Spring 2017 Newsletter

In this edition……..Chair’s introduction……dress code…..Music Director’s message…….. Treasurer’s comments ……….. Concert Day Manager’s notes………Important rehearsal information.

HELLO AND WELCOME, EVERYONE, to our Spring Newsletter, giving you all the information about dates to note for the future, concert day requirements and arrangements, a note about our social evening on the Monday after the concert performance, when we ensure that all music to be returned is in good order and relax and enjoy ourselves, and general choir news.

Our 2016-17 season of celebration started with a joyful and uplifting Christmas Concert.  Asked by St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Great Missenden, our regular place for performance over many decades, to include music to commemorate the 100th year of the installation of their organ, the choir were very happy to sing “Little Organ Mass” by Haydn and Rhidian Jones gave an acclaimed performance of Handel’s “Organ Concerto No.4 in F”.  To these were added works by Buxtehude, Mendelssohn, Morten Lauridsen, and Cecilia McDowell, a programme displaying the choir’s fine tradition of performing a wide range of classic and contemporary choral works.

As well as preparing for and giving good concert performances, an aim of the choir is to develop the understanding and appreciation of choral singing and to this end we have enjoyed the opportunity to work together with current composers in performing their works.  It was a great pleasure to welcome Celia McDowell once again to a rehearsal of her “Christus natus est”, our closing piece in the Christmas concert.  As ever, she was gracious and open in explaining how the work came about and her wishes and intentions in its performance, overall and in particular notes and inflections in the work.  This formed a greater understanding for us in how to approach and deliver the music.  There was an enthusiastic reception from the audience, many of whom conveyed how greatly they enjoyed the concert and its contribution to their feeling of the joy of the festivities to come.

We are delighted to welcome the many singers who have joined us in all parts for the performance of the B Minor Mass on 29 April at St Mary’s Church in Old Amersham, which will be our 150th concert performance.  In the same spirit as our rehearsals with contemporary composers, our Director of Music, John Cotterill, early in our rehearsals organised and produced a day’s workshop on the Bach B Minor Mass at Missenden Abbey, which was extremely well attended by singers and Friends of the Choir.  John’s excitement and wonder at the scale and structure of the work and its qualities was evident throughout and the extraordinary abilities of our accompanist, Michael McMillan, were evident in his demonstrations of the examples John wanted us to hear.  It was a terrific time to meet singers joining us for this particular work and to have a first and uninhibited crack at singing various parts of the music.

We do hope that all our singers have found the split rehearsals for the different parts, at which Rhidian has again joined us, to have been helpful in learning this large and intricate work.  We are looking forward to having a large audience for the concert, for which we know that our members and all those that assist in making the concerts available, have been putting in a great deal of effort. You will already have received an e-version of the handbills and posters.  Please do circulate these to all your family, friends and anyone you think might like to come.  There are also printed posters and leaflets for as a wide a distribution and display as you can achieve and please do follow up any other ways in which you think we can reach a wider audience. Twitter feeds, instagrams and other similar social media that could be used for this purpose can all be very beneficial.  You may wish to remind people that in addition to buying tickets through you as the singers and the Wye agency they can book online.

Happy singing!

Vivien Salisbury, Chair – Great Missenden Choral Society


Dress Code for the April concert – 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.



As the weeks speed by, we draw ever closer to the Big Day and before we know it Bach’s great B minor Mass will be behind us.  I really do admire the Choir members’ commitment and determination through all the rehearsals, both sectional and full; the high reward for all the hard work now awaits us round the corner.  I hope the performance will be a great experience for everyone, inspired by music from a mighty genius, and I hope that making the acquaintance with one of the greatest works of all time will never be forgotten. So, keep working as we enter the final straight so that the performance will become the peak of our endeavours. Then, as we walk away from St. Mary’s, Amersham on 29 April, with the sound of all those semi-quavers and the celestial trumpets ringing in our ears, I’m sure we shall be able to bask in the memories and pride of a job well done.

Those memories will linger throughout the summer and far beyond, but in a few months next season will be upon us! Here’s what’s in store for 2017-2018.

