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Report of the Committee Meeting held on Thursday 7 March 2019

Copy of the report as a printable pdf


Report of the Committee Meeting held on Thursday 7 March 2019

Present: John Awty, Julia Awty, Joanna Barfield, Stella Brownsea, Malcolm Butcher, Jo Curry, Carol Hammond, Jenny Hyams, John Layton, Kate Peacher, Caroline Rodbourne

In attendance: Janette Ruocco

Jo welcomed everyone to the meeting, especially new Committee members Stella Brownsea, John Layton and Kate Peacher.

1. Apologies for Absence – none

2. Minutes of the last meeting (Thursday 24 January 2019)

Confirmed and signed as a correct record, subject to two minor amendments.

3. Matters arising

(i) Acapella Concert: there are no immediate developments, but on Janette’s suggestion it was agreed to try to arrange an Acapella Concert for a Sunday afternoon at the end of September/beginning of October.

(ii) Voice part leaders: it was agreed that this is necessary, as a point of contact for all voice parts and especially for new choir members. Jo will ask for volunteers at choir practice.

4. EGM

Jo thanked Caroline and Jenny for deputising for her. Responding to the criticisms which have arisen about the Chair’s job description, she pointed out that all HCS Chairs have carried out duties as they have seen fit, but she agreed that some duties in her job description could be delegated.

Jo went on to say how important the choir is locally, and although the choir could continue to function without charitable status, ie without a Chair, it would then lose considerable financial benefits. It is therefore imperative to have a new Chair at the AGM (23 September), and she hopes that the next six months will allow adequate time for someone from the existing Committee to come forward and to shadow her, and that this should be before the end of the summer term (22 June). Kate will begin to shadow Carol’s role as Friends Co-ordinator immediately, and was thanked for this initiative.

On the question of an aisle/or not at choir practices, Janette said that the only way it can work is to have the men at the front. It was agreed that there are benefits in moving around. Janette will consider: moving the 2nd Sopranos behind the 1st Sopranos; when necessary, asking Karen to play voice parts, and also a pause after the Altos’ first note and before that of the 2nd Sopranos; and giving specific homework from week to week.

5. Treasurer’s report

(i) Current state of finances: Malcolm distributed copies of the Income & Expenditure for the year ended 31 August 2019, and the Cash Forecast 1 September 2018 – 31 August 2019. He said that it is very disappointing that the surge in choir numbers to 62 at the beginning of the Autumn term has now reduced to 48, which means a drop in subs of £1700, although Gift Aid is £380.00. It is hoped that some leavers may come back in September. The predicted cash balance at 31 August 2019 is £4062.00.

Janette suggested that one way of increasing choir numbers might be to hold two dedicated ‘Come and Sing with Us’ sessions, with a friend, during the early part of the Autumn and Spring terms, possibly during choir practice, or as a Workshop.

Kate pointed out that there are various other local ways of raising money for the choir, ie getting the Co-op to designate one of its green discs for HCS; and approaching Barclays, as the one remaining bank in Harleston, for sponsorship. Malcolm also suggested again asking Harleston & Redenhall Town Council for a grant.

(ii) Raffle: Stella reported that both the St John’s Revd Canon and the Church Warden are happy for HCS to hold raffles in any part of St John’s. The pews are going, and will be replaced in the next few months by chairs, for which they are asking for sponsorship. The chairs will mean that there will be an opportunity for more ticket sales, and also for hiring out the increased space to other organisations. Jo thanked Stella for her successful negotiating.

(iii) Expenses protocol: there was considerable discussion on the pros and cons of having a protocol. It was finally agreed that expenses are there to be claimed, should the claimant feel it is necessary, and that a protocol removes the inherent guilt from the process of claiming. On this basis, the earlier version of the protocol was amended and will now be posted on the Members’ area of the website.

(iv) funding application to GWF: Jenny and Jo reported that this is ready to go, subject to registering the application on line, which they will do next week. Malcolm suggested, and it was agreed, that it would be sensible to apply for £5,000 rather than the £2,500 currently requested.

6. Summer Concert, 22 June 2019

Janette distributed copies of the proposed dress rehearsal schedule and Concert running order (a copy of this will be posted on the Members’ area of the website after the Easter break).

