gerontius newsletter - November 2013

Dear choral music lover,

After a bit of a gap (!) we're pleased to send you this newsletter.

The newsletter contains a number of items of interest to singers and choirs. Music Dynamics have come up with a set of tools to help "non-singers" get started. If you're looking for a singing holiday, do check out what Choral Holidays and Marlene's Musical Retreats have to offer. If you're looking for someone to organise a group trip for your choir or school, Rayburn Tours can help. Davies Music can find soloists for your forthcoming concerts, and The Sixteen have some nice offers on CDs. Finally if you're looking for a company to build your choir a better website, the team at Alberon can help.

We hope you will find this newsletter interesting. Do feel free to forward it on to friends and others in your choir, or just send them the link to the newsletter on-line:

We're keen to include more news from choirs in our next newsletter, so do get in touch if you have an anniversary or anything significant happening in 2014 so we can mention or feature your choir in a future newsletter.

Newsletter contents
1. Music Dynamics - Learn to Sing Handel’s Messiah in 3 Easy Steps
2. Choral Holidays
3. Rayburn Tours
4. Christmas with The Sixteen
5. Marlene's Musical Retreats
6. Davies Music - soloists for choral society concerts
7. Alberon Web Development
8. Next gerontius newsletter - February 2014

Music Dynamics - Learn to Sing Handel’s Messiah in 3 Easy Steps

Learn to Sing Handel’s Messiah in 3 Easy Steps
Learn to Sing Handel’s Messiah in 3 Easy Steps
Learn to Sing Handel’s Messiah in 3 Easy Steps
Learn to Sing Handel’s Messiah in 3 Easy Steps Learn to Sing Handel’s Messiah in 3 Easy Steps
Learn to Sing Handel’s Messiah in 3 Easy Steps Learn to Sing Handel’s Messiah in 3 Easy Steps
Please click on an icon above to watch a sample of Step 1 on You Tube.

We often hear from people who say they would love to sing in a choir but hesitate because they are concerned they cannot ‘read’ music.

3 Steps to Sing is the perfect solution so anyone can now learn, rehearse and sing at home and feel confident they know the ‘words’ and ‘notes’.

We chose Handel’s Messiah as this was by far the most popular piece of music people wished to learn to sing.

Many choirs now run ‘Come & Sing Messiah’ concerts and ‘3 Steps to Sing’ is the perfect way anyone can rehearse in advance to be ‘pitch’ and ‘word’ perfect on the night!

Once new singers have taken part and really enjoyed the experience they are often inspired to join a choir on a more permanent basis.

Step 1 - Visual Learning DVD

The notes and words change colour in time with the voice part (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass) sung by a professional singer.

Simply join in as if you are singing a duet to learn your part.

Step 2 - Voice Part Rehearsal CD

A narrator guides you when to sing and calls out where you are so you don’t get lost

Rehearse using your vocal score and you will soon know the words and be singing the right notes

Step 3 - Chorus Backing Track CD

Listen out for your part and sing with the choir note and background music

As close as you will get to singing with a real choir!

Choral Holidays

Choral Holidays
Choral Holidays
Choral Holidays
Choral Holidays

Choral Holidays is a unique company providing unforgettable experiences for amateur singers of all standards.

We offer trips to extremely beautiful locations, we offer the highest standards in teaching, both technically and musically and we have a strong focus on helping people to become free to communicate and express themselves personally through Choral Music.

Our trips for 2014 include a weekend for advanced singers, singing all the services in place of the cathedral choir at Gloucester Cathedral, a residential weekend at the stunning Milton Abbey where singers of all standards with prepare for plainsong compline and choral evensong, and a 5 day course at the lovely cathedral in Hereford where we will once again be replacing the cathedral choir in 4 choral evensongs. Then there is our big foreign trip of the year: a week of glorious singing in the amazing Sanctuary Lluc, set high in the extraordinary mountain landscape of northern Mallorca.

On all our trips the music is sent in advance, along with a learning CD. At Milton Abbey and in Lluc, all accommodation, food and drink are provided as part of the price and in Lluc we even throw in your transfers, optional yoga classes and excursions.

Each of our trips represent tremendous value and an opportunity to have great fun in a relaxed atmosphere whilst achieving high standards in music making.

“ was one of the the most inspiring and enjoyable things I’ve ever been involved in.” David Borrill

Rayburn Tours

Rayburn Tours
Rayburn Tours
Rayburn Tours
Rayburn Tours

It’s not too late to start planning a choir tour for 2014…

Your only decision is where to go!

Soak up the late summer sun in the Costa Brava or Tuscany, perform in a variety of venues both indoor and out in the bohemian and culturally rich city of Paris or take a close-to-home choir tour right here in the UK; whatever you want to do, with the wealth of knowledge and experience we’ve built up over our 48 years existence, we’re definitely the right people to help organise your ideal choir tour.

Here’s what other choirs thought about their 2013 tour…

4.6 out of 5 – their overall tour experience
4.4 out of 5 – the average rating of their concerts
4.7 out of 5 – the level of customer service received from Rayburn Tours.

London Forest Choir summed their experience up perfectly in their post tour questionnaire saying, “It gave us everything we were looking for - good excursions, good food, good concert venues, lovely audiences, and a great opportunity for the choir to come together, both socially and musically.”

If you’re still in need of a little inspiration, it may help to know that our most popular choir tour destinations in 2013 included The Rhineland, Normandy, Belgium, Tuscany, Dublin, the Costa Brava and the UK, whilst our most unique destinations included Estonia, St Petersburg and Umbria.

