gerontius newsletter - February 2014

Dear choral music lover,

We hope 2014 has started well for you and your choirs.

We have a packed newsletter this month. We hope you will find the newsletter interesting and useful. 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:

Our next newsletter will be sent in March and will focus on music summer schools, so do get in touch if you have any news or experiences you would like to share. You can also visit the Summer Schools and Summer Courses website:

A reminder to choirs: do get in touch if you have an anniversary or anything significant happening in 2014 which you would like us to mention.

Newsletter contents
1. North Wales Choral Festival 2014
2. Run by Singers
3. Nottinghamshire Hospice - Unsung Heroes
4. Paul Smy - Tenor
5. Rayburn Tours
6. Cambridge Early Music - Festival of the Voice
7. Sheringham and Cromer Choral Society
8. Much loved Musical Director to take his final bow
9. Come and Sing Verdi's Requiem in Oxford
10. Alberon Web Development
11. Gerontius Site Sponsors
12. Next gerontius newsletter - March 2014

Register your spot at the North Wales Choral Festival 2014!

North Wales Choral Festival 2014
North Wales Choral Festival 2014
North Wales Choral Festival 2014
North Wales Choral Festival 2014

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.

Everyone knows how popular all you choirs are and how quickly your calendars can fill up, so ensure that the North Wales Choral Festival has the pleasure of your company in 2014. Entry forms and rules and regulations are now available! You need to be fully registered by June 6th 2014 so get booking your place now so you can get rehearsing that all important repertoire.

On Friday 7th November, North Wales primary and secondary school choirs will wow us with their talents in the first of the competitions.

The weekend will showcase male, ladies and youth choirs, all competing on Saturday 8th November and the mixed and barbershop will take to the stage on Sunday 9th November. *Timings are subject to change.

Thanks to the ongoing and generous support from sponsors we still have an amazing total prize fund of £4,000. Whoever is placed 1st will be lucky enough to receive £500, then £200 for the runners up and £100 for those at 3rd place.

Everyone that took part in our Festival Celebration Concert or the Cartrefi Conwy Community Performances will agree that it was a huge success and a lot of fun! The fun will continue and include both elements once again for 2014, so be sure to tick to take part on the entry form!

So, for a jam packed, musical weekend in the lovely Victorian seaside resort of Llandudno, North Wales get filling in an entry form! Forms can be completed online, or please contact the festival if you would prefer to receive one by post. Don’t miss out – you’ll regret it!

For more information please get in touch at or call 01492 575943.

Run by Singers – celebrating ten years of arranging singing weeks and weekends across Europe

Run by Singers
Run by Singers
Run by Singers

If you're passionate about singing great choral music in interesting places and enjoy the company of other singers, then you will probably want to know about the 2014 programme at Run by Singers now booking online.

Highlights for 2014 include a long weekend singing Durufle in Paris, Mozart in Vienna and a three-day memorial tour of Flanders.

Couples and groups of friends are always welcome but many of the people who come on RBS event come on their own. Newcomers are very quickly part of the choir and part of the group. For most of our week-long events, we have a special newcomers’ lunch on the first day. We also have dinner together as a group most evenings.

We have been organising singing weeks and weekends going since 2003 and have NEVER cancelled an event due to lack of participants. We are a small organisation but are still large enough to be named by the Sunday Times as a Top 100 holiday provider. We are run entirely by singers and for singers. For more about us see www.runbysingers/aboutus.html.

RBS runs several events every year so hopefully there will be something that takes your fancy. However, numbers are restricted and places fill up very quickly so it's a good idea to join our mailing list and make sure you get full details as soon as booking starts.

We are real people, and we are happy to respond personally to your e-mails. So if you have any questions, do get in touch.

Nottinghamshire Hospice Invites Local Choirs to Compete in Choir of the Year Competition

Unsung Heroes
Unsung Heroes

Nottinghamshire Hospice is looking for Choirs based in Nottingham to enter its Choir of the Year Competition, taking place on 22 June at the Albert Hall in Nottingham.

In 2012, Nottinghamshire Hospice formed its own choir, Unsung Heroes, made up of supporters, volunteers and staff. Under the guidance of a choirmaster, Unsung Heroes learned to sing and went on to perform in a concert for 250 people.

It was an amazing experience for everyone involved and raised much-needed funds for the Hospice. Following the success of that event, Nottinghamshire Hospice is now inviting local choirs to join Unsung Heroes to compete in its Choir of the Year Competition. Each choir must have a minimum of 15 members and maximum of 30, its own choirmaster and pianist, and sing three songs in the competition, one of which must be from a musical and one of which must contain a solo performance. Each choir must commit to raise £2,000 for Nottinghamshire Hospice, either through sponsorship or ticket sales to the event.

