Views from the Rear

It is perhaps hard to realise the immense strain that the second basses are under constantly during rehearsals and in concerts.

We can hear the elegantly voiced tunes from the sopranos; the frighteningly accurate and harmonic pulse of the altos; the stratospherically cultured pitch of the tenors; the Italian ice-cream inspired baritone of the first basses; and then us.

We smile confidently when we have to sing a pedal note especially if it is 90 bars long as it gives us time to get to the same note together over the first 45 bars. It means we do not have to worry about our breathing (the small apostrophes above the relevant bar written with one of our seven pencils – each). We can now confidently look at Peter for a disturbingly long period disrupted only by the sudden realisation that the pedal note should have stopped 20 bars previously.

We have learnt to lean slightly right as the altos often have our note but become distracted by the haircuts of the first basses and tenors and their remarkably co-ordinated ear movements (especially the unshaven ones).

Yet we are not without mischief. We are the ones that boo quietly when the tenors win the raffle. We are the ones who fling the back door open to cool our strained voice boxes only to be thwarted by those of a more temperate nature and disposition. We are the ones who pretend to swap places at half time. We are the ones who scan our musical copies to see if the double basses and cellos can give us our notes on a regular basis. We are the ones who cease singing during the warm-up when notes drift past the ceiling-limited sanctuary of middle C.

And yet we feel we belong. ‘Gravitas’ is our watchword and we are the foundation on which all other voices descend although in the words of other authors and not I………

‘Never invite a second bass to look after your dog when you are on holiday. They will either fail to find the key or come in far too early or far too late.’

Just saying…………………………….


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Live Piano Streams

Susannah has suggested the following (clicking either link at 2pm on Saturday should take you to the live stream)

2pm UK time Saturday 28 March

Deutsche Grammophon marks #WorldPianoDay. In the label’s tradition of recording the world’s greatest pianists, we present live performances from living rooms around the world. Confirmation coming in from Víkingur ÓlafssonMaria João PiresJan LisieckiKit Armstrong and many more…Stay tuned! #StayatHome

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Update 24th March

As per our members’ mail, we’re pleased to announce Rossini is now only postponed! Plans are to have the concert on Saturday October 17th 2020 – situation permitting. In the meantime – here’s a non-musical challenge to while away some time today (courtesy of Innocent Smoothie social media) …

Arrange your herbs and spices in order of how full they are.

PS Just hang on to your Rossini scores (and keep gently practising!)

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Coronavirus Update 16th March 2020

Unfortunately, based on current advice, it has been decided to cancel the Rossini concert in April and suspend rehearsals until further notice. Choir members will be notified by email when the situation changes. Updates on how you can ask for help from the choir will be posted here shortly.

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COVID-19 Update 11th March

The latest developments in the spread of the new Coronavirus and contradictory advice have understandably increased people’s levels of concern over whether rehearsals should be continuing at this time. The government advice does not state that cancelling is necessary yet, so we will go ahead with rehearsals as before. Making Music’s current advice is along similar lines. Please follow their points and wash your hands for 20 seconds before rehearsal and if you need to sneeze or cough, do it into a tissue, bin it then wash your hands. If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your flexed elbow. Making Music also suggest no handshakes or kissing although the government does not yet advise against handshakes – witness the contradictory advice!

We understand that individuals may increasingly decide to no longer attend and we fully respect these decisions. 

As before we also ask that anyone feeling unwell, with a high temperature, respiratory problems or flu-like symptoms not to attend, until you are better. Please also do not attend if you have recently returned from a high-risk area.

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Notice re: Coronavirus

Dear Singers,

In light of the recent developments re: Coronavirus we would like to encourage singers to continue to come to rehearsals (if feeling well) but for us all to take sensible precautions to protect ourselves and each other by following the current government guidance. This includes the oft repeated advice around frequent and thorough handwashing and ensuring that when coughing or sneezing you cover your nose with a flexed elbow or a tissue.

If you do feel unwell or are experiencing a high temperature, respiratory problems or flu like symptoms please do not attend rehearsals until you feel better.

The committee will be keeping the situation under review and will issue a further statement if the situation changes.

Thanks to all and safe singing!

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Carols & Christmas Programme

Following up from the rehearsal pointers provided by Susannah, please note that we will perform all of the “On Christmas Night” by Bob Chilcott. Full running order (with where you will find the music) as follows:-

Ring the BellsBooklet
The Holly and the Ivy (folk)Booklet
Joy to the WorldCfC p242
The Holly and the Ivy (Chris Brown)Separate Score
The Boar’s Head CarolBooklet
When the Sun’s RebornBooklet
Bleak Midwinter (popular version)Booklet
Ding Dong Merrily on HighLearnt by rote
Jingle BellsCfC p73
The Holly and the IvyLearnt by rote
On Christmas Night (all of it)Scores
O Little Town of BethlehemCfC p234
Joy to the World (popular version)Booklet
O Come All Ye Faithful (vv 1, 2 &4 with descant)CfC p226
We Wish You A Merry ChristmasCfC p164 or unison

There will also be some harp and flute solos and some readings.

Carols in Chastleton will be on Saturday 7th December starting at around 10:30am.

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Change of Rehearsal Venue 6th November!

Dear all,

With apologies that this is such short notice, but we were contacted by Chipping Norton School this morning, as all their caretaking staff have called in sick. The school will therefore be closed from 5pm and we will not be able to rehearse there tonight.

Rather than cancel, we have arranged to have the use of the hall at St Mary’s Primary School. This is not far from our usual venue, but parking there is limited. I suggest that if you are up to the walk then parking at Chippy school is probably the best plan. There’s a bit of a hill down to the school but the total distance is probably not much more than walking from the car park to our normal music room venue! Google reckons 0.2 miles and 4 minutes for the trip.

The map below shows the route from Chippy school over the Pelican crossing, a very short distance along Walterbush Road, then turn right down The Green where the primary school is about half-way down on your left.

We hope to see as many of you as possible there tonight to start our Christmas music.

Continue Reading Change of Rehearsal Venue 6th November!

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