Music Notes - January 2018

Music Notes – January 2018

A Happy New Year / Epiphany Carols

May I take this opportunity to wish everyone a very happy new year, to thank you for your support of the music in the past and assure you that that we will do our best to enrich our services with fine music of all genres in the coming year.

The Choir returns from its Christmas holidays on 7th January straight into the last of our three carol services – the Epiphany Carol Service. This service mirrors the three Epiphany themes of the coming of the Wise Men, the Baptism of Christ and the wedding feast at Cana and features some lesser known traditional English carols as well as many much loved old favourites. Do join us for what should be

a fitting end to the Christmas season.

St. Oswald’s Choral Foundation (formerly ‘the Friends of the Music’)

Last year we renamed the Friends of the Music, the St. Oswald’s Choral Foundation in order to avoid confusion with plans to set up a Friends of St. Oswald’s. At the same time we brought our accounts into the main Parish accounts so that we can collect Gift Aid on any donations that are made.

If you are already a member of the Choral Foundation, please renew your membership now. If you have not joined before please consider joining.  Membership can be had by making a donation of minimum £18 (£12 for OAPs and the unwaged). Please make cheques out to St. Oswald’s P.C.C. and write Choral Foundation on the reverse. If you would like us to collect Gift Aid on your donation please use one of the blue envelopes in the pews.

By becoming a member you help to maintain and develop our flourishing choral tradition. You will also receive generous discounts for concerts and other events put on by the Choir or our Chamber Choir ‘The Scholars and Gentlemen’. Membership forms will be at the back of the church from the beginning of January or on the music pages of the Church web-site.

A Chorister for a Day - A Voice for Life

Last month I advertised the ‘Chorister for a Day’ event. At the time we did not know that this would clash with the Bishop of Shrewsbury’s visit and so the event has been postponed until the weekend of 10th / 11th March. This will be Mothering Sunday so will be an excellent time for young people to join us at the morning All Age service.

Although this seems a long way off it will soon come round so, if you know of any young people who enjoy singing and would benefit from the day do encourage them to sign up.

To reiterate what I said last month, the day, which will run from 10.30am to 4.30pm. will start with a session for parents and children to hear about our voice training scheme (Voice for Life) then move on to sessions on producing a good voice, breath control, basic musicianship and learning some music for the Sunday service which will cover the many different styles found in today’s church music.

The event will finish with the participants singing with the choristers in the Parish Church for the Mothering Sunday service on Sunday morning, 11th March.

As well as singing, participants will also be given a demonstration of the organ and a trip up the bell tower.

Lunch and refreshments will be provided and the event will close with a rehearsal with the St. Oswald’s Choristers in preparation for the Sunday service.

Samantha Lewis

Those of us who visited St. Chad’s in Shrewsbury to hear Sam sing with Ex Cathedra for their Christmas concert will have been delighted with the fine performances that they gave. Now Sam has achieved another goal by passing her audition to study at the Birmingham Conservatoire for a Masters Degree in Music. Sam joined the Choir as a probationer at 8 years old and, at one point, left the Choir. She later returned and progressed through all the stages of the Royal School of Church Music’s ‘Voice for Life’ scheme eventually obtaining the coveted Gold Award. She became Head Chorister until she left to study veterinary nursing at Harper Adams University. Having obtained this degree she now feels able to pursue her love of music by studying at the Conservatoire.

She has a rare voice combining a rich mezzo-soprano (shut your eyes and you will hear a blend of Kathleen Ferrier and Janet Baker) while still retaining her high register which allows her to blend with the treble line. Since Veronica’s passing, Sam has been invaluable with helping with the choir training especially in the work that she undertakes with the Junior Choir. She has also become an accomplished conductor. Veronica and I always felt blessed that, at the end of our Choir Training careers we should have helped to develop this astounding voice.

Sam will take up her place at the Conservatoire in September and, as yet, we don’t know how far she will be able to maintain her role at St. Oswald’s.

I am sure that, like me, you will wish her well as she takes the first steps on a professional music career.

Mike Donkin

Director of Music.