gerontius newsletter - November 2012

Dear choral music lover,

In this newsletter we're pleased to look forward to 2013 which is the centenary of Benjamin Britten's birth in 1913. There will be many concerts and events going on around the country, including the Britten in Oxford festival.

We also have news updates from tour organisers Rayburn Tours and from Davies music who can provide soloists for any choral event. Note Perfect has a range of useful learning aids for choirs, and do check out Benslow Music's website to see the range of courses on offer for musicians of all tastes.

Don't forget that highlights of the final of Choir of the Year 2012 are on BBC4 at 7.30 this Friday 23 November at 7.30pm!

Do feel free to forward it on to friends and others in your choir, or just send them the link to the newsletter online:

We're always happy to include news from choirs in the newsletter, so do let us know if your choir is doing something special this year.

Newsletter contents
1. Britten in Oxford
2. Rayburn Tours
3. Davies Music
4. Benslow Music
5. Note Perfect
6. The Sixteen
7. Gerontius Site Sponsors
8. Next gerontius newsletter - February

Britten in Oxford

britten in Oxford
Britten in Oxford
Oxford Bach Choir

Britten in Oxford is a year long celebration of the work and life of Benjamin Britten in his centenary year. Britten in Oxford will promote concerts, talks, master classes and workshops and be an umbrella for all the Britten performances in and around Oxford in this special year. The wide variety of events will include a concert in the Sheldonian Theatre on the centenary of his birth with the English Chamber Orchestra, Britten, the Young Genius weekend at the The North Wall Arts Centre, a conference at Wolfson College, a choral composition course and Britten's Voices masterclass series.

This is an exciting festival with the opportunity for everyone to be involved: as a participant in the student masterclasses and school workshops; a composer; an audience member at world premières; to discover Britten for the first time from those who worked closely with him including Steuart Bedford, James Bowman, Humphrey Burton and Graham Johnson; or to develop further a passion led by leaders in this field including John Mark Ainsley, Paul Kildea, Hermione Lee and Mark Padmore. For details of all festival events, how to get involved or to list your Britten event visit

Oxford Bach Choir Concert

The launch of the festival will be on Saturday 1 December when the Oxford Bach Choir in its Michaelmas Term concert will perform with the English Chamber Orchestra the world première of two previously unpublished Psalms by Benjamin Britten. These are pieces that conductor Nicholas Cleobury found at The Red House, the building in the Suffolk seaside town of Aldeburgh where Britten and Pears lived and worked from 1957 until their deaths. They have now been published by MusicSales and show a precocious young Britten setting 2 very differing Psalms with insight and flair, and an already very sure technique. At the time they were much praised by Frank Bridge, and make fascinating coupling with other early and late works, alongside an arrangement of his beloved Mahler. This landmark concert will be recorded by Radio 3 and will also feature works by Beethoven, Mahler and Poulenc.

The concert will begin at 19.30 at the Sheldonian Theatre Oxford and tickets are available from or 01865 305305.

For further details please see

Rayburn Tours

Rayburn Tours
Rayburn Tours
Rayburn Tours

We're experts at creating truly bespoke concert tours for choirs!

Whether your group want to enjoy small and intimate performances, or be part of a much larger celebration, we're experts at creating itineraries to suit choirs with a range of repertoire styles.

Here are just a couple of ideas that may inspire you to tour in 2013!

Go large at the Edinburgh Fringe...

That's exactly what 260 members of Inspiration community choir decided they would do in 2012! After a successful tour of Paris in 2010, the group decided to stay closer to home and be part of the showcase that is the Edinburgh Fringe festival! With two concerts planned, plenty of time to sightsee, opportunities to enjoy other performances, as well as time to fundraise for their chosen charity - Help for Heroes, they embarked on their 5 day Edinburgh Fringe experience!

Sounds tempting? Speak to one of our Concert Tours consultants to explore the potential for your choir!

Time flies - start planning now...

Segovia special - 2013 prices lower than 2012! An opportunity too good to miss...

A beautiful and culturally thriving city, Segovia in central Spain is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a candidate for the European Capital of Culture in 2016. Against the backdrop of the Guadarrama Mountains, your choir could experience Segovia's breathtaking skyline which is dominated by a Roman aqueduct, a magnificent late Gothic cathedral and the Alcázar, one of the most distinctive castle-palaces in Spain. Couple this with venues such as Segovia cathedral and the Romanesque church of Iglesia San Millan, mouth-watering cuisine and delightful local wines, and Segovia is just too good to resist!

Contact one of our concert tour consultants to see how our itineraries could work for you

Regardless of your choir's size or style of repertoire, we aim to provide enthusiastic audiences, exciting excursions, unforgettable performance venues and top class customer service - we provide the opportunities and the choice is yours!

Looking for inspiration or your next Choir Tour, visit the Rayburn Tours Website or contact our team on 01332 347828.

Davies Music

Clare McCaldin
Julia Doyle
Michael Pearce

For the past three years, Davies Music has run Concert Directory International, which has been providing vocal soloists throughout the UK and abroad for over 35 years.