Holly Swinckels, Fundraising Development Manager at Nottinghamshire Hospice, says: “We are very excited about the competition. Every year, we must raise £2 million to continue to support local families affected by terminal or life-limiting illness and I believe that local choirs and singing groups will really want to support us in what promises to be an entertaining and uplifting event”.

For an application form or more information, please telephone the Nottinghamshire Hospice Fundraising team on 0115 910 1008 option 3, or visit

Paul Smy - Tenor

Paul Smy

PAUL SMY began his musical career at King's College Cambridge under Philip Ledger and Stephen Cleobury touring Europe, Australia, Hong Kong and Japan. While at King's, Paul was a soloist in recordings of Faure's Messe Basse, Handel's Coronation Anthems and Tudor Church Music with Michael Chance, Charles Daniels and Gerald Finley.

Paul is based in the UK and gives regular performances both in the UK and abroad. His most recent performances include a live recorded performance of Mozart's Requiem with Stephen Cleobury and the Choir of King's College Cambridge, a recording of Britten's St. Nicolas for Xavier Stouff in Paris, Handel's Coronation Anthems with Neil Jenkins and the Sussex Chorus, Dyson's Quo Vadis for Paul Spicer, Beethoven's Choral Symphony for Brian Kay, Britten's St. Nicolas for Mark Deller, Bach's St. Matthew Passion for Leslie Olive, Finzi's Intimations of Immortality for Marc Desmon and Schumann's Faust for Stephen Cleobury.

Paul's 2014/15 season includes performing the evangelist in Bach's St. Matthew & St. John Passions, Bach's B Minor Mass and Christmas Oratorio, Handels Messiah, Saul and Jephtha, Britten's Spring Symphony, War Requiem and St. Nicolas, Mendelssohn's Elijah and The First Walpurgis Night, Haydn's Nelson Mass, Creation and Stabat Mater, Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, Beethoven's Mass in C, Chilcott's Requiem, Rossini's Petite Messe Solonnelle, Saint Seans' Requiem, Finzi's Dies Natalis and Mozart's Requiem, C Minor and Coronation Masses.

Paul can be contacted on 07780 680989 or, you can also take a look on the website.

Rayburn Tours, proud to be a ‘Friend of Choir of the Year’ in 2014!

Rayburn Tours
Rayburn Tours
Rayburn Tours

Rayburn Tours is pleased to announce that they are a ‘Friend of Choir of the Year’ in 2014 as the competition celebrates its 30th anniversary.

To celebrate this announcement, they are giving away 10 pairs of tickets to the regional audition of your choice, plus, for one lucky winner, a grand prize of two tickets to the Category Final in London on the 19th October! That’s 22 tickets up for grabs so enter via their website today.

"We are extremely proud to be calling ourselves a 'Friend of Choir of the Year' in 2014" says Concert Tours Operations Manager, Eleanor Harvey. "Having worked with choirs from all over the UK for almost 50 years we know how important international choir tours can be for increasing a singer's confidence and creating an unexplainable bond amongst a group; we know that a competition such as Choir of the Year offers the same great benefits."

Rayburn Tours will be in attendance at all Choir of the Year regional auditions, the Category Final in London and the Grand Final in Manchester offering practical advice and inspiration about taking your choir from the national stage to an international stage as part of a tailor-made choir tour.

To find out more about where the auditions are taking place and how you can get involved as a competing choir or spectator visit Rayburn Tours’ website.

All images © Tas Kyprianou

Cambridge Early Music FESTIVAL OF THE VOICE: celebrating The Hilliard Ensemble and their musical legacy 2 – 4 May 2014

Festival of the Voice
Festival of the Voice
Festival of the Voice

We are privileged to host The Hilliard Ensemble in their farewell, celebratory 40th year. From Renaissance polyphony to lilting minimalism, from angelic to irreverent, they have pushed the boundaries and raised the bar of vocal artistry all over the world for four decades and created their own inimitable brand.

The Hilliard Summer Schools in Cambridge ran from 1993-99. Many vocal ensembles were nurtured which went on to achieve their own fame. We are delighted to welcome the male voice ensemble Amarcord and sextet Singer Pur from Germany, which emerged from this process. They will be joined by the English group Eo Nomine, founded last year at the Roundhouse Voices Now Festival.