7. Future Concerts

(i) Christmas Concert, 14 December 2019, ‘The First Nowell’

Janette distributed copies of her plan for this concert. She asked the Committee to consider holding a bring a friend’/open rehearsal (and see 5 [i] above) on 14 or 21 September.

(ii) Summer Concert, 20 June 2020, ‘Songs and Cries’

Janette distributed copies of her plan for this concert, which will require only one soloist and a second pianist, and possibly a children’s choir from the local primary school, which she would personally coach. She feels that this would be an ideal opportunity to engage with the local community and to recruit new choir members. Jo thanked Janette for her very helpful future planning.

8. Quiz Evening, Saturday 30 March 2019

The sub-committee reported that everything is in hand. Jo will ask at choir practice how many are expecting to come and, if they are not coming, if they would be prepared to donate raffle prizes.

9. Dates of next meetings

Committee Meeting: Thursday 23 May, 2.30 pm

Pre-concert checklist meeting: Monday 17 June, 7.00 pm

Summer Party: Saturday 13 July

AGM: Monday 23 September

10. AOB

(i) Friends: Carol reported that the number of Friends is dwindling. It was therefore agreed that the benefits of being a Friend should be promoted and that more people should be encouraged to become Friends.

(ii) HCS 20th year

Joanna pointed out that 2019 is HCS’s 20th year and suggested that this should be appropriately marked. It was agreed to incorporate this in publicity, and on the programme for the Summer Concert.

Minutes of the Extraordinary General Meeting held on  Monday 25th February 2019 during choir practice


MINUTES of the Extraordinary General Meeting held on Monday 25 February 2019 during choir practice

Printable pdf file of EGM Minutes available here

1. Welcome

Caroline Rodbourne (Vice Chair) welcomed everyone to the meeting.  She stressed the importance of the EGM, reminding choir members that it had been called because no-one to date has come forward to replace Jo Curry as Chair at the AGM on 23 September 2019; and that under the Charity Commission’s regulations, if a charity does not have a Chair, the Charity Commissioners will dissolve the organisation.

2. Apologies for absence were received (prior to the meeting) from Nathaniel Gee, Jo Curry and Carol Hammond.

3. Committee resignations

It was noted that in addition to the resignation of Jo at the AGM, Jenny Hyams (Minutes & Publicity Secretary) and Carol Hammond (Friends Co-ordinator) will also be resigning.  The roles and terms of office of Joanna Barfield (Membership Secretary), John Awty (Staging Manager), Julia Awty (Music Librarian), Malcolm Butcher (Treasurer) and Caroline Rodbourne (Vice Chair) were also noted.

4.Nominations for the four current vacancies on the Committee

Caroline explained that it is hoped to fill these vacancies with immediate effect, with a possible view to replacing the Chair from within the Committee, and the Minutes & Publicity Secretary from the Committee or from the choir, at the AGM.  This would give any possible candidates six months to see how the Committee functions, although it was pointed out that this may change after the AGM, with new Committee members and new ideas.

Two nominations have already been received:  

John Layton, proposed by Jo Curry, seconded by Jenny Hyams

Stella Brownsea, proposed by Jenny Hyams, seconded by Jo Curry

A third nomination was received at the meeting:

Kate Peacher, proposed by Lynda Austin, seconded by Joanna Barfield

Caroline thanked the three new Committee members for agreeing to be nominated.  The fourth Committee place is still vacant and Caroline urged choir members to consider putting themselves forward over the next few months.

5. Job descriptions for main Committee posts

Stella Brownsea and John Formston both felt that the Chair’s job description is much too onerous and that many of the Chair’s tasks should be delegated.  They were reassured that the job descriptions, and the Chair’s in particular, will be on the agenda for the next Committee meeting on 7 March.  The role of the Minutes & Publicity Secretary could be split into three jobs, ie Minutes, Publicity, and Programme. Malcolm Butcher indicated that he and Heather will be away for the best part of a year after the June concert. The day-to-day financial matters will be dealt with in his absence by Caroline, but Malcolm will maintain his role of Treasurer.  However, how future programmes, tickets and posters are designed and printed will have to be discussed before the end of June.