With an extensive list of singers, repertoire ranges from Monteverdi through the Bach Passions, to Verdi and Mahler and on to the 21st century. We are proud to manage baroque specialists such as soprano Julia Doyle and tenors Joseph Cornwell and Simon Wall, and contemporary specialists including Sarah Leonard, Clare McCaldin and Stephen Jeffes. Recent additions to the list include soprano Philippa Hyde, tenors Neil Jenkins and Philip Sheffield and bass Michael George. Several singers such as Brian Bannatyne-Scott have active international careers on the operatic stage. Fees are equally varied and we can usually suggest soloists to fit your budget. Our service also includes replacing singers who have to withdraw at short notice due to illness.

Regular clients include choral societies in Hull, Norwich, Huntingdonshire, Peterborough, Malvern, Slough, Ealing, Lancaster, Worcester, Colwyn Bay and Birmingham as well as festivals and orchestras in the UK and abroad.

This season's performances include:

Handel Messiah with Philippa Hyde, Tom Williams, Greg Tassell and Ian Caddy

Bach B minor Mass with Miriam Allan, Philippa Hyde, Tom Williams, Stephen Jeffes and James Birchall

Mozart Coronation Mass, Vespers, Exsultate Jubilate with Pippa Goss, Clare McCaldin, Stephen Muir and Neil Baker

Elgar The Apostles with Una Barry, Vanessa Williams, Martin Hindmarsh, Michael Pearce, Michael George and Robert Rice

Elgar The Kingdom with Julie Kennard, Jeanette Ager, Richard Reaville and Michael Pearce

Saint-Saens Christmas Oratorio with Diana Palmerston, Jennifer Westwood, Martin Hindmarsh and Alan Fairs

Davies Music also represents the London Handel Orchestra and QuintEssential sackbuts and cornetts who can provide specialist accompaniment for concerts of baroque music.

For further information please visit or contact Jill Davies on 01684 850112 or

Benslow Music

Benslow Music Logo
Benslow Music Social
Benslow Music Drink

Benslow Music, the centre for short residential music courses for non-professional musicians, has been in the business of teaching music for more than eighty years, since its inception in 1929 as the first branch of the Rural Music Schools Association. Nowadays, we offer our clients an unparalleled choice of courses. We also make sure that you are taken good care of in every way, with a comfortable bedroom, excellent food (and plenty of it), a beautifully landscaped garden and an open-minded and relaxed style of teaching designed to bring out the best in you. Each course becomes an instant family, with students from all walks of life and, importantly, all generations communicating with each other and the tutors as equals and with no sense of competition except with oneself.

We hold choral courses throughout the year, and recent and future choral tutors include Ralph Alwood Julian Perkins, Peter Phillips, John Rowlands-Pritchard, John Rutter, Jo Sercombe, Michael Smedley, Jeremy Summerly and Julian Williamson. Approaches vary from course to course. The objective of our Summer School (1st to the 4th of July), for instance, is to create a good choral sound, while other courses might focus on a particular repertoire or genre, be it Gospel or Gregorian chant. Most courses require a two or three-night stay, although all courses include a non-residential option. Choirs are limited in size to a maximum of around forty, except in the case of our occasional Singing Days which cater for larger numbers.

For more details please visit or call us on 01462 459446. Alternatively send an us an email at

Note Perfect

Note Perfect

Note Perfect helps to bring you and your choir up to scratch.

With seasonal music for Christmas, Note Perfect rehearsal aids can help bring individuals and choirs up to speed this Christmas.

Handel's Messiah, and Bach's Christmas Oratorio are firm favourites at this time of the year and for those who want to try something different, we have completed another Christmas masterpiece. Hector Berlioz "L'Enfance du Christ" (The Childhood of Christ).

"The Really Big Chorus" is holdings it's annual "Messiah from Scratch" in the Royal Albert Hall on 2nd of December 2012, and anyone who is needing a quick revision of their part will find that what Note Perfect has to offer is ideal. Note Perfect gives you the option of instant downloads, or CDs.

Looking ahead to Passiontide and Easter.(It's not that far away) Note Perfect has both the St John and the recently completed St. Matthew Passion by Bach, as well as The Crucifixion, by Sir John Stainer, and Olivet to Calvary by John Henry Maunder.

All the rehearsal aids mentioned here cater both for choirs and soloists.

Check all this out and much more at

The Sixteen

The Sixteen

The Sixteen is seeking up to 24 singers aged between 18 and 23 to take part in its pioneering training programme 'Genesis Sixteen', which aims to nurture students with the potential to become professional ensemble singers.

During the course of a year, the four free residential courses offer participants comprehensive training in the fundamental principles of consort singing with an emphasis on ensemble, tuning, blend, sight-reading, communication, expression and the importance of co-operation.

Applications close Friday 18 January 2013. For further information please visit our website

Gerontius Site Sponsors

Many thanks to the following:


Chameleon Arts Orchestras and soloists

Rayburn Tours

Chameleon Wedding Music

Alberon - web design

Note Perfect

Next gerontius newsletter - Early February 2013

The next gerontius newsletter will be sent in Early February. 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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