to singing as a choir once again.  The Committee have been working with Alex, our Music Director, to plan for the next term.  The first of our weekly rehearsals this coming season will be on Monday, 6 September, in the Oldham Hall (located off Church Lane in Great Missenden) as before lockdowns and the restrictions that followed.  We shall be working towards our concert on 18 December, which will be shorter than normal and without an interval for refreshments as none of us know exactly what the situation will be then.  The concert programme will be:

Haydn St Nicholas Mass

Vivaldi Magnificat

Vaughan Williams Fantasia on Christmas Carols

The concert should take about an hour.  Once again, the St John’s Chamber Orchestra will be playing with us (they have given us the details below about a concert they will be giving at Norden Farm in September) and Nicholas Robinson will be the organist.

Those members of the choir who were able to join us from May to July this year, when we rehearsed in a marquee at The Trinity Church, Prestwood, and sang at the Missenden Abbey Fair on 11 July – all great fun and most fulfilling – will be familiar with the safety procedures that we had put in place then.  A big thank you to all who helped to make this happen.  It was great to see so many familiar faces in the audience at the Abbey.  We were especially grateful to Geoff Povey for stepping in to try to prevent the music being whipped away in the wind as Michael, our accompanist, played for us on the electric piano!  The performance of the horse in the background was also noted.

A further risk assessment has been completed for rehearsals from 6 September to 13 December and, of course, we shall be abiding by the procedures put in place by the Oldham Hall management.  Full details of these arrangements and the actions people should take when attending the rehearsals are set out on the next page.  We ask that you take care to read these before coming to choir sessions.

Please do contact me if you have any questions or points you would like to raise on any of these matters.

We are all looking forward to joining together again to sing and enjoy the opportunity to perform in a concert once more.  I know that there will be good times and a lot of music, new and old for us to hear and take part in singing.

Meantime, I do hope you get the opportunity to enjoy the late summer sunshine we are promised,

Vivien Salisbury


St John’s@Norden Farm.    Friday 24 September 8pm    St John’s Ensemble

Schubert String Trio in B flat, D.471
Beethoven Violin Sonata in A, Op.12 No.2
Mozart Serenade in C minor, K.388
Gounod Petite symphonie
Beethoven Piano Trio in E flat, Op.1 No.1     Details and Booking



The government has relaxed the Covid regulations for all activities with effect from July. However the committee is aware that the infection is still spreading in the general public and therefore some precautions continue to be necessary. The activities of the choir benefit the social well-being of the choir members hence it is felt that this is a good time to resume indoor rehearsals the concerts.  A new risk assessment has been completed for rehearsals from 6 September to 13 December at the Oldham Hall.

The Hall is available to us from 7.15 pm, when organisers and a limited number of invited helpers will prepare the hall in advance of each rehearsal to ensure that the location meets all safety and Covid-secure concerns. The hall is well suited for this with multiple windows able to be opened and large enough for the choir to meet up. The windows will be open throughout the rehearsal to ensure that it is well ventilated.  All should be ready by 7.30 for choir members and other participants to enter ready for a prompt rehearsal start at 7.45 pm.

Rehearsals are restricted to members, potential members, the Music Director and accompanist. The space will therefore not become overcrowded. We shall keep a register with contact details of those attending each rehearsal.  The details will be confirmed as you arrive with a member of the Committee.  This will be in accordance with track and tracing arrangements.

People should not come to rehearsals or the concert if they are unwell or have been exposed to anyone with Covid or if in quarantine.  Coming to the rehearsals, we should wear face masks when assembling, during the break and as we leave.  Participants are asked to use hand sanitiser when entering and leaving.

There will be no refreshments provided at the rehearsals.  Those coming are advised to bring their own water and any other drinks they would like.

If regulations change to restrict such events or if there is a surge in local Covid cases, the rehearsals will be cancelled.

All of these measures will be reviewed regularly, as appropriate.

Vivien Salisbury, Ken Darvill

Published on September 2nd, 2021 by Ken Darvill

Informal Recital & Carol Singing

This press release has recently been issued:

Although Great Missenden Choral Society haven’t been able to rehearse together for almost a year now, its 70-strong members have been keeping in touch online and enthusiastically joining in with a series of YouTube singing videos produced by Alex Flood, GMCS’s Music Director. On the 12th of December they even managed to get together, albeit in a restricted way, for a recital at St Peter and St Paul’s and some joyful carol singing in the Buryfield car park!

