Handwashers’ Newsletter 2nd August 2020


Avoiding the showers, your Committee held a garden meeting on Sunday 26th July. As you would expect, top of the agenda was planning for the new season. Given current Covid-19 regulations and, recognising that the course of the pandemic remains uncertain, a phased approach to decision-making about our future is being adopted.

As social distancing seems set to stay at least until November, it was reluctantly decided that:

  • The concert planned for 5th December will be CANCELLED
  • All rehearsals in September and October will be CANCELLED
  • In early October the Committee will decide, in the light of the then prevailing circumstances, whether (i) any resumption before Christmas is possible and (ii) whether a full resumption would be possible in January 2021.

The Committee discussed possible ways of resuming choral singing while the risk of infection and the need to maintain social distance remain, and whether any might work for CCS.  Rehearsals of smaller groups in a Covid-secure setting will no doubt be allowed before normality returns. This will certainly help experienced chamber choirs to function. However, splitting our choir into smaller, spaced groups for separate rehearsals would not provide a sustainable musical or social experience, though could conceivably have a part to play in some circumstances. Singing as individuals in virtual choral performances has proved popular for some in lockdown, but this is a quite different activity, and certainly not a substitute for meeting up for live choral singing in a group.

For now, it seems that our best hopes for a return in the New Year lie in the continuing reduction in the prevalence of the virus and the successful development of treatments and vaccines that together reduce the threat. 

Please let us know what you feel about the decisions we’re taking by emailing timp470@btinternet.com and your views will be forwarded to the Committee. 


It is evident from the above that we should keep these Handwashers’ Newsletters going for a lot longer than we intended. So far, we’ve had no shortage of contributions and we offer a huge vote of thanks those 30 members who have contributed. Please remember that, as a Choral Society, we all contributed and will again in the future, but now that, sadly, we are just a Society we still need to contribute. Please send your reminiscences whether funny, sad, happy, moving, proud, triumphal or simply memorable to timp470@btinternet.com . Please don’t remain a silent, non-contributing, member of our (Choral) Society!

Carleton is taking an August holiday from writing his Column so there is plenty of space for you.


In normal times, Warwick Cole, our orchestra organiser, is the organist at Minchinhampton Church and, in ‘unholey’ socks, with his daughter, Lois as camerawomen and video-person, has made this video of J S Bach’s Trio Sonata in E flat (BWV 525), movement 3 allegro:


(It’s good to see and hear you at work again, Warwick, and we wish it could be live! Ed.)


Thank you Jane Read for letting us know about this opportunity to listen to some superb choral singing: https://voces8.foundation/livefromlondon


(Sorry that the answers to the first part of the quiz came out all jumbled up. We’ve tried doing it another way for part two. Ed.)

Accumulations of textile fibres (Mozart)


Jump in the air (Schumann)


Illuminated everything racin’ (Tchaikovsky)

Little Russian

Kidney for example (Saint Saens)


Small round of bread from NE city (Haydn)


Central part, pointed hole-making tool (Beethoven)


Present for acceptance, you (archaic) fine granular material (Mahler)

Of a thousand

Fireplace, observe high-ranking military man (Schubert)

Great C major

The thing, from outer space (Mendelssohn)


Dancing judge Mr Goodman, actress Ms Bergman (Shostakovich)


‘Yes, we ____ __ bananas’ (Mozart)


Keen supporter, Russian news agency, hardwood (Berlioz)


Cow-like car maker (Haydn)



We went on a trip to Istanbul to sing 2 concerts: Haydn’s Creation and The Seasons.

The concerts were held in the Aya Irini which is part of the Topkapi Palace complex. There were no “seats” for the choir but there were layers of stone slabs similar to those found in a Roman amphitheatre that went around in a horseshoe shape. So, the choir sat on these stone layers in full choir dress. The orchestra was the Bulgarian State and the highlight was watching a monumental argument between the lady leader and the orchestra as well as the two concerts of course.

(Most of us are familiar with Haydn’s Creation but CCS has never performed the Seasons complete which is a rare Haydn secular choral work, verging on the bacchanalian at times. Here, peasant girl, Jane and farm hand, Lucas, celebrate, ‘The vineyard now its wealth displays’ followed by the chorus ‘Joyful the liquor flows’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqejomXf33c

I was once privileged to attend a rehearsal of this work taken by James Gilchrist. He focused on this chorus, asking that we sing it as though the liquor had already flowed joyfully. He seemed happy with the basses’ joyful efforts! Ed.)


A lady lost in New York asks a laconic cop how she can get to Carnegie Hall.

He replies, ‘Lady, you gotta practise’.