Moved by the realisation that 2017 marks 450 years since the birth of Monteverdi, I decided that this ought to be recognised in our December concert, not with his Vespers (because everyone will probably be singing that!), but by a couple of his shorter pieces along with other short works by other Italian composers and culminating in the ever popular Vivaldi’s Gloria. So the programme for Saturday, 16 December at Great Missenden Church looks like this:

Monteverdi:  Cantata Domino

Monteverdi:  Beatus vir

A. Gabrielli:  Angelus ad pastores ait

Marenzio:     Hodie Christus natus est

A. Scarlatti:  Dixit Dominus in B flat


Albinoni:      Magnificat

Verdi:           Pater Noster

Vivaldi:        Gloria

For the Spring concert, (date to be announced but it will be towards the end of April 2018) I thought it would be good, after the Bach and the Italian concerts, to get away from sacred music.  So here is a lovely secular programme of all British music well suited to the Springtime:

Purcell:                      Welcome to all the pleasures

Tony Hewitt-Jones:   Seven Sea Poems


E.J.Moeran:               Songs of Springtime

Finzi:                         Let us garlands bring (for baritone solo)

Vaughan Williams:   Five Mystical Songs

I will write more about the music for next season in my pre-season notes in due course, but I thought you’d like to have the list of programmes now. I’m already looking forward to them and I hope you will too. But there’s just a little something we have to sing before then!!                        John


From the Treasurer

Thank you to those people who have kindly added donations to their subscriptions this season. This has raised £423 for Choir funds.   

Other items, e.g. raffles and bring and buy have raised £240. Thank you.


Online shopping

For those of you who shop online, we are trying to raise additional funds for our choir, through links to a website which will give us commission on sales from online shopping.

Easyfundraising. This website will give commission of up to 15% on sales. There are links from this site to over 600 Brand Name retailers, including Amazon, B & Q., BHS, Curry’s, Marks and Spencer, and Waterstones. It costs us (and you) nothing. It is free to use.

How to access

  1. Go to Easyfundraising.org.uk. This will take you to that company’s website.
  2. Create an Account

Thank you if you are able to support the choir in this way.


Naxos recordings

Many of the items which we sing, as well as much other music, is available to listen to via Naxos online. To listen to these recordings go to:


Bucks CC Library website:  Reference and Enquiries:  Naxos online

Enter BUCKSxxxxxxxx (where x is your Library Membership number)

Type the name of the music into the Search box: e.g. CPE Bach Magnificat

You then get a list of the recordings available

Select the recording

Select play


You cannot save the recording to a disk.



From the Concert Day Manager.

Please do read through these ”non-musical bits” which do contribute to the success of the concert!

Dress Code – Vivien will be speaking about the Dress Code in the run up to the concert but as usual, please no aftershave/perfumes that are likely to aggravate allergies and affect singer’s voices.

Timetable – Similarly, John will be confirming the actual timetable of Saturday’s rehearsal.

Access to the Church- when you arrive for Saturday’s rehearsal and for the performance please enter through the West Door of the church to avoid disturbing the orchestra area, but see Security below.

Facilities etc. – there is no access to changing facilities as was available at the previous concert at Amersham so, on Saturday evening, please arrive wearing clothing for the concert.  We have the use of the vestry which includes limited hot water facilities, together with the Drake Chapel, and the inner vestry which will be used by John Cotterill and Soloists,.  The Church ask that food is not eaten in the Drake Chapel.

There is one toilet cubicle available during rehearsals and on Saturday two additional “portaloos” will be located outside the vestry door.

Security –  It is preferable that valuables are not brought to rehearsals, the performance at church or left in the vestry.  Please help by not leaving the external doors open at any time.

Car parking – There is no car parking available at the Church.  There is a signposted public car park available with pedestrian access to the church grounds at Amersham Old Town Car Park, (formerly Dovecote Meadow) Amersham HP7 0HL.

Tickets for collection at the Door – If you wish to organise tickets to be left at the door for collection 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.

HELP NEEDED   The staging and chairs will to be collected from storage adjacent to the church rooms on Friday afternoon at 4pm and taken to the church, and then returned on Sunday at 1pm.  Six or Seven able bodied people are needed to load and unload the transport being hired for the short journey at both times. Additionally, two persons are needed wearing high viz jackets to assist those crossing the road outside the West Door.  Please volunteer or help recruit some helpers for these very necessary tasks. The erection and dismantling of the staging and lighting, together with the arrangement of church seating is carried out by hired teams. Names please to Ken Darvill 01494 713217 or Ron Gordon 01494 862580

Helpers. Volunteers to act as Stewards/ Front of House are asked to let me know of their availability for the performance and/or to help with security cover.   Additionally, those willing to lend a hand after the performance on April 2 please let me know on 01494 862580




As we do not rehearse on Easter Monday, an additional rehearsal has been arranged for Thursday 20th April.  This will take place at the United Reform Church, The Broadway, Chesham HP5 1BX.


There is plenty of free parking in the main town centre car park which is around 100 yards from the church.


On Monday 24th and Thursday 27th April, rehearsals will take place in the concert venue, St. Mary’s Parish Church, Church Street, Amersham HP7 0DB.


There is free parking in the old town car park 200 yards to the east along London Road (between church and Tesco’s). (This may not, however, be free on the Saturday afternoon).

On Monday 1st May, 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!

March 28th, 2017