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Leith Hill 2016

 
 



The adjudicators were Paul Spicer and Jeremy Backhouse, and this is what they thought:
 
 
Full Chorus Haydn Harmoniemesse 167 Men's Song The Old Superb (Stanford) 85 1st
Full Chorus Vaughan Williams' Serenade to Music Women's Song Tread Softly (Bullard) 86 2nd
Full Chorus Combined Score 167 3rd Part Song Three Hungarian Folksongs 82 3rd
Ensemble I In These Delightful, Pleasant Groves 80 5th Madrigal Now is the Gentle Season (Morley) 85 2nd=
Ensemble II In These Delightful, Pleasant Groves 79 6th Open Class Flight Song 86 2nd



Christmas Concert - St Andrew's, Oxshott 2015


The programme for our Christmas concert, on Saturday December 12th, at St. Andrew's Church, included Mozart's Solemn Vespers, and seasonal carols. Our nominated charity was The Marfan Trust, a charity that promotes awareness of Marfan Syndrome and raises money for research into the causes and into effective treatments for the various symptoms, and we raised £1002 to help their work. out more about their work.




Leith Hill 2015

 
  The 2015 Leith Hill Musical Festival.....
. . . began with a performance of Handel's Messiah, on Sunday March 8th, followed by the Youth Choir Day on Saturday March 14th. The main Festival took place on April 9th - 11th, with Oxshott's division competing on Friday 10th. The Main Chorus works were Mendelssohn's Hymn of Praise, and Dances of Time, a piece by Bob Chilcott commissioned by the Leith Hill Musical Festival to celebrate Brian Kay's 20 years as Festival conductor.
 
 
Full Chorus Mozart Missa Brevis in Bb KV275 84 Men's Song Ching-A-Ring-Chaw (Copland) 85 2nd
Full Chorus Requiem for an Angel (Paul Carr) 85 Women's Song Charles Augustus Fortescue 86 2nd
Full Chorus Combined Score 169 3rd Part Song Feasting I Watch (Elgar) 85 2nd=
Ensemble I The Long Day Closes (Sullivan) 85 2nd= Madrigal Now is the Gentle Season (Morley) 85 2nd=
Ensemble II The Long Day Closes 85 2nd= Open Class Abendlied (Rheinberger) 84 2nd



Summer Concert 2014


On Saturday June 15th, Oxshott Choral Society presented "Eventide", a programme of music for a summer evening, which included Faure's ever-popular Requiem and the Canteen of Jean Racique. We were again joined by singers from Horsley Choral Society, but unusually the concert was not held in St. Andrew's Church Oxshott, our normal venue, because of the church's re-ordering. Instead we performed in the chapel at St. John's School Leatherhead and in spite of the move the concert attracted a large and enthusiastic audience.




Leith Hill 2014

 
  The works in the Main Chorus category this year were one of Mozart's missae breves (had to look that up!) K275 in B-flat, and Requiem for an Angel by Paul Carr. It was a relatively disappointing performance in the competition this year compared to last - we were second in every category apart from the Main Chorus, where we were runners-up to the runners-up. Holmbury St. Mary excelled again, winning everything apart from the part-song, which went to Buckland & Betchworth, new participants in the division this year.

Paul Carr presented the prizes.

The adjudicators were Ben Costello and Chris Mallinson, and this is what they thought:
 
 
Full Chorus Mozart Missa Brevis in Bb KV275 84 Men's Song Ching-A-Ring-Chaw (Copland) 85 2nd
Full Chorus Requiem for an Angel (Paul Carr) 85 Women's Song Charles Augustus Fortescue 86 2nd
Full Chorus Combined Score 169 3rd Part Song Feasting I Watch (Elgar) 85 2nd=
Ensemble I The Long Day Closes (Sullivan) 85 2nd= Madrigal Now is the Gentle Season (Morley) 85 2nd=
Ensemble II The Long Day Closes 85 2nd= Open Class Abendlied (Rheinberger) 84 2nd



Christmas Concert - St Andrew's, Oxshott 2013


We performed our traditional candlelit concert at St Andrew's, Oxshott, presenting Puccini's Messa di Gloria and after refreshment of mince pies, sausage rolls and a glass of wine, favourite carols and contemporary festive music. We welcomed and were accompanied by David Harvey, our regular rehearsal accompanist, on the piano, and David Marriott on the organ, tho not both at the same time of course. Helen Pritchard and Jane Searle provided the solo entertainment and as always we were in the capable hands of Val Beynon. All proceeds were in aid of the Leatherhead branch of Riding for the Disabled, for whom just over £1000 was raised. Visit their website to find out more about their work.




