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

Newsletter Winter 2023



Welcome to our Autumn Newsletter!
We are very much looking forward to our concert on December 9th – it looks set to be a lovely evening. Please tell all your friends so that we can attract a good audience and enjoy a great evening of music together.
In this edition we provide information about the concert day and week, to remind existing members and inform our new members. We also provide information and some ideas relating to the tasks undertaken by the committee, with which we think members could assist, and the upcoming vacancies which we need to fill.
Included is the usual plea to use Easyfundraising when shopping online, particularly with Christmas fast approaching, and a word about Gift Aid.
Best wishes,
The Committee

Just a reminder that the rehearsal on the Monday before the concert (Monday, December 4th) will take place in the Church as usual. At that rehearsal, Jean will be circulating labels noting the items required for the orchestra tea. Please take a label and bring your food donation to the Church to the concert day rehearsal, leaving it in the kitchen. Thank you.
Please note that we have reserved the Church for a Wednesday rehearsal that week, and Alex will confirm nearer the time whether or not this will be necessary
Dress Code – Women: black long skirt or dress trousers and a black top with long or three-quarter length sleeves. Janet will be supplying the sparkle for us! Men: black tie and dinner jacket please. As usual, please no aftershave/perfumes that are likely to aggravate allergies and affect singers’ voices.

Timetable – Please arrive at Church for the afternoon rehearsal between 2pm and 2:10pm, and be seated ready to sing at 2:15pm. If you are bringing food for the orchestra tea, please allow plenty of time to take this to the kitchen and then go out of the main door and into the choir area via the vestry. We will warm up and sing the unaccompanied piece (and anything else that needs work) before the orchestra arrives at 2:30pm. There will be a 20 minute break for the orchestra during the afternoon, and Alex hopes to discharge the choir at 5pm. Please leave the Church quickly and quietly, because Alex will be continuing to work with the soloists and orchestra after we are finished.

Access to and moving around the Church- please take great care when moving around the Church, and please avoid entering/ disturbing the orchestra area – but see Security below.

Security – The Church itself and surrounding area is a high-risk area prone to opportunistic theft of personal property.

It is important that valuables are not brought to rehearsals or the performance. There will be a volunteer steward providing security at the vestry door. It is important that the vestry door is not left open or closed “on the latch” at any time.

Take the normal precautions of not leaving any items on display in your car and lock your vehicle.

Helpers. Helpers. We need more! We are fortunate to have a few people who are always willing to help, acting as Stewards/ Front of House/Security and setting up/clearing away. However, we do need extra help. Could any of you or your friends/partners get involved and join the team? That would be much appreciated. If so, please let a member of the committee know. This is especially important AFTER the concert. Many hands make light work – willing helpers are sought for 10/15 minutes after the performance to tidy the church to its normal setting. Again, please let a member of the committee know if you or someone you know is able to help.

Car Parking
Access Road – There are double yellow lines on the road leading up to the church. Furthermore, emergency vehicle access must be preserved.
Disabled. Parking spaces are very limited. Those with a real need for priority disabled parking please let Bob Stupples know the name and make, model and registration number of car. Bob will give you the appropriate permit.
Choir/Volunteer Helpers. Parking on the unmade road down from the top gate in the evening of the concert is limited to those members who help clear afterwards. Please let Bob Stupples have your name, make and model of car and registration, and he will give you a parking permit.
These parking permits should be fixed or held inside the windscreen on the left side to be seen by the parking stewards on arriving at the car park entrance.

Tickets for collection at the Door – If you wish to organise tickets to be collected at the door please place them in an envelope clearly marked with the names of the person collecting them, and whether payment has/has not been made.

With Christmas shopping becoming imminent, and more of us shopping online, please consider supporting the choir through on Easyfundraising.

3,000 retailers are signed up to Easyfundraising, so do continue to support the choir in this way. It is very easy to sign up, and you can set up a reminder on your browser, which will prompt you to raise funds when you navigate to a website which is signed up to the scheme. “Big ticket” items such as insurance, broadband, and holiday bookings can raise really significant amounts.

