I carry your heart

Good afternoon. It has all gone a bit quiet this week, is everyone alright? Perhaps you are just frozen, it has been chilly out. It’s nice to see your other interests and talents coming to the fore. Lots of you displaying craft and artistic skill. Catherine points us to “happy little clouds and a gentle voice” https://www.youtube.com/user/BobRossInc/featured

Perhaps when we meet again we should have an exhibition.

This week we are going to focus on I carry your heart. Toby Young is a young(ish) composer/arranger who has done work for groups like The Kings Singers and Voces 8. I carry your heart was commissioned by The Kings Men, who are the altos, tenors and basses of Kings’ College Choir.

There are five videos for you to watch, which can all be found on the Newstead Abbey Singers video playlist at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9Gytr4q-Y6SzafzUHpXFYlu1GHdsu9RN or through the individual links.

I have done a new warm up video https://youtu.be/RgIJ1KGk43s and a round Dona nobis pacem https://youtu.be/zbj0ZiTy65c (the music can be found here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/v4vmag37v39djbv/Dona%20nobis.pdf?dl=0)

The text of I carry your heart is by the American poet e.e.cummings, who was quite distinctive in both the content of his poetry and the lack of capital letters and unusual punctuation. Toby Young adapts and shortens the poem in his setting of this poem that is about love in its purest form. I have prepared a sheet with the original poem in its entirety and the “lyrics” of the setting here https://www.dropbox.com/s/fzle83f9y8mplza/I%20carry%20your%20heart.pdf?dl=0

You can hear e.e.cummings reading his own poem https://youtu.be/Q4Qb9XmHXX4

There is a recording of the version that we attempt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Z9iTWZQc_I

I thought that you might enjoy the original sung by The Kings Men (down a tone) https://youtu.be/wGobOdh4dyk

Both versions give you an idea of the style that we should be aiming for. In both performances there is precision of ensemble and attention to balance. Your attention is drawn to the tune, whichever part it might be in but little details are clear. e.g the alto part in bars 36-40. Before any of that can be achieved everyone needs to be sure of the notes.

As last week there are audio files to assist you in your learning. A full, equally balanced version and one with each part highlighted.
Audio links:
Full https://www.dropbox.com/s/czdd6hhbtsbubpc/I%20carry%20your%20heart%20Full.mp3?dl=0

Soprano 1 https://www.dropbox.com/s/xfifqokyvqhbupu/I%20carry%20your%20heart%20S1%20.mp3?dl=0

Soprano 2 https://www.dropbox.com/s/wqtuz1ak4zbdj6d/I%20carry%20your%20heart%20S2%20.mp3?dl=0

Alto https://www.dropbox.com/s/3xo3csx7efqghp6/I%20carry%20your%20heart%20A%20.mp3?dl=0

Tenor https://www.dropbox.com/s/5386t519paglhi4/I%20carry%20your%20heart%20T%20.mp3?dl=0

Bass 1 https://www.dropbox.com/s/xwzwi5dvexefzjs/I%20carry%20your%20heart%20B1%20.mp3?dl=0

Bass 2 https://www.dropbox.com/s/mixmmdflm2hjn4l/I%20carry%20your%20heart%20B2.mp3?dl=0

I was contacted last week by a Michael Dobbs regarding making a choir remote video. 

I’m a retired videomaker living not too far away in Woodborough. In spite of retirement, I still produce a few free community videos for good causes – see  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCz3TUg6N9Q03mtU-OHBVVBg/videos Unfortunately the current situation rather limits my subject matter – and then I noticed the new phenomenon of virtual choirs on YouTube. I’m sure that you’ve seen these, but if not, you can see an example at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xWUL4N26vM .
This is something I’d like to have a go at, and I have the video editing skills and facilities, so all I need now are performers – hence the contact! 

The procedure involves each participant recording themselves singing (at home) whilst listening to a backing track via headphone or an earpiece. Each recording would then be emailed to me and edited into a virtual choir video for publishing on YouTube – all with the utmost social distancing! Hopefully all of the singers would enjoy the experience and your choir would get some extra publicity for the post-lockdown recovery.

If you think some of your members might be interested, please get in touch by email (mhdkad@gmail.com) or by phone on 0115 9652376 to have a chat.

