gerontius newsletter - November 2010

Dear choral music lover

This newsletter includes a range of news of interest to choirs and singers - including ideas for how to organise a choir tour, a charitable trust who might sponsor your concert of unusual music, where to get rehearsal recordings from, and more.

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. Travelbound Concert Tours
2. Music Preservation Trust
3. Headington Singers celebrates its silver jubilee
4. New Website for ChoraLine and Music Dynamics
5. abcd celebrates 25th anniversary with launch of new initiatives
6. Sing Out for Marie Curie Cancer Care
7. News from WeGotTickets: The Messiah, an innovative staged production
8. Gerontius Site Sponsors
9. Next Gerontius newsletter: December

Welcome to Travelbound Concert Tours!

Outdoor Performance image

If your choir aspires to performances around the world, look no further than this exciting new company which is part of the TUI travel group.

Staffed by experienced concert tours professionals, Travelbound Concert Tours offers bespoke arrangements for choirs of all kinds, from community to gospel to cathedral.

As all of our staff are experienced touring musicians, we understand the needs of choirs and we know what's important to the Musical Director and the ensemble.

You can meet the team here, or call Nathan or Emily on 01273 265 290, or email us on

We'd love to hear more about your choir and how we can help you. With destinations from Belgium to Budapest, and covering Canada and the USA as well as Europe, we're looking forward to organising your tour.

As a very special offer, all new 2011 enquiries to Travelbound Concert Tours before the end of November 2010 will receive £200 off their final invoice. Click here to get in touch now!

Music Preservation Trust

Have you ever wanted your choir to put on a performance of a piece which you consider to be an unjustly neglected masterpiece, but felt that its unfamiliarity posed too much of a risk?

Well, it's possible that the Music Reprieval Trust might be able to make you think again.

We - the three of us who set up the Trust a few years ago - like nothing better than to explore unfamiliar corners of the repertoire, both as listeners and as singers, but we have also been involved in running choirs, and we know that building a concert programme around an unknown piece may be risky when it comes to box office; and there can also be additional costs, such as the cost of hiring hard-to-obtain performance materials.

This is also true of new music, but at least with new music there are some charitable bodies who are willing to help out; but we realized that there was nothing equivalent for neglected music from the past (except in the case of some specific composers, for whom there are enthusiastic societies to whom one can apply for funding).

Thanks to a small bequest and to the generosity of friends, we were able to set up a (small) trust which we hoped would be able to make donations that would make the difference between a concert budget that just looked too dodgy to risk, and one that might be feasible.

And that is what the Music Reprieval Trust has been able to do: so far we have supported performances of choral music by such neglected composers as Thomas Arne, Michael Haydn, Hummel, Thomas Linley, William Lloyd Webber, Fanny Mendelssohn, and Leopold Mozart, and also lesser-known pieces by more familiar figures, including Vaughan Williams' Sancta Civitas and a rare version of Handel's oratorio Esther.

We're not just interested in choral music-we have also supported instrumental concerts featuring Howard Ferguson, Anton Rubinstein, and others, as well as Schubert's wonderful opera Fierrabras-but of course it's choral music that will be of particular interest to readers of this newsletter.

With our limited resources we are only able to make a few grants each year, typically of £500 to £750, but we know that this can sometimes make a big difference.

If you think you might be interested in making an application to the Trust, please look at the information given on our rather basic website (

Headington Singers' Silver Jubilee

Jubilee photo

Headington Singers, based in Oxford, almost came about by accident. In 1985, a handful of people turned up to a 'Singing for Pleasure' evening.

"Having sung our way through assorted music, it was clear we had the nucleus of a conventional choir" says founder member, Carolyn Gulliver. Now, 25 years on, we number close on 100 singers and Carolyn, along with our original accompanist, Maureen Cooper, is still active with the choir.

That we are called 'Singers' and not a 'Choral Society' is quite deliberate. We are a community choir, singing the choral classics (and more) for the sheer love of it.

Members don't audition, have varying experience, come from many nations and span the generations, from 20-somethings to veterans. Singers come from all over Oxford and beyond, drawn by our friendly, unstuffy approach.

Our irrepressible conductor, Sally Mears, expects and gets a pretty polished performance from us at our termly concerts. Sally is only our third conductor, following in the footsteps of Mark Goddard and Tony Dwyer. Her endless optimism inspires everyone with the confidence to tackle a huge range of music - from Schütz to Britten, Purcell to Bernstein.

April 2007 marked our biggest project: a Gala Concert in Oxford Town Hall to mark the closure of the Radcliffe Infirmary. For the occasion, we commissioned a new work from local composer, Roger Teichmann. For our Silver Jubilee concert on Friday 3 December we have commissioned another local composer, Samuel Pegg. His stunning tone-poem, The Solitary Reaper, Parry's Blest Pair of Sirens and Charpentier's bubbly Messe de Minuit will ensure that we sound a celebratory note to mark this wonderful occasion.

