Thursday, 24 December 2015

Sing, choirs of angels...

So we may not have been angelic on Saturday, but the concert went very well. I managed to get through my reading without staring down at my words, or rushing too badly (both things I have a tendency to do) and the other readings were either amusing or thought-provoking.

Musically, things went well - I started off singing the wrong verses to a couple of the congregational carols a couple of times, but thankfully the Sopranos on either side of me were loud enough to drown me out!

We've now got a few weeks holiday to relax and recoup before rehearsals start in earnest for the St Luke, which feels like its going to be a challenge! (a good one though)

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, 13 December 2015

mea culpa, mea maxima culpa

It seems like just a couple of weeks since Messiah, yet it's now only a fortnight until Christmas and I haven't written an update for weeks.

I'm very pleased to say that the Messiah was a great concert. We had the audience numbers we hoped for, and all the soloists, Martha, Rachel, David and Donald were brilliant. It goes without saying that Alex Woodrow was fantastic, once again getting round more notes than you'd think was possible. Several audience members reported how much they had enjoyed hearing the music again (and in some cases for the first time).

Choirs are always in demand at Christmas, and the Chorale has already done 2 lots of carol singing. Last weekend we leant our support to Marie Curie, singing outside ACW Garden Centre. Thankfully the rain held off and though cold, we had a good sing. On Wednesday, we also entertained the members of staff attending the Morrisons Christmas dinner. It was hard work, singing for such a long period of time, but many members of staff thanked us, or gave us a wave as they left, so I think it was appreciated. We're also off to Haworth this afternoon to take part in the Torchlight Parade - I'm just hoping the weather's better than yesterday!

We're now only a week away from the Christmas concert, all the details are below. I've had to miss a couple of rehearsals due to work commitments, so I'm feeling a little behind on the less well known pieces - I've also got a reading to master for the concert, so I've plenty to be practicing!

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Tonight, Tonight

I  had a bit of a mishap on Tuesday in our rehearsal in the Cathedral - I kept turning over 2 pages at once, completely throwing me off kilter. I can't bear the idea of folding down pages in books, so I spend some time last night going through my score and paperclipping all the solo pieces, so that if it happens during the concert, I only have a couple of pages to flip through at a time. Fingers crossed!

Tickets for tonight will be available on the door - Bradford Cathedral, doors open at 6:30. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Slipping through my fingers...

Time seems to be running away from me at the moment - I realised this weekend that there's just over two weeks (and two Tuesday rehearsals) left till the concert! Rehearsals are going well, and I'm really looking forward to getting into the cathedral to hear the score on the organ.
Tickets are available, details can be found on the poster below:

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Hello, Is it me you're looking for?

It was great to welcome a few new faces to rehearsal on Tuesday, hopefully they like us (and our music) enough to keep coming back!

We started looking at the Bach St Luke Passion, and once again, the problem of languages showed up. Languages, along with IT, are not a strong suit for me, but I just don't get why singing in German (and French, because we've done that too) is so much harder than singing in Latin. I've studied both French and German, yet somehow, Latin 'fits' in my brain much better than the others. I got so fixated on trying to get the words right at one point, that I ended up singing a third above the rest of the sopranos!

One saving grace is that all the ends of the lines rhyme, which does help a bit. But I think it's going to take a lot more practise before I can start humming these ones!

Monday, 5 October 2015

Do you want to be in our gang?

Tomorrow night is the open rehearsal for any singers out there who want to come and see what we're about, and what kind of stuff we do. Details below:

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Getting back in the groove....

It's been so nice to get back to choir on Tuesdays. The majority of choir members are very familiar with the Messiah, having sung it a number of times in various choirs over the years, so for the first couple of rehearsals, we've been sounding pretty good. Even though I've sung Messiah before myself, I'm still having moments of looking at the page and thinking 'No, no idea how this goes' and trying to sing on sight (always a worry for me).

