|Friday, September 24th 2021||Contact Us | Links | Members|
|OXSHOTT CHORAL SOCIETY|
|A Constituent Choir of the Leith Hill Musical Festival|
Oxshott Choral Society is a friendly and enthusiastic amateur SATB choir, currently around 40 strong. We meet for rehearsal every Wednesday evening from 8-10pm, in St Mary's Church Hall, Stoke d'Abernon, Surrey. We welcome new members in all voices throughout the season. No auditions are held, and although the ability to read music would be an advantage, it is not a requirement. Being able to count from 1 to 4 without moving your lips or using your fingers would also be useful. Let us know if you are interested in joining.
Our conductor Val Beynon has been in post for almost half a century, and is ably assisted by our accompanist David Harvey.
Apart from our own concerts locally, Oxshott Choral Society is a member choir
of the famous Leith Hill Musical Festival (LHMF) which is held annually
at Dorking in Surrey and is established as one of England's leading choral events. The Festival is held in the Dorking Halls, which were
built to accommodate the Festival, opening its doors for the first time in 1931. You can find out more about the Halls and their
connection with the Festival here.
Read more . . .
The Competition Day of the LHMF is the focus of Oxshott's choral season. The Festival was established in 1905 by Margaret Vaughan Williams, sister of the famous composer, and Evangeline Farrer, and it's aim now as then is to promote and facilitate choral singing in the villages and towns of Surrey. As well as the Competition, ususally held in April, there is a Singing Day for Youth Choirs, and a performance of either Handel's Messiah or one of the Bach Passions in March/April, open to all singers. Rehearsals for this are held in Dorking, on Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons, starting after the Christmas break.
The music for the competition is chosen by the LHMF Music Committee. There are one or sometimes two pieces for Full Chorus, and there are also classes for madrigals, partsongs, songs for Upper Voices and Lower Voices and ensembles, and an open class for a piece of each choir's own choosing. Each division of four choirs has a different set of music, and sings on a different day. The competition element of the Festival covers all classes and takes place in the morning. In the afternoon, the friendly rivalry of the competition is put aside for a combined rehearsal, with orchestra, and in the evening a grand concert, when trophies are awarded for the morning's winners. The current Festival conductor is Jonathan Willcocks, who took over from Brian Kay in 2017.
Three combined rehearsals are held in Dorking, in 2019 at the Priory School, during the run-up to the Festival, to make sure, literally, that all choirs are "singing from the same song-sheet".
The annual Christmas concert is usually held in St Andrew's Church, Oxshott, just before Christmas (it seemed appropriate).
In mid-June, we give our Summer Concert, in recent years in collaboration with Horsley Choral Society, which is also conducted by Val Beynon.
This is largely dictated by the music chosen for us in the LHMF competition, although within that there is one 'Own Choice' piece. Our Christmas concert usually includes a main piece, such as Vivaldi's Gloria, as well as seasonal songs and carols. In the Summer, the music tends to be in a lighter vein - for example in 2018 we performed Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem, in the version for four-hand piano accompaniment.
Rehearsals are held each Wednesday evening during term time, from 8pm to 10pm, in St Mary's Church Hall, Stoke Road, Stoke d'Abernon KT11 3PX. The hall is accessible to wheelchair users, with a ramp from ground level. Once inside, everything is on the same level, with no steps, and there is a toilet for the disabled.
The benefits to your emotional, physical and spiritual well-being of singing have been widely publicised in recent years. Singing in a group is as much the perfect antidote to a busy, stressful, technology-packed existence as it is an exciting break from the tedium of retirement. And there's nothing interesting on television on Wednesday evenings.
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