Don’t miss this feast of choral music with four concerts in Trinity College Chapel (outlined below), plus choral services in King's College Chapel and an illustrated talk on the artist Nicholas Hilliard at the Fitzwilliam Museum.


Friday 2 May —


programme including Pérotin, Sheryngham, Cornysh, Pärt & Moody.


Music from St Thomas' Church (Leipzig) and Amarcord libraries.

Saturday 3 May —

12 noon SINGER PUR:

Sacred vocal music from Willaert and Schütz to Bryars and Moody.


Gala concert featuring all four ensembles and culminating in a performance of Orlando Gough’s ‘Hand over Hand’ involving all 20 singers.

For full details and box office see

Choral Society Commissions First World War Centenary Music From Patrick Hawes

Sheringham and Cromer Choral  Society
Sheringham and Cromer Choral  Society

2014 is a really exciting year for Sheringham and Cromer Choral Society. With the benefit of significant grant funding from Arts Council England and others we have commissioned composer Patrick Hawes to write a major new work (for adult and children’s choir, soprano soloist and orchestra) to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. Called Eventide (In Memoriam Edith Cavell) the work celebrates the life, faith and courage of Norfolk's very own WW1 heroine Edith Cavell who was executed in Belgium in 1915 for her part in enabling hundreds of allied troops to escape occupied Europe.

We perform the World Premiere on July 12 in Norwich Cathedral with English Chamber Orchestra and Elin Manahan Thomas. Very exciting indeed! Tickets from Norwich Theatre Royal 01603 630000 or visit:

Before the premiere Patrick will be leading a Workshop for Singers and non-singers to talk about the art of composing illustrated by excerpts from the new work which those who wish will be invited to sing. This is held on Saturday 17 May at the Auden Theatre Holt, Norfolk. Early Bird Discount tickets are available at £15 until the end of March, thereafter £20. Box Office: 01263 713444 email

We also have over 100 FREE places for school students.

This will be a unique opportunity to "sit at the feet of the master" NOT TO BE MISSED!

For further information please visit

Much loved Musical Director to take his final bow

South Chiltern Choral Society
South Chiltern Choral Society

Gwyn Arch has announced that this Spring and Summer’s concerts will be his last as Musical Director of South Chiltern Choral Society. A job he has held with great distinction for 48 years.

Almost all primary school children in Reading and many in Berkshire have sung under his inspiring direction at the Primary Schools Music Festival. Almost all children in the country have sung songs he has composed or arranged.

For his services to music and to musical education Gwyn was awarded an MBE in 2006.

David Cottam, SCCS chairman said “Gwyn will be retiring from SCCS whilst still filling us all with enthusiasm and the joy of singing. We have sung some marvellous music over the years and there is more great music to come in our last two concerts with Gwyn. He has not just been an indefatigable conductor, but an innovative, challenging and inspirational leader and friend.”

The last two concerts that Gwyn will conduct with SCCS are:-

The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace (composer Karl Jenkins) Saturday April 5th at The Concert Hall, Reading as part of Reading’s WW1 centenary commemorations. Three other local choirs will join SCCS and they will be accompanied by Ascot Brass, perhaps the best traditional brass band in the South of England.

Finally on Saturday July 5th, again at The Concert Hall, SCCS will be performing the wonderful “Captain Noah and his Floating Zoo” (Michael Flanders and Joseph Horovitz) They will be joined by Gwyn’s other choir Reading Male Voice Choir and will also be singing a selection of the choir’s favourite music from their years together.

For further information please go to our website

Come and Sing Verdi's Requiem in Oxford

Come and Sing Verdi's Requiem in Oxford

Join members of the Oxford Bach Choir and conductor ADRIAN PARTINGTON to rehearse and perform Verdi’s Messa da Requiem in one day on Saturday 10 May 2014.

Adrian, a former Associate Conductor of Oxford Bach Choir, is currently director of music at Gloucester Cathedral, artistic director of the Gloucester Three Choirs Festival, director of the BBC National Chorus of Wales and conductor of the Gloucester and Bristol Choral Societies.

For further details and costs please see the Oxford Bach Choir website.

Alberon Web Development


Reading Phoenix Choir
Reading Phoenix Choir

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 - March 2014

The next gerontius newsletter will be sent in March. 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.

If you are not receiving your own copy of this newsletter and would like to in future, please visit this page. On the right hand side you can subscribe to the Gerontius Newsletter.

If you would prefer not to receive future newsletters, please reply to this message with subject "no news". You can also opt not to receive the newsletter by changing the option in your choir details screen on the site.

Best Wishes!
Tim Ault

Gerontius website