Summer Concert 2013


On Saturday June 15th, Oxshott Choral Society presented "This Sceptred Isle", a celebration of English music, including Parry’s Blest Pair of Sirens, and The King Shall Rejoice by Handel (don't bother). We were again joined by singers from Horsley Choral Society. Soloists Jane Searle and Geoffrey Horton entertained us, as did flautist Jane Pickles.




Leith Hill 2013

 
  We met with some success in the annual Festival competition, which took place on April 11th - 13th. We took first place in the Women's Song (It was a Lover and his Lass - Willcocks) and Men's Song (The Farmer's Boy - RVW), and our three Ensembles were 1st and 2nd equal, with RVW's Linden Lea. We lost to Holmbury St Mary in the Main Chorus category, in which we sang Mozart's Coronation Mass K317 and Lauridsen's Lux Aeterna, and in the Madrigal, Part-song and Own Choice classes.

Prizes were presented by Councillor Caroline Salmon, Chairman of Mole Valley District Council, who leapt at the chance when offered.

Adjudicators Marcus Pashley and Molly Townson gave the following marks:
 
 
Full Chorus Coronation Mass 85 Men's Song The Farmer's Boy 88 1st
Full Chorus Lux Aeterna 86 Women's Song It was a Lover and His Lass (Willcocks) 90 1st
Full Chorus Combined Score 171 2nd Part Song Sing as One (Assersohn) 84 2nd=
Ensemble I Linden Lea 86 1st Madrigal To Shorten Winter's Sadness 89 2nd
Ensemble II Linden Lea 85 2nd= Open Class It was a Lover and His Lass (Shearing) 87 2nd=
Ensemble III Linden Lea 85 2nd=



Christmas Concert 2012


On Saturday December 8th, Oxshott Choral Society gave their traditional Christmas concert, entitled "Star Bright", aided and abetted by soprano Jane Searle and alto Tessa Forbes, with Robin Wells on the organ. The main work was Vivaldi's Gloria, followed by carols and christmas songs. Profits of around £1500 were donated to the St. Andrew's Church Development Fund. See the St. Andrew's website for information about the project.


Verdi Requiem - Guildford 2012


On November 24th 2012 Oxshott Choral Society joined with three other choirs to perform Verdi's Requiem, in Guildford's new GLive venue. Leatherhead, Horsley and Oxshott Choral Societies and Concordia were under the baton of Ian Assersohn, who wrote:

"To all my Four Choir friends,

I am writing this on the day after the Verdi concert - I wanted to try to put my thoughts down while the experience was still vivid and fresh in my mind. To put it simply, the performance completely surpassed my every expectation, and the singing of the chorus in particular was a revelation. The Dies Irae was totally spine-chilling, the fugues were rhythmical, clean and beautifully together, the chanting in the Libera Me was spot-on and the unaccompanied repeat of the requiem near the end magically beautiful - it very nearly reduced me to tears. The intonation throughout was (almost) perfect and the diction crystal clear. But more importantly, the whole piece resonated with passion and commitment from every single person in the choir. I don't really know what more I could have asked for! I think you will agree that the four soloists were also magnificent and the orchestral playing superb throughout.

I found the whole performance wonderfully uplifting, and very moving and I know from the many lovely comments I have received that this reaction was shared by many, many people who were lucky enough to be there.

This project began as a dream of mine a long time ago: my earliest email on the topic is dated February 2009. But it was the enthusiastic support of the committees of each of the four choirs, and of course of the wonderful Val Beynon, that made it a possibility. And it was the hard work and dedication of every singer in the choirs that made it a reality. Oh, and well done to all for selling so many tickets! I'm sure your guests will have felt it was an evening well spent.