6. Other points raised

(i) Setting up and dismantling before/after choir practices:  Caroline asked the choir to help on a regular basis with setting up and dismantling before/after choir practices, and this was reinforced by Janette.  Sue Foster, and some others, said that they would help if they could, but other commitments prevent this. 

(ii) Arrangement of chairs:  on a suggestion from James Warren, it was agreed that next Monday 4 March, the chairs will be left with a gap down the middle, to see how this works, and to help reduce the amount of pre-practice setting up.

The EGM closed at 9.00 pm and choir practice resumed.







Monday 25 February 2019 during choir practice


Printable pdf of EGM Agenda

Printable pdf of Committee job descriptions

Printable pdf of ballot paper EGM and editable Word document ballot paper EGM

  1. Apologies for absence – to be received

2. Committee resignations – to consider and act upon the implications of pending resignations

The following Committee members will be resigning from the Committee at the AGM on 23 September 2019: Jo Curry (Chair), Jenny Hyams (Minutes & Publicity Secretary), and Carol Hammond (Friends Co-ordinator).

Other Committee members:

Joanna Barfield (Membership Secretary) will have to be re-elected at the AGM (assuming that she will wish to remain on the Committee) because her three-year term of office will have ended.

John Awty (Staging Manager) was elected to the Committee at the 2017 AGM and therefore will not require re-election until 2020.

Julia Awty (Music Librarian), Malcolm Butcher (Treasurer) and Caroline Rodbourne (Vice Chair) were re-elected to the Committee at the 2018 AGM and therefore will not require re-election until 2021.

Choir members are reminded that under the Charity Commission’s regulations if a charity does not have a Chair, the Charity Commissioners will dissolve the organisation.

  1. Ballot paper

Choir members are therefore asked to consider joining the Committee and filling the four current vacant places now, with a possible view to replacing the Chair from within the Committee, and the Minutes & Publicity Secretary from the Committee or from the choir, at the 2019 AGM.

Nominations have already been proposed and seconded for two of the four vacant places – printable ballot paper here. 


Monday 25 February 2019

BALLOT PAPER for the nomination of four Committee Members

1 John Layton Jo Curry Jenny Hyams
2 Stella Brownsea Jenny Hyams Jo Curry

When you have completed the ballot paper, either by printing off the pdf ballot paper or Word doc ballot paper, please return it to Jo Curry either as an email attachment to or in person at choir practice before 25th.

  1. Job Descriptions for main posts in Harleston Choral Society Committee


  • is first point of contact for all enquiries
  • Chairs all meetings
  • checks draft Agendas and Minutes, information to be posted on the website, and draft press releases
  • liaises with Committee
  • liaises with choir members
  • liaises with Musical Director
  • acts as GDPR (Data Protection) Lead
  • is au fait with HCS Constitution
  • writes two Newsletters pa
  • books both churches for choir practices and concerts
  • books King George Hall for use during concerts and concert rehearsal
  • applies for drinks licence for concerts
  • is responsible for Health & Safety
  • is responsible for Musical Director’s and Accompanist’s contracts
  • sets up London Road Church for choir practices

Vice Chair

  • stands in for Chair when necessary
  • acts as Deputy Treasurer for HCS’s day-to-day finances, when necessary and in the absence of the Treasurer


  • has overall responsibility for all HCS finances
  • has responsibility to keep income & expenditure up to date, and to present this at Committee meetings
  • has responsibility to get the accounts approved for the AGM by the auditor
  • liaises with Chair, Musical Director and Committee
  • is au fait with the HCS Constitution

Minutes & Publicity Secretary

  • liaises with Chair and Committee members
  • is au fait with HCS Constitution
  • draws up Agendas for Committee Meetings, and any other necessary meetings
  • takes Minutes and highlights Actions arising from these
  • creates Reports (edited version of Committee Minutes) for website
  • prepares all papers for the AGM
  • compiles and types Programme text, prior to printing
  • gives adequate warning to John Formston re concert[s] banner
  • sends press releases to parish magazines and other local publicity outlets, working to their press deadlines for the choir year, ie the start of the Summer Term, the Summer Concert, the Autumn Term, the Christmas Concert/start of January term 

