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.  Mike told us that he was very pleased with the performance.

We seem to be making good progress in our musical preparations for the spring concert on 13 April at the church of St Peter and St Paul in Great Missenden at 7.30 pm – Schubert and Bach Antiphons, unaccompanied, Paul Carr’s “Requiem for an Angel” and the Passion Music and Hallelujah Chorus from ‘Messiah’.  John Cotterill, our Music Director, talks further about this with some helpful hints and notes later in the newsletter.  We are delighted Richard Allen again will be joining us playing the harp in the orchestra and I know that we are all very excited about Paul Carr’s attending our rehearsal on the 25th March, giving us his insights into the work and his wishes for its performance.  We do hope everyone who possibly can will be there.

Tickets are on sale for the concert at the early bird price for choir members and their friends’ tickets for the first three weeks.  We are hoping for a very good turnout for this wonderful programme, which, as you know, will be attended by Paul Carr himself.  Please do make sure that posters are displayed prominently and that you let all your friends and colleagues know of the great treat in store for them.  Social media is a wonderful asset in publicity and I do hope we will all be able to take forward the work Katy Baldock has already done to make this so effective and easy to take forward.  She has set out some simple pointers in the newsletter below.

We shall be having rehearsals on Monday and Wednesday of the week before the concert and on the Saturday afternoon with the orchestra and soloists before the evening performance.  As you know, the choir is involved almost throughout the performance, so are likely to be needed a little longer than usual, at least until 5 pm, if not a little later.

We will be asking that for the concert performance members again wear, for women, long black skirts or suitable evening style trousers and black tops with long or three-quarter length sleeves, and the gentlemen black DJs with white shirts and black bow ties.  We shall provide some suitable bling for everybody on the day.

I would like to thank the choir, John and Michael, for all their help, and enthusiastic participation in the auditions for the new Music Director/Conductor, who will be taking over the baton (and the white gloves?) from John in the New Year.  John will be retiring in his 25th season with us and I know that we shall all want to express our thanks and appreciation to John for the high standards he has set for us as he has led us through works old and new in rehearsal and performance.  His preparation and illuminating workshop on the Bach’s B Minor Mass produced an outstanding performance a few years ago and he will be returning to his favourite composer, the master, J S Bach, this time the Christmas Oratorio for the Christmas Concert, which will be the last John will conduct with us as Music Director.  We look forward to his leading a workshop on the Christmas Oratorio in the autumn and will be giving further details in due course.

The Christmas Party two days after the concert was great fun, with special contributions from Chris Purves and the rendition of an anonymous poem for John: “GMCS – Reflections on 2018 – by a choir member”.  Our thanks to everyone who made this such an enjoyable evening.  John and his wife Jill were unfortunately unable to join us, but we do hope they will be with us for the next Christmas Party as very special guests of honour.

We do need to continue to raise funds for the choir and, mixing our endeavours with pleasure as ever, our next social event will be a Quiz and Meal, to take place in the summer, about which you will find details below.

So much happening and so much to look forward to in the coming months!  Let’s make it a year to remember and the concerts ahead of us a triumph!

Vivien Salisbury



At the time of writing this, I am eagerly looking forward to Paul Carr’s visit to our rehearsal on 25 March.  I’m sure he will give us a thorough insight into his beautiful ‘Requiem for an Angel’, and I’m sure you will all rise to the occasion to show how splendidly you have taken to his work.  Constant personal revision of the notes and melody phrasing, together with a thorough grasp of the unexpected ‘jazzy’ chords, will pay great dividends. Get yourselves into a situation of using the score for reference only, and not for reading every note.

Looking a couple of weeks further ahead, I know you are all looking forward to the Concert itself on 13 April, with the added attraction of the Passion Music and Hallelujah Chorus from ‘Messiah’ and the short unaccompanied Schubert Antiphons for Palm Sunday. I hope too you are selling lots of tickets, so that all your hard work will be rewarded by a large audience. As Paul will be there, wouldn’t it be wonderful if they gave us a standing ovation, as happened at the Requiem’s first performance in 2006!

