Holmfirth Choral Society

Members' Information

Updated 6 January 2022

6 January - The weather looks to be passable (at least around Holmfirth), and I've had a negative LFT, so this evening's rehearsal is ON.  Please note that Alan will be collecting subscriptions during January, starting this evening, after a free term. 

3 January 2022 - HAPPY NEW YEAR.  Rehearsals recommence January 6th in Holmfirth PARISH church (we're not yet back with the Methodists), 7.30pm.  Please bring copies of Brahms Requiem and Dvorak Te Deum (plus any other copies to be handed in).   As we said in December, please observe recommended practice -
if you've any symptoms, please stay away; wear face coverings and take lateral flow tests as appropriate.   

8 December - INFORMAL CONCERT - part of Messiah - 2pm, Saturday December 11th, Holmfirth Parish Church.  Dress is "smart casual".  We will be seated in the nave of the church, as we are at rehearsal, maintaining some distancing.  Subscribers and family/friends of choral members are invited as audience, and they will sit in the back and side areas around the choir, plus the choirstalls as needed.  The accompaniment will be by string quartet plus Malcolm on organ/harpsichord.  We have four soloists lined up who are looking forward to singing for us.  The concert will last approx an hour and a half, and there will not be an interval, to minimise movement around church as Covid infection rates are still high.  Please observe recommended practice - if you've any symptoms, please stay away; wear face coverings and take lateral flow tests as appropriate.   

As I write, tomorrow will be the final rehearsal for the concert, and we will have a break in rehearsals then until the new year.  A decision will be taken later in December as to whether we continue rehearsing in the Parish Church, or move back to the Methodist Church when we resume in January, but please let me know your opinions about this.

Enjoy the concert, and have a happy Christmas.

We hope that we will be substantially back to "normal" in early 2022, so our "third" concert of the season (second!) will be back in the Civic Hall, April 2nd, evening.  Brahms German Requiem, Song of Destiny, Dvorak Te Deum.

31 October -  At our AGM last Thursday, we welcomed our new President, Chris Wilkinson.  We also decided to cancel our November concert (the Covid infection rate has been  rising, and though there is some evidence that it's peaking and will possibly subside, we thought it prudent not to hold a concert so soon).
We expect to sing a shortened Messiah on the AFTERNOON of December 11th, in Holmfirth Parish Church.  Further details to follow.

25 October - Our rehearsal this week (28th October) will include our AGM (actually for two years since Covid restrictions meant that we didn't have an AGM last year).  We will welcome our new President, Chris Wilkinson.   For the next few rehearsals, please bring Messiahs in addition to the other music we've been practising recently.

7 October - If you have your own copy of Fauré Requiem, please bring it to this evening's rehearsal, and for the next few weeks.

30 September - If you want rehearsal files for the Dvorak Te Deum, there are some midi files for S, A, T and B  at  http://www.learnchoralmusic.co.uk/Dvorak/TeDeum/tedeum.html . These will play on any midi player (most computers), but midiplay.exe is recommended for this purpose - see below under "Rehearsal Aids".   You can also buy similar aids at cyberbass.com

20 September - We restart "normal" rehearsals on Thursday 23rd September, 7.30pm at Holmfirth PARISH CHURCH - not the Methodist Church.  This is a temporary arrangement allowing for better ventilation than the Methodist church can give us, until the Covid situation improves.  The heating system in the Parish Church has been improved since our last concert there, and we will be seated in the nave (not in the draughty chancel seats).  However, we do intend to return to the Methodist church as soon as becomes practical.  Please bring your Messiah copies to this first rehearsal, also any copies outstanding from the outdoor sessions in summer. (I'm not intending to spend much time at this stage on Messiah, but we may sing some choruses from it). 

Covid risks:
Wearing of masks is advisable whilst moving about inside church, and you are asked to maintain sensible distancing.  Please also do not come if you have any symptoms of Covid, or have recently tested positive yourself, or if you are a first contact with someone who has tested positive - I'm not suggesting that tests are compulsory - just that we all try to avoid spreading the disease by being careful.
Our rehearsals initially will end no later than 9pm, and there will not be a break - but these details are open to discussion.