Membership Secretary

  • liaises [mainly] with Chair and Minutes & Publicity Secretary
  • ‘meets and greets’ choir members at choir practices
  • keeps choir practice register up to date term by term
  • notifies choir members on line with choir information etc
  • prints off hard copies for those members who are not on line
  • has responsibility for monitoring GDPR within HCS
  • keeps the various sections of the website up to date, with Paul Cope (Website Manager)
  • liaises with Musical Director re input to website
  • organises outings to concerts, events etc
  • publicises ‘outside’ concerts
  • sends cards on behalf of HCS to choir members when appropriate

Music Librarian

  • liaises with Musical Director over the music required for concerts
  • orders music for choir, soloists and musicians when necessary, usually collected in person from Norwich Music Library
  • hands out music at the beginning of the Autumn and Spring Terms
  • collects in music used in previous concert, at the beginning of the Autumn and Spring Terms

Friends Co-ordinator

  • responsible for monitoring, and liaising with, the HCS Friends
  • responsible for sending out concert tickets – and letters/cards when necessary – to the Friends

Staging Manager

  • liaises with Membership Secretary re numbers of each voice part for seating arrangements at concerts
  • recruits and co-ordinates helpers to erect and dismantle concert staging
  • transports staging to/from St John’s (with helpers) before the Friday evening rehearsal and after the concert
  • transports chairs (with helpers) from King George Hall to/from St John’s

Committee as a whole

  • meetings: we have four full Committee Meetings pa (usually at 7.00 pm, in a Committee member’s house); plus the AGM at the end of September each year (during choir practice); plus ‘check list’ meetings the Mondays before concerts (in the London Road Church at 7.00 pm); and plus any other meetings as and when necessary, eg an EGM 
  • Sub-Committees: we form these when necessary 
  • Social Events: we organise social events, eg the annual Quiz Evening and Summer Garden Party
  • choir practices: we help set up the London Road Church prior to Monday evening choir practices

















Report of the Committee Meeting held on Thursday 24 January 2019 at 7.00 pm at The Dell, Billingford

                                    HARLESTON CHORAL SOCIETY

Printable pdf file of meeting report January 2019 available here

Report of the Committee Meeting held on Thursday 24 January 2019 at 7.00 pm at The Dell, Billingford

Present: John Awty, Julia Awty, Joanna Barfield, Malcolm Butcher, Jo Curry, Carol Hammond, Jenny Hyams, Caroline Rodbourne

In attendance: Janette Ruocco

Choir member observers: Stella Brownsea, John Layton – welcomed by Jo

  1. Apologies for Absence – none
  2. Minutes of the last meeting (Thursday 20 September 2018)

Confirmed and signed as a correct record, subject to amendments to two typos.

  1. Matters arising

Data Protection: Joanna reported that all consent forms have now been returned.

  1. Committee resignations and [currently four]vacancies and implications thereof

It was noted that Jo, Jenny and Carol intend to resign from the Committee with effect from the 2019 AGM; and that Malcolm will only be available as Treasurer on a part-time basis from May 2019, for probably a year.

A wide-ranging discussion followed on how to deal with the pending vacancies, and their implications, and the following action was agreed:

  • EGM to be held on Monday 25 February, during choir practice, to make all choir members aware of the pending Committee resignations and the implications of a no-Chair scenario
  • Caroline will take on the day-to-day Treasurer’s responsibilities (cheques, banking, subs), as from May
  • Malcolm will continue to act as Treasurer with responsibility for the annual accounts and his report to the AGM
  • job descriptions for all Committee posts to be posted on the Members’ area of the website, once firmed up
  • programme, posters and tickets: as Heather Butcher will not be available from May to design posters and tickets, and to print the programme, a meeting will be arranged between Heather, Malcolm and Jenny to discuss alternative arrangements
  • keyboard and keys to the church: Richard Thomas has now resigned from the Committee. Jo will therefore appeal to choir members at choir practice on 28th for regular help with moving and setting up the keyboard prior to choir practices

Finally, it was noted that the choir could, in a worst case scenario, continue to function without charitable status. 

  1. Treasurer

(i)         current state of finances: Malcolm distributed copies of the Income & Expenditure report for the year ended 31 August 2019, and reported that because of the increased number of choir members and therefore of subs, and of income from Gift Aid, the choir’s finances are now in a healthier state. He drew attention to his Cash Forecast 1st September 2018 – 31st August 2020 and pointed out that mainly because of cheaper concerts, he anticipates that income and expenditure will break even by the end of the next [choir] year.

