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Marlow Community Choir at Borlase


Recent Notices

Title - 3rd February 2014
Dear Community Choir members,

Another 'triumph' on Saturday!

Thank you so much for a wonderful performance - committed singing in both pieces and a very dignified performance of the Karl Jenkins, which really reached out to the audience. There has been excellent feedback, which you thoroughly deserve. It was a pleasure to conduct and a very exciting performance.

It was wonderful to see such a full church, and that is as the result of a team effort. Of course thanks go to Ian for his effective publicity and to Wendy for the Box Office, but it is from the choir members themselves that most of the recommendations come to friends and family to attend. Well done.

Barry and Alexa - what can I say? What an inspiration and how calm! My grateful thanks to those who assisted you with the work on Friday and Saturday. Thank you for the benefit of your experience.

Mike's seating plan, in all its various drafts and stages, clearly transmitted a feeling amongst the choir of clear organisation - and that is very helpful.
Maria and Mike must have received, willingly, about 100 emails from me during the putting together of this concert. Thank you for the way that you kept smiling!

It was lovely to see Gill Overell very briefly during the afternoon, as she had prepared all the payments and ventured along to hand them over - thank you.

Jill Cruse and the refreshment team did a grand job.

The rehearsal period has been fun - but the concert topped it all. Thank you for being a brilliant team. I look forward very much to starting our next project on 12th February.


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Message from Gillian - 5th January 2014
Dear Community Choir members,

A Happy New Year to you all and a big Thank You for your generous Amazon token.
I enjoy working with you all so much - and that is enormously kind of you!

I look forward very much to starting up again this Wednesday 8th January. We have four rehearsals before the concert and will be able to forge ahead, I am sure, to excellent performances.

The most urgent matters are to 'kick start' the ticket sales and to rally round Barry, as he takes on the stage management role for the first time.

Tickets: Give it a real push as it's a lovely programme (Parry, Grieg and Karl Jenkins) and you can be proud of the standard that you are going to give to your friends and supporters so don't delay please. The feel good factor will be high amongst the choir members if we see that we are going to be singing to a big crowd, and not very good at all, if we have the prospect of singing to only a few!

When we have established how many rows of how many people we will have in the choir - we may be able to sit in that format for our last two rehearsals, which would be helpful - but that means too, that I am requesting a quick response from you to show clearly on the register whether or not you are able to sing in the concert. If you are unable to sing in the concert, you are still welcome to attend the rehearsals, but we need to get programme names correct and to know how many performers we are trying to seat.

After the concert on 1st February, we can look forward to another social evening together for our meal, which will be at the Huntswood Golf Club, near Burnham, on Wednesday 5th February (thank you to Jill, our social secretary). Once again, Jill has managed to arrange a delicious 3 course meal for the very reasonable price of £20. She will need numbers and names as soon as possible, so please see her and sign up on Wednesday, if you are interested. She will also have menu options for us to choose from.

Wednesday 12th February will see the start of our new repertoire in preparation for the concert on Wednesday 21st May.

Josef Haydn's Little Organ Mass A short and very pretty mass with string orchestra
Ralph Vaughan Williams' Five mystical songs Some RVW music was requested when we held our last choir chat about the future
Eric Whitacre's Seal Lullaby Requested at the same 'chat' session by Colin, one of our tenors. Plus a selection of other Part Songs

It all looks good - see you on Wednesday. Do start tempting friends and family along for your splendid concert on 1st February - it's going to be fabulous and we want a full house!


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Older Notices

▶ Message from Gillian - It was a triumph! - 3rd February 2013
It was a triumph! A very exciting and fully committed performance of a masterpiece.


The singing was very confident - dynamics were effective - the breathing for the Agnus Dei was stunning - and you were fully engaged in a performance which communicated passion to the audience.

Of course it wasn't perfect - a perfect performance is very rare, but everything that you did was done with conviction and that is what came across - that is what 'sells' a performance.

I am looking forward to seeing many of you at the meal on Wednesday - and then to starting our next project.

At the start of term, Steve Martin (Bass 2) prepared a questionnaire, as it seemed a good time to reflect on our first 6/7 years and think about the future - how we want this choir to develop - repertoire/venues/etc. Having discussed this with one or two members - rather than 'another customer survey', I think it would be good to have an open meeting, for about 30 minutes at the end of the first rehearsal, on Wednesday 13th February - to give everyone a voice. Of course it is not compulsory to attend the meeting - but please stay on if you would like to.

Again - thank you and congratulations!


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▶ Important Message from Gillian: Thank You & Arrangements for the Rehearsal and Concert - 16th January 2013
Thank you very much for the generous John Lewis tokens for Christmas - it was so kind of you. It is a real pleasure leading this choir - that in itself is enough - but thank you for the added bonus of the gift. I had intended to thank you at the first rehearsal of term, but wow...........................................

This was so focused, that I actually forgot - it had real momentum, and during most of it you could have heard a pin drop! This is what we need, to gain maximum confidence and enjoyment from our performance of the Verdi... which is just 10 days away!

In spite of the weather, can I encourage a top class turnout for the next two weeks please. Do your very best to be there.

Wednesday 23rd: The whole of the first half of the work
Wednesday 30th: The whole of the second half of the work

Just one more run-through of everything before the big day!

Saturday 2nd February: Arrive at Eton from 2.00 pm, and by 2.10 pm for seating.

Basses in each choir will be seated first, then tenors/altos/sops. Bill Forbes and his team will be setting up orchestra seats from 1.00 pm, by courtesy of the hall manager. This is outside the hours for which we have paid the hire fee, so it would be very helpful if the rest of us did not arrive until 2.00 pm.

The rehearsal is timed for 2.30pm - 5.30pm. Bring a drink for the short break if you want one.

The soloists have agreed that I can rehearse the movements 'out of order' so that 3 and 6, which do not feature the chorus, can be done last - thus hopefully releasing you by 5.00 pm (though that is not a promise - it's an aim).

You should be back in your performance places by 7.15 pm (no water bottles on the stage please) - if there could be a volunteer to get you lined up in the wide corridor in Choir 1/Choir 2 format - that would be super. Dress for Ladies: all black, with sleeves, either long or three quarter. For the Gentlemen: DJ Black bow.

Please note that video and/or audio recording of any part of the rehearsal or concert on the day is strictly prohibited by Eton College.

Librarians have requested that before concert day, you erase any markings on your scores which you do not need. Immediately after the performance, please place all borrowed vocal scores in the boxes/crates which will be provided. Another borrower is waiting to take up the copies as soon as we have finished with them. If for any reason you are not able to take part in the performance after all, then please endeavour to get your vocal scores back to Marion/Rowena on the day, so that they do not have to be chased up afterwards and can be returned to the Library with our full set.

Musically, the performance will end at 9.30 pm - so those booking taxis or lifts could do so safely from 9.45 pm.

Hospitality: Our Mezzo soloist, Jeanette Ager needs hospitality between the rehearsal and the performance - something to eat and somewhere to change. She is a charming girl, chatty and easy to get on with. The sop/bass have friends in the area. I have not heard yet from the tenor on this subject. Please let me know if you could do this - not too far away preferably, as Jeanette will not be able to leave until 5.30 pm.

We have the facility to make tea and coffee for the 4 soloists at the break - but we need somebody to do this. Could we have a volunteer, please?

Thank you to all of you who have worked so hard to make this project a success. The choir has really developed during this year.


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▶ Last Rehearsal - The Verdi 'Requiem' - 2nd February 2013
We now have remaining just the final rehearsal, with orchestra and soloists, on the afternnon of 2nd February, which is of course followed by our big performance at Eton College School Hall that evening.

If any choir members are not able to sing at the concert, and haven't already let us know, please do so, so that we can plan the seating for the night.

Plans for a minibus between Marlow and Eton are well underway. Again, if you haven't let us know, and are interested, please send us an email, or let us know at the next rehearsal.

We now have around a hundred and ten members rehearsing for our next performance, which will be The Verdi Requiem, at Eton School Hall on 2nd February 2013. This means we have reached our target size for this project.

If you would still like to join us, our rehearsals for the Summer 2013 project commence on 13th February 2013.
The programme for the summer will include John Rutter's Sprig Of Thyme Cycle of traditional songs.

In the meantime, why not come to our performance of the Verdi Requiem at Eton. You can order tickets through our Box Office link.

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▶ Message from Charles - 14th December 2012
While not yet recovered from the stunning surprise presentation at Wednesday's rehearsal, I wish to convey my thanks to all the choir for the generous gifts and particularly for the privilege of being able to contribute to a community project that proves by its success, eminently worthwhile supporting.

With Gillian's infectious enthusiasm and encouragement, it has been a joy to see MCCaB going from strength to strength thanks to the fantastic efforts of so many wonderful people who have always rallied round when help was needed. I am delighted to see how so many have risen to the challenge of the current project which, because of work, family and other commitments, made it very difficult indeed for me to devote the time and effort required for our biggest challenge yet.

In a way, I feel it's cheating to accept thanks for doing something that I have actually found to be very enjoyable while still to enjoy the contact and the friendship of all those who make everything happen. The warmth of their appreciation is very touching indeed.

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▶ The Box Office is now officially open - 20th November 2012
The Box Office area of the website is now officially open. Tickets can be requested by filling in a simple form and clicking a button. Please follow the Box Office link.

Also, flyers are available to download from the website, in three different sizes: A4, A5, or 2 A5 flyers on one A4 sheet.
Please follow the Downloads link.

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▶ Autumn Term Newsletter from Gillian Dibden (conductor) - 27th September 2012
Dear Choir Members,

Welcome back at the start of what is our biggest and most ambitious project yet, a performance of Verdi’s magnificent ‘Requiem’ at Eton College School Hall on Saturday 2nd February 2013.

For new members here tonight, I would like to introduce members who are our ‘meeters and greeters’ in each voice part: Gill Overell (Sop.1), Jean Turner (Sop.2), Frances Curtin (Alto1), Kirstie de Salis (Alto 2), Colin Armstrong (Tenor) and Jeremy Stevens (Bass). They will simply help to sit in the right area on your first evening, introduce you to fellow members if you do not know many people, and help with any concerns you may have. We have a reputation as a friendly choir, and hope to sustain this.

Around the choir:
Marion Machen (Sop 2), our Librarian, does a superb job – allocating and collecting in vocal scores as well as much work behind the scenes, sorting out editions/best hiring sources/orchestral parts and a host of other related tasks. As the choir grows bigger and this role involves more work, I am delighted that Rowena Wolton (Alto) is helping her. Jill Cruse (Alto) is our Social Secretary – she organises interval drinks at our performances, wherever they are, with a team of helpers and also organizes the ‘meal out’ after each concert (usually on the following Wednesday, but not always). Sometimes this is at a restaurant, but sometimes at another venue, when Jill’s own magnificent catering skills come into play and we are treated to a sumptuous meal at an incredibly reasonable price – thank you Jill! Gill Overell (Sop 1) is our very experienced Treasurer and will be handling the complicated paper work that comes with hiring Eton College School Hall, as well. Maria Aldridge (Sop 2) is our Membership Secretary and I am delighted that Mike Aldridge (Bass 2) has responded to my request to create and manage a new website – I am just so grateful – it’s a world that I scarcely understand! Wendy Denison (Alto/Tenor) has been in charge of Box Office for some time now and makes it all simple and clear for us. Wendy is supported in this by Maria Aldridge. Rowena Wolton has come forward to design our posters and flyers which is wonderful (these are printed by the school office). Sally Palmer has taken on the ‘programme’ preparation. To these and all others doing tasks to keep our lovely choir ‘on the road’ I am extremely grateful, and hope very much that I have not left anyone out.

For this season, the membership subscription will be £40 for the first project and £30 for the second project of the year – but only £60 if you pay for the whole year up front. This compares incredibly favourably with other local choirs/choral societies. How is this money used? Together with ticket sales, this income covers music hire expenses both vocal and orchestral, hire of orchestral players, hire of outside venues, soloists etc. Our summer concert by popular choice will be of a lighter nature, with some of the following works being on a shortlist but no decision yet taken: Constant Lambert ‘The Rio Grand’, Elgar ‘Songs From The Bavarian Highlands’, A G&S ‘concert version’, The Sprig of Thyme – John Rutter (a cycle of Folk Songs).

A fabulous venue – glittering ambience (newly refurbished) and a huge space but not without its challenges! The amount of paperwork that Gill, our Treasurer is facing is colossal – and so we have asked Jayne Mullen (Alto) to support Gill for this concert. First Aid needs to be put in place; Josephine Crabb has experience in this and has offered advice and assistance. Stewards are needed on the night – more information later. Eton College demands that they see all our publicity before any of it goes out! The tickets/posters and programmes will therefore need to be ready by 1st November in order that we have all pour publicity out well before Christmas. Much more help will be needed for this project – offers to Gill or Jayne please – letting them know any particular skills that you have.

Stage Management at Eton - We will be relieved of our usual burden of transporting choir risers this time. However for Bill Forbes (Bass), an absolute gem in stage management, and his team – there will be the task of a large orchestra to seat on the day, so – keep smiling, Bill’s team!

Publicity for our concert and ticket sales will need to reach out to a much wider audience with 400 tickets to sell. The very good news is that we will not increase out ticket prices – even for this outstanding venue with considerable expenses. Tickets £12 (£10 Seniors and Students under 16 years). This is because we need each one of you to bring as many people as possible – please lodge the date with them very soon. Frances Curtin (Alto) has identified the very relevant point that massive publicity in Eton, Windsor and Slough would be a good idea – to attract a new audience: Shops/Hotels/Libraries/Pubs/Schools/etc. Frances would be pleased to talk to others interested in helping – it sounds like a coffee/lunch date in Windsor for a huge publicity boost.

I am delighted to tell you that I have booked our four soloists: Claire Seaton (Soprano), Jeanette Ager (Mezzo), Daniel Joy (Tenor) and Michael Bundy (Bass). They have all sung at Eton before and love the venue, so that has been a significant factor in getting them at a good rate – also because 2nd February is not usually a busy time for concerts – another plus for us in going ‘all out’ to get a good audience. The reverberant acoustic of this hall benefits from having it full.

