Tag: Lewisham Choral Society

I want to sing FFS

Feeling a bit mardy today, so thought it best to get myself out of the house and into the fresh air. I’m not very good staying at home for more than a day in a row, and Tuesday was spent gardening and watching YouTube. Currently fixing the mardy with a cuppa in Greenwich.

Why mardy? A combination of things… lockdown delay, sodding Matt Hancock, slight (ridiculous) fear that I’ll never get to leave this island ever again, not singing indoors, probably a bit tired, had a baby in January… blah blah blah.

Overall though, it is the lack of singing that is really f*cking me off. Especially when footage of Wimbledon and the Euros shows THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS of people having fun and DRINKING, while amateur choral singers like myself are checking the fecking weather every five seconds to see if we get to stand outside and sing. Not to mention the fact that we are social distancing the entire bloody time. OMG F*CK OFF.

My (predominantly elderly) choir Lewisham Choral Society has been taking very cautious baby steps to get us back together after many months of online rehearsals. But for those who wish to come to outdoor rehearsals, we’ve only managed to hold 2 out of 4 rehearsals after a test session at the end of May.

On Monday afternoon we cancelled the rehearsal due a forecast of rain, to then see a cloudy, calm and dry evening. FFS.

It is utterly infuriating, especially after being tantalized with two absolutely super rehearsals with our fantastic professional music team. It was completely glorious to sing Requiems by Fauré and Rutter, and to get to see the lovely people I’ve been singing with for twelve years!

I’ve actually been kind of musically heartbroken these past 18 months, but I’ve just ignored the whole issue as it is too frustrating, and there’s no point focusing on something so out of your control.

I’ve not performed in a concert since December 2019, and I love singing so so so much. To go from eight concerts a year to none is just vile, and it is such a social punishment for all amateur musicians alike.

And because we all know (I hope) that COVID isn’t bloody going anywhere, when will we get our normal back? When will we get to sing and perform for others? When will it be financial viable to even put on a concert? When will those who are more at risk from COVID than I return to rehearsals? Will they ever?

My god that was a depressing paragraph to write.

Takes a deep breath

In conclusion, the government are a big massive shit for putting other social activities above choral singing. If it’s okay for some, why not others? It’s bloody discrimination.

What can we do? Not much, but there’s always a petition to sign, so sign that at least, and maybe write to your MP. The one below isn’t mine, but at least there’s one that seems to give a toss about it?

Time to cross my fingers and toes for next week’s rehearsal…

I Miss Singing

I’ve been singing in choirs since I was eleven, and apart from a brief blip from 2006 to 2009, I’ve not gone more than a couple of months without singing or performing since then.

I really miss singing at the moment, and it was another thing that distinguished me from ‘just’ being a mum, and it matters far more than a part-time job. Obviously please employ me, money is good etc.

I sing in a choral society and in a chamber choir, and both our spring concerts were cancelled in the same week. Currently, no-one knows when we can rehearse again, or if our summer concerts are even feasible. Will we have enough time to rehearse, and would an audience even have the confidence to attend.

It is a big bummer.

I do a lot of publicity and social media work for my choral society, and I also email our members information from our chair (we use Mailchimp). Usually the missives are about rehearsals, concerts and additional notation for our scores, but at the moment I’m being sent information on how we can all keep in touch, and how to stay musical at this time.

It is actually really lovely having something useful to do, and to know that completing an administrative task might help the 200 or so members on the mailing list.

I also love administrative tasks.

Our conductor Dan Ludford-Thomas has sent us some suggestions and ideas based on Henry Purcell‘s music, and our accompanist Nico de Villiers has recorded two pieces of music for us. I’m crossing my fingers for more, partly because he’s such a brilliant performer, and partly because we’ve got some content for our YouTube channel! Promote, promote, promote!

Nico’s first offering is Robert Schumann‘s Widmung, check it out below.

His second offering is Felix Mendelssohn‘s Song without Words, see below.

So while we can’t meet, we can listen to Nico’s beautiful videos, and that’s not so bad.

Here’s hoping summer term doesn’t get written off entirely. 😐

Handel’s Messiah at the Royal Festival Hall

This March my choir Lewisham Choral Society are visiting the Royal Festival Hall with Hackney Singers and Forest Philharmonic to perform Handel’s Messiah.


The important thing first is tickets, get them here through the Southbank Centre direct.

Singing with us are soloists Helen Meyerhoff (soprano), Timothy Travers-Brown (alto), John McMunn (tenor), and Philip Tebb (bass).

From the official blurb this is:

“An Easter performance of Handel’s masterpiece, by a 300-strong choir uniting voices from North and South London.

George Frideric Handel’s Messiah is often performed during the Christmas season, but this thought-provoking work was originally an Easter offering, first performed at Musick Hall in Dublin on 13th April 1742 to a grand audience of 700.”