So, thank you to the committee, thank you to Val, and also to our accompanists David, Gina and Judith, And particularly, thank you to everyone who took part for sharing my dream, and for putting on a performance that none of us who were there will every forget.

Ian"
Ian Assersohn - Conductor





Summer Concert 2012


On Saturday June 16th, Oxshott Choral Society presented "Best of British", a celebration of British composers, including Handel, Vaughan Williams, Walton, Parry and Stanford. We were joined by singers from Horsley Choral Society.



Leith Hill 2012

 
  Another year when the taking part was deemed to be more important than winning - we were second in every category apart from the Women's Song, where we were runners-up to the runners-up. Holmbury St. Mary excelled again, winning every class.

James Bowman, the renowned counter-tenor, presented the prizes.

The adjudicators were Eric Tebbett and Philip White, and this is what they thought:
 
 
Full Chorus Brahms German Requiem 171 2nd Men's Song Peter Piper 86 2nd
Women's Song To the Ploughboy 84 3rd
Part Song Londonderry Air 85 2nd
Ensemble I Younger Generation 84 3rd= Madrigal Mother, I will have a husband 85 2nd=
Ensemble II Younger Generation 84 3rd= Open Class The Goose and the Swan 85 2nd



Christmas Concert 2011


On Saturday December 10th, our Christmas concert, entitled "Joyfully Rejoice", included works by Pergolesi and Buxtehude. Soprano Jane Searle, tenor James Kinsella and bass Geoffrey Horton helped, and the audience joined in with some carols and christmas songs. Profits were donated to TALK, the Surrey charity that helps people suffering with aphasia after a stroke. Don't know what aphasia is? Look at the TALK website.



Leith Hill 2011

 
   

Mark Stringer, a Director at Trinity College London, presented the prizes.

The adjudicators were Sarah Tenant Flowers and Steven Roberts, and this is what they thought:
 
 
Full Chorus Beethoven Mass in C 170 2nd Men's Song With a Voice of Singing 86 2nd
Women's Song Wedding Chorus 87 2nd
Part Song Come Live with Me 89 1st
Ensemble I The Water of Tyne 82 5th Madrigal Fine Knacks for Ladies 84 3rd
Ensemble II The Water of Tyne 84 3rd Open Class The Seal Lullaby 87 1st



Christmas Concert 2010


In our Christmas concert, entitled "Gloria", we sang John Rutter's Gloria, fittingly, and Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on Christmas Carols. Baritone Davis Salmon deputised for the indisposed Geoffrey Horton, Robin Wells accompanied on the organ and piano, and trumpeter Roy Falshaw contributed some fine solo pieces. The audience joined in with some carols and christmas songs after seasonal refreshments. Profits from the evening were donated to The Children's Trust, Tadworth, who provide care, education, therapy and rehabilitation to children with multiple disabilities. Find out more at The Children's Trust website.



Summer Concert 2010


On Saturday June 12th, we presented "Summertime", a celebration of summer, love, daffodils (late flowering variety), bluebirds, and all sorts of other nice things. Soloists Jane Searle and Geoffrey Hortonsang some lovely solos for us. We are grateful to ABC Music who provided the piano, which was ably played by David Harvey, our regular rehearsal accompanist. You can shop at ABC Music online, (ABC Music's website), or visit their showroom at 85 High Street, Esher.




Christmas Concert 2009


Our Christmas concert, "Hallelujah!", included Part One of Handel's Messiah as the main work. Soprano Jane Searle, tenor Paul Smy and baritone Geoffrey Horton helped, with Alexis Affonso accompanying on the organ and piano. The audience joined in with some carols and christmas songs after a mince pie interval. Profits were donated to the Otakar Kraus Music Trust, a charity using music and voice therapy for children and young people with physical, psychological, learning, behavioural and emotional difficulties. Find out more about their activities at the Otakar Kraus Music Trust website.



Leith Hill 2009

Oxshott Choral Society met with some success in the annual Festival competition. We won the Noel Farrer Banner for the Full Chorus, and came second in the Women's Song, the Men's Song and the Part Song, and joint second in the Madrigal. Our consistency earned us the Dorking Chamber of Commerce Silver Cock for the Second Highest Aggregate score, and in addition we won the Dr Willam Cole Banner for the Highest Mark awarded during the three-day festival. Holmbury St Mary won everythimg else, repeating their success of 2008.