I look forward to seeing many of you (and some new singers joining us) on Thursday (and subsequent Thursdays).

31 August - Thank you to all who supported the singing on the lawn sessions - we now look forward to restarting proper rehearsals and I'll give more details later.
Meanwhile, I've received an email from ChoraLine, a company that provides rehearsal aids and other supplies to choral societies like ourselves, and some of you have used some of their products or services.  I quote from the email:-

20% Discount for Choral Singers

If you order ‘EasyPlay’ via the ChoraLine website you will receive an email with a blue link to click and use on your PC/Laptop and the rehearsal recording will also upload into the Purchased Music section in the App to use on your Tablet/Phone.

 20% discount code :    CHORAL

                 STEP 1

                Visit the ChoraLine website to select the rehearsal recording you require.

                 STEP 2

                Click in the circle by your voice part (eg. Alto) & then click in the circle by ‘EasyPlay’

                 STEP 3

                Click  ‘Add to Basket’

                 STEP 4

                On the Shopping Basket Page type   CHORAL   in the discount code box and click the green arrow to activate the code.

                 STEP 5

                Complete the transaction and use your rehearsal recording on all your devices:

                 Phone & Tablet & iPad: The recording will upload into the ‘Purchased Music’ section in the App.

                PC & Laptop: You will receive an email with a blue link to click to use EasyPlay.  Please click here for tips


 The ChoraLine App

We recommend the App as the best way to use ChoraLine when rehearsing at home.  Please click the link below for a ‘step by step’ guide on installing the App and watch a video showing how to use all the new features in the App:


 ChoraLine CDs are now sold by Presto Music  (01926 886883) who are running a special 25% discount until the 30th September.

 Choral Clinic – Singing Tutorials for SATB Choral Singers (also available on the App)

Theses tutorials were recorded during ‘lockdown’ by two highly experienced choral singing teachers.  There are four levels (Beginner, Elementary, Intermediate, Advanced) for every voice part (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass).  Please click the link below for further details and to listen to a recording made by the teachers to help you choose the level right for you:


 Handel’s Messiah  -  We have put together a special page on our website with tips and advice when learning to sing this wonderful piece of choral music. Please do click the link below:


Vocal Exercises (also available on the App)

When singing at home we advise you always warm up your voice and pleased to recommend this recording specially put together by singing teacher Deborah Miles-Johnson - please click the link below to hear a sample:


Advice and Support

Please do email music@choraline.com if we can be of assistance and we will do our very best to help.

 Best wishes from us all at ChoraLine


 Andrew Grigg



REHEARSALS when re-started  -  Thursdays 7.30 until 9.15 (normally).    New members welcome!
As you know, we are low in numbers particularly in the tenor and bass sections - if you know of any able tenors and basses, do please invite them.

March/April 2022 Concert: We have been fortunate to borrow a set of Brahms Requiem copies locally, enough for all members.  However if anyone insists on buying a copy, we are using the Peters Edition (EP 3672).   This edition (each page has the number 10115 at the bottom) was first published almost 100 years ago, and can be freely downloaded from imslp (but has 95 pages of music), but is still in print.  The publishers price is £8.95, and it's available at musicroom.com at that price, but amazon.co.uk and ebay.co.uk both have copies available  more cheaply (search for EP3672 under books).

November 2021 - perhaps, date & venue to be decided.
Saturday December 11th 2021 (probably) - Messiah, venue to be decided
April 2nd 2022 (probably)- Brahms German Requiem plus another item, Holmfirth Civic Hall

We are affiliated to MAKING MUSIC, an organisation which provides resources for choirs and other music groups throughout the UK and beyond.

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YouTube videos worth a view:
Brahms Requiem:  The reduced orchestration we will be using : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lh7xf_QsJO4   or, better (?)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqwCYUbS2Y4
                             BBC Prom recording (with Bryn Terfel):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSvmzItraLU

Rehearsal Aids:
ChoraLine have produced a new "app" allowing you to download rehearsal material - see  www.choralineapp.com - I have fliers available at rehearsal for this.  The app is free, but there may be a charge for the downloads, which are likely to be of much higher quality than the free material I have previously recommended (mentioned below).

