gerontius newsletter - March 2014

Dear choral music lover,

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

We have a packed newsletter this month, which has a special focus on music summer schools. Summer schools have something to offer everyone – whether you want to improve your skills and gain recognised certifications, or simply enjoy a musical holiday with like-minded people in a beautiful place. There are courses all over the UK and internationally which offer wonderful experiences, and we’re happy to feature some of them below. You can also visit the Summer Schools and Summer Courses website:

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:

A reminder to choirs who use Gerontius “Choirs for Hire” to advertise for wedding bookings: renewals are now due, and your invoice will be arriving shortly. It costs just £50 a year to feature your choir, and anyone searching for “choirs for hire” or “wedding choirs” will normally find the Gerontius website on the first page of the search results.

Do get in touch if you have an anniversary or anything significant or out of the ordinary happening in 2014 which you would like us to mention. We are always happy to include interesting news from our member choirs. Our next newsletter will be sent in May.

Newsletter contents
1. Lacock - Early Music Courses for Choral singers
2. Helicon Arts - Two singing courses in sunny Andalucía
3. Harrogate Festival Choral Course – Ampleforth College and Abbey
4. The English Choral Experience – Two choral courses in Herefordshire
5. Cambridge Early Music – Festival of the Voice
6. Aims International Music School – Eastbourne College
7. The National Chorus Opera Experience with the New London Opera Players (Arena travel)
8. ABCD - Annual Convention
9. Making Music - launch of individual membership scheme
10. Aliquando Choir – Concert in support of the Jacaranda Trust
11. Music Summer Schools 2014
12. Alberon Web Development
13. Gerontius Site Sponsors
14. Next gerontius newsletter - May 2014



The Lacock organisation runs week-long early music courses for choral singers led by some of the best conductors in the field. We gather together a balanced group of voices and work hard on the music during the day, relax together over supper in the evening and give a concert at the end of the week. Here are some of our courses in 2014. The full details are on our web site

April – Lisbon: Portuguese renaissance music for Holy Week with Carlos Aransay (course now full).

May – Venice: Victoria, Palestrina and Byrd in a church on the Grand Canal with Patrick Craig of the Tallis Scholars (course full in some voices).

June – Monteconero, Italy: a workshop on vocal technique with Ghislaine Morgan and a week of Monteverdi madrigals with Jeffrey Skidmore of Ex Cathedra in a mountaintop former monastery on the Adriatic (pictured).

July – Corsham, Wiltshire: Tallis, Byrd, Monteverdi and Bach in a small Cotswold town with JanJoost van Elburg.

August – Trogir, Croatia: Phillips and Deering in an old Venetian port on the Dalmatian coast with Justin Doyle.

September – Jimena de la Frontera, Spain: Guerrero, Victoria and Lobo in an Andalusian pueblo blanco with Eamonn Dougan of The Sixteen (pictured).

You will find more information about all these courses and conductors on the Lacock web site To join our emailing list to receive alerts when new courses are announced, email us at

Helicon Arts - Two singing courses in sunny Andalucía

Helicon Arts
Helicon Arts
Helicon Arts

This summer, Helicon Arts will have exclusive use of Cortijo Barranco, a beautiful olive estate in the Andalucían hills. The perfect location for an inspiring week of choral singing, the Cortijo has excellent facilities including a swimming pool. Delicious local Andalucían food and wine will be served throughout.

Sacred Choral Course with Ivor Setterfield

23 - 30 August 2014

Directed by Ivor Setterfield, the repertoire for this course will be a selection of sacred music from ancient to modern, and will lead up to a performance in the delightful town of Arcos de la Frontera.

Excursions will include a day out in Seville, a trip to the white villages of Grazalema and Vejer de la Frontera, a tasting at a traditional sherry bodega in Jerez or a visit to the Royal Andalucían School of Equestrian Art.

Secular Choral Course with Mary King

30 August - 6 September 2014

Led by renowned vocal performer, coach, writer and broadcaster Mary King, the music for this course will cover a range of classical, jazz, musical theatre, popular and folk music written or arranged for mixed voice choir, and will culminate in a public concert.

