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Review of gerontius web site, February 2002

The following review of the gerontius web site originally appeared in Classical Music magazine in February 2002 as part of an article on musical web sites in the UK. My thanks to the author Rebecca Agnew for her detailed review and for giving her permission to reproduce the relevant part of the article here.

"Gerontius.net, 'the dream site for choirs and lovers of choral music' (pun intended), was launched back in December 2000 by two musical and technologically minded brothers, Tim and Rob Ault, to coincide with a performance of Elgar's Dream of Gerontius by the Oxford Bach Choir. The website's design is clear and clean throughout, bright but not wacky.

Essentially a database of UK choirs, gerontius.net is growing daily. Choirs can register on the site for nothing and use it to promote their concerts as well as recruit new singers or offer their music for hire or sale. Each registered choir has a page dedicated to it with information such as its location, size, website address and whether or not it is looking for new members.

Gerontius.net has a fast and accurate search facility. If you are looking for a choir to join, you can search by location or type of choir (ie male voice, cathedral). Concert information can be found by searching by choir name, nearest town or date, or any combination of the three.

Like many other amateur music organisations, choirs can find it difficult to keep their income greater than their expenditure, so gerontius.net gives choirs the opportunity to make money from the music they own by offering it for hire or even sale to other choirs. Choir librarians can use either the online form to submit details of the music on offer or alternatively send a spreadsheet or database to gerontius.net.

Music for hire/sale is easily found by searching by composer, title or owner (or a combination of the three); search results include the number of copies available and the price as well as linking to a form to complete which is forwarded to the relevant librarian.

Gerontius.net encourages choirs to explore the choral repertory by sharing their experiences of learning and performing contemporary works and recommending new works to other choirs. Also in the style of a discussion forum is a notice board with messages ranging from musical director vacancies to pleas for obscure pieces of music.

Although there are plenty of gaps on gerontius.net - links to festivals and competitions would be helpful, and there are still relatively few choirs registered - the Ault brothers are to be commended for their user-friendly site, which has created many opportunities for choirs, which would be difficult to achieve offline."

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