Hark those carols!

What a great turnout for Thursday evening’s rehearsal where we looked at some of the Christmas carols that we’re going to sing at the St Joseph’s Carol Service.  The re-arranged harmonies on the Hallelujah sounded great and all sections learnt their lines quickly and effectively.  It’s coming together really nicely and it might be our solo performance at the service (if not then it will be Starry Night or O Holy Night another suggestion  by some of the singers. Beautiful carol, watch the clip below.)


We’ll  be closing the carol service with Hark the Herald Angels sing which we’ll be learning in parts and will have organ or piano/organ function accompaniment.  We ran through it and even started to learn some of the female descants which – with expert help from Trish Coll who remembered it from school – sounded really powerful.  We had a quick run-through on Sunday 27th after mass (quite a few of you were away for half-term break already) so we rehearsed Laudate Dominum which we’ll be singing at our next 9.30 mass on 17th November.  We also went through “My Life is in Your Hands” and then rounded off with “Over my Head I hear music in the air.”  I’ll be busy making more photocopies of the music as there are more and more singers (how wonderful) that need them.  We now take a break for half-term and the next time we meet will be on Thursday 7th November at May and Dave’s house!  They kindly offered to host an evening rehearsal so I will be emailing you privately with their address. Those of you who can’t make the Thursday evening practice, we shall see you again on November 10th after 9.30 mass in the Westlake Room.  Enjoy your time off and thank you for your hard work.  You are sounding fantastic!

Sing it in the Valleys

What a great sound you were all making at this morning’s Family Mass. It was a joy to see so many of you bright and sparky and ready to give it your all during the service. There was a jovial atmosphere at warm-up as we sang “Happy Birthday” to Alex who certainly looked surprised but (I hope) pleased! We wish him many happy returns on his special day. We’re so lucky to have him as our accompanist. We sang through some of our standard repertoire of hymns and then, rather excitedly, “premiered” the wonderful Ken Burton arrangement of “Praise the Lord, oh my soul” which everyone seemed to enjoy singing so much (afterwards I got many positive comments about that one from the congregation!) We also sang the Taize Cantate Domino Canticum Novum for the first time as one of our communion hymns. The round was going well – though I did hear one or two “unilateral entries” in the male section, which luckily didn’t put my wonderful tenors and basses off (wait till I bring you in, that’s what my hands are doing!) The church was packed so we sang our second Communion Hymn, “Here I am, Lord.” Our recessional hymn, “Sing it in the Valleys” got everyone singing and swaying in time to this upbeat, lively tune which was great. When we reached the end, once again, we heard the sound of spontaneous applause from the congregation which was rather heart-warming and lovely. It was so uplifting to hear your voices filling the church so beautifully! We even had a new recruit to the choir right there on the spot – a young, German au pair came up excitedly and asked “please can I come and sing in your choir, you were so great?” We’ll be welcoming another soprano to our female section. Well done all of you, you’ve worked so hard at choir practice all these weeks. Onwards and upwards with our Christmas repertoire and see you on Thursday evening for our last, week-night practice before the half-term break. You deserve a big pat on the back all round! Check out all the video clips which I’ve uploaded on to the gallery page here on the website (special thanks to Mrs Niamh Van Leeuwen for agreeing to record them ever so discreetly on my ipad!)

Hallelujah and Praise the Lord!

Just two of the wonderful pieces we practised at rehearsal last night.  There was a fantastic turn-out, (thank you all) and it was especially good to hear the tenor and bass section in top form (though we did miss you Phil aarrrghhh!)  We did some more work on the Hallelujah which is sounding lovely – I realised I would have to go back to the drawing board and re-arrange those harmonies as my hasty effort that same afternoon didn’t quite work melodically (sorry folks!)  The good news is I have made it my priority today and doggedly worked to (a) rewrite individual harmonies for the chorus and, just in case we don’t like the sound of it, I’ve transposed the original SATB arrangement I had into F (the Alexandra Burke arrangement we used last night) and we can work from that if needs be.   One thing I do know is: it’s going to sound great!

We had a good run-through of the hymns and songs we’ll be singing on Sunday at 9.30 mass.  So for those of you who have your choir folders at home, please ensure your music is in the following order for Sunday:

Shine Jesus Shine, Halle Halle Halle, Praise the Lord, Cantate Dominum, Sing it in the Valleys.

See you all nice and early at 8.45 for the warm-up and then we’ll have another run-through before mass starts. You’re sounding really great, keep up the good work folks!



What a great sound the choir was making at Sunday’s rehearsal! It was good to see so many of you there and in such good spirits, ready to sing your hearts out. We went through all the hymns and other pieces we’ll be singing next Sunday at 9.30 mass and you showed this conductor, just what you are capable of! Amazing sound, I can’t wait to hear you all at next Sunday’s service. It’s a joy to see how fantastically well you are all doing, particularly at holding your lines when we’re singing in a round. Really good listening skills from everyone at rehearsals tweaking some of the entries and cut-offs in one or two of they hymns we’ll be singing. “Pleased as Punch” is how I’d describe it at the end of our choir practice on Sunday. Onwards and upwards folks – you’re doing superbly! Here’s the Cantate Domino for you to enjoy: