Message from Bob
Please find below the poster for the forthcoming Carol Festival on Wednesday 12 December and please do spread this far and wide across your work, social networks and any other medium you have, the more we can encourage to attend the better. Please feel free to print this poster out and display it in your work place, other people’s work place in your local library community centre etc. etc. Even if you’re not singing or attending pleased do advertise it far and wide for us.
I have sent out the running order via email for St Mary’s on Wednesday 20 December and also Ding Dong which we are singing, I did print 30 copies of Ding Dong but feel free to print your own.
Please remember the AGM is next Tuesday 27 November - please do attend, it is your choir and you have a say in how its run; we only look after it for you.
Our next rehearsal is on Saturday 1 December at Palaestra at 14:45 for a 15:00 start. I look forward to seeing you all there. Please can I ask that you have all your music in the choir folder in order for this rehearsal, if you haven’t already done so. If you are not using the printed packs please still use the folder and have your carol books inside please. This is so the choir, when viewed from the congregation, looks uniform and tidy.
News from Zena
This message has been circulated within TfL.
On Wednesday 12th December 2018, the TfL Carol Service will be taking place at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square. The evening commences at 19.00, with doors opening at 18.15.
As always the event promises to be a joyful one. The service will be led by Revd. Katherine Hedderly and starts with the church bells being run by employees of TfL and members of the Guild of Railway Ringers. During the service there will be many well-known hymns sung, and several pieces sung by London’s Transport Choir. There will also be nine bible readings, read by various individuals from across the TfL family, the first reading by Mike Brown.
Entry to this wonderful evening is via Souvenir Programme at a cost of £5, these will be available on the day from the church.
A message from Catherine
After a fantastic rehearsal last night I thought it would be a nice time to welcome our new members and to remind any expired members that they need to pay their membership subs and have sent in a membership form to be able to sing at Christmas.
Yesterday we really worked hard at the Christmas repertoire, especially the Huron and Sussex Carol and. Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending, and and experimented with tenors and basses in the front row. We were also asked to switch round after the break to sit with someone different. This helps us to listen to each other and the other parts and sing more as an ensemble! We also recorded one of our carols to send to AmyBeth who was at the time in hospital waiting for her baby to arrive. Yes, if you hadn't heard, Magnus Gordon Andrew Beel was born at 10:52 today and weighed 8lb 3oz. Congratulations to AmyBeth and Chris. Pictures to follow, of course.
For anyone who is new and has paid their subs for this year then you are in need of a branded LTC choir folder and either a scarf or a tie. If you have not been issued with these then please let Catherine know before next Tuesday lunchtime 20 November, and she will bring some to next Tuesday’s rehearsal.
Membership forms can be found here https://www.londonstransportchoir.org/choir-resources.html
Our next rehearsal is on Saturday 17th November at Palestra, which is opposite Southwark underground station. We rehearse in room 1 on the ground floor. Rehearsal starts sharply at 1500 so please aim to arrive no later than 1445 and don’t forget your Christmas booklet as there will NOT be any available at Palestra. That said if you are coming to Palestra on Saturday but have not yet been issued a booklet please let Catherine know asap and I will make sure I collect a copy for you from our library
One last reminder is that the Annual General meeting of the choir is on Tuesday 27 November at 55 Broadway. Everyone is welcome to attend and you are encouraged come. This is where the chair, treasurer and the membership secretary will be giving their reports of the past year. In addition we will be discussing other matters and electing new committee members for the following year.
More about Christmas carols
Last Tuesday Merel took us through all the Choir-only carols, after a spirited warm up with While Shepherds Watched. We only got half way through Tomorrow Shall be My Dancing Day. There was a good turn out with, I think, 6S, 5A, 6T and 3B. Our next rehearsal is on Tuesday 13 November 1745 for 1800-2000 at the District meeting room, Room 727, 7th floor, 55 Broadway and then there's Saturday 17 November 1445 for 1500-1700 at Conference Room 1, Ground floor, Palestra, Southwark.
OUP republished have republished a blog about the collections of carols we sing from. Here is an extract. The full article is at https://blog.oup.com/2017/12/carols-choirs-history/ .