The recital saw Alex Flood, GMCS’s Music Director, moving nimbly between organ and piano, delighting the very socially-distanced audience with a wonderful selection of seasonal music.  The concert culminated with a witty organ arrangement of Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’.  The song had just reached no. 1 in the charts for the first time in its 26-year history and Alex remarked that it was the first time he’d played a current no. 1 hit single in concert!

About thirty choir members then trooped down to the Buryfield for some heartfelt carol singing led by Alex, which gathered a small but appreciative audience.

The Choir is very much hoping to be able to resume rehearsals in the spring to prepare a short concert for 19 June 2021, with the centrepiece being an energetic and beautiful early Mozart mass.

The Choir aims to be adaptable to whatever constraints it finds itself confronted by in the coming year.  As Alex Flood says: “My intention is that in everything we do, we aim for the highest standards we can achieve in presenting profound music that is satisfying and thrilling for performers and listeners alike”.

Isabelle Reynolds

Published on January 21st, 2021 by Ken Darvill

Letter from Vivien – October 2020

Hello Everyone

It feels a while back since we were preparing for our Easter concert.  We have been able to keep up with some singing with Alex’s regular online rehearsals, with a range of music that can always surprise.  It has been great to have some streamed concerts and wonderful to have online proms along with other musical snippets that members have sent in to share with us all through Amanda’s group email lists.  So much good music to listen to, especially now, as the nights grow longer.  A real time for some much needed comfort especially on a dark mid afternoon – making shortbread is one of my favourite comfort recipes from an amazing family in Scotland:  eight ounces of flour, five of butter, three sugar.  I expect Suzanne, Moyra, Neil and Angus can improve on my efforts.

Throughout this time, the Committee have been looking at further ways to add to our musical learning and enjoyment.  We were very grateful for all the responses we received to our members’ survey, which has helped to guide our planning and actions.  Alex has been most enthusiastic throughout in coming up with ideas and plans with us for current activities and plans for the future. We have been formulating plans for a short concert of Alex’s devising and playing, together with Michael, for choir members, our official Friends and President only, initially planned for on our Christmas Concert day or rehearsal evening at the church and possibly followed by some carol singing on the green outside the Oldham Hall or similar outside setting.  I know that we would all love to hear their wonderful organ and piano playing and think how the instrumental music enhances our singing performances.  Ken has put together a precise risk assessment for the choir and the church have some excellent risk assessments of their own in place already. The gloomy virus infection rates, however, might make these two possibilities suspect at this time and we may well have to push back our plans in to and for next term, with later than usual rehearsal starting and spring concert dates.

Meantime, there are some continuing costs for GMCS, despite Suzanne’s great endeavours in managing the books, ensuring the appointment of an auditor and keeping expenses down.  The Committee all thought it right at this time to support our exceptional professional musicians, Music Director, Alex, who keeps us singing through rehearsals as well as preparing future concerts and other events, and our accompanist, Michael. Whilst all had been so unsure, we had been reluctant to ask for subscriptions earlier.  However, we are asking now for members to make a donation of £25 for the term to contribute towards the ongoing costs and having sufficient funds to be up and ready for future rehearsal and performance expenditure to enable us to sing together as soon as we can safely start back again.  If anybody were to feel this is not what they could afford, we would quite understand.  Clearly, if people feel they would like to add a little more, as people have done in the past, this would be very helpful. For payment details, please see below.

We do need to hold an AGM, for which the preparatory work has been undertaken.  It is now scheduled for the evening of Monday, 11 January, 2021.  In the circumstances, this will be with members, Friends, and our President, Val Withams, online.  Amanda will send out further documentation in good time.

The night is drawing in as I write this.  Time to get that shortbread out of the oven and make a warming hot drink!  Do keep writing to us and giving us further suggestions and jokes, stories and music to share amongst our very special choir and those who support us,


Chair – Great Missenden Choral Society

Published on November 5th, 2020 by Ken Darvill

Press Release – Alex Flood appointed Music Director

For the press release announcing the appointment please click here.

Published on January 24th, 2020 by Ken Darvill

Newsletter Winter 2019


Welcome Everybody, to this special newsletter, giving details of our Christmas Concert arrangements and plans for celebrating John’s wonderful twenty-five years with the choir.  The choir has a special place in many people’s lives, as testified by the number of members, Friends and key people whose involvement, activities and enjoyment spans many years (even in some case entering the sixth or family’s seventh decade), whilst still keen to tackle new works and methods and always ready to welcome new members to the fold.