Please note that this is my hobby, and that these community video services are provided completely free of charge.

Michael Dobbs

If you are interested in having a go please contact me and I will set it in motion. We would do something in just four parts, short and simple. I would sent out a master track; you would have to film yourself singing with it and sending it to me and I would send the recordings to Michael.

Have a good week, the weather is going to be warmer.

Globe lillies

Pick Nick’s Notes

I hope that everyone continues to keep safe and well. At least we have something else to commemorate this week. People in Southwell have embraced the spirit of VE Day. Here are some pictures that I took on our daily exercise walk yesterday. https://flic.kr/s/aHsmN5c7h3

Proud parent moments:

Our younger son, Edward, unemployed with a lot of time on his hands, did this arrangement of The Baked Potato Song. He is singing all the parts. https://www.facebook.com/ed.thorpe.3/videos/10156783112292245/

Roger and Jane Poat sent this one of Lizzie’s choir: https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Firishcountrymagazine.ie%2Fsinging-and-dancing-our-way-through-lockdown%2F%3Ffbclid%3DIwAR1i4NDOVAhFanr77pVuU-zSak6zAEUwBFQO7i4FaGTmYU6ZO4U5NyzyAIo&h=AT0IS2eibQkpi33d2Dd52mbK2sTRVEI-izff4aN9fmF-nFXLwfnYq5EApjvdI8iwHstA9pfAXfKqArVkzU9P_ghexfAggTUk4NXNn4HUM7c_023NhgIvEvVTmeXHWCVvtmT1jlYX2xtWYiTFwiekv5w
We all have such talented offspring, let’s celebrate it.

This week I am giving you the opportunity to check the notes of Laudate Dominum. Firstly, an apology: I neglected to check the pitch of the Netherlands Chamber Choir version, sorry. Thanks to those (sopranos!) who pointed out that it is a tone higher. Ruth has sourced a recording by the Cambridge Singers, conducted by John Rutter, which is of exactly our edition. Thanks, Ruth. It can be found on the Newstead Abbey playlist at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9Gytr4q-Y6SzafzUHpXFYlu1GHdsu9RN  It is a good recording but the articulation is a too detached for my liking.

I haven’t made a video of my own this week but have fabricated a series of audio files for you to use. They are all in our key and are at a slower speed. There is one for each part with the relevant notes highlighted for you to listen and sing along with plus an equally balanced full version. The sounds are synthesised and there are no words but I hope will be useful for you to learn your part. You can work at your own pace then sing along with the full version or at full speed with the Cambridge Singers.

Here are the audios:

Soprano 1: https://www.dropbox.com/s/3n8owpnc3wtk80p/Laudate%20Dominum%20S1%20.mp3?dl=0

Soprano 2: https://www.dropbox.com/s/j5q1za9uzhncnm0/Laudate%20Dominum%20S2%20.mp3?dl=0

Alto: https://www.dropbox.com/s/5ddtn6opa9gd5gq/Laudate%20Dominum%20A%20.mp3?dl=0

Tenor: https://www.dropbox.com/s/vrv754hz3jgpge2/Laudate%20Dominum%20T%20.mp3?dl=0

Bass: https://www.dropbox.com/s/kdtl4x1jc09t74f/Laudate%20Dominum%20B%20.mp3?dl=0

Full: https://www.dropbox.com/s/45s1tbq6vmyec1v/Laudate%20Dominum%20Full.mp3?dl=0

I hope that when we are allowed to reassemble everyone will be note perfect.

Any requests for next week?


First of May!

First of May, First of May, Outdoor ********** begins today! (**** insert activity of your choice!)

I hope that we are all continuing to do well and finding things to do to stave off the boredom!

This week we are going to look at Laudate Dominum by Sweelinck (European Sacred Music p.324)

All the videos for this week’s session can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9Gytr4q-Y6SzafzUHpXFYlu1GHdsu9RN

The first thing to do is read the notes at the bottom of p.376, if you haven’t done so already. Did you know that they were there?

Read the text: Laudate Dominum, omnes gentes; laudate eum, omnes populi.Quoniam confirmata est super nos misericordia ejus,  et veritas Domini, manet in aeternum.

and translation: O praise the Lord, all ye heathen: praise him, all ye nations. For his merciful kindness is ever more and more towards us:  and the truth of the Lord endureth for ever.

