Choral Society is not a choir or a club. We've all heard about High society, the café society and so on, which identify people collectively who share a common interest. There exists amongst singers a bond which identifies and unites them in the same way. So this web-site is a WebMag for choral singers who are passionate about their singing. If you’d like to make a contribution, please tell the  Web-master

Coming soon...

1. Norah Day, The Planets, Gustav Holst.
2. “We’re now on Facebook so we don’t need   to advertise here anymore.”
3. Why your Press Releases get ignored.

CHORAL SOCIETY WebMag is now on Facebook. Like or Not Like?
There is also a Group page where you can take part.

Choral Society FB
ChoralSociety WebMag for passionate singers (group)

The site receives over 35,000-40,000 hits per month! With this level of traffic, it is mutually beneficial to have reciprocal links. Please tell your web-master. This site is changing and developing as a result of your input and my self-indulgent additions!

Here’s a list of contributors’ Facebooks.

Alexander Campkin
Brandenburg Spring Choral Festival 2012
Brittany Music Workshops
David Bednall
Dorking Choral Society
Hill Singers
Jean Françaix
Malcolm Archer
Thame Choral Society
Rabble Chorus
Wingrave Singers
Need Choral Singers? Ask here!
Singers in London
Singers in Kent
Music Teachers in Kent
Choral Evensong Appreciation Society
South-East Concerts
Maddie 4 Music

Let me know if you would like to be added. There is not enough room to list individuals excepting composers, soloists, accompanists, conductors, etc.

Slots seeking singers
or singers seeking slots?

If you need singers or you are a mélomane and can’t (or don’t want to) stop singing, you’ll find “Need Choral Singers? Ask here!” on Facebook very useful

Small bleat.
Do you know what these mean: ’s £?
When you e-mail me concert details please send them as PLAIN TEXT. If you use html I have to strip out the formatting to reveal the 10% which really matters. What you see above is typical of what I have to translate into an apostrophe and pound sign. Thanks!


Looking for a choir or
looking for singers?

Frequently I am asked by singers where can they find a choir. The best answer is to try these sources first.

British Choirs on the Net
Making Music - Find a Music Group in your area
Choral Net
National Association of Choirs - UK map

It is difficult to answer the question put by new singers. I advise them to try any local choir. If that choir doesn’t suit, most singers are helpful and will suggest others. It is also a good idea to go to a few choral concerts

If you are a choir then make sure you are listed on these web-sites..

See the Composers & Performers page.
I receive quite a few e-mails from Composers and Performers who are offering their skills to choirs. Until now I have had to explain that ChoralSociety is a WebMag and not a choir and so does not commission people. In the interests of furthering Choral Music, I now welcome contributors. Please e-mail me your details so that I can list you appropriately.

Here is a new app for the iphone to help you become note-perfect! Click this link to learn about Learn my part.

Editorial messages.

You can click on FEEDBACK to send me a message but e-mail is quicker.

Archives from 2007 to 2011 can now be found under Links & Archives.

Please, please give this site a link to yours. It is mutually beneficial. If you want a logo, right-click to download and save here. Please make the link to this site simply as
Don’t point to specific files because their location might change!

Which composers will be
popular in 2017?

If you have any ideas, please send them to  Web-master


There’s a great deal going on in Deal

smiley2Thanks to Madeleine Cordes who runs Maddie 4 Music, a music education initiative set up in September 2011 which provides music tuition in the Dover and Deal area. It includes choirs and singing groups, music workshops and performance opportunities, classroom music and instrumental and voice lessons.

Maddie's Melody Makers is a small group of experienced young singers aged 9-18. They sing musical theatre, pop, soul, gospel and classical at high profile events and locations in East Kent. In December 2012 they were named as one of the three runners up in the Brewers Fayre "Carol Factor" competition.

