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Choir Notes



St Thomas’s Choir Notes

The Choir has managed to keep going right through the holiday period, in spite of the small numbers. Anthems have included ‘Comfort, O Lord’ by Crotch, and a favourite, ‘Like as a hart’ by V. Novello. It has been a quieter spell, but things are beginning to get more exciting. The launch of the Maxwell Collection at the Harvest Communion will hopefully involve two of my choral compositions, and we will try to augment the choir a bit for the occasion.
It will not be long before we start preparing for Christmas, with rehearsals for the Augmented Choir for the Carol Service on 10th December, and singing by the choir for the glorious Christmas Eve Communion. These always need a good deal of preparation, but are well worth the effort when the time comes.
The regular choir has worked hard and conscientiously again, and we are all grateful to them.
Sheila Maxwell, October, 2017

Choir Notes

posted 7 Nov 2018, 12:48 by St. Thomas' Church Aboyne

St Thomas’s Choir Notes


Another Evening of Praise is safely over, and Jean Sowrey has given a full account of it elsewhere. Marcus has been cutting down his commitment to the Augmented Choir, and we were delighted to have Lucy conducting for the first time, including the passing on of her singing skills, which was much appreciated by the choir. Warren was not able to record the whole service, but kindly recorded my new anthem to Vittoria’s words, ‘The last Dance’, and put it on YouTube. If you want to hear it, and see Lucy conducting, the link is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTp_Osw2p_0

Preparations are just starting for the Carol Service on 9th December, and we  hope for a good choir for that again, under Marcus’s baton.


The regular choir, although small in numbers, continues to sing splendidly, with our anthems during Communion being a special feature. Just once, with no soprano, we sang a hymn instead, but it was a lovely one, and the altos managed the tune beautifully. We are currently preparing for the Harvest service, with Handel’s ’O Lovely peace’, commonly known as ‘the wavy corn’ because of all the repetition towards the end.  My thanks again to all the choir for their singing and dedication.

Sheila Maxwell, October 2018


Untitled

posted 7 Nov 2018, 12:45 by St. Thomas' Church Aboyne   [ updated 7 Nov 2018, 12:51 ]


Choir Notes

posted 7 Nov 2018, 12:43 by St. Thomas' Church Aboyne

St Thomas’s Choir Notes


The choir has managed to keep going throughout the winter months, in spite of snow and various indispositions. Even when there are small numbers, they have managed an anthem during Communion, culminating in the solemn and lovely ‘Drop, drop slow tears’ by Orlando Gibbons, for Lent. However, we let our hair down on Mothering Sunday, as did the rest of the congregation. It was the launching of our Lent Appeal, Send-a-Cow, and by special request, my harvest anthem ‘Brambles’, words by Vittoria,  was sung during Communion - because there is mention of cows in it!

The choir continues to be loyal on Sundays, although choir practice has been cancelled too often, because insufficient numbers could come to make it worth it. We hope to do better now that the winter is past. But I am grateful for the loyalty of the choir members, and for their lovely singing.


The Augmented Choir is in full swing, practising for a Choral Evensong for Palm Sunday. Marcus was not able to conduct this time, and our previous choir master, Owen Jenkins, has been an enthusiastic conductor - as well as choosing the music, with a little help from me. We chose music by Charles Wood, a prolific 19th century composer, and will sing his lovely anthem ‘Expectans Expectavi’, as well as his setting of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis. The responses will be sung to a setting by Ayleward, which is new to me, and I think to most of the choir. I do love learning new music, and we have plenty of it in the service. I hope everyone who comes will enjoy it, as well as taking part in a very traditional and beautiful service.

Sheila Maxwell, April 2018


St Thomas’s Choir Notes

The Choir at St Thomas’s continues happily. We are fortunate in having such talented and confident singers, which means we can sing our anthems during Communion without too much difficulty even with very small numbers. But occasionally we get nearly everyone together, and it does make a lovely sound when this happens. We had a new anthem recently, which rarely happens these days. It is not easy to find suitable anthems for singing during Communion, and with a small choir. ‘Shew me thy ways, O Lord’, by J. Lamb, is a quiet thoughtful piece which I think we all enjoyed. We also sang the slightly more complicated ‘Loving Shepherd of thy sheep’, by Philip Ledger, who was in the year below me at Cambridge, and a brilliant accompanist for the University Choir. 

On a personal note - Geoff Cormack celebrated his 90th Birthday! Amazingly, he still sings with us in the choir, and when in the mood, can bring forth a goodly sound! Congratulations to Geoff, and we hope to have him with us for many more years yet. But thanks too to all the choir for the wonderful way they keep it going so strongly.