Highlights of the week will include a tasting at a traditional sherry bodega in Jerez or a visit to the Royal Andalucían School of Equestrian Art, a day out in Seville, a trip to the spectacular town of Ronda, and a flamenco workshop.

Both courses are fully inclusive of accommodation, meals, airport transfers, course costs, all excursions and activities.

Full details at

Telephone: 03333 444564


Harrogate Festival Choral Course

Harrogate Festival Choral Course
Harrogate Festival Choral Course
Harrogate Festival Choral Course

The Harrogate Festival Choral Course has been held in North Yorkshire since 2008 and, two years ago, it moved to Ryedale. This popular and successful course brings singers together from across the country and introduces many to this beautiful part of the world for the first time.

Lynn Hudson and Thom Meredith, Choral Directors, are delighted to offer a further five day choral course in August 2014 (19th – 24th) at Ampleforth College which is located on the edge of the beautiful North York Moors National Park, four miles from Helmsley and twelve from Thirsk. The participants will form the Harrogate Festival Chorus to perform, with orchestra, Andrew Carter's Musick's Jubilee and Gounod's Messe solennelle de Sainte Cécile in the Abbey Church of Ampleforth Abbey on Saturday August 23rd.

The course provides a full range of choral and performing opportunities, including rehearsals (both as a full SATB choir and in chamber groups) and vocal master classes, as well as two main concerts.

A range of social events includes the 'Think and Drink' quiz evening, a guided walk, the highly entertaining 'Ample Talent' and 'Mad Dogs and Englishmen' - a concert in Ampleforth College's own hostelry, The Windmill. There is also plenty of time to make new friends, relax in the beautiful surroundings of the Abbey or enjoy the facilities of the onsite St. Alban's Sport Centre. All the accommodation provided is ensuite.

Full details of the course are available on the website

The English Choral Experience – Two choral courses in Herefordshire

The English Choral Experience
The English Choral Experience

These courses, which offer a unique opportunity for lovers of singing and English music, are set in a glorious location and are directed by the renowned leading choral director Paul Spicer.

The Camerata Course, 31 May – 1 June 2014, is aimed at a chamber choir of expert, ambitious and high achieving singers in the beautiful setting of 12th century Dore Abbey in Herefordshire’s Golden Valley. The wide-ranging repertoire will include works by MacMillan, Hewitt Jones, Rachmaninov, Dyson, Stanford, Mudd and Byrd.

The ECE Week Course 20-26 July 2014 also takes place in Dore Abbey and is inclusive of fine dining, evening events and an arts exhibition. The course, now in its 8th year, is aimed at experienced singers and will celebrate the 50th anniversary of George Dyson’s death with Nebuchadnezzar as the centre-piece of the course. There is some time each afternoon, between rehearsals, to relax and enjoy the countryside and history of this tranquil and beautiful area.

The Consort is a chamber choir of volunteers from the course who sing the beautiful service of Compline twice in the Abbey during the week and also at the Sunday morning Eucharist at the end of the week.

From the Director: "Come and join us. Great music, great location, great company, wonderful add-ons like the beautiful art exhibition and evening events, great food (wine included!) Simply the best choral courses on the market!"

For full details please visit our

Cambridge Early Music - Festival of the Voice

Cambridge Early Music
Cambridge Early Music

Cambridge Early Music presents outstanding concerts of baroque, renaissance and medieval music in gorgeous Cambridge chapels, churches and theatres. We have 23 concerts in 2014 including performances by The Hilliard Ensemble, The Parley of Instruments, Jakob Lindberg, Fretwork, La Serenissima, Philomel, Elin Manahan Thomas, David Miller, Repicco, Lynda Sayce, Emma Murphy, Stile Antico.

Our Festival of the Voice (2-4 May) honours The Hilliard Ensemble in their farewell, celebratory fortieth year. The Festival includes two concerts with the Hilliards, and concerts by groups nurtured by them at CEM’s Summer Schools: amarcord and Singer Pur. The Hilliards will also give their last-ever performance of Officium with Jan Garbarek for us, on 6 December 2014, in King’s College Chapel.