Please ask Suzanne if you need further information or assistance, and a BIG thank you to those who are already donating to the choir through online shopping.

For those of you who used Amazon Smile to raise donations when shopping on Amazon, please note that this scheme has been discontinued.

As announced at the AGM in September, Suzanne and James Bryden intend to relocate out of the area during 2024, and this leaves a couple of vacancies which MUST be filled. As much notice as possible has been given, to enable volunteers to have a good handover with the outgoing incumbents.

Suzanne is, of course, Treasurer and typically undertakes the undernoted tasks. NOTE however, that many of these do not necessarily follow the Treasurer role, and could easily be shared with others, so if you feel that you could take on any individual task, that would be very much appreciated. However, the choir, as a registered charity, must have someone in the Treasurer role.

Usual Treasurer activities
• Collection of income;
• Payment of bills and fees;
• Keeping track of member and Friends subs;
• Banking;
• Keeping records of income and expenditure;
• Maintenance of Square POS terminal;
• Passing all information to our independent examiner at the end of the financial year (May).
NOTE that the Treasurer doesn’t have to prepare accounts, just keep records!!
Other linked activities
• Charities Commission – maintenance of trustee/other information; submission of annual return;
• Making Music – annual renewal of membership & insurance, payment of PRS (royalties) due;
• HMRC – annual calculation and submission of Gift Aid claim.
• Contracting soloists selected by Music Director, communicating practicalities, payment of fees and expenses;
• Applying for Josephine Baker/ Countess of Munster Trust grants if applicable, reporting to Trusts post concert and collection of monies;
• Communicating with orchestra leader on practicalities of concert and payment.
Oldham Hall
• Making hall bookings for rehearsals and ad hoc requirements (online).

Meanwhile, James Bryden (with help) undertakes the following work for the choir on concert days:
• On morning of concert attend stage storage facility (currently Beaconsfield). Supervise loading of staging, cushions and chairs on to van transport.
• Go to church and take “before” photographs”. Help prepare church as necessary (eg move pulpit, cross, sacrament area). Greet transport van supervise and help unloading; supervise and help build and coordinate build of stage with aid of photographs and diagrams. Store dollies and any unused staging out of sight but convenient to storage and changing requirements of orchestra.
• Help set out chairs for choir and orchestra.
• After concert, stack chairs, supervise and help dismantling and stacking of staging on to dollies. Coordinate any willing helpers. Move all equipment outside for loading and help load on to van.
• Meet van at storage facility. Coordinate and help unloading of van and storage of staging etc in storage facility. Lock and check storage is secure.
• Go home and enjoy a well earned tipple of your choice!

We would also be grateful for help with the following tasks:
• Unlocking and locking Oldham Hall for rehearsals
• Designing and collating occasional newsletters
• Designing concert posters
• Rounding up local advertisers for concert programmes
Please speak to a member of the Committee for further details, if you feel able to take on any of these tasks.

Termly membership subscription is £75, reduced to £70 if this is paid within the first three weeks. Payment can be accepted by cheque, although a bank transfer is preferred – there is a sheet on the table at rehearsals containing full details.

If you are a UK taxpayer and complete a Gift Aid form, the choir can claim Gift Aid on your subscription and any donations you make, increasing the value by 25%. Making Music has recently updated its guidance on the element of member subscriptions on which Gift Aid can be claimed. The new guidance makes it clear that provided a member doesn’t gain the right to personal use of the charity’s facilities or services, Gift Aid can be claimed on the whole membership fee. The guidance suggests that personal tuition would be an example of “personal use” of the charity’s services. We therefore intend to claim on all members subs in future years, whilst keeping a close eye on any changing regulation and guidance. We hope that this clarifies any questions members have on the subject.

If you haven’t signed a Gift Aid form and would like to, please ask Suzanne. Similarly, if your tax status (or indeed, other details such as address) has changed since you signed your form, please let Suzanne know.

On Monday 11th December, we shall have our usual get together at the Oldham Hall to clean up the borrowed scores so that our Librarian Ken can return them in good order. Do feel free to bring your own drinks and nibbles, and we’re sure festive song may spontaneously break out!