Kids for Kids Charity Concert - St Paul's, Knightsbridge 2007

In December, we took part in our third Kids for Kids Charity concert of Readings and Carols, in conjunction with the Danes Hill Senior Choir, in the beautiful St Paul's Church in Knightsbridge. The charity's aim is to help children and their communities in Darfur by providing them with, among other things, goats and donkeys. You can find out more about their work at the Kids for Kids website. The concert was compered by Alastair Stewart, and along with readings by Prunella Scales and Ruth Rendell, there was a stunning performance of a Bach solo violin Partita by Ruth Palmer, who was the winner of the 2007 Young British Classical Performer Award.



Christmas Concert - St Andrew's, Oxshott 2007

We performed our traditional candlelit concert at St Andrew's, Oxshott, presenting Vivaldi's Gloria and after refreshment of mince pies, sausage rolls and a glass of wine, favourite carols and contemporary festive music. We welcomed and were accompanied by organist and pianist Nigel Wicken. Helen Pritchard and Jane Searle provided the solo entertainment and as always we were in the capable hands of Val Beynon. All proceeds were in aid of a local charity, Epilepsy Action, for whom almost £1400 was raised.



The Spring Concert 2007 - Menuhin Hall

Our last concert of the 2006-2007 season took place in the stunning new Menuhin Hall concert venue in Stoke D'Abernon, where we combined with the senior choir of Danes Hill School. The main work was John Rutter's Mass of the Children, written as a token of gratitude for what the composer describes as the thrillng times he spent as a child chorister singing with adult choirs. The programme continued with a variety of songs and short pieces, with a tribute to Elgar in his 150th anniversary year, two of Matthew Harris's elegant Shakespearean song settings, and traditional spirituals, as well as four songs by the children.


Photo: Kim Hunt
Oxshott Choral Society and
the Danes Hill Senior Choir, with their conductor Valerie Beynon and soloists Helen Pritchard and
Simon Wilson.


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The Leith Hill Musical Festival 2007

We had some success this year, achieving the Highest Aggregate Score in our division, an improvement on last year's 2nd Highest. We also won the Men's Song and the Part Song (both for the second year running), and the Madrigal class. As usual, the whole day was most enjoyable, and it culminated in the combined choir concert, conducted by Brian Kay.


Photo: Kim Hunt
Oxshott Ladies singing
their way to success in
the Ladies' Song



The Combined Choirs of Div. 1
put their differences behind
them (and most of the Ladies out of shot!) on the concert platform, under the baton of the celebrated Mr. Kay


Photo: Kim Hunt



Photo: Kim Hunt
Val Beynon receiving the Mary Wakefield Medal for Highest Aggregate Score from Dr David Betts, Secretary of the RVW Society


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Tour to Belgium 2006

In May, a group of about 50 from the choir and some friends from Canada went on Tour to Belgium. We were based in Ghent and gave concerts in Ghent and Ypres. The weather was mixed but that did not stop us enjoying these beautiful cities. There was a great deal to see and do and several took boat trips round the rivers and canals of Ghent and Bruges, which we also visited. In Ypres many of us visited the superb museum devoted to the experiences of the town in the first world war, a harrowing experience bu extremely well presented. Of course one busy weekend was not nearly enough to do and see everything, especially as time had to be found for the chocolate and lace shops, and I am sure many are planning return visits. Thanks to a lot of hard work by our chairman and members of our committee and the great help of a Belgian agent who accompanied us, everything went very smoothly.

We gave two concerts - one in a secular venue in Ghent and one in a church in Ypres. We sang Mozart's Solemn Vespers at each, followed by different programmes including Vaughan Williams' Valiant for Truth. Both concerts were extremely well received with standing ovations - we were very fortunate to have with us four outstanding soloists and a superb organist. At the church in Ypres, the priest said after the concert that if he could have Rutter's Pie Jesus sung at his funeral, he would die happy!