The Landmark Show Choir (another of her ventures) was established in September 2012. The repertoire comprises uplifting music from the shows through to pop and gospel and more serious if you like! The group now has 20 permanent members. It is open to all and there is no audition. It meets in the Cleary Room, Landmark Centre, Deal, Kent on Fridays 4.30-5.30pm, £4 per session, pay as you go. Interested? Contact Maddie through her web-site.

Here’s something interesting; a site called Helping You Harmonise. It is all about Liz Garnett and what she as a professional musician, can offer singers. In her own words “Helping You Harmonise offers ideas to help choral directors and singers in vocal ensembles to rehearse and perform more effectively.” We now have reciprocal links because we both feel that we can benefit one another. Take a look. It’s an interesting site. www.helpingyouharmonise.com

BBC Performing Arts Fund, a charity that was set up within the BBC in 2003 to help everyone achieve their musical ambitions, from choirs, hip hop artists and musical theatre performers to folk musicians. Since its inception the fund has awarded over £3m to aspiring musicians, performers and groups across a range of genres through funding instruments, training and development. To learn more about what the fund does and how you can apply, visit the website

Tired of singing the same old thing? Want something different?

Write your own
Music Notation and scanning software interests me very much. I have just been introduced to Music Publisher by Kay and Peter Bates. Has anybody else tried this? Read more.

One of many useful contributions from Brian Maskell is this. He has used NoteWorthy Scriptorium to prepare electronic versions of pieces for himself and fellow choristers are learning. He says it is a very versatile tool and fantastic value for money. He adds, “I am not on commission!”


John Hooper is a like-minded singer, musician and doer of all the sort of things which would interest you. The title of his site is "John's (downloadable) Midi File Choral Music".Go to www.learnchoralmusic.co.uk where there are lots of  Midi Files that might be of assistance to Choral Singers far and wide. Also very good advice on how to play midi files and what NOT to expect when you play them. He has a new web-site which I don’t find the easiest to use!

Sage Gateshead
Learning & Participation Programme

w256Sage Dec 2011

The Silver Programme is a part of the overall Sage Learning & Participation Programme. It provides a wide variety of daytime musical activities for the over 50s, including singing. There are sessions at Sage Gateshead and elsewhere in the North East. Participants work with experienced and accessible tutors. Through workshops and performances the Silver Programme expands the current and dormant skills as well as encouraging new ones in Rock, Folk, Americana, Skiffle, Bluegrass, Mandolin, Guitar, Wind, and much more visit here to see what is on offer.

Silver Singers is a community Choir for anyone over 50 who likes to sing. The material is a mix of world music, popular songs, folk songs, spirituals, Geordie songs, anything from Cole Porter to Annie Lennox!,  Silversmiths: Blues, jazz, gospel.
Silver Divas: Performance orientated group for men and women working on everything from popular songs to Broadway classics.
Opera d’argento: Workshops offer the chance to work on operas and operettas.
Shades of Silver: Mixed repertoire, including popular classical, pop, music from the shows.

Silver Breves: Classical music singing group seeking a challenge. Elizabethan madrigals to contemporary settings of religious works. Silver Chorus: Auditioned SATB choir with a mixed repertoire of show tunes, pop, folk, classical, world and gospel. Solo opportunities within choral arrangements.

Mood Indigo and Project Singing which are run by Simon Fidler. They are audition only ensembles.

Music Theory
Piano Lessons:
One-to-One lessons. Contact them for more information. £7.50 per half lesson - a course of five lessons must be paid for in advance (£37.50)

See the full Silver Programme here  and the next concert here

at the Lit & Phil, Newcastle

There is a lot on offer. Click here to see forthcoming events. The Recital Room is downstairs, not what you see here! Click on the pic if you want to see the library in its magnificence.  The Lit & Phil Institute has the largest collections of CDs (8,000) in the world and 10,000 LPs . You can borrow or you can listen in their new facility.

Do you ever complain and wish somebody would listen?

