Spring 2022 Post-Concert Update

We did it!  We had our first concert recently, after more than two years because of Covid.  It was hard work, but also great fun, and the choir members thoroughly enjoyed both the preparation and the final concert, which was performed in All Saints’ Church, Sutton Courtenay on 22nd May.  It was wonderful to see the church full of an audience who seemed to enjoy their evening.  

We were very happy with our performance, and it was good to read an independent review by Alison Langton:

All Saints’ Singers Concert, Sunday 22 May

Live choral music returned to All Saints’ church with a wonderful programme of music performed by the All Saints’ Singers – their first concert since the Covid lockdown. The choir’s Music Director Sebastian Thomson gave the choir clear direction throughout and had clearly prepared his singers with thorough and effective rehearsals; and the concert was ably accompanied by organist Ben Giddens.

The choir gave a spirited and committed performance of sacred music by Mozart, Haydn and Vivaldi. The opening piece was the Missa Brevis in C by Mozart (K220) – nicknamed the Sparrow Mass because some of the accompaniment has been likened to the chirping of these birds – with contribution from the evening’s soloists: Hannah Fraser-Mackenzie (soprano), Clemmie Franks (alto), Dominic Bevan (tenor), and Michael Hickman (bass). There were a couple of late entries in the opening movement – any choir could be forgiven for a little rustiness in performance after such a long layoff – but these were soon forgotten during the emotionally charged later movements where soloists and choir interacted well.

Next we had the ever-popular Ave Verum Corpus by Mozart (K618) which was beautifully delivered to a spell-bound audience. The Te Deum in C major by Haydn completed the first half of the concert, a piece taken in a single continuous movement and requiring some vocal stamina, especially the final section Non Confundar in Aeternum. Often this work can seem rushed owing to over-fast tempi, but this performance was taken steadily and benefitted from the singers’ clear annunciation of the Latin text.

After an interval for drinks, the second half of the concert was devoted to Vivaldi. First Hannah Fraser-Mackenzie gave a beautiful rendition of the sublime motet Nulla in Mundo Pax Sincera (RV630). The evening finished with the wonderful Gloria in D (RV630) – one of Vivaldi’s best-loved works. Some of the movements were taken at a rather pedestrian pace but overall it was an effective performance.

It was clear from the smiles of the audience, choir, and soloists that this was a very enjoyable and well-received concert.

We feel optimistic about future performances and are planning a 40th anniversary one in November.

The Summer Term

Members of the choir are going to meet up for six sessions singing folk songs directed by Sebastian Thomson.

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Spring Concert Update

Our next concert will be held on Sunday 22nd May 2022 in All Saints’ Church, Sutton Courtenay starting at 7:30 pm. The final programme includes:

Vivaldi:            Gloria in D (RV589)

Vivaldi:            Nulla in Mundo Pax Sincera (RV630) – Soprano solo

Mozart:           Missa Brevis in C major (KV220) Sparrow Mass

Mozart:           Ave Verum Corpus (K618)

Haydn:            Te Deum in C major

Tickets are £15 which includes a programme. They can be purchased by contacting or 07870 506774. They are also on sale at Hari & Esha’s in Sutton Courtenay and at the Bookstore in Bury Street, Abingdon.

Or from 2nd April you can apply on-line at https://www.trybooking.com/uk/BODN.

This promises to be a joyous and inspiring concert; we are looking forward to it and hope to see you there.

Spring 2022 Update

The Spring term is progressing very well. We went back to singing in the Matrix in January – without visors or masks. Our insistence on lateral flow tests and good ventilation seems to have protected us from Covid, so far. The sheer joy of singing together again has given us a renewed vigour. In addition, we have welcomed nine new members whose voices have enhanced our performance significantly. In short – we are in very good voice!

We are preparing for our concert on Sunday 22nd May 2022 in All Saints’ Church at 7:30 pm. Posters and advertisements will soon be out, and we hope that many will come and listen. Our last concert was in November 2019, and we have certainly missed being able to sing to an audience. We have chosen some delightful pieces to celebrate our return:

                Vivaldi’s Gloria

                Mozart’s Sparrowmass

                Haydn’s Te Deum in C

Rehearsals for the concert are going nicely, and we are adding in some other pieces in preparation for our 40th Anniversary concert planned for November.

Spring 2022 Concert

This next term we are planning to meet up again in the Matrix to sing – without visors. Covid precautions will be taken very seriously; we will be spaced out and the room will be well-ventilated. Furthermore, all participants will need a negative lateral flow test prior to the meeting. And this time we will be working towards a concert – provisionally booked for 22nd May 2022 in All Saints’ Church – our first for more than two years.

The pieces we will be singing are:

  • Vivaldi’s Gloria
  • Mozart’s Sparrowmass
  • Haydn’s Te Deum in C – in Latin

January 2022 Update

Happy New Year!