The heart of CEM’s work is the two week-long summer schools which it has run since 1993. These intensively rewarding courses offer participants the chance to study a wide range of repertoire for voices and instruments, separately and together, with specialist tuition and in a supportive and friendly ambience. Each day offers technique workshops, plenary sessions for large-scale works, and chamber music sessions exploring unusual repertoire in various combinations, selected and coached by the tutors. Historically-informed technique and style are central to the teaching, whose emphasis is on ensemble rather than solo performance. Group sizes are small and attention is paid to the individual needs of participants, so that everyone is challenged but not overstretched. Our Baroque week (3-10 August) and Renaissance week (10-16 August) are coached respectively by The Parley of Instruments and Philip Thorby and friends.

For further information please visit our website:

AIMS International Music School

Aim International Music School
Aim International Music School

AIMS International Music School is a week-long residential course for solo and choral singers and piano accompanists, from 17th-24th August, in the lovely surroundings of Eastbourne College. Our choral highlight is a performance of the Rachmaninov Vespers, conducted by Stephen Cleobury CBE. He will also be taking a group through some Spirituals for SATB, by the likes of HT Burleigh and Tippett. As well as those, we have five other choral ensembles, including one for SSAA female singers. Aside from choral repertoire, there are plenty of opportunities in other genres, including opera chorus scenes, music theatre, parlour music and cabaret. There really is something for everyone. The week is packed with recitals, concerts and social events, as well as drop-in classes in sightsinging, choral vocal technique and stagecraft.

More details can be found on our new website,, or by contacting our Administrator, Antonia Hyatt ( / 07985 191915).

The National Chorus Opera Experience - Coaching, singing and performing with the New London Opera Players (Arena Travel)

Arena Travel
Arena Travel

The New London Opera Players and Arena Travel launch a new venture, The National Chorus of Great Britain, with a fully-staged presentation of Bizet’s popular opera, Carmen, led by an impressive cast of internationally-renowned soloists. Sung in English and accompanied by The Parry Enseamble.

Spend a week with top-class opera professionals, developing your singing and acting skills, then perform before an audience as the chorus of Villagers and Smugglers in the New London Opera Players production of Bizet’s Carmen at the Colyer-Fergusson Concert Hall, Canterbury.

You'll be guided by NLOP’s team of expert tutors, culminating in two public performances on the Saturday. Accommodation will be on the University Campus with breakfast and dinner included. The rehearsal rooms are adjacent to the Colyer-Fergusson Concert Hall which is a short stroll from the accommodation.

The production will be prepared over two weeks at the beginning of September, with the four principal soloists rehearsing in week one to be joined in week two by the rest of the cast and chorus in Canterbury for The National Chorus Opera Experience, organised by Arena Travel.

A cast of international soloists, led by director and lead tenor Robin Pietà and musical director Andrew Charity will premiere this fully-staged and costumed performance at the Colyer-Fergusson Concert Hall, University of Kent, Canterbury, on Saturday 13 September 2013. Sung in English using the popular Cramer edition, with an orchestral ensemble of six.

To find out how you can get involved in this once in a lifetime opportunity visit the Arena Travel website or call 01473 660 800.

ABCD Annual Convention

ABCD Annual Convention
ABCD Annual Convention

abcd 29th Annual Convention, 22-24 August 2014

The Association of British Choral Directors’ Annual Convention takes place this year in Cardiff, at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, where the Gala Concert will also be held. Located in the city centre near Cardiff Castle, the college is within easy walking distance of campus and hotel accommodation.

Amongst the guest choirs will be the Kyoto Echo Choir from Japan, a prize-winning professional choir travelling over especially for the Convention. The weekend will also feature the winner of Côr Cymru (Choir of Wales) 2013 Côr y Wiber, a young and vibrant choir from West Wales, the London Welsh Male Voice Choir and Cardiff Polyphonic Choir.