If you are unable to be there, please ensure that scores are returned in advance of 11th December. KEN

“Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without”


FINALLY, a reminder of the choir’s 2023.24 committee members:

Hon. Secretary: Isabelle Reynolds
Hon. Treasurer: Suzanne Bryden
Hon Librarian: Ken Darvill

Committee members: Chris Purves; Jean Jones; Alex Brooks and Jackie Rubin


Published on November 29th, 2023 by Ken Darvill

Newsletter Winter 2022









We’re pleased to send you our Winter 2022 Newsletter!  It has been great to get back to rehearsing together this term, and to join in learning the programme of beautiful music which Alex has introduced to us.  The concert on December 17th promises to be a lovely evening, when we will be joined by two talented soloists and, once again, the Brother Tree Ensemble (with trumpeter and harpist), who accompanied us so beautifully in May.

It is very pleasing to see choir numbers steadily increasing.  Please continue to spread the word amongst family, friends, acquaintances and colleagues who may wish to join us to swell our numbers, and enjoy our fun and informative Monday evenings and the joy of performance.

We hope that you will find this edition useful – it contains important information about concert day arrangements and other information which will be new to some.  If you have any suggestions as to what you would like to see included, or what other information you need, please don’t hesitate to speak to a member of the committee.

You will have noticed that this is a committee, rather than the usual Chair’s introduction.  We hope that this will serve as a reminder that the choir is currently missing a Chair – a vital role – so please don’t hesitate to speak to any member of the committee if you feel that you might be willing and able to take this on.  You will find the committee diligent and extremely supportive.

Finally, we are delighted to inform you that we have a new committee member!  Jackie Rubin (soprano) agreed to be co-opted onto the committee at our meeting on 11th November.  Thank you very much Jackie!  We would really welcome one or two additional committee members.  We generally meet two or three times a term and truly believe in helping and supporting each other, and “spreading the load” of the tasks necessary to run this amazing choir!

With our thanks and best wishes for (more…)

Published on December 2nd, 2022 by Ken Darvill

Newsletter Summer 2022










Hello Everyone and Welcome to Our Summer Newsletter!

First of all, a huge thank you to everyone who took part in the Beat Retreat with the RAF Band on 16 June at Missenden Abbey.  We had great fun and mental and physical exercise in learning and rehearsing the regimental music for beating the retreat along with a series of traditional ballads and songs set to arrangements written by Alex Flood, our Music Director.  It was a moving and uplifting experience performing with the RAF band, who are exceptional, and a mental and physical challenge for Alex conducting us alongside the band master and RAF leader.  Meantime, Michael Macmillan, our accompanist performed with his usual flair and aplomb in the open air on an electric piano keyboard following a temporary break in power immediately before our starring role.  As they say, all was well on the night once this was rectified.  The event and our part in it were warmly received by the audience and the RAF, who have asked that we join them again in a future performance.

This performance came hard on the heels of our magnificent Spring Concert “Choral Romantics”, which included some of the most beautiful and powerfully expressive music of the nineteenth century, with works by Beethoven, Brahms, Mendlessohn, Rheinberger, Cesar Franck and Schubert’s exquisite Mass in C Minor.  (more…)

Published on September 11th, 2022 by Ken Darvill

Newsletter November 2021








Hello Everyone

Rehearsals have been a great joy for all those who could be there this term.  For those who could not be with us, we have missed you and look forward to seeing you again soon.  We have been enjoying singing a range of music, as well as the programme for the concert we are working towards.  This is packed with terrific music:

Haydn St Nicholas Mass, Vivaldi Magnificat and Vaughan Williams Fantasia on Christmas Carols

It has been a pleasure and an invigorating challenge for us to work with our Music Director, Alex Flood to produce the best possible performance for our first choral Christmas Concert under his direction.  Michael’s piano accompaniment has been highly instrumental in this endeavour, supporting our learning and making the music come alive.

The concert will take place on Saturday, 18 December, at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Great Missenden, at 7.30 pm.  It has (more…)

Published on December 12th, 2021 by Ken Darvill

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