To hear what LCS are about listen to the audio interview shown below:

Thanks again to fluffy BBC journalist Jon Jacob for his wonderful piece.

The two choirs had their first rehearsal together on Saturday in Goldsmiths’ Great Hall and I had a wonderful time, the singing sounded immense. This is going to be GREAT.

Replicating the distance between us and Dan at the Royal Festival Hall

View west from the Sopranos

Go. Buy. Tickets. Now.


Christmas with Lewisham Choral Society

This Christmas my choir Lewisham Choral Society has a few dates for your diary. If you would like to come and see us sing there are three events to see us at:


Christmas Concert, St. Mary’s Church, Lewisham
Saturday 10th December, 7.30pm

We will be singing songs by De Victoria, carols, choruses from Handel’s Messiah and Britten’s Saint Nicolas Cantata with a children’s choir. See our site for details and tickets.

I am really looking forward to this as the Britten is great fun and a bit odd! I am also singing a short piece called Vigilate by William Byrd with a number of other LCS singers and this is quite exciting as I haven’t sung a small group piece in years! I think we will do okay! :).

And a big thank you to my friend Jon Jacob for his wonderful interview with LCS to promote this week’s concert:


Carol singing in aid of St Joseph’s Hospice, Trafalgar Square
Tuesday 13th December, 6pm

LCS are supporting St Joseph’s for the second year running and their volunteers will be collecting donations whilst we sing for an hour under the Norwegian Christmas tree. This was us last year in the freezing cold and wet December air! 🙂

© Clive Dechant


Carol singing in aid of MediCinema, St Thomas’ Hospital
Saturday 17th December, 2pm

LCS Alto Jo Honey, is a volunteer for MediCinema and we will be singing at the start of a screening of Arthur Christmas to welcome patients (adults and children) and their families and friends.

MediCinema is a film industry charity that installs state-of-the-art cinemas in hospitals around the UK, bringing movie magic to patients and people in places of care.


I won’t be at the MediCinema carols but if you see me at St. Mary’s or in Trafalgar Square come and say hello!

Merry Christmas to you as well! 🙂


Kurt Weill’s Street Scene at the Young Vic

My choir Lewisham Choral Society is taking part in the Young Vic/The Opera Group’s joint production of Kurt Weill’s Street Scene. We are singing a number of pieces during the second act and seventy-odd members of the choir signed up for the fourteen performances, we are each performing in about six shows.

I haven’t sung in a musical/opera since I was in my school’s production of Oliver Twist when I was thirteen so I’m quite excited to be part of this production. LCS also sang in the first Street Scene run at the Young Vic back in 2008, so we are obviously doing something right! It is lovely to know that LCS are respected enough to be involved in a production like this. I feel quite proud! :-).

We had two run throughs with our conductor Dan before the summer break, and since then have been rehearsing with the lovely Tim Murray who is conducting and touring Street Scene for nearly all of its run. It has been great fun and rehearsals have been at Kings College on The Strand. On Thursday we rehearsed in the College’s Chapel which was absolutely gorgeous and the acoustics were great.

Yesterday we had our Sitzprobe (my favourite new German phrase) rehearsal with the orchestra at the Young Vic and this was very exciting too (I don’t get out much). We rehearsed with the cast and the BBC Concert Orchestra, but will be performing with the Southbank Sinfonia as well. We also had a tour of the venue to see where we would be performing, we are up high in the technical gallery so don’t expect to see anyone from the chorus if you come to the show!

LCS shall be singing in the dark and from memory, quite exciting! We normally have our heads buried in our scores (joke!) so it will be a good change for us. :D. I also understand that some of us will be able to see the conductor from our positions so we will definitely be kept on our toes! I am completely excited about these performances – as you might be able to tell by all the exclamation marks and emoticons – and am really looking forward to singing in such a high-profile venue.

Inside the Young Vic, a lovely odd miss mash of new and old architecture, and in complete contrast to the Old Vic up the road

Awesome poster spread outside the venue, and it has sold out I understand. Woo-hoo!!!

Our next rehearsal is the technical one, and the dress rehearsal is on Thursday with the first show that evening. Saturday will be my first performance and then I have another five shows to do until the final two performances on the 1st of October (which I am doing both of). And! I have to go to regular LCS rehearsals at the same time! What an exiting September!

So, if you haven’t already got your tickets and are a bit upset because you can’t go, do not fear! Our lovely Auntie Beeb will be recording it over two nights for a Radio 3 broadcast in the future. Very exciting! I will update this blog with these details as soon as I have them.


Lovely jubbly LCS promotion

I joined Twitter last year and have started to make a few friends in the last few months. Obviously I use the term ‘friend’ in a loose manner because I have never met most of the people I ‘talk’ to on a daily basis. :).

