Last Monday’s announcement that, tomorrow, the Government intends to confirm the removal of all restrictions on indoor activities means that we can at last focus on restarting rehearsals.

We plan to rehearsal on Tuesdays 20th July, 27th July, 3rd August and 31st August. Autumn Term starts on 7th September.

We are preparing a Restarting Rehearsals Newsletter which you will receive in the next few days; please read it carefully!

Attached is a Provisional 20 July Seating Plan. If you intend to come on the 20th and your name is not on the plan, or, if you do not intent to come but your name is on the plan, please email timp470@btinternet.com

Meanwhile, keep exercising your voices. Here’s the link to the Vivaldi in case you’ve lost it: https://youtu.be/0ICW_iZcti4?list=PLqoxLZYtkEEEWORdSBtRoqfkDvsgph-MF or, for the numerate, here’s Jane’s suggestion: https://youtu.be/FgUtOHSZJFU

THANK YOU from Tim:

If all goes to plan this, the 69th, will be the final Handwasher’s Newsletter so I would like to thank all those who have contributed articles and humour or simply offered welcome words of support. We are  grateful to Carleton for his weekly column which so many of us have appreciated. For me, doing the Newsletters has provided a much-needed focus during lockdown, without which I’m sure I would have lost even more marbles than otherwise.

Please excuse this final self-indulgence (Corelli’s Concerto Grosso Op 6 No 11) https://youtu.be/E9gmIfPakHI?t=50


When I was a student in London, I quickly learned about the red bus scenario. You wait for half an hour in the pouring rain and then three buses turn up in convoy! This week has been rather like that as I have attended three concerts in two days – two as a performer and one as an audience member!

On Monday evening I was playing in the Mixtape Concert at Gloucester Cathedral as part of the Cheltenham Festival. This comprised various musicians – violinist, cellist, trumpeter, organist, choir – performing a sequence of solo items from different parts of the cathedral with the building is adorned in atmospheric, colourful lighting. A simple, but effective concept, and one that has been successful over the past few years in attracting a largely new and different audience. Unfortunately, the Choir of Merton College, Oxford, who were due to perform, had to withdraw at 24 hours’ notice due some positive cases within the choir. Fortunately, the Carice Choir, who were already performing at another concert in the festival stepped in and saved the day. A sad but timely reminder that this pandemic ain’t over yet! 

On the Tuesday night I had the pleasure of attending a school concert at which both my children were performing. A real delight! Hannah sang in the chamber choir who started off with a fine performance of Parry’s ‘My soul, there is a country’. John played trombone in the Jazz band or ‘The King’s Swingers’ as they like to be known! 

Earlier in the day, I played a lunchtime organ recital at Tewkesbury Abbey. This was the first live concert to take place in the Abbey for a very long time and, as it was live-streamed, I thought I would share the programme with you here. There is a verbal introduction by yours truly at the beginning which gives a little background to the pieces. I hope you enjoy it. 

As this could well be the last of these newsletters, I would like to say a big thank you to Tim who has produced and edited all 69 of them throughout the pandemic. A real labour of love, but one that has been much appreciated by CCS members.


 BLOW OUR OWN TRUMPET recommends Frances Angus:

I moved to this part of the country approximately 17 years ago.  Among my list of priorities was to find a choir.  I had been a member of a choir(s) for a great many years and wished to continue doing so where I now lived.  So, I looked around and decided to visit one who was giving a concert in May of that year, 2004, to get a feel for what they sounded like and also looked like.  I liked what I heard and their concert dress.  I have now been fortunate to be a member of this choir ever since and yes, you’ve guessed it, it is CIRENCESTER CHORAL SOCIETY.

In the days when we were able to record the concerts, I’m pleased to say I have copies of most of them; recorded by much missed Raymond Fenton.  I also have all the programmes!

This means I have taken part in 34 plus concerts and still find the whole exercise hard work but exciting.  The first one I was involved in was conducted by David Whitehead but since then under the baton of Carleton Etherington.  A strict but benevolent conductor.

I always enjoy the rehearsals, finding them sometimes difficult but always going home with a sense of achievement.  Concert days; these are exciting.  I say this because just having the orchestra present, or just organ accompaniment, lifts the whole thing to a different level.  To me the sound of orchestra members setting up and when possible, for them to do so banging a drum, blowing a trumpet, a line from a clarinet and you really feel that a splendid event is about to happen.  Well, I do. 

Going home afterwards is an anti-climax and you look forward to next term.  So, I feel we should BLOW OUR OWN TRUMPET.  Don’t you?

(Who better to Sound the Trumpet, Purcell style, on our behalf than Alison Balsom and Iestyn Davies: https://youtu.be/fKh-YATjQt4 Ed.)

MEMORIES FROM A FORMER MEMBER We were delighted to receive this from Simon Browning who, as well as helping the basses to find the right notes, guided us through the transition from one Treasurer to another:

I read with interest Carleton’s notes on Dr James Lancelot, as I was at school with James and we knew then he was a gifted organist and often played at our services. Well well well!!

St James Cathedral, Toronto

Old story that happened to me back in the late 1970’s when my brother emigrated to Canada and there was a 125 year celebration service in St James Cathedral and I was visiting him and I asked to sing in the choir, and it was being televised. At the beginning of the service they suddenly started singing the national anthem ‘O Canada’ and not knowing the words I was the only member of the choir buried deep in their book trying to find the words and of course everyone else was singing it by heart!!

Best wishes


(Here, Simon, is ‘O Canada’ complete with lyrics for you to learn for your next visit so you’ll be able to watch the conductor! With best wishes from CCS: https://youtu.be/jXFXXeoC4k0 )

I SCREAMED AT THE BEATLES confesses Gill Hornby:

You did make me chuckle about your Beatles story.  I too was in another world (a convent school) before going to the Minehead mixed Grammar school to do my A levels.  One day in class someone mentioned the Beatles and I made the mistake of saying ‘Who are the Beatles?’  The class was in uproar – how could I not know the Beatles the cry went up.  Well, when I got home I made a point of finding out who they were and became quite a fan.  Later that year the Beatles came to Minehead on the steam train along with Wilfred Bramble, making ‘A Hard Day’s Night’.  We were allowed time off school to go and see them at the station.  I don’t think the school had much option.  My mum came too and we all tried to scream as we thought it was expected.  It was most embarrassing for a little convent girl but I managed a strangled sound as did my mum.  Such memories.

And Gill suggests this attractive video featuring David Attenborough: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYXBJmrsxZU


This is called ‘getting your own back’: https://youtu.be/fONp7PjHLlg