Where will your choir go? Visit the Rayburn Tours website today to see more of our recommended destinations, then get in touch to request your tailor-made quotation. To make things even easier, we will give you £100 off your final invoice if you book your 2014 tour by the 24th December 2013.

Christmas with The Sixteen

Christmas with The Sixteen
Christmas with The Sixteen
Christmas with The Sixteen

20% off all CDs & downloads

It is fast approaching that time of year again and although for some it may still feel too early to start thinking about the festive season just yet, for many of you starting early is the best way to enjoy a stress-free Christmas. So, in an effort to help you with your Christmas shopping this year, The Sixteen is offering 20% off all CDs. To take advantage of this offer, visit and enter the special offer discount code 'CHRISTMAS OFFER' when you reach the order confirmation pages. If you purchase 3 or more CDs using the discount code above, you will automatically be sent a FREE copy of Royal Manuscripts: The Genius of Illumination (COR16098).

Charity Christmas download single

The Sixteen has released a Christmas download single to help raise money for the Disasters Emergency Committee Philippines Typhoon Appeal. Please show your support by purchasing a copy of 'See Amid the Winter's Snow' this Christmas. The single costs £2.52 and all profits from purchases of the download from now until 31 December 2013 will be donated to the DEC appeal. To download the single visit The Sixteen's Digital Shop

John Tavener commemorative release

To commemorate the extraordinary life and works of Sir John Tavener The Sixteen is re-releasing its acclaimed recording, Ikon of Light, in a special limited-edition version. The new version will be available in shops from 9th December or you can order direct from The Sixteen’s website

Marlene's Musical Retreats

Marlene's Musical Retreats
Marlene's Musical Retreats
Marlene's Musical Retreats

February-April 2014 Vocal and Sight-Singing 5-day Course in Sunny Valencia, Spain

Looking for a highly entertaining, inspiring and educational break this winter or spring? Come to sunny Valencia and pursue a choice of interesting vocal courses. Marlene Sweetko, Guildhall School of Music graduate, choral conductor, vocal coach and professional composer, has for 20 years created a special atmosphere in her courses by combining intensity, humour and the highest standards of musical education and inspiration. You will find these courses, challenging yet entertaining, far away from the stress of everyday life, to be uplifting, refreshing and confidence building.

You can learn how to connect reading music on the page with hearing the correct sound in your head through an original and entertaining course based on the principles of the Kodaly technique. At the same time learn how to improve your breathing and vocal technique through a variety of thoroughly entertaining songs. You will also be able to see the delights of Valencia, and be taken to several beautiful villages along the Mediterranean Coast

All tuition (15 hours), meals and private accommodation (6 nights) included for 300 euros.

There are other courses on offer, both group and individual, so please consult our website at

Davies Music

Davies Music
Greg Tassell - Photograph by Antonia Couling
Davies Music
Margaret McDonald.

Soloists for choral societies – a specialist agency

Davies Music runs Concert Directory International, specialising in providing vocal soloists for choral societies all over the UK – and the comments we receive speak for themselves:

“It was a great pleasure to work with your soloists.”Chelmsford Singers

“We were delighted with the soloists, and hope they enjoyed their time with us.”Grayshott Concerts

“A belated thank you for the wonderful soloists you provided for our concert last Saturday. They were all wonderful - both the choir and audience so enjoyed listening to them.” Ealing Choral Society

“Just to say we had a very good concert last night and all four soloists were hugely appreciated. Thanks so much for finding them for us.”Hull Bach Choir

“…may I say how pleased I was to have the opportunity of working with both Charlotte and Neil – they were each magnificent and absolutely perfect for each of the parts. Thank you so much for your suggestion of them, and the audience, orchestra, and choir were all raving about them. I hope they both enjoyed the experience, and I would be very pleased to work with them again!” Royal Tunbridge Wells Choral Society

“we had a very good concert and your soloists did you proud.” Colwyn Choral Society

We have a great list of singers who between them cover a wide range of repertoire and fees. Our service is quick, friendly and efficient.

For information about us and all our artists please see our website at or call Jill Davies on 01684 850112, email

Alberon Web Development

Alberon Web Development Alberon Web Development

We are a web development company based in Oxford that specialise in building high quality websites for a variety of clients in and around Oxfordshire and the UK.

We have teamed up with the folks over at Gerontius to offer you a great deal that will get your choir on the web with your very own website.

This package can be tailored to your individual needs and is by no means set in stone, we are happy to add any features you require - to make sure this website works for you and your choir.

The base package gives you:

  • A professionally-built website that's easy to edit and update yourselves.
  • Your own UK domain name, ‘’.
  • Up to 5 personal domain email addresses.
  • 1 Year full hosting with us on our own fully secured servers.
  • Up to 10 web pages filled with any content you’d like.
  • A blog for your up and coming news and events.
  • A fully working email contact form.

*The starting price for this package is from as little as £1950

Optional extras include (but are not limited to):

  • Integrated PayPal setup to allow you to sell your CD’s/ songs online.
  • An image gallery for organising all the great pictures of your choir in action.
  • A music player live on the site.
  • A member area for choir documents, rehearsal calendars etc.

To discuss your needs and to find out what Alberon can do for you, please contact:

Tim or Steve at Alberon

Telephone: 01865 794009


Take a look on our website for clients we have already worked with:

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 - February 2014

The next gerontius newsletter will be sent in 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:

We always welcome feedback about the site.

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

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Happy Christmas and Best Wishes!
Tim Ault

Gerontius website