New Website for ChoraLine and Music Dynamics

Choraline logo

We are delighted to inform you that our new website is now up and running:

A Discount For Members Of Gerontius

Please enter: GERONTIUS into the discount code box and you will get a 10% saving on your order. Your discount is not applied to Singing Sets and CD Box Sets as these already receive a 10% promotional reduction.

The new website has new features, products and services:

  • New: SATB ChoraLine Rehearsal CDs
  • New: SATB ChoraLine download files
  • New: SATB Singing Sets
  • New: SATB Singers Bags
  • New: Larger Vocal Scores catalogue with images and more detailed descriptions
  • New: Larger Performance CD range with images, reviews and more detailed description
  • New: Choral CD Box Sets
  • New: Christmas Gift Ideas
  • New: Community to Join
  • New: Service for Choirs for Bulk Orders

Thank you for your custom and we do hope the new website is useful to you:

abcd celebrates 25th anniversary with launch of new initiatives

ABCD logo

abcd (Association of British Choral Directors) is delighted to announce the launch of celebrations following 25 years of inspirational choral leadership, culminating at Convention 2011 in Birmingham August 26-28. With a new commission, new training courses, a chain of regional celebrations across the country and a focus on the next generation of conductors this promises to be an exciting year!

Since its formation in 1986 abcd has become the unifying organisation for choral leaders and music educators, hosting annual conventions, establishing, and continuing to develop, training courses and creating a marketplace for publishers and composers. To mark these 25 years abcd is delighted to be commissioning a new choral work to be premiered by the National Youth Choir of Great Britain conducted by Mike Brewer during Convention 2011. New training courses for Choral Accompanists, an Advanced Conducting course and an annual Young Conductors programme have been launched to continue to support the development of the choral leaders and their choirs.

Each region will also enjoy their own celebrations with gala concerts, workshops and choir festivals being organised across the country, giving all involved with leading singing the opportunity to be involved.

"Looking back at our successes of the last twenty-five years, including previous times of financial uncertainty and shifting government policy, we can feel positive and excited about the years to come" says abcd Chair Jonathan Startup.

Booking forms for course are available to download from or directly from Kate Allen Events and Training Officer, 07528 382445,

Sing Out for Marie Curie Cancer Care

Marie Curie Choir image

Sing your hearts out during the festive season and raise money for Marie Curie Cancer Care.

Register to take part in Sing Out during the festive season and raise money to help us continue providing high-quality nursing to terminally ill patients in their own homes. You don't have to be pitch perfect to join in - anyone who enjoys singing can organise a Sing Out event. You can host a carol singing party with friends and family, arrange a karaoke competition with work colleagues or put on a special performance with your local choir. Our Marie Curie Nurses work throughout the Christmas season to ensure that patients are able to spend this precious time with their families. Every £20 you raise can provide one hour of care from a Marie Curie Nurse to a family and £180 is enough money for an entire night of care.

How you can join the chorus:

  • Sign up by November 26th and receive your free fundraising pack with handy tips and tools to help make your Sing Out event a success by calling 08700 340 040 or emailing or visiting
  • Invite friends, family and others to join in the fun.
  • November to December is the best time to hold your Sing Out event.
  • Get a great venue for your performance such as a church, shopping centre or town square.
Last year over 190 groups across the UK took part in Sing Out and raised enough money to help fund 1,125 hours of Marie Curie nursing care.

Join choirs, groups and other supporters across the country in doing something you love for a good cause. Register for Sing Out by visiting

News from WeGotTickets - The Messiah - an innovative staged production

Performances of Handel's Messiah are always very popular at Christmas and this year is no different. However, we at WeGotTickets have heard about a really innovative staged production taking place in London, Richmond and Windsor, performed by The Merry Opera Company.

The setting for this production is war-torn Europe where, on Christmas Eve 1940, a community seeks sanctuary in a church. The oratorio's major themes of hope, sacrifice and redemption are played out as the group responds to the unfolding crisis around them. Looking to their Christian faith they seek solace and understanding, and find joy through their preparations for advent.

Performances are taking place at:

  • St Paul's Church, Covent Garden on Thursday 18th November at 6.30pm
  • Richmond Parish Church on Saturday 27th November at 6.30pm
  • St Michael's Cornhill, London EC3 on Wednesday 1st December at 6.30pm
  • Windsor Parish Church on Saturday 4th December at 6.30pm

More information:


Gerontius Site Sponsors

Many thanks to the following:


Chameleon Arts Orchestras and soloists

Rayburn tours

Note Perfect

School Travel - Music & Concert groups - Travelbound

Hungarian Choral Castle

Chameleon Wedding Music

Alberon - web design

Next gerontius newsletter - December

The next gerontius newsletter will be sent in December. 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