gerontius newsletter - December 2011

Dear choral music lover,

I hope 2011 has been a successful year for you and your choirs.

I hope you enjoy reading our December newsletter. As always we've tried to make sure that there's plenty of interest for choral music lovers, whether you're a fan, an amateur singer or a professional musician! Do feel free to forward this newsletter on to others in your choir, or just send them the link to the newsletter on-line:

Do let us know if you'd like us to feature your choir in a future newsletter.

Newsletter contents
1. News from Travelbound
2. Join forces with Opera Anywhere to present 'The Mikado'
3. Free choral training scheme for 18-23 year olds!
4. Brandenburg Spring Choral Festival 2012 (London)
5. Orpheus Together in Aid of Bosom Pals
6. Bury Bach Choir
7. Britten in Oxford
8. Gerontius Site Sponsors
9. Next gerontius newsletter - late January

News from Travelbound


We are ending 2011 with some fantastic feedback from our touring choirs. Malvern St James School Choir visited Paris recently and performed in venues as diverse as Disneyland Paris, Notre Dame Cathedral and St Eustache. In the words of their Headmistress, Sarah Musgrove, "the girls loved the workshop at Disneyland and were wowed by the experience of performing on the stage there. They also mentioned that singing in Notre Dame will remain as a lifetime memory." St Nicholas School Choir travelled to Tuscany and sang in the Basilica in Montecatini, the church of San Martino in Siena and the Church of Santa Maria de' Ricci in Florence. In the words of Choir Director Michael Jones "... the girls really enjoyed their time in Tuscany and it will be an experience they never forget!" And we still have choirs about to tour during the festive season to combine singing in Europe's magnificent Cathedrals with a spot of Christmas shopping!

Taking your choir on tour is a fantastic experience which will focus your singers' energy, inspire them to a lifelong love of singing and give them memories to cherish forever. 2012 promises to be even more exciting with our first choir of the year travelling to New York to sing in the intimate St Paul's Chapel at Ground Zero and in the largest Cathedral in the world, St John the Divine!

If you think it's time to take your choir on tour, check our website for inspiration and contact us to start planning your 2012 tour. Let us help you inspire your singers.

Travelbound website:

Join forces with Opera Anywhere to present 'The Mikado'

Opera Anywhere

Opera Anywhere are a UK based touring opera company, we work with young and up and coming singers to produce fully staged opera productions.

We are compiling a touring programme across the UK for 2012 and 2013 and would like to work in partnerships with choirs and orchestras to produce a substantial tour across the UK. Opera Anywhere will provide all the staging and the principals' costumes and considerable sales and marketing support, and of course all the soloists.

If your organisation is a choir or an orchestra and would like to partner us in a combined performance we would love to discuss the possibilities. We are also looking for concert promoters and festival organisers who would like to host a Gilbert & Sullivan production.

We have a flexible and scalable concept that can fit into almost anywhere! For further information contact: Mike & Vanessa Woodward, Tel: 01865 735910 or Email: For more information including reviews of recent Opera Anywhere performances see our website:

View the Mikado brochure here.

Free choral training scheme for 18-23 year olds!

Genesis Sixteen

Now in its second year, The Sixteen's exciting new choral training scheme 'Genesis Sixteen' gives promising young singers aged between 18-23 the opportunity to receive free comprehensive training in the fundamentals of consort singing. Applications now open, see website for full details:

Brandenburg Spring Choral Festival 2012 (London)

Now entering its third year, the Brandenburg Spring Choral Festival runs from 2 January to 28 April 2012. In its short history, the festival has grown from a small event featuring a handful of concerts to a major showcase for the UK's best amateur choirs.

A wide range of choral music traditions will be represented, from Monteverdi to a cappella jazz, Afro-Cuban rhythms to contemplative sacred music, masterpieces of the choral tradition to contemporary classics, and featuring everything from large-scale choirs to intimate vocal ensembles.

The Brandenburg Spring Choral Festival is based at one of London's landmark concert venues, St Martin-in-the-Fields. The church will play host to 17 performances, including the festival's opening and closing events. There will also be 25 concerts at six local satellite venues: the National Portrait Gallery, St Clement Danes church, the Queen's Chapel of the Savoy, the chapels at King's College London and Lincolns Inn Fields, and St John's Waterloo.

The festival will also feature resident orchestras the Brandenburg Sinfonia and the Brandenburg Baroque Soloists.

The programme of events includes afternoon, evening and late night concerts, as well as a number of free early evening performances at the National Portrait Gallery. In addition, almost all the St Martin-in-the-Fields concerts will be performed by candlelight, giving audiences a special sense of atmosphere to go with the music and historic setting.