There was an interesting item on Radio 4’s Today programme which I followed up. There is a complaints organisation called Complaints Choirs Worldwide here and if you want a bit of fun, go to this item on YouTube. The things which people complain about (up with this I will not put) transcend nationalities and geographical boundaries. Why not compose your own piece and I will post it on this site

Where do you find your
professional soloists?

Jill Davies has been a regular contributor since 2009 when she took over Concert Directory International. This Artist Agency had been run for 30 years by Cathy Scott, who Jill met on a visit to Ilkley Choral Society in 2011.  Jill observed that Cathy "obviously had an ear for a good voice". w116-Jill DaviesShe built up CDI from nothing. Jill read music at Manchester University and has worked in the classical music business for nearly 30 years; she has extensive experience of providing soloists for choral society concerts and understands the problems.  So give her your problem rather than trying to solve it yourself! For further information please visit Davies Music or contact Jill on 01684 850112 or jill@daviesmusic.com

Davies Music also represents the London Handel Orchestra and QuintEssential Sackbuts & Cornetts who can provide specialist accompaniment for baroque music concerts.


RSCM Durham Area


The RSCM Durham Area Committee has published its forthcoming season of events. They cater for all styles and interests. For each event, an individual poster will be produced which will give detailed information and timings. Please promote these events with members of your choir, music group, congregation and friends by displaying a poster on your notice board, adding events listings into your church magazine/pew sheet and by inviting others. More

Need new members for your choir for 2016-2017?
Don't leave it until next January

Ionian Singers is looking for new singers.  This is an accomplished  (so I am told) chamber choir in Central London.  There around 25 voices encompassing a variety of ages and careers. They share a passion for rehearsing and performing interesting music to a high standard. The Music Director is Timothy Salter. The choir seeks singers with choral experience and good sight-reading ability to join them for their next season of concerts in and around London. There are around four concerts per year singing challenging music from the Renaissance to the present day. Repertoire for 2016-17 includes a wide variety of mainly unaccompanied music by Byrd, Morley, Palestrina and their contemporaries to Wolf, Cornelius, Elgar, Howells, Parry, Debussy, Stenhammar, Sibelius and Lutyens. The choir works with composers and instrumentalists, creates recordings and prides itself in bringing little known music to the audiences. Rehearsals are on Tuesday evenings in Lambeth.
For more information on how to join for a taster session, please contact Ulla Gray (Secretary), 2 Upland Road, London SE22 9EE on 020 8693 1051 or 07950 143916 info@ioniansingers.co.uk

Dover Choral Society will begin their autumn term rehearsals on Thursday 1st September 7.30 pm at River Methodist Church, Lewisham Road, River. New and returning members will be made very welcome. If you haven’t sung before, or are thinking of resuming singing, Dover CS will be offering a number of Open Rehearsals whereby you can go along for a few weeks on a trial basis with no obligation to join straight away.
In addition they will be holding a Saturday Rehearsal on 8th October at St Peter’s Church, River. This session proved very popular with their current members. This is an opportunity to rehearse within sections which are brought together at times during the day.
The choir will be preparing for a performance of Bach Christmas Oratorio in Dover Town Hall on Saturday 19th November. For more information, please contact secretary Shirley Leeves or info@doverchoralsociety.org.u

Ionian Singers is looking for new singers.  This is an accomplished  (so I am told) chamber choir in Central London.  There around 25 voices encompassing a variety of ages and careers. They share a passion for rehearsing and performing interesting music to a high standard The Music Director is Timothy Salter. The choir seeks singers with choral experience and good sight-reading ability to join them for their next season of concerts in and around London. There are around four concerts per year singing challenging music from the Renaissance to the present day.  Repertoire for 2016-17 includes a wide variety of mainly unaccompanied music by Byrd, Morley, Palestrina and their contemporaries to Wolf, Cornelius, Elgar, Howells, Parry, Debussy, Stenhammar, Sibelius and Lutyens. The choir works with composers and instrumentalists, creates recordings and pride themselves in bringing little known music to our audiences.  It a mixed choir of .  Rehearsals are on Tuesday evenings in Lambeth.
For more information on how to join them for a taster session, please contact
Ulla Gray (Secretary), 2 Upland Road, London SE22 9EE on 020 8693 1051 or 07950 143916 info@ioniansingers.co.uk  www.ioniansingers.co.uk