Sheila Maxwell, June 2018


St Thomas’s Choir Notes


The Choir has kept going as usual, thanks to the talented and dedicated members, who seem happy to sing in spite of very small numbers sometimes. We have usually managed an anthem during Communion, including Spohr’s ‘Teach me thy way’ and Tallis’s ‘If ye love me.’ There is also a setting of Elgar’s Ave Verum by Harrison Oxley, which is nearly all in unison, so helpful if we do not have all the parts. The basses have been struggling a bit, as Eric is still away because of problems with his shoulder. We wish him well and hope for an early recovery, for our sake as well as his! David and Meg are also away a lot, unfortunately for us.


It has been great to hear of two singing exam successes. Sue, for the second time, has passed her exam in classical singing with distinction, this time Grade 5. Her development has been particularly welcome in the choir, as she now sings soprano quite happily, including the descants. Jill has for a long time kept the soprano part going wonderfully, but in a choir it is good to have more than one singer, and of course on occasion Jill is not with us. If neither is with us, the altos get to sing the tune!


We are also delighted that Marie Wilde, who only occasionally joins us, but sings with the Augmented Choir, has got a distinction in Musical Theatre, as well as a good credit for her classical singing recital, Grade 3. It is enormously enterprising of both of them, one associates these exams with young children, but no, there is no stopping them! 

Thanks to all for your contribution to the musical life of St Thomas’s.

Sheila Maxwell, August 2018


St Thomas’s Choir Notes


Another Evening of Praise is safely over, and Jean Sowrey has given a full account of it elsewhere. Marcus has been cutting down his commitment to the Augmented Choir, and we were delighted to have Lucy conducting for the first time, including the passing on of her singing skills, which was much appreciated by the choir. Warren was not able to record the whole service, but kindly recorded my new anthem to Vittoria’s words, ‘The last Dance’, and put it on YouTube. If you want to hear it, and see Lucy conducting, the link is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTp_Osw2p_0

Preparations are just starting for the Carol Service on 9th December, and we  hope for a good choir for that again, under Marcus’s baton.


The regular choir, although small in numbers, continues to sing splendidly, with our anthems during Communion being a special feature. Just once, with no soprano, we sang a hymn instead, but it was a lovely one, and the altos managed the tune beautifully. We are currently preparing for the Harvest service, with Handel’s ’O Lovely peace’, commonly known as ‘the wavy corn’ because of all the repetition towards the end.  My thanks again to all the choir for their singing and dedication.

Sheila Maxwell, October 2018


Untitled Post

posted 7 Nov 2018, 12:32 by St. Thomas' Church Aboyne   [ updated 7 Nov 2018, 12:34 ]

St Thomas’s Choir Notes


The Choir had a busy time in December. First there was the Carol Service with the Augmented Choir - of which more elsewhere - and most of the choir joined in this. Then there were the Christmas services to prepare, on Sunday morning, and the Midnight Communion the same day. We try to sing carols before the service at Midnight, and this year we had the best choir ever for the occasion. Some of our choir were away, but the stalwarts who were left were supplemented by Mike Brooks, who sings with the Augmented choir, along with his musical daughter, Lucy and Jane Bailey, and Caroline and Chris Erni. Most had been to a practice beforehand, and it went really well, with five carols before the service and another two during Communion, as well as the traditional ones for the congregation. After that, only Jill turned up on Christmas morning!  So we did without a choir, for the first time for a long time.

Things are now back to ‘normal’, with enough singers to form a choir each Sunday, but with various absences, especially for the Thursday practices, which all too often have to be cancelled for lack of support. We were delighted to see Eric back, after a lengthy absence following a fall. However, it would be good to have more members of the choir, so if you can sing at all, do think about it! You don’t need to be brilliant, just keen, there is plenty time to learn your parts if necessary.

My thanks again to the regular members who keep the choir going so magnificently.

Sheila, February 2018


Choir Notes

posted 28 May 2016, 15:21 by St. Thomas' Church Aboyne   [ updated 6 Oct 2017, 15:04 ]

St Thomas’s Choir Notes
     Jean has written above about the latest highlight in the musical life of St Thomas’s, the Evening of Praise, which has become an annual event. It is lovely to be joined by so many good singers for these events, and a different sort of sound can be created with a choir of that size.
     However, our regular choir, though much smaller, is also able to produce some lovely music, especially in our anthems during Communion. These are necessarily limited, they need to be quite short, fairly simple, and also quiet enough to fit the mood of the act of Communion itself. We have quite a repertoire of these anthems, by some of the great choral writers, Wesley, John Goss, Crotch among them. And I was struck by the singing of Spohr’s ‘Teach me thy way’, sung recently in four parts by six of our choir.
     The choir remains small, which is a problem if they cannot all come on a Sunday, but having Andrew and Isabel has made a great difference. There has been more of a problem in the bass section, Geoff has not felt up to it, and Eric, having been away for a while, celebrated his return by falling and hurting his shoulder. We miss him, wish him well, and look forward to seeing him back in his place before too long.
    My thanks, as always, to all the choir for their work and dedication. If anyone wants to join us, you will be more than welcome!
Sheila Maxwell

Evening of Praise

posted 11 May 2016, 08:12 by St. Thomas' Church Aboyne   [ updated 28 May 2016, 15:18 ]

On 21st August there will be an Evening of Praise in St Thomas's, starting at 6.00pm. There will  be lots of hymns for everyone to sing, and the St Thomas's Augmented Choir will sing a few short anthems under the baton of Marcus Marsh. There will also be readings and solos - and refreshments for all afterwards. 
Everyone is most welcome to come. If anyone not already involved would like to join the Augmented Choir, on this occasion or for future events, do get in touch with the organist, Sheila Maxwell, email sheilamaxwell@btinternet.com.

We are always looking for regular choir members for our Sunday Services, when we sing hymns in parts with descants, and an anthem during Communion. New members would be very welcome.

Choral Evensong

posted 21 Apr 2016, 02:25 by St. Thomas' Church Aboyne

Sunday 1st May 2016
Choral Evensong will be sung at 6pm. 
Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis by J.H. Maunder
Responses by Thomas Tomkins
Hymns to be sung by all
Everyone welcome

October-November 2015

posted 12 Nov 2015, 11:07 by St. Thomas' Church Aboyne   [ updated 12 Nov 2015, 11:07 ]

The choir has been fairly relaxed over the summer period, with some absences, but we have managed our usual anthems during Communion, which gives pleasure to us, and I hope to the congregation. Our highlight was ‘O Lovely Peace’ by Handel for the Harvest Festival. We had Caroline and Chris joining us for the occasion, which is always good, and Marcus was conducting, so the tricky bit at the end went well - as did the ‘Wavy Corn’ passage that gives the anthem its common name.

We are starting to plan for the Carol Service, and will be having rehearsals with the Augmented Choir from mid-October. We allow for plenty rehearsal time as few of them can manage all the rehearsals. But a good number of singers have signed up already, including some tenors, so we hope for another lovely Carol Service. (Dec 13th - put it in your diaries!)

My thanks to the regular members of the choir as always - we would not have a choir without you! If anyone can join us, do let me know.

Sheila

August - September 2015

posted 9 Aug 2015, 01:33 by St. Thomas' Church Aboyne   [ updated 9 Aug 2015, 01:34 ]

The choir continues its work of leading the congregation with the hymns, and singing anthems during Communion, even when the numbers are small. We recently sang two of our favourites, V. Novello’s ‘Like as the hart’, and Handel’s ‘Lord, I trust thee’. Choir practices go on when enough people are available, and are good social occasions. We do however need more people to join us. It is quite a commitment to come each week, but some of the choir come less often, when they can be available, and this is all right, we are glad to have them when they come. We could do with more people like that! And they say singing is good for you! So do get in touch if you think you might like to join us - or know anyone else who might be interested.

The Evening of Praise on July 5th was hugely enjoyable. Jean Sowrey has written an account of this, elsewhere in the magazine. Not all the regular choir members were able to join us, but we had enough from the Augmented Choir to make another lovely choir. We sang three anthems, one of which, ‘Breathe on me, breath of God’, was more like a hymn, very attractive but simple enough to add to our quite extensive repertoire for the regular choir.

Sheila Maxwell

June - July 2015

posted 9 Aug 2015, 00:17 by St. Thomas' Church Aboyne   [ updated 9 Aug 2015, 00:18 ]

The Augmented Choir has been busy. The Choral evening has come and gone. We had a choir of 25 singers, with some really lovely voices among them, so that it was a wonderful experience to be part of it. The organist nearly gave up though! There was a lot of accompanying, some of it rather complicated - music written originally for orchestra is never the easiest on the organ or piano. However, with some judicious editing, and help from Lucy with ‘The heavens are telling’, we got by.

For practical reasons - mostly trying not to clash with anything important - this year’s Evening of Praise is only two months after the Choral evening, on Sunday 5th July. So we are starting to practice already, but making sure the anthems are simple enough not to need too much rehearsal. Marcus has been rooting about finding suitable ones. There will also be lots of hymns for everyone, and we are meantime asking the congregation to let us have their favourite hymns, to choose from. This is very much a congregational event for everyone, not just the choir.

The regular choir has meantime managed to keep going. It is such a small choir that any absence can cause problems. The basses are not so bad, we have three, but the ladies are usually singing their parts as solos. Fortunately Sue, who sings alto, but moves to tenor or soprano at will, has been able to cover when our main soprano, Jill, has been absent. Sue recently got a distinction in her singing exam, and has been developing since, which is a great help. Otherwise we are very dependent on Jill and Pat, and our wonderful men, to keep the choir going. The choir sang the usual ‘Come, Holy Ghost’, by Attwood for Pentecost, and Paul Isom’s ‘King of all ages’ for the Sunday after the Ascension.

As usual, my thanks to all the choir for all their work and lovely singing. We are still hoping that a few more people will want to join us. It is a fair commitment, but very worthwhile, and a good chance to get to know the lovely anthems that we sing.

Sheila Maxwell

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