Notes from Rehearsal with Carolyn – 26/2/19

Published on February 27, 2019,

[Note from Webmaster:  The original email contained an except from a musical score which does not format correctly here]

We were a little thin last night with a 69% turnout at the Church of St Lawrence. Here are the latest transactions of Winchester Community Choir for the benefit of the 29 members who could not attend.

It was an evening of reminiscences. Happily, we remembered the birthday of Maddy Taylor, composer of This Day is Past and several other songs in the choir’s repertoire. Sadly, we learned of the untimely death of Graham Curran, best friend of six-year-old Carolyn Robson, cherub-faced, angelic-voiced but with an unfortunate nickname (withheld out of respect for the dead and to save this email from becoming too bawdy). For all his good qualities he was the unwitting cause of the young Carolyn’s downfall (one of them, anyway). Picture the scene. Mist drifts across a bare northern landscape; the unmistakeable, malty smell of baking bread from the nearby Hovis factory; a solitary, distant musician practicing the Northumbrian pipes; cloth-capped men walking their whippets; the sound of joyful children playing tag. When a piercing scream rends the still air. The youthful Carolyn has tripped over a fallen branch and fatty….  (oops, I said I wouldn’t out of respect for the dead) Graham has fallen on top of her. The sharp snap of a fractured ulna and Carolyn lies motionless on the cold turf. A creamy-white ambulance with analogue bells (not those nasty digital sirens we have now) rushes to the scene; stretcher bearers who learned their trade on the beaches of Dunkirk rush her to the nearest Nissen hut where the nascent NHS applies the plaster of Paris and Carolyn’s conducting arm is saved for the nation and posterity. It could have turned out so differently.

We reached top G in the warm up and learned a jolly scat called Jazz Pick and Mix (or as the basses called it, the “banana bap song” as this was the entirety of the lyrics they had to sing). Then we rehearsed:

The Northamptonshire May Song
Syd attempted to claim this song for Basingstoke by naming the sound files Northants May Song. But don’t be confused; we’re talking county north of Oxford. Main point to share: there is only a very, very slight slowing down (rallentando) at the end of this song, more like an emphasis than a slowing down.

Donal My Own
The treatise on dotted notes in my last email was incomplete. One of the phrases in this song is different from the others I listed there. In verse 7, there is a Scottish snap, where the first note in the phrase “Gallant and tall” is short, and the dotted note second. Here it is:” src=”blob:https://winchestercommunitychoir.co.uk/7a4235d1-efee-443b-9407-1eb155f0ecb1″ alt=”A close up of text on a white background Description automatically generated” class=”Apple-web-attachment Singleton Apple-edge-to-edge-visual-media” style=”width: 5.2395in; height: 0.9375in; opacity: 1;”>

We practised it several times to get it right.


One Voice
A problem with version control! The sound files recorded by Sarah Morgan and available on our website are different from the score that Carolyn was conducting from. Those eagle eyed Altos again. So, we aborted rehearsal of this song until Carolyn sorts it out.


This Day is Past
Composed by birthday girl Maddy Taylor, we had a good rehearsal of this song. A typo was clarified: we are singing “So take your lass and raise your glass” in the first line of the chorus (different from the score) and while we’re at it the penultimate line of verse 2 should begin “And many a glass…” Your version may be OK, but if not please make the corrections.

All this led Lesley from the Tunes to seek some clarification on pronunciation. Should we sing “glass” with a short, northern vowel to rhyme with “lass” or with a long, plummy vowel to rhyme with “arse”? In fairness, Lesley didn’t use that word, but I can’t think how better to describe the dilemma to you. After a long digression into Carolyn’s filmic career and the advice given to her by a voice coach, the answer came: either way is OK. I will return to Carolyn’s life in the movies at a later date, after further research.

Now, some parish notices, including news of an exciting Prize Draw.

Much of our repertoire is in anthologies available to purchase from Carolyn if you want to see the score. Carolyn emphasises that she does not benefit financially from these sales. Proceeds go to the composers/arrangers and to the Sarah Morgan Foundation. A number of choir members have taken books with Carolyn’s permission, on the understanding that they will pay later. So, if you owe some money for these purchases, please let her have the readies next rehearsal. Outgoings and receipts do not reconcile at the moment.

Here are the anthologies that contain some of our current repertoire, in case you’re thinking of making a purchase (at £10 per book):


Donal My Own                  appears in Songs in Harmony: Book One by Graham Pratt

The Northamptonshire May Song

                                                appears in Cottage Garden Trees by Sarah Morgan

This Day is Past                 appears in Fine Songs for Singing by Maddy Taylor, arr. Graham Pratt


And finally, I’m pleased to tell you that the choir now has its own YouTube channel. Our first video is a sampler of tracks from our CD. You can get to the video by following this link:


We hope other good-quality audio and video clips will follow, for example, extracts from Sarah Morgan’s viva voce examination that was recorded at the Church of St Lawrence by Winchester University in 2014.

Would choir members please take 5 minutes this week to view the video of our CD sampler, like or dislike it and leave a comment. If we do this, Winchester Community Choir is more likely to appear at or near the top of YouTube searches. At the moment nearby community choirs (for example in Southampton University or Sing Winchester) are more likely to appear when you enter the search term “Winchester Community Choir”. As an incentive, choir members who leave a comment on our YouTube video will be entered into a


Prize Draw

with a chance to win a £15 Marks & Spencer Gift Card. The price of a very nice bottle of wine, a meal for two or a new pair of undies could be yours for the winning. If you use an alias or nickname when you leave a comment on YouTube, please email me and tell me so that I can identify you and enter you in the draw. If like Christopher Napier, the first person to leave a comment on our channel, you use your full name, then I’ll identify you anyway. The draw will take place at our next rehearsal on 5th March 2019 and is open to all recipients of this email (current members and subscribing sabbaticals). I can’t wait.


Happy YouTubeing…..


Denis Gibson

Membership Secretary

Winchester Community Choir

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