We've also got an open rehearsal coming up on the 6th October for our big Spring Concert of Bach's St Luke Passion. I understand (being something of a classical music numpty) that the St Luke isn't performed as often as some of Bach's other choral works, so it'll be great to get our teeth into this in a couple of weeks. Singers of any part are welcome to come along and get a taste of what we do,  7.30, Northcliffe Methodist Church, Shipley.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

In old familiar places...

I'm so pleased that choir starts back tonight with rehearsals for Messiah - as always, new members are more than welcome. 7:30, Northcliffe Church, Shipley.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

It's just a matter of timing....

Took myself off for a wander up to Haworth today, and on the way up to Top Withens, thought I might as well do a bit of practice and put on the Messiah playlist. What should come on as I was walking though a particularly well-populated field? 'For we like sheep'

I had to laugh....

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

It seems a million years to me....

The choir withdrawal continues, but last week I discovered the Proms playlist on a certain listen-again website. I've never really paid much attention to the Proms (apart from one year at school where homework was to watch the broadcast of the Last Night, not quite sure why) but there's been some really good ones. I started off indulging my inner geek with the Sherlock Holmes prom, then did the Story of Swing, and over the weekend I found the Faure Requiem.

The Chorale did the Faure Requiem a while ago, but I have to admit, with the single exception of the Dies Ire, very few bells were ringing. People talk about muscle memory, and I've been assuming that because we've done the Messiah before, it wouldn't take too long (or too many rehearsals) to come back to me. If the Faure's anything to go by, I need to get my tapes out.....

Friday, 17 July 2015

Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you got till its gone....

I have to admit, I'm missing weekly choir rehearsals quite a lot. There's something quite cathartic about a group of people getting together to make music (even if it doesn't always sound like what's written on the page). This week, I've been listening to my concert playlists, and have found myself humming along more than once (apologies to my work colleagues).

It's a good few weeks till term starts again, but I discovered how to download the pictures from my phone onto my computer recently (I may have mentioned, technology isn't my strong point), so these are of the Chorale photo board, which gets put up at various events, with info on the history of the choir and forthcoming events.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Our revels now are ended....

and the Chorale's summer holidays have started.

The concert went brilliantly. The Little Jazz Mass sounded excellent, and the Waltzes went without a hitch. Sara Caine sang a great collection of jazz classics, accompanied by our very own Jonathan Eyre, and the Rutter birthday madrigals were a great end to the singing term. There were very nearly one or two 'oops' moments, one soprano admitted to me that she got a bit lost in one of the Waltzes' repeats and I nearly came in three bars early in one of the madrigals. Thankfully, no-one noticed.

Tom and Alex were on fine form on the piano, and the audience enjoyed the evening and the music very much.

We've got a long summer break to recharge the batteries before starting rehearsals for Messiah back in September. I'm going to miss my weekly sing!

Saturday, 13 June 2015

This is the moment...

We had a great final rehearsal in the Cathedral on Tuesday night, where everything came together pretty well. It's always a bit tricky getting used to a new acoustic, but clever positioning of the piano (you'll see what I mean from the pictures) meant it didn't take long to adapt to the new sound.

We'll be joined tonight by Sara Caine, who'll be singing some great jazz pieces, as well as being accompanied by Alex Woodrow, Director of Music at the Cathedral and our own Tom Carr. It should be a really good evening of music, we'd love to see you.

Bradford Cathedral, 7.00pm  - tickets will be available on the door.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Breakdown/ Staple it together....

We've been separated for the last two weeks, with the men disappearing downstairs while the ladies rehearsed upstairs. The idea being that each group could concentrate on the bits they find tricky without holding up rehearsals for the other parts.
To do this, we ended up sitting round the piano, so it was quite odd for me to start with, having the Altos singing in one ear and the rest of the Sopranos in the other. We'll get back together on Tuesday, and hopefully all the crinkly bits will have been ironed out.