Plan something new for Christmas 2016

Encore Publications has introduced me to June Nixon’s attractive arrangement of The Holly and the Ivy, based on a traditional French tune. This was featured in the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols broadcast on BBC radio from King's College, Cambridge, last Christmas Eve. Her carol was also included in the traditional televised celebration, Carols from King's. Interestingly it is in a minor key finishing with a major cadence. You can hear it on YouTube here This is with organ accompaniment but the composer’s orchestral version is available from the publisher.

You might also consider some new works by Canon Chris Chivers. Diptych, God made a Garden, The Kohima Epitaph and Ubi Caritas et Amor. Thet are written for unaccompanied voices. His son, also Chris, has written Born in a Stable, a carol for unaccompanied mixed voices. If you go here, you will some some sample pages of the scores as a pdf. You can buy the scores from Tim Rogers of Encore.

Buckland & Betchworth Choral Society seeks a new Music Director

Buckland & Betchworth Choral Society seeks a new Music Director for 2016/2017.

BBCS is a youthful, non-auditioned SATB community choir based in Betchworth, Reigate in Surrey. There are about sixty members. Under the direction of the MD, achievements have been both inspirational and aspirational. BBCS is a competitor at the Leith Hill Musical Festival where is has won many awards. In addition there is a community Christmas Concert and another in June. The choir engages professional soloists and instrumentalists. Rehearsals are held in Betchworth on Wednesdays from 7.45pm to 9.45pm between early September and the end of June.
Applications are invited from talented and innovative musicians who can develop the choir’s musical skills so as to build on the recent achievements.
The successful candidate would be expected to develop music programmes, rehearsal schedules and choral training. He or she would be responsible to the Committee and take an active part in its meetings.  It is a friendly choir and the MD would be encouraged to take part in all activities.
Remuneration is negotiable commensurate with experience. Fees for a two hour regular rehearsal would not be less than £100. Additional fees will be paid for concert rehearsals and performances.
Applicants should e-mail Mandy Begg (Chairman) for a job description and full details on how to apply.  A short list of four candidates will be invited to audition with the choir in September/October 2016, with a view to appointment as soon as possible thereafter.

Major new choral work by
Ian Assersohn commemorates Centenary of The Battle of the Somme

Dies Irae is a major new choral work by award-winning composer Ian Assersohn.  w156assersohn3188-aCommissioned jointly between Leatherhead Choral Society and Epsom Male Voice Choir to form part of the centenary commemoratio ns of The Battle of the Somme the World Première of Dies Irae will take place on Saturday November 26th 7.30pm at Dorking Halls, Reigate Road, Dorking RH4 1SG. Both the commissioning choirs, Leatherhead Choral Society and Epsom Male Voice Choir, will be taking part together with Farnham Youth Junior Choir led by Jo McNally. The programme will also include Ian Assersohn’s Crossing The Bar, Eric Jones’ The Peacemakers, Fauré’s Pie Jesu, Stanford#s Justorum Animae and Elgar’s They Are At Rest. In addition there will be  a rare performance of Elegy for strings "In Memoriam Rupert Brooke” by Australian composer F. S. Kelly, who was killed at The Somme.

The soloists are Soprano Sarah Leonard, Baritone Richard Bannan and the orchestra is Camerata of London. Conductor: Ian Assersohn.

There will be a pre-concert discussion with the composer.

Tickets are available from Dorking Halls Box Office,Tel no. 01036 879200 £16.00, £14.00
Child tickets (under 14s) £5.00 with a full price adult ticket
For more information from

In combination with this concert Dorking Halls will be showing the famous 1916 Battle of the Somme film on Sunday November 6th at 2pm and 4pm. Tickets £3

Concert venues in the North East


I have been asked whether I know of any concert venues in the North East other than The Sage Gateshead! Here are some I know.