After two years of disrupted singing we are hopeful of better times ahead, although, as we have learnt by bitter experience, this pandemic is not over yet.

Those of us who sang with the choir for the Autumn term in All Saints’ Church felt it was a great step forwards when compared to Zoom singing, which is what had kept the choir alive during the dark days of lockdown. We were together in the flesh and could talk to each other face to face! We worked on Mozart’s Sparrowmass and Haydn’s Te Deum (in English). One huge drawback was the wearing of visors for singing in order to manage the risk of Covid. While singing in a visor is rather like singing in a shower and you can hear yourself quite well, you have no idea what everyone else is singing. It gives one a very distorted and unreal experience of choral singing. Our Music Director, Sebastian Thomson, persevered magnificently even though he could only hear mumbles – I suppose it had to be better than not hearing us at all during Zoom sessions! At least he could not criticise our diction! We owe him a lot for keeping things going over these last two years.

Our rehearsals were therefore limited; by not being able to hear everyone else, by the cold (old churches are difficult to heat while ensuring adequate ventilation), by the noisiest firework display ever (see below) and by the wonderful arrival of Sebastian’s baby daughter, a little earlier than expected. We were glad we had not planned a concert in November!

We ended the term with a successful AGM (members can access the draft minutes on the members’ part of this website) and a small social gathering, while maintaining social distancing.

This next term we are planning to meet up again in the Matrix to sing – without visors. Covid precautions will be taken very seriously; we will be spaced out and the room will be well-ventilated. Furthermore, all participants will need a negative lateral flow test prior to the meeting. And this time we will be working towards a concert – provisionally booked for 22nd May 2022 in All Saints’ Church – our first for more than two years.

The pieces we will be singing are:

  • Vivaldi’s Gloria
  • Mozart’s Sparrowmass
  • Haydn’s Te Deum in C – in Latin

Please watch this website for more news about the concert as the term progresses. We do hope you will come and listen, if you are not actually singing in the choir.

Autumn 2021 News

A lot has been happening for the choir recently as things open up after lockdown.

On 18th August we had a tea party to celebrate Patrick Salisbury’s presidency of the All Saints’ Singers after his retirement earlier in the year. Twenty-four of us, both past and present members, met for a lovely tea in the River Room at All Saints’ Church. Our chairman, Sandra Knowles, presented Patrick with a beautiful tumbler engraved with the All Saints’ Singers’ logo.  Val Bronsdon, one of the original choristers at the foundation of the choir in 1982, shared memories of the early years and described the tremendous support and inspiration that Patrick had given to the musicians of Sutton Courtenay in both the choir and orchestra. She thanked him for all that he had done for the choir over the last four decades. We also heard that the contributions to his leaving present had funded a prize for Musical Endeavour to be presented to a Sutton Courtenay schoolchild every year for the next 10 years – the Patrick Salisbury Music Prize.  Additional support from the Matrix has added to the prize, the winners of which will be decided by the staff at that centre.

We have started singing again! Rehearsals are taking place in All Saints’ Church and we are wearing visors because of Covid restrictions, but we are physically together and enjoying each other’s company. Not everyone has returned as yet, preferring to wait until restrictions are no longer needed, but we do have some new members. We are singing Haydn’s Te Deum in C and Mozart’s Sparrow Mass, ably directed by Sebastian Thomson. We are not planning a concert in November, but certainly plan to have one at Easter if this pandemic continues to submit to the vaccination programme.

Summer 2021 Update

Over the last year we found ourselves grappling with Zoom –  trying to keep ourselves in voice, and the spirit of the choir alive, by singing together. Those of us who joined the group certainly enjoyed the experience, but we missed those who opted out. Zoom choir practices can never hope to replace the joy of making music and singing together in the same physical space and we are looking forward to being able to do that again soon.

During our Summer Term, a short six weeks in April and May, we sang a number of delightful pieces led by Sebastian Thomson, our Music Director:

  • ‘The Long Day Closes’ by Sullivan
  • ‘Crossing the Bar’ by Parry
  • ‘Now is the Month of Maying’ by Morley
  • ‘Pastyme with Good Company’ by Henry VIII
  • ‘Oh Lord, in Thee is All my Trust’ by Tallis.

Different from our usual choral pieces, these were shorter and easier to learn, giving us a heady sense of achievement and pleasure in those few weeks. 

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It is now summer and, unfortunately, Covid is still having a big impact on the way we are leading our lives, even though we are out of lockdown. The Committee is drawing up plans to start rehearsals again in September, but are mindful of the continuing need to keep each other safe. We hope that we do not have to return to Zoom sessions.

Unfortunately, we can’t yet decide about a concert in 2021 due to the continuing prevalence of Covid infections, but remain hopeful that we will be back to normal soon.