It takes somebody with particular qualities to provide directorship musically for such a choir and to lead a large and diverse group in taking on new challenges and finding new perspectives to familiar works and singing.  John’s prolific musical knowledge and boundless enthusiasm for pieces old and new, as well as his love for performance and affection for this choir have encouraged us all over the years to enjoy and appreciate choral singing of many ages and varieties, fully in line with the choir’s founding principles.

So (more…)

Published on November 20th, 2019 by Ken Darvill

Newsletter Summer 2019











Welcome All and Warmest Congratulations to everyone involved for a marvellous Spring Concert.  As John had intended, the Antiphons displayed how well we can sing unaccompanied (just keep the faith) and the Handel Messiah Passion Music and Hallelujah Chorus were the expected crowd pleasers, with the performance fulfilling our hopes.  It was terrific once again for the composer of the modern music we have chosen to sing to be with us both in rehearsal, where we can learn so much more about their wishes and motivations for the performance, and at the concert. So, delighted that Paul Carr had spent so much time with us at rehearsal, it was magnificent that the performance on the night of his “Requiem for an Angel” reached his own high expectations of us and he was thrilled to hear his music rendered in the fashion we achieved with the orchestra. (more…)

Published on August 7th, 2019 by Ken Darvill

John Cotterill’s last concert with us

At the end of the year, after almost 25 years as its esteemed music director, John Cotterill retires and hands over the baton to the much sought-after composer, conductor and organist, Dr. Alex Flood, whose services GMCS is delighted to have secured and who recently relocated to nearby Hyde Heath. For his valedictory concert with the choir on 14th December, John Cotterill will host a specially planned workshop before conducting the epic Christmas Oratorio by J.S.Bach, but in the meantime there will be some fun and fund-raising that is open to all.

Published on June 12th, 2019 by Ken Darvill

Newsletter Spring 2019

In this edition:  Chair’s introduction; Message from Music Director;  Social Media; Concert day notes;   Easyfundraising; Dates for your diary


Hello and Welcome Everyone to our Spring 2019 Newsletter, which sets out all the information about concert day requirements and arrangements and other choir news.  Our Christmas Concert went extremely well, with the Britten “Ceremony of Carols” and Rossini’s “Petite Messe Solonelle” already known to a number of us but with some excitingly challenging parts.  The soloists were excellent, as was the exceptional young harpist, Richard Allen, and our accompanists gave wonderful support and enhancement to our singing, with fine playing from Rhidian Jones on the organ and Nigel Wilkinson and the choir’s warmly acclaimed accompanist, Michael McMillan, on the piano. In between we had the delight of singing Mike Sheppard’s carol “When a Baby is Born” in his presence and after a rehearsal in which he had told us about its meaning to him and how he thought about the performance to come.  It was clear that the audience were enchanted by this and it was particularly touching to hear and see their very warm appreciation for the work.  (more…)

Published on March 19th, 2019 by Ken Darvill

Newsletter Winter 2018









Chair’s Introduction

WELCOME, EVERYONE, to our Winter newsletter, giving you all the information about dates to note for the future, concert day requirements and arrangements, a reminder about our Christmas party on 17 December and general choir news.

We are well on the way in our preparation for the Christmas concert on Saturday, 15 December.  A number of us have previously sung Britten’s Ceremony of Carols, which still sounds fresh every time we approach it, and it has been very helpful for us that there are members who have performed and loved the Rossini “Petite Messe Solonnelle” and so are able to join with John’s careful (more…)

Published on December 2nd, 2018 by Ken Darvill

Newsletter Summer 2018


Chair’s Introduction – Director of Music’s pre-season notes – Important notice about concert week rehearsals

Fundraising – Online learning resources – Committee – Social Media – Your personal information

Friends of GMCS – Music Director



Welcome, Everyone, to this Summer Newsletter,

And what a summer it has turned out to be so far:  long, hot, dry and only now summer showers but with the promise of more sunshine to come.  It has felt positively chilly at times this weekend and the storms have been spectacular, and dangerous for many elsewhere in the country, but such freshness in the air!  And on Saturday a rainbow shone out across Great Missenden.  Compensation, perhaps for missing the blood moon eclipse and a wonder of joy to behold!  So enough of the lyrics, albeit that clear enunciation and working on our consonants is critical, it is time to be thinking again of music in the autumn.

We look forward to starting our new term on Monday, September 3rd, 2018 at the Oldham Hall, Church Street, Great Missenden with the Annual General Meeting of the Great Missenden Choral Society will be held at 7.30 p.m., prior to a short break and the first rehearsal of the season. (more…)

Published on August 12th, 2018 by Ken Darvill