The story of Carols for Choirs begins in 1958; the year in which Sir David Willcocks directed his first carol service with the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge. Unimpressed by the ‘dull’ requirement for unison singing throughout popular Christmas Hymns such as ‘O come, all ye faithful’ and ‘Hark! the herald-angels sing’, Willcocks elected to write some descants to supplement these hymns, which were to be included as part of the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols broadcast that same year. Following a fantastic public reception and much to the surprise of Willcocks, who had never had any of his music published before, the young director of music was approached by music editors to publish these new arrangements.
The success of Willcocks’ published descants later piqued the interest of editor Christopher Morris, who then asked him to arrange a further 50 carols to be published as a new anthology. It appears that Willcocks was rather startled by this figure, as his immediate response was that 50 would not be possible in conjunction with the heavy demands that came with being the director of music at King’s. He instead asked to arrange 25 of the carols himself and for a second person to be selected to take the other 25.
The individual selected was Reginald Jacques, the then director of the Bach Choir. Together the two aimed to create the world’s first choral collection containing an excellent selection of popular and enduring carols, which could be used in a concert setting as an alternative to mass photocopies of sheet music. It was for this reason that the anthology was initially to be called Carols for Concerts – a title that was, eventually, revised and replaced by the one that we know and love today.
Sir David Willcocks. Used with permission.Willcocks and Jacques had very clear ideas about the repertoire that was to be included in their anthology. For example, although Holst’s ‘Lullay my liking’ and a new carol from Britten were originally intended to be included, both pieces were later reconsidered and subsequently axed. Perhaps most importantly, Willcocks and Jacques decided not to segregate Christmas hymns from Christmas carols, and instead included both. An interesting consequence of this decision was that Holst’s In the bleak mid-winter, a piece which was traditionally labelled a hymn, began to be considered a de-facto Christmas carol.
Carols for Choirs 1 was wildly successful. Willcocks believed this to be because ‘people liked having one volume of carols, which was basically not too difficult, and didn’t involve a lot of divisi work.’ A few years later, drawing on this success a second anthology was published, which was to be titled Carols for Choirs 2. This led to the first editorial collaboration between David Willcocks and John Rutter.
Willcocks had met Rutter whilst the latter was studying for his degree at Cambridge. When it was suggested that a second anthology be published following Reginald Jacques’s death in 1969, Willcocks proposed that Rutter took Jacques’s place as general editor. Rutter’s involvement introduced, among many other settings, his version of the ‘Twelve days of Christmas’ to the now definitive anthology. Rutter and Willcocks went on to collaborate on the editing of Carols for Choirs from books 2-4, greatly expanding the carol repertory, and also introducing a collection of carols in book 4 for women’s or men’s only choirs.
The final collection on which the duo were to work on was 100 Carols for Choirs. This book not only contained over 70 of the most popular carols from the first three books, but also carols that had been planned to form a part of the earlier anthologies but were not able to be included due to copyright clearance issues (Elizabeth Poston’s ‘Jesus Christ the Apple Tree’ was one such piece).
Well another good rehearsal with Merel and the choir; we worked hard on Tomorrow shall be my dancing day. Merel concentrated on the rhythm of the piece and getting us used to the words being not always on the beat. I must say after a while we really seemed to have started to make a reasonable sound in this piece, still work to go but sounding good. We also spent time on the Crown of Roses where again Merel took us through the rhythm of the piece and also getting us to be quieter than we think we should be in the quiet parts which really helps us to get the louder parts and so gives a much greater contrast in the music. In St Martins we don’t have to sing out forcefully to make an impression - sometimes it’s good to make the congregation have to listen. Merel did mention a few times that our diction needs to be clearer and more precise, this will help with telling the story in the carols.
For those of you in TfL, please do remember to get the books from the library, even though I have made you up a pack; this helps the library justify having the copies and also means should we go elsewhere to sing we have a wider choice.
Just a brief update on the St Martin's carol service: there is a small group of people working hard behind the scenes organising the service, gathering readers, stewards, looking at risk assessments etc. I am pleased to say that everything seems to be on track and looking in fine shape. And Michael tells me that Porterbrook have already passed on the sponsorship money they've collected from national rail organisations for the Railstaff service.
My apologies I shan’t be at the next rehearsal as I am at the dentist, I’m sure you know where I’d rather be. Sing well and clearly and I’ll see you all at the rehearsal after next.