(ii)        funding application: the text has nearly been completed but the financial sections will require input from Malcolm

(iii)       Helen Lunnon’s offer re merchandise:  it was agreed to go ahead with Helen Lunnon’s offer to get tote bags with the HCS logo, and/or pencils and rubbers, to raise income for the choir. The tote bags would cost £2.21 each per 100 ordered; if sold to choir members for £4.00 each, there would be a potential return of £179.00.

  1. Christmas Concert, 8 December 2018

Janette congratulated the choir on a very successful concert, which had required a lot of hard work, and the Telemann was not easy. Jo reported on the positive feedback from the choir and audience, and especial thanks were expressed to Janette and to Karen, both of whose post-concert letters to the choir were much appreciated. There were however a few reservations expressed about the Soprano and Bass soloists, and their and the Ensemble’s lack of engagement with the choir, which Janette agreed to address.

  1. Summer Concert, 22 June 2019

Janette said that she is inviting two more soloists to take the parts of the Two Witches in Dido and Aeneas, who may well bring their own audience with them. Julia said that because of the increase in the number of choir members, she has ordered more scores from Norfolk Music Library, with whom it is important to maintain links.

  1. Christmas Concert, Saturday 14 December 2019

Janette explained that she has been having second thoughts about the content of this concert, and would like replace it by bringing forward her plans for the Christmas Concert, 5 December 2020, The First Nowell, with Vaughan Williams’ The First Nowell in the first half of the programme. This will require soprano and baritone soloists, strings and a keyboard.

  1. Acapella Concert

Janette reported that an Octet from Braintree Choral Society has recently given an acapella concert and raised £500.00. She wondered whether this might be something that HCS might think about. It could be a social occasion as well as a concert, and could be held on a Sunday afternoon, possibly with tea and cake.

  1. Website

The handover from Jenny to Joanna is now complete. Joanna outlined what she and Paul Cope (Website Manager) will be doing to keep the website up to date, and the plans which they have, including more clips from recent concerts. She will also put choir practice content on to the Members’ area on a weekly basis, so that absentees can catch up. 

  1. Quiz Evening, Saturday 30 March, St James Village Hall

A sub-committee was formed, to deal with the arrangements.

  1. Dates of next meetings

Monday 25 February: EGM, during choir practice

Wednesday 6 March, 4.00 pm: Quiz Evening sub-committee meeting

Thursday 7 March, 2.30 pm: Committee Meeting

Saturday 30 March, 7.00 pm: Quiz Evening, St James Village Hall

Saturday 13 July: choir summer garden party

Monday 23 September: AGM, during choir practice

  1. AOB

(i)         Sending out urgent phone messages to choir members:  arrangements were made for five Committee members to act as phone callers in the event of choir practice having to be cancelled because of eg the weather.

(ii)        Heating in London Road church: Jo to ask the caretaker if he could put the heaters on in the main room before 7.00 pm, to give the room time to heat up adequately during very cold weather.

(iii)       New choir members: Stella pointed out how difficult it is for new choir members to know everyone’s names and suggested some form of ID for all choir members.  The Committe agreed to ask Helen Lunnon if this is something which she might be able to help with, eg name badges/brooches; and it was further agreed that voice part leaders should be formalised, so that all choir members know who to approach when necessary.  A display of choir mug-shots was also suggested.

































Practice Schedule


Purcell Anthology p. 22-23 Thou knowest Lord
                             p.18-21  Remember not Lord
                             p. 11-14 I was glad
                             p. 68-70 O sing unto the Lord
                             p. 75-77 Ditto


Purcell Anthology – p5 – 11 I was glad


D and A – p. 30-31 Harm’s our delight
p 32-33 Ho ho ho
p 35-36 Ho ho ho
p 39 In our deep vaulted cell
p 10-12 I was glad


Dido and Aeneas – page 11 When monarchs unite
p15 Fear no danger to ensue
p 45 Thank to these lonesome vales
p 52 Haste, haste to town
p 61Come away fellow sailors
p 76 Great minds against themselves conspire
p 81 With drooping wings