Tickets for the concert on 13th June are available - please see the website for details.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

It's the way he tells them.....

We had free stand-up in our rehearsal last week as Jonathan had found a collection of bad jokes to 'entertain' us with (and some of them were dreadful).

Musically, things were much more successful, the Waltzes (which it appears we're singing in English, rather than German, phew) are coming on quite well. Some of them are really catchy, while others are still feeling a bit scary to sing. The Little Jazz Mass is really good, and the Birthday Madrigals are also getting there. We do need to do a bit of work on some of the under part bits, the Sopranos were having a few timing issues last week, but nothing too scary.

Tickets for the concert, Saturday 13th June at Bradford Cathedral are now available - please visit the website to find out more.

Friday, 8 May 2015

There's no harm in being wrong, you know...

There were a few wobbly notes floating about at this week's rehearsal, but actually considering we're around 5 weeks from concert day, things are going pretty well.

The Waltzes are getting better and we're now singing actual words rather than just concentrating on the tune. I am a bit confused (it doesn't take much) as I was convinced we were singing them in the original German, but it appears we might be doing the English translation so watch this space. We also got to hear the double piano effect as Jonathan joined Tom at the keyboard to accompany us. The top piano part actually makes picking out the soprano line much easier, so if we can manage without, it'll be a breeze when it is being played (at least, that's the plan).

Saturday, 25 April 2015

I could have danced all night...

So I've realised that the Little Jazz Mass and the Birthday Madrigals are catchier than I first imagined. Normally the music we're rehearsing starts playing on repeat in my head about a fortnight before the concert, when we're confident in all the notes and are putting the finishing touches to it.  I've had the Jazz Mass and the Madrigals in my head all week, after only 3 rehearsals. I'll be going (even more) bonkers by the time the concert comes round.

We started learning the Brahms Liebeslieder Waltzes this week, and they are tricky. Not just because they're in German (which we didn't even attempt on the first go), but because they repeat from funny places, and you have to really concentrate to know what you're meant to be singing. I'm sure they're great when you get in the swing of them, it's just quite hard work at the moment, and I'm anticipating more when we start on the actual lyrics (languages were never my strong point, German especially).

vorwärts und aufwärts, as they say....

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Smile, and the world smiles with you

Laugh in the face of adversity, the saying goes, and last week I took that advice rather too literally.

Chilcott's Little Jazz Mass is really quite hard in places, especially during the first few rehearsals, where you're trying to anticipate where you're going next. Sometimes you get it right, sometimes you get it wrong, and sometimes you get the giggles when it does sound a bit 'off', or at least, I do. I'm blaming too much Easter chocolate...

Lots of progress was made though, we've note-bashed the majority of the Jazz Mass now, and the parts we've run a few times were actually sounding pretty good.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date.....

Sorry for the delay in this post, life has gone a bit crazy recently.

So the concert went well. Our soloists, Martha Hayward, Rowena Thornton, David Heathcote and Donald Stephenson were all on fine form, and Alex Woodrow managed to get his fingers around more notes than I think I've ever heard played on an organ before. The choir were also sounding really good in parts.

Maybe it was just me, but it felt a bit flat at times - I don't think anything went particularly wrong, there were just little moments that didn't feel as amazing as they have done. I think I was probably alone though, as the audience seemed to enjoy the music very much.

We've already started rehearsals for the June concert (we don't hang about) and I'm feeling a bit like I did when we started the Britten stuff a while ago, overall, a bit dazed. First rehearsals are always difficult though, and I'm sure that the more practice we have at the Chilcott Little Jazz Mass, the more things will fall into place.

Happy Easter!

Friday, 20 March 2015

I've got a feeling...

that (Saturday) night's going to be a good night....

I'm not saying that we flew through everything perfectly on Tuesday night, but there were no moments of sheer panic where everything fell to pieces either.

