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Monday evening rehearsal - John and the sopranos
Rehearsals are normally held on Monday evenings in St James's Church Centre, Church Street, Wetherby from 7.30 to 9.30pm.
There is ample parking in the Cluster of Nuts car park on Hallfield Lane, (LS22 6JB). Morrisons car park is nearer, but there is a strict two-hour limit on parking which is rigorously enforced, even in the evenings, so beware.
There are no firm rules, but you are asked to attend a reasonable number of rehearsals if you wish to sing in a concert, and you MUST be at the two rehearsals immediately prior to the concert. Conversely, those NOT singing in a concert are asked NOT come to the two last rehearsals, so that the choir at those rehearsals will be the same as the choir on concert day.
Please tick the 'signing in sheets' which are passed around at each rehearsal, and do please tick the 'concert' column if you will be singing at the next concert. Unless you do this sufficiently far ahead of the concert, it may not be possible to name you as a singer in the next concert programme.
We are grateful to the Yorkshire Music Library for making scores available to us for each concert.
The time of the dress rehearsal
on concert days is normally 2.00 pm - prompt start - please be there on time.
The approximate finishing time will be announced at the Monday evening rehearsal before the concert. And please bring your own refreshments with you; the facilities in the Church Hall will be fully taken up seeing to the needs of the soloists and orchestra.
Please also remember that the 'Chain Gang' normally operates for about 45 mins in the church on the morning of concert days, to set up the staging, and also for about 20 mins after the concert. Volunteers are always needed - the more the merrier.
MEN: Dinner jackets, white shirt and black bow tie
LADIES: Black skirt or well fitting trousers, black top or blouse (full or three-quarter length sleeves); no scarves.
NOTE: This usually also applies to both men and women when singing at weddings, but not at funerals.
In the Huddersfield Choral Society Annual Report and Accounts for 2009, Joseph Cullen, Chorus Master, wrote:-
" I feel that aspects of general fine tuning have improved but the next area for attention is to persuade singers to look up at the conductor and audience . . . "
Members strongly recommend MUSIC DYNAMICS for the well known "Choraline" rehearsal CDs and tapes in each SATB part, and also vocal scores, covering most choral works. Members of WCS can claim a 10% discount by quoting the magic password 'Wetherby' when they place their order. Ring MUSIC DYNAMICS on 01242 679379.
For a similar service, try
NOTEBASH (on behalf of the Alnwick Choral Society) or
I've also been told that Saffron Choral do cassettes and CDs at about £5. They sing your part and play it on the piano. Phone 01799 586 269
'MIDI' is a simple way of producing music on a computer with very little use of memory or disk space. Because of this it can at best sound very simple and, at worst, like a child's 'kazoo' - high quality loo paper over a comb! But it does at least teach you the notes, even if tempo and dynamics are a bit lacking. And it is free!
By far the best MIDI site is JOHN HOOPER which lists nearly all the sort of stuff we sing. Each piece is played in MIDI format with an "orchestral" background and can be downloaded in you part - S,A,T or B.
I use this [not being able to sing or read music, I need all the help I can get!] and find it very useful. but do read the "Introduction" page first.
Many pieces of classical choral music are available in in four-part SATB 'Midi' format on the web. You may have to "Google" a bit, for example, PUCCINI Messa di Gloria in MIDI or CYBERBASS. Another very useful site is the Royal Free Music Society whose Archive page contains a fair amount of choral music, and also many church hymns and Christmas carols, all available in MIDI format in the four SATB parts, or combined, and some of them are very well done indeed. Yet another useful site where you can download hymns in either MIDI or MP3 format is www.hymnswithoutwords.com
One snag I have found is that, having downloaded the MIDI stuff we are singing onto my computer - a doddle - I cannot easily transfer it onto my MP3 player. However, there is an incredibly simple solution, if your MP3 player, like mine, can record. Just play the MIDI file on your laptop (but with the volume turned down - otherwise you will get a lot of distortion) with your MP3 player sitting on top in record mode.
John Hooper's new web page gives another method to make both CDs and MP3 tracks, with a link to the software you'll need to do it better, and in a slightly less amateur fashion.
I have received this e-mail from Michael Hutton on behalf of the Woodside Singers in Hampshire:
" I see on your web site for Wetherby Choral that you (sensibly) advocate using John Hoopers Midi files for practice at home. If you want better control over tempo and which part sounds loudest (and pitch too if really needed!) try Chris Hills' program MidiPlay which you can get hold of free via John Hooper's site.
Midi is in fact a scheme of instructions to a musical instrument rather than the music itself so what you get out depends on what you have to play it. Sending a Midi file to your electronic keyboard might work wonders! However, it won't do the magic things which help learning your part that MidiPlay does."
I have tried MidiPlay on some of the MIDI files I have downloaded during the past year or two. It really is BRILLIANT! You can download MIDIPLAY here. But you do have to be sensible; the MIDI version that you have downloaded may not be the same version that we are singing. For example, my Church choir were singing John Ireland's 'Greater Love Hath No Man', so I downloaded the MIDI version. This has all 4 parts combined, but MidiPlay easily sorted it all out and emphasised my part - the bass line. But some bars in the bass part were quite different from the score my Churh choir were singing from. So, in the event, it was no use to me.