Purcell Anthology – Revise p.22/23 and p.91
Dido and Aeneas – p.11 When monarchs unite
                             – p.15/16 Fear no danger
                             – p.76/77 Great minds
                             – p.61-63 Come away – revise
                             – p.81-84  With drooping wings – revise


Purcell Anthology – p.22 Revise Thou knowest, Lord
                             – p.91only  Rejoice in the Lord alway
 NB Sops and altos sing countertenor part
Dido and Aeneas – p.76 and77
                             – p.81 – 84 NB be very soft on the word             soft!
                             – p.61-63 Revise


Purcell Anthology – p.22 Thou knowest, Lord, the secrets of our hearts
Dido and Aeneas – p.61 Come away, fellow sailors
NB Sung in West Country accent! So emphasising the letter ‘r’ and missing ‘g’ off words ending in -ing.

Dido and Aeneas Programme Notes

Dido and Aeneas


Act One

Scene: The Palace

Dido, Queen of Carthage (also called Elissa), is discovered in sorrowful mood, surrounded by her court and attended by her lady-in-waiting, Belinda. Belinda soon diagnoses that it is the presence of Aeneas, Dido’s princely Trojan guest, which is at the root of the queen’s unhappiness. The chorus of courtiers support Belinda’s suggestion that a marriage between the two monarchs would solve Carthage’s problems, and that Aeneas is in any case as much in love as Dido. Aeneas enters with his train. Dido receives him coolly, but Belinda and the courtiers support his suit. The scene ends with a dance of triumph as Dido’s acceptance of Aeneas is celebrated by the whole court.

1 Shake the clouds from off your brow Belinda

2 Banish sorrow, banish care Chorus

3 Ah! Belinda, I am pressed with torment Dido

4 Grief increases by concealing Belinda, Dido

5 When monarchs unite, how happy their state Chorus

6 Whence could so much virtue spring? Dido, Belinda

7 Fear no danger to ensue Belinda, Second Woman, Chorus

8 See, your Royal guest appears Belinda, Aeneas, Dido

9 Cupid only throws the dart Chorus

10 If not for mine, the empire’s sake Aeneas, Belinda

11 To the hills and the vales Chorus

12 The Triumphing Dance

Act Two

Scene 1: The Cave

The scene changes to a cave in which lives the evil Sorceress. She invokes her wicked companions to join her in plotting the destruction of Dido and of Carthage. For a little extra mischief, they plan to conjure a storm to spoil the hunting expedition of the court. The whole scene, with its mocking choral laughter, its references (in the strings) to the horn calls of the hunt in progress, and its echo chorus and dance, illustrate the insidious beauty which can attend the course of evil as surely as that of good.

13 Wayward sisters, you that fright Sorceress, First Witch

    Harm’s our delight Chorus

14 The Queen of Carthage, whom we hate Sorceress

    Ho ho ho! Chorus

15 Ruined ere the set of sun? First and Second Witch, Sorceress

    Ho ho ho! Chorus

16 But ere we this perform First and Second Witch

17 In our deep vaulted cell Chorus in the manner of an echo

18 Echo Dance of Furies

Act Two

Scene 2: The Grove

Dido, Aeneas and their entourage pause in the grove during their hunting expedition. Belinda and the courtiers sing of the sylvan beauty of the grove. The Second Woman reminds them that the virgin goddess Diana frequents this place. It was here that the hunter Actaeon met his fate, torn apart by his own hounds after glimpsing the naked goddess bathing. The idyll is interrupted by distant thunder, and Belinda warns everyone to hurry back to town to seek shelter from the approaching storm.  Aeneas alone is stopped by the appearance of Mercury – in reality, the Sorceress’s ‘trusty elf’ in disguise. The false spirit reminds Aeneas of Jove’s command that he must found a new Troy in Italy. Aeneas is left to reconcile himself to fulfilling the gods’ commands and abandoning Dido, a task, he says, more difficult than death.

19 Ritornelle

20 Thanks to these lonesome vales Belinda, Chorus

21 Oft she visits this lone mountain Second Woman

22 Behold, upon my bending spear Aeneas, Dido

23 Haste, haste to town Belinda, Chorus

24 Stay, Prince, and hear great Jove’s command Spirit, Aeneas

Act Three

Scene 1: The Harbour at Carthage

All is prepared for the departure of Aeneas and the Trojan fleet. A sailor urges his companions to a drunken and cynical leave-taking of their Carthaginian girlfriends. The Sorceress and her supernatural band celebrate the success of their plot.

