gerontius newsletter - October 2009

Here is the Gerontius newsletter for October 2009.

We're pleased this month to include news of Chameleon Arts' new website, which we've been closely involved with, and several other items of interest to choirs and singers.

Please feel free to send this newsletter on to other members of your choir and to friends.

Please let us know if you would like us to feature your choir in a future newsletter.

Newsletter contents
1. Chameleon Arts Management launches its new Orchestra and Soloists website
2. Choir Tours Welcome in the South of France - La Maison Verte
3. Featured choir : Kingston Choral Society
4. Cantamus Girls Choir - Prize winners in Penang!
5. Gerontius Site Sponsors
6. Next Gerontius newsletter: November

Chameleon Arts Management launches its new Orchestra and Soloists website at

Chameleon Arts Orchestras

Imagine how wonderful it would be if you could book a professional orchestra of any size, for any concert, with just one phone call. Imagine too if you could book experienced, top quality vocal soloists with that one call and benefit from the peace of mind and substantial savings available from Chameleon’s one-stop shop...

For more than twenty years Chameleon Arts Management’s distinguished orchestras and singers have been enhancing the performances of choral societies throughout the UK. Run by professional musicians with a detailed knowledge and wide experience of the choral repertoire, Chameleon Arts Management provides an unparalleled service and a cost-effective solution to the search for soloists and orchestral accompaniment.

And now, to make bookings even easier, Chameleon has just launched its new Orchestra and Soloists website where choirs can view details of the orchestras and singers and hear audio samples before making their choices. A simple ‘Check Availability’ button allows you to ask for help and advice on all aspects of a booking.

The Chameleon Arts Orchestras were formed to answer the need of choral societies nationwide for quality performances of the great works for choir and orchestra. They can regularly be seen in concert at venues such as St Johns Smith Square, Worcester Cathedral, Sherborne Abbey, Ripon Cathedral, Romsey Abbey, St Martin-in-the-Fields, St David’s Cathedral and Snape Maltings.

The Chameleon Arts Orchestras boast some of the country's leading freelance players who, as members of the premiere orchestras devoted to the performance of choral works, have a vast knowledge and experience of the repertoire regularly performed by choirs.

Chameleon Arts Baroque and Classical Orchestras provide choirs and choral societies across the country with the opportunity to perform the masterpieces of the 17th & 18th centuries accompanied by period instruments. Individual members of these orchestras are acknowledged specialists in period performance practice and continue to work, often as principals, with the UK’s leading 'original instrument' orchestras.

Chameleon’s list of soloists includes singers to suit all styles of repertoire. So whether you’re looking for early music specialists to perform Bach or Monteverdi or programming a Verdi Requiem or Strauss Last Four Songs, we have just the right singers for you. We will always recommend soloists for your chosen repertoire who are vocally appropriate and stylistically aware.

The Orchestra and Soloists website is the third stage in the complete redevelopment of our web-based marketing and follows the successful launch of in April and of in August - all in the capable and caring hands of Tim and his colleagues at Alberon - and affirms our ongoing commitment to providing the very best music services to choirs and choral societies in the UK.

Choir Tours Welcome in the South of France - La Maison Verte

La Maison Verte

Choirs of up to 30 singers are invited to spend a week at this extraordinary venue to work on new repertoire, make a CD or perform to supportive local audiences. La Maison Verte in Languedoc, France, is the perfect place to base a choir tour/holiday. Owners Anne and Francis - whose roots are in music and the arts - are ideally placed to help you organise a choir holiday including performing opportunities and/or a recording.

Group Rehearsal La Maison Verte is an old wine mansion, sleeping up to 30 people in a mixture of single and shared rooms - some ensuite. It has two vast rehearsal spaces, two pianos, an acre of beautiful gardens, a pool, table tennis, boule pitch, and bikes for your use. We are open from May to the end of September; rates vary according to when you come but for a choir of 30 people the accommodation will cost from around €180[euros] per person for a week. Catering is not included but you can either bring your own cook, or we can help you source one locally. We are served by 7 airports within 2 hours drive - mostly Ryanair and Easyjet.

For a reference: contact Cambridge Chorale ( - Verte Musique) who visited recently. For a choir tour in 2010, go to our website and email us, or call Anne on 0033 (0)4 67 24 88 52.

Featured choir : Kingston Choral Society

Kingston Choral Society

The 60th Anniversary of Kingston Choral Society

Sixty years ago, in December 1949, the Mayor of Surbiton asked all the local church choirs to come together to form a large enough group to sing Handel’s Messiah in the following Spring. In March 1950 the project reached its fulfilment and the oratorio was performed in St Andrew’s Church. The singers involved wanted to continue their association and thus Surbiton Oratorio Society, as KCS was then known, was formed.

Quite soon after this initial concert John Wilkinson became the Director of Music and he remained for many years bringing to local audiences all the delights of the traditional choral repertoire and some very distinguished soloists, including the young Philip Langridge at the outset of his career. Most concerts continued to be in St Andrew’s.

By the 1980s performances had moved to Kingston Parish Church and a new conductor had taken over, Robin Page. Under his baton the choir changed its name to Kingston Choral Society to reflect not only their performance venue but also the ever-widening area from which it attracted its singers. The repertoire expanded and KCS began its travels to Delft, Birmingham, Guildford, Venice and, most recently, the USA.

Robin left a year ago after 27 years of distinguished service as he and his wife moved to Glasgow. The choir now has a new Director of Music, Graham Ross, an exciting young musician with an impressive number of compositions already published and already in great demand nationally and internationally as a conductor. The choir numbers over a hundred and gives three or four concerts a year. On March 27th, 2010 they will perform Messiah again to honour their foundation sixty years ago.

Cantamus Girls Choir - Prize winners in Penang!

Cantamus Girls Choir

The Cantamus Girls Choir based in Mansfield came away from the 'Voyage of Songs' festival in Penang this year with 5 trophies - various coloured and sizes of glass galleons! Three firsts in the Chamber Choir, Equal Voices (Open) and Equal Voices (Youth) were added to in the finals with the Grand Prix and Pamela Cook, the director, scooping the Outstanding Conductor award. One senior girl had to stay behind in Singapore for four more days because of having caught swine 'flu, but otherwise the competition and concerts were a huge success. Cantamus now has achieved 25 first prizes in international events during its 40 year career.

The girls (and the junior choir conducted by Ann Irons) can be seen at the Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham, on Tuesday 22 December in their 'Celebrating Christmas with Cantamus' concert with Alistair Parnell (saxophone) and Philip Robinson (piano).

Gerontius Site Sponsors

Many thanks to the following:

Rayburn Tours

Chameleon Arts Orchestras and soloists

Manchester Amateur Choral Competition

Choir Practice

Davies Music

Music Dynamics

ScoreStore Printed Music Ltd

La Maison Verte

Hungarian Choral Castle

Chameleon Arts Management

QuintEssential - early music ensemble

Alberon - web design

Next gerontius newsletter - November

The next gerontius newsletter will be sent in November. If you have an item you would like to include, please let us know as soon as possible so we can reserve you a space.

For further details and previous newsletters please see:

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best wishes
Tim Ault

Gerontius website

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