Amongst the wide range of topics being covered, an expanded number of repertoire sessions will cover a wide range of music and several composers will be on hand to talk about their work. Masterclasses will offer hands-on advice and there will be conducting sessions for those less-experienced or wanting a quick refresher. There are sessions on community choirs, working with young singers, and new ideas from here and abroad on getting the best from your singers, whatever their age.

Guest presenters include Peter Hanke (Denmark), Sofi Jeannin (France), Paul Brough, Jeff Howard, Paul Mealor, Adrian Partington, Paul Spicer, Katie Thomas and Will Todd.

Booking opens soon; for full details, see the abcd website,

Making Music launches individual membership

Making Music

Making Music is delighted to be launching a brand new membership scheme for individual music makers. While we currently represent more than 3,000 member groups – ranging from symphony orchestras to samba bands – we are now opening up our doors to individuals so that we can truly support everyone that makes, performs or promotes music on a voluntary basis.

Individual members will be part of our vibrant community of amateur musicians. Membership will also give access to an exceptional new musical instrument insurance cover, underwritten by Royal Sun Alliance – keep an eye out for details of this on our website.

Other benefits include a subscription to our membership magazine, Highnotes, containing practical advice for all amateur musicians, as well as discounted member rates for all Making Music events, including our national conferences, training courses, and information and advice sessions.

We’ll be announcing further details soon at

Aliquando Choir – Concert in support of the Jacaranda Trust

Aliquando Choir
Henry Olonga
Aliquando Choir
Anita D'Attellis - Photo by John Downing

Aliquando Choir Concert 17 May at 7.30 in Christ Church Centre Henley-on-Thames, RG9 1AG. Tickets £15 - U15 £5

The concert is in aid of the Jacaranda Trust and will feature concert pianist Anita D’Attelis, Soprano Anne Fairbrother and Tenor Henry Olonga, the ex-international Zimbabwean Cricketer who achieved international recognition (along with team mate Andy Flower) in 2003 by wearing a black armband in a Cricket World Cup match to protest against the policies of Zimbabwe's government. The concert includes music from Les Miserables, Elgar’s ‘Sea Pictures’, Eric Whitacre’s ‘Sleep’ and ‘Seal Lullaby’ and Morten Lauridsen’s ‘Sure on this Shining Night’ and ‘Dirait-on’. Also songs from ‘ZIMBE Come Sing the Songs of Africa’ which will be particularly uplifting and joyous - a concert with music for everyone!

The Jacaranda Trust supports several carefully selected charities in Zimbabwe, RESCU, the focus of this fundraising concert, is a workshop and hostel set up to train disabled men to manufacture wheelchairs etc. However, the rapid decline in the Zimbabwean economy forced the workshop to close, but now with the introduction into Africa of the Jaipur Limb by Rotary Zimbabwe, the workshop will open again and train individuals in the assembly of the prosthetic limbs.

Anita is versatile and vastly experienced concert pianist and accompanist. She will perform Shostakovich Piano Concerto No. 2 at Dorchester Abbey with the Elgar Orchestra on Saturday 29 March.

For further information please visit:

Music Summer Schools 2014

Summer Schools

Are you looking for the perfect music summer school?

The Summer Schools Directory is the UK’s leading online directory listing a huge range of UK and international music summer schools, including:

  • Instrumental and orchestral courses
  • Conducting and composition courses
  • Choral and solo singing courses
  • Different age groups and abilities
  • Residential and non-residential courses

Music summer schools really do offer something for everyone, and the locations are often beautiful and inspiring as well. Experience the opportunity to develop your musical skills and gain recognised certifications whilst connecting with like-minded people and making lasting friendships along the way.

Our summer schools directory allows you to search for exactly the sort of music experience you’re looking for, as well as the right location, age range and type of accommodation. Or if you’re not sure, just browse! So whether you are looking for yourself, a group of friends, or family members, you should find the perfect course. The Summer Schools Directory also lists summer schools and camps in a wide variety of other subjects and areas, including sports, theatre, and English language learning. So why not get searching?

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 - May 2014

The next gerontius newsletter will be sent in May. 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