The Brandenburg Spring Choral Festival begins with a performance of Handel's Messiah with Surrey Voices and the Brandenburg Baroque Soloists in which the whole audience will be invited to join in singing the 'Hallelujah' chorus. The final day comprises a one-off triple bill at St Martin-in-the-Fields which kicks off with a performance by South Oxhey Community Choir, stars of the BBC tv series The Choir. The evening also includes a performance of Monteverdi's Vespers followed by an engaging, late-night programme of choral transcriptions of Romantic orchestral music.

Details of concerts and participating choirs are available by visiting

Tickets are available online at or by telephone at 020 7766 1100

Orpheus Together in Aid of Bosom Pals

Orpheus and LOMVC
L to right - Martin Wood from LOMVC; Southend Mayor, Cllr David Norman; Mick Thwaites, Deputy Chair, Bosom Pals Appeal; Rochford District Council Chairman Simon Smith; Marion Orchard from The Orpheus Singers.

The Orpheus Singers, founded in 2008 and the Leigh Orpheus Male Voice Choir have joined forces and produced a CD in support of Southend University Hospital's Bosom Pals, the breast cancer screening charity.

The CD was launched at the Park Inn Palace Hotel along Southend seafront, and a launch concert was held in the evening at Westcliff High School for Boys. The CD features a varied mix of songs from show tunes to pop classics and folk to spiritual. Musical Director David Clark said, "It is the first time the two choirs, which both perform regularly for local, national and international charities have come together in such collaboration".

However, the choirs support charities through their busy concert programmes at home and abroad and often join forces to raise money for local charities under the Musical Directorship of David Clark and accompanist Janet Walker.

To support the fight against breast cancer the Bosom Pals Appeal is raising money to purchase state-of-the-art equipment for the earlier detection of smaller breast cancers. Based at Southend Hospital, the charity is attempting to raise £500K to fund two mobile screening trailers complete with the latest screening technology which will help save many more lives in the future.

Copies of the CD, priced at £7, are now on sale at selected local retailers or by calling 01702 547315, 07767 376176 or e-mail For further details of both choir's concert diary and future fund raising concerts, please visit their respective websites and

Bury Bach Choir

Bury Bach Choir

Historic Bury St Edmunds in the heart of Suffolk, midway between Cambridge and Ipswich, is home to the Bury Bach Choir, a large mixed-voice choir which will celebrate its 80th Birthday in 2012.

The choir's aim is to perform works from the core choral repertoire, especially Bach, using professional soloists and orchestra, and to be the premier choir in this very musical town and the leading choir in Suffolk and East Anglia.

Under the direction of Dr Philip Reed, a Britten specialist, the choir gives four major concerts each year. These are held in Bury St Edmunds - in St Edmundsbury Cathedral, the parish church of St Mary's or in the new Apex Centre - and also in the wonderful wool churches of Lavenham and Long Melford.

The choir has high ambitions which may be challenging to fulfil in these difficult economic times. The arts and music scene in the town is very competitive and we are chasing the same audience. Our programme is strong and attractive, the best musicians and soloists have been engaged within our budget constraints; Handel, Rutter, Brahms, Bruckner, Britten and Bach are in the 3 year diary!

Our marketing, with a strong brand image, is core-market focused with a wide distribution of eye-catching posters plus media coverage. The choir is supported by valued sponsors and further development work is underway to promote the choir via, eg, cultural weekends in partnership with local hotels in this historic town.

It is all happening in Bury St Edmunds!

Janet Todd
Bury Bach Choir

Britten in Oxford

Britten in Oxford

Benjamin Britten's centenary will be celebrated throughout 2013, and Britten in Oxford is a year-long festival to celebrate his art through a programme of concerts, talks, master-classes and study days. A particular aim is to co-ordinate performances of Britten's entire choral works in 2013, involving local and community choirs throughout Oxfordshire. Our website, to be launched in January 2012, will not only include listings and information about Britten, but also give an opportunity for choirs and orchestras to upload their own events.

If your choir would like to get involved in this unique project, please email Michael Smedley at

Gerontius Site Sponsors

Many thanks to the following:


Chameleon Arts Orchestras and soloists

Rayburn Tours

Note Perfect

School Travel - Music & Concert groups - Travelbound

Chorum Records - Choral recordings

Chameleon Wedding Music

Alberon - web design

Next gerontius newsletter - late January

The next gerontius newsletter will be sent in late January. 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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Happy Christmas!

best wishes
Tim Ault

Gerontius website

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