25 Come away, fellow sailors A Sailor, Chorus

26 The Sailors’ Dance

27 See the flags and streamers curling Sorceress, First & Second Witch

28 Our next motion Sorceress

29 Destruction’s our delight Chorus

30 The Witches’ Dance

Act Three

Scene 2

Dido is full of foreboding, and Aeneas’ appearance confirms her worst fears. She taunts his attempts at explanation and when he announces his determination to flout the gods and stay with her, she will have none of a lover who had once thought of leaving her. It is not until his departure that she admits that ‘death must come when he is gone’. The chorus prepares the way for Dido’s great farewell to life: the aria ‘When I am laid in earth’, one of the greatest moments in all opera. “Remember me,” sings the Queen, “but ah! forget my fate”. A chorus of mourning Cupids sing of scattering roses on the tomb of the tender-hearted queen, providing a uniquely beautiful ending to Purcell’s opera.  

31 Your counsel all is urged in vain Dido, Belinda, Aeneas

32 Great minds against themselves conspire Chorus

33 Thy hand, Belinda; darkness shades me Dido

34 When I am laid in earth Dido

35 With drooping wings Chorus


Christmas Newsletter

Dear Fellow Choir Members,

I hope you have had a good Christmas and New Year break and are in good voice and raring to sing when we all meet up next Monday.  I, for one, am very much looking forward to singing the Purcell programme.

I do want to thank you all for your part in making our Christmas concert such a success.  I think many of us were a bit worried that we wouldn’t get on top of the Telemann but we did and the whole event was very enjoyable.  I got lots of lovely feedback from members of the audience, including a very enthusiastic Nigel, the Vicar, and his Deacon, Lucy. Tommy Gee (our founder’s husband and our Patron’s father) was most complimentary too.  Janette recorded the concert and CD’s will be available soon for you to purchase as a souvenir of a wonderful occasion.

Extra special thanks to Janette for her encouragement and expertise.  She has lifted us to a further level and the fact that we have increased numbers and lots of people say how much they enjoy working with her is testament to how much she has brought to the choir.  Thanks also to Karen, whose musicality, humour and rapport with Janette have been so vital to our progress. Long may their partnership with us continue.

I would also like to thank Richard Thomas, who is stepping down from the Committee for personal reasons, for all his generous and substantial support.  I am hoping he will still be able to sing with us but we will very much miss him on the Committee.

This does mean that we now have four vacancies on the Committee and it would be lovely if some of you feel that you might be able contribute by joining us.  I will be stepping down as Chair and Jenny Hyams as Minutes and Publicity Secretary at the next AGM in September so we do need to find replacements for our roles in the interim, the sooner the better so we can pass on our experience and knowledge of how it all works.  As I hope you are aware, the choir cannot continue to exist without a Chair. I have really enjoyed my five years in the role and am very grateful to Brian and Pat, our previous Chair and Secretary, who were so helpful to me and continue to be stalwart members of the choir.  However I do feel that, as with any organisation, change is necessary for healthy continuation and now that Janette is firmly established as our dynamic Conductor, it is time to pass the baton on.

Finally, and with great sadness, I have to tell you of the death of Ruth Cawcutt’s husband Peter after a long illness.  Ruth has been with the choir almost since the beginning and is the mainstay of the Sopranos and she will return and sing with us when she feels ready.  In the meantime, Peter’s funeral will be on the 25th January at 12.30 at Mendham Church.  I will be there and I am sure many of you will want to go and support Ruth then.

Happy New Year to you all and see you on the 7th.

All the very best,




Programme Notes for the Christmas Concert by Janette Ruocco

Christmas Concert  – 8 December 2018 Programme Notes    – Janette Ruocco

Messiah [part 1] Georg Frideric Handel (1685-1759)

In July 1741 Handel’s librettist, Charles Jennens wrote that “Handel says he will do nothing next Winter, but I hope I shall persuade him to set another Scripture collection I have made for him….The subject is Messiah.” Jennens selected texts from the authorised version of the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer and he skilfully combined them to illustrate the fulfilment of Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah related in the Gospels.

