Covid and choirs – learning to cope

Covid and choirs – learning to cope

The news was full of heartbreaking images of overrun hospitals and desperate medics in Italy. As Trustees, we suddenly had an awesome responsibility for the safety of our singers. We talked for several days about what we should do in order to manage the risk for our more vulnerable members. It was March 2020 and the decisions we had to make seemed existential to the life of our Chorus. We followed the government guidance and put in measures to protect singers during rehearsals. Some members had already decided that the risk was too great for them and the number not coming to rehearsals increased. In the end there was no alternative to suspending activities when the venue for our next ... Read More

Sits and Stands

Sits and Stands

We were meant to remain on our feet during the tenor aria and wait for the next chorus. We stood quietly and dutifully held our folders at the right angle - a picture of choral professionalism. Our musical director was dealing with a lot of stuff - the orchestra, choir, soloists, tricky acoustics and the score. Maybe there was a sit we had failed to record or maybe he just thought we were looking a bit tired. Anyway, he gave a clear downward wave. There was a split-second of indecision before we all obeyed. The aria was beautiful but short and there was a growing sense of tension among the singers. This was clear from the tightening of shoulders and ... Read More

One Giant Leap – James McCarthy perspective

One Giant Leap – James McCarthy perspective

Inspiration and the desire to strive for a seemingly impossible goal can come from the most unexpected of places. Could anyone imagine today a President of the United States, or the leader of any country at all for that matter, unifying a nation behind a rallying cry for the spirit of adventure? John F Kennedy did just that in a speech in Houston, Texas, in September of 1962: ’Why, some say, the Moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may as well ask, why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? We choose to go to the Moon!’ We CHOOSE to go to the Moon. It can sometimes feel to us today that we are living ... Read More

Forty Years On – David Temple MBE

Forty Years On – David Temple MBE

David Temple MBE has been Musical Director for Crouch End Festival Chorus since 1984 and for Hertfordshire Chorus since 2000. But his musical life started long before that. 'My conducting adventure all began 40 years ago on July 1st 1978. I had been with the London Philharmonic Choir for 5 years and wanted to have a go at waving the baton.' David was a teacher at Goldbeaters Primary School and had identified a need for investment in musical instruments. He decided to put on a concert to raise money towards this cause. He chose the date, booked a slot at St Alphage's Church in Burnt Oak and set about finding performers. 'I had already used my long-suffering school pupils as ... Read More

History of a new commission – Michael Hurd The Phoenix and the Turtle

History of a new commission – Michael Hurd The Phoenix and the Turtle

The Canterbury Singers performed Michael Hurd's Music's Praise for their annual concert in the Chapter House in Canterbury Cathedral in 1973. Chris Godfrey is a bass who has been singing in the choir for 50 years. When the Musical Director, Anthony Stutchbury, chose the piece for a concert, Chris wrote to the composer to ask him if he would like to attend. As Michael Hurd lived in Liss, a two hour drive from Canterbury, Chris's wife, Janet, offered to provide him with a meal and a bed for the night. On the day of the performance a green MG sports car drew up and a youngish chap dressed in smart casuals, got out. Chris was surprised. 'I wasn't sure what a ... Read More

A Choir Unwrapped – From the Tenor section

A Choir Unwrapped – From the Tenor section

Good choral tenors are worth their weight in gold. They are a rare breed and often sing with several choirs who need their talents. Hertfordshire Chorus has been lucky enough to attract some of the best amateur tenors available, both male and female. They come to us for a number of reasons - quality of the singing, variety of concert programmes, great venues and a regular rehearsal schedule. Hertfordshire Chorus sings a very wide range of music in a great selection of venues. In the last five years the Chorus has performed at the Sage in Gateshead, The Royal Albert Hall, King's Place, St John's Smith Square and The Barbican. We are regulars at St Alban's Cathedral. Tenors are an ... Read More

A Choir Unwrapped – From the Bass Section

A Choir Unwrapped – From the Bass Section

To sing bass with a top ranking choir requires a good voice, a loyal heart and a sense of humour. The Hertfordshire Chorus bass section has a deep, rich sound and an enthusiasm for the wide-ranging and challenging repertoire the choir is called on to perform. Team work is paramount and this section sticks together even when the going is tough. Basses In the Royal Albert Hall David Temple MBE, the Chorus’s musical director, has a keen ear and a passion for excellence. This inspires all voice sections to ensure they are constantly improving. There are no passengers here. Rehearsals are fun but no easy ride. David is meticulous and demands the best from all. At the beginning of the evening, ... Read More

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