Mostly it was sounding pretty good, the scary bits in the Missa seemed to have righted themselves (thankfully) and I'm really looking forward to hearing how Alex Woodrow (Director of Music at the cathedral, and our Organist on Saturday) is going to condense a whole orchestra to just the organ. I'm also really looking forward to hearing our soloists sing all the bits we've been missing out during rehearsals!

Full concert details can be found on the website ( and tickets will be available on the door.

Hope you see you there!

Sunday, 15 March 2015

it's got to be worth it...

So this week wasn't perfect, but it was improvement on last week.

After near constant listening to my recordings, to the point where I was beginning to question my sanity (seriously, I found myself loudly singing the 'Amens' at the bus stop one night, thankfully it was dark and I was alone) the majority of the tricky bits of the Missa had sorted themselves out.

The Gloria also sounded good, and next week we're going to run both pieces, including all the repeats, to get a proper sense of how it will all sound on the night.

Tickets are still available at the advanced price of £10 (they'll be £12 on the door), so if you'd like to come and hear us (and our excellent soloists), visit the website -

See you there!

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Be like the bluebird....

It would be fair to say I felt a little - deflated at the end of rehearsal last night.

The first half had gone really well, running the Gloria for the first time in weeks had flagged up a couple of slightly sticky areas, but nothing too problematic, and nothing that couldn't be solved with a bit more rehearsal and closer attention to our conductor.

It was the Missa where it all fell apart slightly. Bits I thought I'd got nailed I kept messing up, and bits that I'd been bothered about went ok. Part of it was probably due to the fact that because holidays and illness, the soprano line up was smaller than usual, and arranged differently, so I was hearing different people to normal. It's not really a valid excuse though, as how we sit in rehearsals isn't always concert formation.

Thanks to some note bashing and lots of running the Credo was sounding better, and the Cum Spiritu was getting there as well, but I'm going to have the recordings on constantly this week - and next week will be brilliant!


Sunday, 1 March 2015

It's a game of two halves...

This week had an element of showing 'Sir' our homework, as Jonathan was away last week for half term, and as might have been expected, there were bits that went well, and others that didn't.

We ran the majority of the Missa Solemnis and for the most part, it went pretty well. I'm still having problems with my 'Amens' in places, and some of the longs runs of notes are still tripping me up in places, but thankfully near constant listening to my recording has worked and some of the other tricky bits are much easier.

We're going to be running the Gloria on Tuesday for the first time in a few weeks - I've been listening to that one as well, but I'm still going to be keeping my fingers crossed that it goes alright!

Thursday, 19 February 2015

The trouble with (A)men is...

The last couple of weeks have proved difficult in getting the 'Amens' in the right places. There's a lot a long runs of notes in the Missa Solemnis and just to keep us on our toes, the '-men' bits of the 'amens' don't always come in the same places. We're getting there with getting the notes in the right order though, so the rest will follow soon.

We've also had another go at two of the Rutter Birthday Madrigals - It was a lover and his lass, and Come live with me. They couldn't really be more different from the Mozart and Vivaldi we're doing for the Spring concert, but they make a really nice change and are great pieces of music.

As ever, tickets can be purchased through the Bradford Chorale website -

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

I remember you...

....or I should.

The sopranos seemed to be suffering from a collective mind blank this week, when despite having rehearsed and even note-bashed parts of it, we barely remembered a single note of the 'Cum Sancto Spiritu' in the Missa Solemnis.

I was also having problems with the 'Amens' this week, as I discovered I can sing them going down, but oddly, not when they're going up. Thankfully the rest of the Missa went much better, which is probably just as well.

We also had a go at some of the music for the June concert, John Rutter's Birthday Madrigals. They are very different to the music the Chorale normally sing, but it's great to sing something a bit lighter.

Tickets for the March concert are now available from the website, or from any member of the Chorale.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Up and running...