Although we are only performing Part I of Messiah this evening, readers may appreciate a reminder of the context of three parts that comprise Handel’s setting: Part I Christ’s Coming, Part II Christ’s Passion, Part III Christ’s Resurrection. Handel completed the first draft of Messiah in 24 days, and when it was first performed in Dublin on April 13th 1742 it was very well received. It was quickly taken up by various music societies across the country and its popularity soon eclipsed Handel’s other oratorios.

One historical commentator has described Messiah as a quasi-national institution, citing large-scale performances with choirs of 4000 in the 19th century as providing ‘a convenient mouthpiece for the Victorian doctrines of progress and social amelioration.’

1 Sinfonia

2 Accompagnato: (tenor) Isaiah 40 vv1-3

Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

3 Air: (tenor) Isaiah 40 v4

Ev’ry valley shall be exalted, and ev’ry mountain and hill be made low: the crooked straight and the rough places plain:

4 Chorus: Isaiah 40 v5

And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

5 Accompagnato: (bass) Haggai 2 vv6-7

Thus saith the Lord, the Lord of hosts: yet once, a little while and I will shake the heavens and the earth, the sea, and the dry land. And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come.

Malachi 3 v1

The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.

6 Air: (alto) Malachi 3 v2

But who may abide the day of his coming? And who shall stand when he appeareth? For he is like a refiner’s fire.

7 Chorus: Malachi 3 v

And he shall purify the sons of Levi, that they may offer unto the Lord, an offering of righteousness.

8 Recitative: (alto) Isaiah 7 v14; Matthew 1 v23

Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel, God with us.

9 Air: (alto & chorus) Isaiah 40 v9

O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, get thee up into the high mountain. O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!

Isaiah 60 v1

Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.

10 Accompagnato: (bass) Isaiah 60 vv2-3

For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

11 Air: (bass) Isaiah 9 v2

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; and they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

12 Chorus: Isaiah 9 v6

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

13 Pifa: Sinfonia pastorale

14a Recitative: (soprano) Luke 2 v8

There were shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

14b Accompagnato: (soprano) Luke 2 v9

And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them: and they were sore afraid.

15 Recitative: (soprano) Luke 2 vv10-11

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you glad tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

16 Accompagnato: (soprano) Luke 2 v13

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

17 Chorus: Luke 2 v14

Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth, good will toward men.

18 Air: (soprano) Zechariah 9 vv9-10

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is the righteous Saviour, and he shall speak peace unto the heathen.

19 Recitative: (alto) Isaiah 35 vv5-6

Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing.

20 Duet: (soprano & alto) Isaiah 40 v11

He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: and he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.

Matthew 11 3 vv28-29

Come unto him, all ye that labour, come unto him, that are heavy laden, and he will give you rest. Take his yoke upon you, and learn of him; for he is meek and lowly of heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

21 Chorus: Matthew 11 v30

His yoke is easy, and his burthen is light. 


German Magnificat Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767)

Telemann’s German Magnificat (Meine Seele erhebt den Herrn) is based on the song of praise of Mary, taken from Luke 1:vv46-55 in Luther’s translation. Mary uttered this song of praise when Elisabeth foretold that Mary would bear the Messiah.

The text has always had a central place in the Vespers service and, during the Baroque era it was often set to festive music, especially at Christmas. Telemann divides the text into eight sections, allocating four to the choir and one to each of the soloists.


1 Choir

All my spirit exalts the Lord, and I sing joyously to my God, my own Saviour.

2 Soprano

Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid: for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

3 Choir

Because he is that is mighty hath done great things to me, and holy is his name.

4 Alto

And his mercy is from generations unto generations, to them that fear him.

5 Choir

He hath shewed might in his arm and he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. He hath put down the mighty from their seat and hath exalted the humble.

6 Tenor

He hath filled the hungry with good things and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath received Israel his servant, being mindful of his mercy.

7 Bass

As he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his seed for ever.

8 Choir

Glory be to God the Father and the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, and is now, and shall be both now and evermore. Amen.


Welcome to the new autumn term


We are looking forward to welcoming you all  to the new term of Harleston Choral Society practices.