The rehearsals have been going very well indeed, and with a few more to go, we should be up to a high performance standard. If I may say so once more, however, a few of you still seem to be too much buried in the scores. Please everyone, stand and sit upright in a proper singer’s posture, and hold the scores so that they don’t hide your face and so that you and I can have eye contact.  That way, as I have said before, the entries will be confidently together and you will not only ’perform’ the pieces but you will derive much more satisfaction from doing so.  Also, please articulate clearly all the word endings.

I’m certain the performance could be a huge success.  The soloists and orchestra are looking forward to it very much indeed and to becoming familiar with a work they’ve not done before.  I’ll try to get through the afternoon rehearsal as efficiently as possible, but there’s not much which the Choir is not in, so bear with me if you don’t get away quite as early as you often do.

At the moment, I’m also proceeding with the booking of orchestra and soloists for my final GMCS concert on 14 December 2019 – Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. It will be a rather special occasion, so I do hope you will all make an effort not to miss the Autumn term and that Concert. After nearly 25 years, it will mean so much to have all my friends in the Choir with me for that, and I couldn’t wish for any other composer to send me on my way than the great JSB. (Not as difficult as the B minor Mass, by the way!).                                                                                                                                                                       John Cotterill


CHRIS BOULTER 1944 – 2019

We were very sorry to lose one of our basses, Chris, early in the new year.  Chris was an enthusiastic and loyal choir member over several years.  We shall miss him.



Our online presence has been developing since last autumn and the Facebook page has been well supported.  Do keep “liking” and sharing the posts – the more engagement a page has, the more prominence Facebook give it, so the better it works as a publicity tool!

We are currently using the page to promote the spring concert, of course (see above).  Over the summer, we will be doing some recruitment posts, then in the autumn promoting the very exciting Christmas concert, so there’s a lot to focus on.  Thanks for your support of this project – like and share!                                                                                            Katy



Dress Code – for the women, black long skirts/evening trousers that look like skirts and long or three quarter length sleeves, no bling.

– for the men, Black DJ’s, white shirts, bow ties.

“Bling” will be provided on the day.  And, again, please no aftershave/perfumes that are likely to cause allergies and affect singer’s voices.

Timetable – The rehearsal on Saturday 13th April will commence at 2pm.  Please ensure that you are in your seats ready to begin by this time.

Access to the Church- when you arrive for Saturday’s rehearsal and the performance please enter through the vestry door. This avoids 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 – We are fortunate to have several people who are always willing to help, acting as Stewards/ Front of House/Security and setting up.  However, this Spring there are some key members of this team who are unavailable to help, therefore some additional volunteers are needed.  If any choir members have friend/partners willing to be involved and join the team, please let a member of the committee know.   Additionally, 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 Jeremy Howard know the name, make and model of car and registration.  Jeremy will provide a permit nearer to concert day.

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 Jeremy have your name, make and model of car and registration, and he will provide a suitable permit on concert day.  Please note that if any car is found parked on the unmade road without a permit, the owner will be asked to move it.

The 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 a white envelope boldly marked with the names of the person collecting them, and whether payment has/has not been made.




Great Missenden Choral Society has 35 supporters who are actively raising funds for the choir through Easyfundraising.  Since the choir was registered as a cause some years ago, you have raised a magnificent £840 – thank you!

It is very easy to use, and previous newsletters have described the process (if you are not sure, please ask Suzanne).  It’s easy to forget when making a purchase, to go through the Easyfundraising site, but now you don’t have to remember!  All you need to do is download the Donation Reminder.  The next time you are on a website which could raise a donation, the reminder will pop up and ask if you would like to activate the donation – just click yes, and the job is done!  In fact, if you are searching on Google for a particular item, the results list will show the Easyfundraising icon next to participating retailers, so you can choose one which will make a donation.

Did you know that over 3,600 retailers make donations for online transactions conducted through the site?  We could definitely raise more much-needed funds for the choir in this way, and here are some ideas for you:

Weekly grocery shop!  Holidays!   Large items such as pieces of furniture or white goods!

When switching utilities providers or insurers!    REFER A FRIEND!


Rubbing out evening and get-together

On Monday 15th April, 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.  Drinks and nibbles will be available and we can reflect upon a great concert!

Quiz Night

Following the success and popularity of our Quiz Night a couple of years ago, we are arranging another!  More details will follow in due course, but in the meantime, please make a firm date in your (and your friends’!) diaries:

Saturday, 29th June 2019, Oldham Hall



March 19th, 2019