I've  been told about a music teacher who records rehearsal CDs and has built up quite a reputation, I believe.  You can order your own part from him.  Some recordings seem to be piano only, others include a vocal line.   He is called Quintus Benziger, on 01799 586269, and his business is the Saffron Choral Prompt.
See also:  http://www.saffronchoralprompt.co.uk/    and   http://www.quintusbenziger.co.uk/    for further details.

There is also http://www.cyberbass.com/ which offers part learning aids, including Brahms Requiem.  This site has been highly recommended by a few people I've spoken to.

A good source of midi files which are useful for playing parts through if you have a computer is http://www.learnchoralmusic.co.uk/
Covered by this site:   Handel's Messiah   Brahms' German Requiem (but I'm told that there are a few difficulties with the Brahms files - I've not checked them myself.  http://www.cyberbass.com/  has been recommended to me as an alternative.
The midi player program I have mentioned before, MidiPlay_v2p6.exe  (actually this link is to a later version) will allow you to play files from this site, and adjust the volume of your own part to suit your learning.

We will perform the Brahms German Requiem in German rather than in English translation - many of you want to do this, and certainly the work was written to be performed in German.  That being the case, there are several online aids to pronunciation - see YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ilw_aW0ncz0  or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxbvdwBwBhE .  There's also a written guide to pronunciation, with a translation, at https://www.choraline.com/files/Brahms_Pron_Guidebook.pdf
Margaret Conroy's daughter, Frau Ciaran Barthel, who has lived in Germany with her husband for the past six years, and whose daily language in German, has kindly recorded the Requiem text. She has repeated each section twice, with the number at the beginning.  Her recording can be found in two versions - her original in .aac format, or my conversion of that to .mp3 format. (Either should play on Windows Media Player).

We still have a number of items for sale, proceeds to Holmfirth Choral Funds, including:  our 2002 CD Holmfirth in Harmony (which includes Last of the Summer Wine and Pratty Flowers, hated by some but loved by others!!!);  our 50th anniversary souvenir booklet,  a recipe book (recipes submitted by members a few years ago), and still a few copies of Postcard Pops, a cassette (if you remember these!) made some years before the CD, and also with performances of those favourite(!) pieces.   Speak to me or email me for details or to buy one.  These are of course also for sale to people outside the society (who may or may not be viewing this members' page!).

Geoffrey Lockwood


Please click here to go to The Self Isolation Website

Be ahead of the game ...

Learn to use the Choraline App - please click here

Thank you and please stay at home to stay safe and keep singing every day - you may wish to try our graded vocal exercises recording which has been specially made to warm up your vocal chords and keep you voice in excellent working order - please click here to hear a sample - also available on the App

An email received from Phillip Tolley:

The latest edition (February 2020) of the British Choirs on the Net ‘Chorister’ Newsletter is now available online at http://www.choirs.org.uk/chorister/2020/feb2020.pdf

 Please feel free to share this newsletter which I hope you will find both useful and interesting - feel free to print it off, forward or simply ignore.

 If you would like to view past editions of the ‘Chorister’ Newsletter please visit http://www.choirs.org.uk/chorister.htm

 Thank you,     Phillip Tolley

For those new to this mailing British Choirs on the Net,  www.choirs.org.uk,  is a free listing of over 4000 choirs across the UK.  Listings are both alphabetical and geographical.  The site was originally set up in 1995 to help people who were relocating to a new area/town/city to find new choirs to join. Since then it has grown into so much more, but retains the UK’s largest free listing of choirs at its core. To see how email data is collected and how it is used please visit www.choirs.org.uk/mailings.html



 British Choirs on the Net is a member of the Singing Network UK and an associate member of the Association of British Choral Directors (ABCD)

Several of you took part in the RSCM Festival in Leeds Cathedral on 23rd May 2015.  If you are not on my local church music mailing list, and you would like to receive information about upcoming events of interest to choir members, you can sign up the the mailing list at https://hudds.org.uk/churchmusic .   I've also some spare music copies from that event for sale at £3.50 each. 

Please try to communicate information with those of your colleagues who might not have access to web pages such as this.
G.L.  688487