Newcastle City Hall This has a very fine Harrison & Harrison organ which is in need of money for restoration. Pics here soon.
Lit & Phil  Intimate, particularly good for small groups. Pics here soon.
Mining Institute  hall seats about 200 but it is very intimate and would suite a small chamber choir and a cappella gigs. Pic here soon.
St. Willibrord with All Saints  A most beautiful Georgian church which has been displaced in affection by the Sage, on the opposite bank of the Tyne. Needs to be used plus TLC. Pic here soon.
The Cluny, Ouseburn Situated in a reawakened community just outside Newcastle city centre. Pic here soon!
!St Peter's Church, Monkwearmouth,, Monkwearmouth, Sunderland. Custom built Copeman Hart 3-manual organ. Café and shop. Pics here soon!
St. Andrew's Church, Roker, Sunderland. Spectacular Arts & Craft church. Forster and Andrews organ.

Please send your suggestions and details of your gigs. There is loads of music in the North East, choral in particular.

Kay Bates tells me, “Edinburgh University Music Society  will be 150 years old in 2017 and are starting to plan celebrations. They want to hear from anyone who was a member of the society. Get in touch with president@eums.org.uk “ Kay is particularly interested because she met here husband, Peter, while singing in the madrigal group at a St. Cecilia's day party in 1967 so 2017 will be their 50th anniversary!

Are your concerts a sell-out?

Rupert Street talks to Di Masters, former Publicity Manager of Ashtead Choral Society and discovers that it Pays to be Pushy.
Read the article here  This item is a bit old but still relevant

Owing to frequent attacks from malefactors I have had to disable the Calendar and add your Event Form

Invitation to the Choir Festival at
St. Augustine, Hammersmith

St. Augustine’s Church is celebrating its Centenary with a Choir Festival on Saturday 12th November at 7.30pm.

Four choirs will participate in the Festival. Each choir will perform three to four polyphonic songs of different style/period language. Following each choir’s individual performance, the choirs will combine to sing up to three songs which will be selected in the next few weeks. A number of choirs will be taking part by invitation.  One of the choirs taking part is Cathedral Choir Amici Coro with Ley: A Prayer of King  Henry VI, Tippett: Steal Away, Tallis: If Ye Love Me, Stanford: Beati Quorum and Parry: My Soul.  See details on the New Events page!

Have you heard of Richmond Opera?

No disgrace if you haven't because it was formerly known as Isleworth Baroque. Under their DoM Lindsay Bramley (right) they will be performingw156lindsaybramley Mozart’s Magic Flute, to be sung in English with orchestra at the Victorian Normansfield Theatre, Langdon Down Centre, Langdon Park, Teddington, Middlesex. It is a 3-night run, from 18th-20th November, 7:30pm every night.  Tickets: £15, from 0333 1212 300 or book on-line here richmondopera.org.uk

Were you in Hong Kong
in September?


Did you take in the concert given by The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge Monday 5th September 8pm, Concert Hall, City Hall. More

A book is not just for Christmas.
Here’s an experiment you can try now.

When I started learning the violin at the age of seven, I learned that all pianos are out of tune! To the violinist’s ear, you heard a 5th etc as perfect intervals. It wasn’t my ear! Some years later I discovered ‘The Scope of Music’ by Sir Percy Buck (he taught me harmony and composition). Like all of his books, it is easy to understand and is fairly compulsive reading. Here is an extract with an experiment you might like to try.


"A musical sound has three characteristics: pitch, intensity, and quality. We have discussed pitch and intensity, and I now want to tell you how your ear distinguish between two sounds of different quality.