On Sunday evening we had the great privilege of singing at the Last Post ceremony at the Menen Gate. This has taken place every day since the first world war, being continued in Britain during the occupation of Belgium during the second world war. Ther was a large crowd including schoolchildren, some of whom laid wreathes of poppies and we all found it an extremely moving experience and a real highlight. It was probably the largest crowd the choral society has ever sung to!

It was a challenge adjusting to the very different venues and also preparing two concerts in the short time since Leith Hill but it was unanimously agreed that this was our best tour to date, both socially and musically.






Photo: Kim Hunt



Photo: Kim Hunt
Our Mr Fixit, Gilbert Bongaerts, showing us the sights


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Review of the 2004-2005 Season

Oxshott took part as always in Division One of the Leith Hill Musical Festival.
The two main works were Don Nobis Pacem by Vaughan Williams and Gloria by Poulenc.
We did not repeat the success we enjoyed last year although the women, singing Windy Nights by Quilter, covered themselves in glory not only by winning the Bovill Cup but also gaining the highest mark on the day.
All the choir had a fantastic time singing with the other choirs at the evening concert held at the Dorking Halls, conducted by Brian Kay and accompanied by the English Festival Orchestra.

Oxshott rounded off another enjoyable year singing together with a spring concert in May. The choir sang a selection of part songs and folk songs, accompanied by Jeremy Barham, and guest soprano, Jane Searle, joined us in a beautiful rendition of Mendelssohn's Hear Our Prayer (including the delightful O for the Wings of a Dove). A talented group of young bassoon players gave the first performance of The Masquerade, written especially for them by Pamela Wedgwood, and the concert finished in true English summer style with wine and strawberries on the patio of the church hall. It was a tremendous success.

The grand finale to our season is the choir party: everyone contributes food and some come with party pieces. It is always great fun and this year was no exception!


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Concert Tour to Prague - May 2003

The following review of our concert tour to Prague was published in the Esher News and Mail in June 2003:



"Members of Oxshott Choral Society recently visited Prague where they gave two performances of Haydn’s St. Nicholas Mass and a selection of shorter works as part of the Prague Spring Festival. The first concert was held in St. Nicholas' Church on the Old Town Square and the second in the Bethlehem Chapel, famous as the church where Jan Huss preached before the Reformation. Both concerts were very well received by an audience of local people and visitors from a variety of countries.

In spite of some unwelcome attention from pickpockets, this was a very enjoyable and successful weekend in perfect spring weather. A walking tour of this most beautiful city was arranged with local guides in addition to an evening of typical Czech food and music at which the Society’s four excellent soloists, Helen Pritchard, Jane Searle, Andrew Morris and Simon Wilson performed to much acclaim."

Performing in St. Nicolas Church in the Old Town Square, Prague (above and left)


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Our Christmas Concert 2001

The following review of our Christmas concert was published in the Esher News and Mail on 4th January 2002:

'SPIRITED ARRIVAL BY THE QUEEN

OXSHOTT Choral Society gave a performance of Puccini's Messa di Gloria at St. Andrew's Church, Oxshott, last month.

The concert, a popular annual event, was very well received by a capacity audience. The Messa di Gloria was accompanied by two grand pianos, which were provided by Sheargold Pianos Ltd.

After the interval, during which wine and mince pies were served, the two pianists, Richard Smith and Mary Jarvis, gave a spirited rendering of The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba and the soloists, Teehan Page and Mark Chaundy, sang the well known duet Au Fond du Temple Saint from Bizet's Pearl Fishers.

During a selection of carols, both old favourites and some less well known, the audience was invited to participate.

More than £900 was raised for the charity Hope and Homes, which works in many countries, providing homes for children who have been orphaned as a result of war. '


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Our Millennium Tour


Performing in the Kloosterkerk in Amsterdam
during our tour to the Netherlands - May 2000

In May 2000, Oxshott Choral Society undertook its first tour to the Netherlands, with 40 members of the choir, 2 soloists, our conductor and our accompanist.
We gave two performances of Faure's Requiem and a selection of short pieces - madrigals, including 'Now is the Month of Maying', and English songs, including Elgar's 'As Torrents in Summer'.

The tour was very successful, the churches very beautiful, the people very friendly and the choir was well received.



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