Yay! it worked! Sorry, technology isn't really my strong point, so glad I can bring you the poster for our next concert. Tickets are also now available and it would be great to see you there.

At rehearsal this week we were note-bashing the difficult bits to the Missa Solemnis which is not particularly exciting, music wise, but always needed for tricky bits. Needless to say things sounded much less tentative at the end of rehearsal and once we've got the notes sorted, we can start making it sound 'musical' rather than just 'right'.

In other technological news, the new Bradford Chorale website is now up and running. Including all the latest details on forthcoming concerts, the website also has information on the Chorale's history and useful music learning files. It can be found at

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Little things mean a lot..

and having all your pages means you can follow what's going on!

I got a bit confused last week, as in the middle of Gloria's Domine Fili what the sopranos were singing didn't bear any resemblance to the music on my page. My sight reading is pretty poor, but I knew there was something up when I got to several bars rest and everyone else carried on. Turns out my poor, battered copy of the Gloria was missing its middle 4 pages.

Brand new, shiny copy in hand (not that I went though the box to find a new one, of course) the rest of rehearsal went far more smoothly.

This week included the fastest rendition of the Gloria ever heard as we rattled though all the main pieces in record time. For all its brevity though, the majority is sounding really good. The Missa Solemnis is also coming on well, though the Cum Sancto Spiritu is still a case of 'hold on tight' in places, but we've plenty of time yet.

Tickets will soon be available - so details will be following.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Gloria, Gloria!

Chorale rehearsals started on Tuesday night after the Christmas break, and its good to be back.

It was our first proper rehearsal on the Missa Solemnis, which I've been looking forward to starting. The Kyrie went pretty well for a first bash, and has some really lovely moments in it (bizarre to think that Mozart was only 12 when he composed it). The Gloria was much more tricky, there's a fugue-style bit in the middle, where every part is singing something different at different times - it was very much a case of hang on for dear life and just keep singing. As Ian said after the first run 'The last two bars were excellent' - the rest of it needs some work. Still, it was only the first rehearsal.

We also had a run through of the other piece for the March concert, Vivaldi's Gloria which was great to hear again. We've done the Gloria before, though to be honest, listening to the whole thing this week, there were only two pieces I remembered, so that might require some note-bashing as well.

We were glad to welcome 3 new potential members who came on Tuesday to see what they thought of us - if you'd like to do the same, you'd be very welcome. Rehearsals start 7.30 at Northcliffe Church, Shipley.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Welcoming in the New Year, New Year's Eve

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Sorry I've been a bit slow with the updates, my December was crazy busy - in a good way, lots of lovely real-life events going on.

December is always a busy period for choirs, there's something very nostalgic and 'right' about hearing carols sung in 4 parts, and this December was also busy for the Chorale. Carol singing in Bradford and in Haworth were enjoyed by all who managed to make it (unfortunately, I wasn't among them), and the Christmas Concert was a great success.

I'll confess to being a bit nervous beforehand, the rehearsal had gone really well and we'd breezed through everything, which is always a bit of a worry. It might sound strange, but I'd rather that mistakes were made and sorted out in the rehearsal, so that the concert goes without a hitch.

I needn't have worried though, the choir sang really well, the audience were in fine voice in the congregational carols and the readings were well received. I particularly liked the ones about the fourth wise man (who may have arrived late, but brought practical gifts such as a voucher for nappy-washing) and the Yorkshire Messiah, about a Yorkshireman who goes to a Messiah performance, but can't understand why all the singers seem so fond of sheep. Alex Woodrow, who was accompanying the Chorale again, was on fine form, and many members of the audience commented how much they had enjoyed the evening.

Rehearsals for the next concert start on Tuesday and includes Mozart's Missa Solemnis - I've listened to it a few times now (starting early :-) ) and I'm looking forward to starting proper rehearsals on it. As ever, if you'd like to join us, we rehearse on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-9.30, Northcliffe Church, Shipley.