Parking is not going to be easy, but looking ahead - a most sensible move for choir members would be to share cars as much as possible for the afternoon rehearsal on concert day. We will talk later about how we can all help each other.

The future:
Robert Gibbard (Bass) has identified the fact that as a growing organisation, we need a Constitution. You may ask – why have we not done this already? When the choir started 7 years ago – it just started, as a small group – we didn’t think or plan the future particularly. As a retired Headteacher I know that Bob has a lot of experience and will be very helpful as we move forward. It is quite wonderful, and unexpected that our choir has grown to 100 members, when other groups are struggling. This credit is all due to you – the friendly and welcoming atmosphere, the recruitment you have done and your enthusiasm and support for everything that we do.

You may, whilst reading this letter be wondering why I have not mentioned Charles Horth (Bass) who has given so generously of his time. Charles has indicated to me that he is no longer able to give us this time, due to many pressures and therefore needs to relinquish all tasks. I am delighted however that he will continue as a singing member, and maybe we can call upon his assistance in the future when he has fewer time constraints. Charles has been a significant figure in helping to take this choir forward and so we will need to look at showing him our appreciation.

Ideas from members are always welcome. Alex Collins (Sop 1) is excited about going to Eton – and suggests linking up with Hotels/Restaurants for a meal/concert deal – pre concert at 6:00pm?

For all of you imaginative people that form our choir – let’s look to this project with the excitement that it deserves and know that we are going to have a fantastic evening and do justice to a wonderful work in an exceptional venue. There are 16 rehearsals all together for the Verdi: 19th September – 12th December incl. except for 31/10 half-term + 4 rehearsals next term before concert day. These start on 9th January.

Thank you for all your support.

Gillian Dibden

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▶ Choral Prospectus 2012-2013 - 12th September 2012
Wednesdays at 7:30pm from 19th September 2012

Join us for our Verdi Requiem project plus other choral pieces in out 2012-2013 season:
Director of Music & Conductor: Gillian Dibden MBE
Venue: Sir William Borlase's Grammar School (SWBGS)

We will begin preparation and rehearsal of the Verdi Requiem at an open rehearsal at 7:30pm on the 19th September 2012. Newcomers are invited to take part. If you're unable to come along on this date you are cordially invited to oin us for a no obligation 'taster' session on 26th September 2012.<

Work on the Verdi Requiem will progress to a concert performance at the Eton College School Hall, Eton, SL4 6DW, Saturday 2nd February 2013.

For enquiries, get in touch through our Contact Us page.

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▶ Call For Singers - Piaf The Concert - 4th February 2013
Sing Piaf And Have No Regrets!

Musician and entrepreneur Matthew Jones is giving your choir the chance to take part in a special concert paying homage to the life and music of Edith Piaf, best known for the classics Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien and La Vie En Rose.

Fifty years after millions of adoring fans thronged the streets of Paris for the state funeral of the troubled chanteuse, June Brown (EastEnders' Dot Branning) will narrate an original script by Jane Lapotaire in PIAF - THE CONCERT starring Eva Stanley-Jones, Peter Straker, Denise Green and The Matthew Jones Orchestra.

A passionate believer that anybody can learn to sing, Matthew is now forming a chorus of all ages* and abilities to join the cast in this large-scale production at the prestigious Queen Elizabeth Hall, London on Wednesday 13th March.

To critical acclaim, Jones has trained vocal virgins to play some of the world's finest venues and record with an array of international artists.

Local rehearsals commence in February. For further information, contact Jenny Sloan on ☎ 0121 632 2330 or ☎ 07941 918 688.

Tickets for the concert can be purchased by calling ☎ 0844 847 9910 or visiting

* Whilst there is no upper limit, participants must be at least 16 years of age by 11/02/13

If you are interested, email an application form from the downloads page to ✉

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▶ Passing of The Planets Community Choir - 24/11/2012
Join the Passing of The Planets Community Choir.

Get together and start singing! Norden Farm is looking for families, community groups and established community choirs to join together to create a mass choir.

Learn popular chart songs that are fitting for the theme of the lantern parade. These include:
  • Moon River by Andy Williams
  • What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong
  • Fly Me to the Moon by Doris Day
  • Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles

The next rehearsal is on Saturday 1 December at 2pm. Click here to book your free space.

The choir will perform at the Passing of Planets Parade in Maidenhead Town Centre on Saturday 8 December.

The choir workshops are all free - donations welcome. We recommend that you book your space in advance by calling the Norden Farm Box Office on 01628 788997 or going to the What's On pages of the website.

Click here to download more information about the Passing of Planets Choir, Lantern Making Workshops and Parade.

This project has been supported by: Spoore, Merry and Rixman Foundation, Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, Shanly Foundation and Nicholosons Shopping Centre, Maidenhead.

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