It may surprise you to know that, just as nearly everything we have ever tasted is a combination of certain elements which a chemist could analyse, so almost every sound you have ever heard, even when you thought it was a single note, is a combination of other sounds. If you would like to train your ears I beg you, when you get home, go to the piano and strike the C which is two leger lines below the bass stave. Strike it hard several times, holding it down the last time, and listen attentively until it is almost inaudible. After a very few trials - possibly the first time - you will notice there is another note sounding strongly, the G in the top space of the bass stave. After a few more trials you will plainly hear the E on the bottom line of the treble stave. You will then have discovered a fact known for ages to men of science, viz. that a note is almost invariably a combination of sounds. These various sounds which combine to form a note are called the ‘Partial Tones’ of that note, which is itself called the ‘Fundamental Partial’.” Read the full section here.

buck ex6
you will find this book on eBay

Treat yourself to a book
Here are some more suggestions.

When I had the pleasure of meeting Poppy Holden recently in Newcastle, she introduced me to “How Equal Temperament Ruined Harmony”. This is a fascinating book written by Ross Duffin who is a Professor of Music. After reading this you might wonder whether you are always singing out of tune!


Advice for conductors. “Wave your arms until the music stops then turn round
and bow to the applause”

Wondering what to buy as a present? Try this one for yourself. Lev Parikian, the joint author of WAVING NOT DROWNING was telling me that choral singers should not read Chapter 20. Or did he say Chapter 21? Anyway, find out for yourself. It costs £5.85 on Amazon or the Kindle Edition for £1.97


"A revolutionary exposure of the conductor's darkest hours, ... painfully perceptive. Read it!" - Sir Neville Marriner
"Brilliant.. a must for any would-be conductor of an orchestra, electricity or a bus...!”
- Sir Ronald Harwood

A must for all-year reading is this...

Boy choristers have sung the liturgy in English cathedrals for fourteen hundred years. Until now, their history has never been written. The author Alan Mould takes you from the Middle Ages, through the upheavals of The Reformation, Georgian neglect to the Victorian revival to the present day. Buy from www.continuumbooks.com or £16.11 (pencil not included) on Amazon

w255the-english-chorister FC+pencil


How do you score?

You can read the reply here from Michael Grave who is Publicity Officer RSCM Durham Area and also MD of St Mary the Virgin, Whickham, Tyne & Wear

Recently I had to return hired scores to their owner. When I cleaned them up, it was very interesting to see singers' markings. Of the thirty copies, four had no markings at all. Only two-and-a-bit marked the next note overleaf. Altos were the most prolific writers. The parts with most Big Breaths marked were the sops.  One score had the corner of every page turned over excepting the covers (ugh!).

Men scored lower than the ladies but then they don't read maps, they don't ask for help when they are lost and they don't turn round. Mind you, ladies can only read maps upside down so perhaps they need more markings. It was pleasing to see that nobody had used a ball-point or a yellow highlighter (double-ugh!).  Wonderfully, all scores were returned.  Make your comments on FaceBook or e-mail Web-master.

Do you bother to look at the Composers’ & Performers’ Page?

w156Nicki Hooke 1If you do you will have seen the new entry for Nicola Hooke. She is coloratura soprano with a broad repertoire who studied at Trinity College of Music. I used to work next door when it was still in Mandeville Place! If you are a professional singer and would like to be added to the page, please e-mail me.

New Evensong CD from
Canterbury Cathedral


There is always something going on at Canterbury Cathedral Just released is the new CD Evensong which readings chosen by the Dean of Canterbury, the Very Revd. Dr. Robert Willis. Music list includes Rejoice in the Lamb by Benjamin Britten, the Magnificat by Giles Swayne, the Nunc dimittis by Gustav Holst, and the anthem written for the Jubilee of HM The Queen in 2012 by Will Todd, Call of Wisdom.

Read Canterbury Cathedral Newsletter here

Bin the Bechstein, Yamaha and Clav. Use the Virtual Keyboard to get your note.

Here is something you can use on your PC.


You can use your mouse to play the notes or you can use you computer keyboard. Try a link on your mobile.

Here’ s another VirtualPiano.net