O Night Divine!

It was indeed a divine night, hosted by May and Dave at their beautiful home. Great to see so many of you there. After our warm up we dived straight into learning the new harmonies in the simplified arrangement of O Holy Night. With the individual parts that I’d recorded for you as rehearsal aids on my trusty iPad we split off into section rehearsals – thanks to Alex for taking the tenors through their lines and also helping the altos with theirs. The sopranos were spirited away by me into May’s kitchen where we we note-bashed their part successfully. The altos converged in the convservatory and the men stayed with Alex in the piano room. The progress we all made was amazing as when we met up to sing together everyone had learnt their lines beautifully and when we sang through O Holy Night it sounded divine. It’s going to be even more so when we put our bass line in (sadly our basses couldn’t make it last night but we’ll see them on Sunday at choir practice hopefully.) I’ve emailed you each your individual parts and also put them up on the website under “rehearsal aids.” Whenever you have the time, please go through them time and again as practice makes perfect! We rounded off the evening with the Hallelujah and managed to sort out the end section coming out of the chorus in harmonies and singing the last few Hallelujahs in unison. We were being stumped by a dotted crotchet and thanks to Alex’s beady eye we realised where we were going wrong – we struck off the last “jah” and it flowed quickly and effortlessly into the unison line (thank you maestro!) We’ll be going through “The First Nowell” and “Starry Night” (for the 7th December carol singing in the market place) next. We sang these last year at the Crib Service and it will be good to refresh our memories and also for those who weren’t singing with us then, we can learn them afresh. Again all the individual parts are up on the website under rehearsal aids and I photocopied the score for you a couple of weeks ago. Anyone who needs copies just let me know please. Thank you all for a really superb effort at rehearsals. Your hard work pays off aplenty. Onwards and upwards! See you on Sunday. Helen

Tricky descants and all that

Thanks to those of you who wanted to continue practising this week (even though we’d decided to meet fortnightly after the half-term break.)  The run-up to the festive season is always busy and our ambitious programme of carols for the performance at Epsom town centre and the St Joseph’s Carol Service means that the more we practise the better we’ll sound!  We really cemented some of those tricky bits of the descant in “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” (great work ladies and special praise to Paul one of our top tenors who held his line and his section on his own throughout the entire rehearsal, no matter which piece we were doing!)  We also sorted out the ending (new arrangement by H. Wade) of the Hallelujah and it’s working fine and everyone picked it up really quickly.  Next we ran through “O, Holy Night” and I talked the singers through the geography of this arrangement that we’ve chosen (in favour of the slightly longer and more complicated Rutter arrangement that I initially had in mind.)  A good rendition of “My LIfe is in Your Hands” which we’ll sing at mass on Sunday rounded off the evening.  Quick parish notice: please ensure your choir folders are in order for Sunday (see list below) and that you’ve got the new version of “My Life is in Your Hands” which has been reprinted as page 2 was missing!  Please ask me for your copy.  I have also signed you up to the email updates from this blog so that any updates automatically land in your email inbox.  Onwards and upwards everyone! See you on Sunday at 08.45 for the warm-up and run-through.

Children of God (864) – processional

Gloria, gloria, in excelsis Deo (408) (clapping)

Gospel acclamation: Alleluia, alleluia

My Life is in Your Hands (new arrangement) offertory

Laudate Dominum (346)

Praise the Lord, oh my soul (new arrangement) second collection

Walk in the Light (914) recessional

“Heaven’s joy on earth”

“Singing is one of the most essential elements of worship. To open the gates of trust in God, nothing can replace the beauty of human voices united in song. This beauty can give us a glimpse of “heaven’s joy on earth,” as Eastern Christians put it. And an inner life begins to blossom within us. These songs also sustain personal prayer. Through them, little by little, our being finds an inner unity in God.” (Taize, on Meditative Singing.) This passage I read on the Taize website encapsulates the ethos I believe defines our Family Choir. I have certainly found this “inner life” blossoming within me and it is an absolute joy to hear you all singing in beautiful harmonies (yesterday’s rehearsal was a prime example.) For this alone I will be eternally grateful. Thank you all. Keep up the good work. Helen X