I have however met a few and one who stands out is BBC employee and fellow south-east Londoner Jon Jacob. Jon is a proliferant blogger who stumbled upon my choir in March this year and he wrote this about us. Being the clever person he is, he also found our Twitter account and tweeted at us. Ah the wonders of the modern world!

Due to this lovely bit of promotion I started corresponding with Jon and reading his own blog, and now four months later I was able to entice this nice man to take some photos of us at a recent rehearsal. Many of his own blogs feature audio, video and pictoral elements and I knew he could take some great photos of our choir.

I was right of course… read all about it here and see the photos through Flickr:

Thank you Jon, next time we WILL get you to a concert. :).


A Saturday spent singing Faure’s Requiem

My choir’s recent concert featured a number of jazz and gospel works, and as part of the programme pianist Ben Saul played some Aaron Copeland and George Gershwin pieces. He also came to one of our rehearsals in the week leading up to the performance to run through the pieces he was accompanying the choir in.

This Ben Saul seemed a rather personable fellow so I introduced myself after the rehearsal to see if he would mind being photographed by me for our Twitter page. I also enquired if he was on Twitter and for once the answer was yes. This answer greatly pleased me as I could now tag him in LCS tweets, excellent! The 21st Century does exist in the choral world!

So I tagged him in a few tweets, as well as messaging him on my own Twitter account, and found out that Ben also runs scratch choirs from time to time. His next event was to be a rehearsal and performance of Gabriel Faure’s Requiem at a church where he runs a Girl’s Choir in central London.

The Requiem was to be performed to raise funds for the charity Unlimited Partnership who run micro-financing projects in Sierra Leone. It was also a lovely opportunity to sing a piece LCS had performed in 2010. I loved singing Faure’s Requiem last year, it is so beautiful, and so I was really excited to spend a Saturday singing. Ben is also great fun so I knew I was in for a good day. :).

The venue we rehearsed and performed in was St. Andrew by the Wardrobe which is just by Blackfriars Bridge, a stone’s throw from St. Paul’s Cathedral – and The Church of Scientology. What a mix!

Ben conducting and not speaking for once. He tells so many many many stories and musical in-jokes that I am just not cool enough to understand. ;).

We rehearsed and performed in the upstairs of the church, we didn’t even go into the main body of the building. It was a bit odd to look and not touch but it was a wonderful view to look down on. The church is covered in gorgeous wooden panelling, absolutely beautiful.

The singer with glasses is Ben McAteer who sang the baritone solos, such a lovely gorgeous voice. I found this about him online if you happen to be in County Antrim in September!

Told you it was beautiful. The main access to the church is up a grand set of stairs from Queen Victoria Street, but you can walk all the way round the church to see different angles and the lovely glass window behind the altar. The entrance round the back on St. Andrew’s Hill has a lovely set of wonky stone steps to go up too.

Also singing a solo was Max Thorpe, a thirteen-year old boy soprano from one of Ben’s youth choirs’. He sang the Pie Jesu solo.

Poor photo I know, it does not do the church interior justice.

Organist Jonathan Eyre and Ben.

This Requiem is so beautiful and moving, LCS’ conductor Dan Ludford-Thomas loves giving music space to breathe and it was a pleasure to experience the same with Ben. The random mix of thirty or so singers (from Faversham Choral Society and The Hackney Singers mainly, I was the only one representing LCS) were all very welcoming and knowledgeable about this piece and I had the added fun of sitting with five girls from the Church’s girls choir. I felt very grown up helping them with what we were singing, even when I didn’t know the whole piece myself that well! :D. And I had a bloody frog in my throat for the whole rehearsal!

I had such a lovely day, and as the boyfriend had an awful hangover I am really glad I was not at home to experience his pathetic behaviour (hahaha). I instead raised a bit of cash for charity and had a lovely time in a beautiful building in The City – I love the square mile.

Roll on the next scratch choir!


Back to School

Started the new term at my choir last night. I have been a member of Lewisham Choral Society for a year now. Hooray!

This term we are learning Monteverdi’s Vespers from 1610 for a November concert in Deptford. This is fairly old and according to Wikipedia Monteverdi “marked the transition from the Renaissance style of music to that of the Baroque”. Cool. We went over the ‘Lauda Jerusalem’ section last night, not the easiest start to the term but our conductor told us he wanted us to do the hardest part first! Excellent!

Our conductor Dan is ace, he is so enthusiastic and knowledgeable about music. Also in exciting new term news – he has new black-rimmed glasses! The world of choirs is an exciting one! Dan was also Choirboy of the Year in 1986, and he really makes the journey from Greenwich to Catford on a Monday night worth it.


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