Read the text out loud remembering to keep the tongue and jaw very relaxed. Find the different mood in each line. On the first line the mood is Praise, the second merciful kindness and the last endureth for ever

Listen to this performance: I have chosen this version because it sung by the Netherlands Chamber Choir. Sweelinck was a Dutchman so the pronunciation of the Latin is as close as we can get these days to that which he would have expected. Having said that, the Dutch are big fans of the English Cathedral tradition so there is a certain “Eau de Kings College” about it. The pronunciation is not wildly different from that which we expect. I have also chosen it because the tempo is a bit slower than the version that John Draper found.

Follow it on p.324 of European Sacred MusicLaudate Dominum https://youtu.be/dj_4Lnh8wkY

Next week we shall do some work on the notes; I am waiting for a new bit of technology to help me. In the following video we shall explore some of the melismatic* figures that appear in this motet.

*(Melisma (Greek: μέλισμα, melisma, song, air, melody; from μέλος, melos, song, melody, plural: melismata) is the singing of a single syllable of text while moving between several different notes in succession.)

You will need this sheet of extracts to work from: https://www.dropbox.com/s/w9ot2d1xim6liuu/Laudate%20Dominum%20%28JPS%29%20extracts.pdf?dl=0

Here is the video: https://youtu.be/FRsEpbUG5Us

Keep safe, keep singing.

Tuning Part Two

Hope that all is well with you and your families.

I have not had much feedback on the new format and what I have had has been positive so I’ll keep going with it.

Renwick has sent a video made by Ellie Martin, director of Mansfield Choral Society, that you may find entertaining: https://youtu.be/1qPEOfKBEVA
Mary also sent a video of her and her work colleagues having a bit of an energetic break from their stressful load: https://share.icloud.com/photos/0A_a6KiMY945PZwyV6JdzUJVw Mary’s granddaughter and Rhoda’s chicks are all doing well. Nancy and Ruth are spreading a lot of joy with their craft skills. Anyone else doing good works or are in receipt of them? Tell me and I’ll spread the word.

This week we follow up on last week’s session on God so Loved the World. A big part of rehearsing, from my point of view, is that it is reactive.It is important that you ask questions, disagree and suggest topics for future weeks so that we are developing together and not just on my whim. I have an idea for next week, but am prepared to divert if an alternative is raised.

Today we are thinking about how the way that we sing words affects tuning. You will need your copy of God so Loved the World again.

When we use our voice, speaking or singing, the sound is produced by air passing over the vocal folds in the larynx. Everything between the larynx and the ears of listener has the potential to influence that sound. Words are formed by the tongue and lips. The sound leaves the body through both the mouth and nose.

You can see by this diagram that the tongue takes up an awful lot of space having the potential to restrict both the oral and nasal cavities. The voice will sound at its best when there is as much space as possible between the larynx and lips. That space is at its largest when the tongue is relaxed and the tip is against the lower teeth.

The English language doesn’t require an awful lot of mouth movement to be understood in conversation. Other European languages (Italian, French, German etc.) need more physical flexibility to be understood. So, when we are singing the mouth has to move a lot more to maintain that space. English vowels also tend to be produced further back in the mouth which tends to dull the resonance and make them sound “flat”.

For convenience all the videos can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9Gytr4q-Y6SzafzUHpXFYlu1GHdsu9RN

Now warm up https://youtu.be/6N5fuWXA7rQ and sing a bit of God so Loved the World with St. Paul’s: https://youtu.be/X5Akz6J8Rw0

Here is this week’s video: https://youtu.be/PBHJs0tdC7E

These principles can be taken into every piece that we sing.

Have a good week and I’ll see you next Friday.

Nick’s Notes

Welcome to first edition of the new format. Let me know what you think.

It was nice to hear from John Draper this week and know that they had a great time and arrived back safely.

The WhatsApp group has been sharing some lovely sunset, baby and chick photos. If you haven’t yet joined (and have a suitable mobile phone) the link is: https://chat.whatsapp.com/L1zL0xrVdikJT48Wfqm72W

Vicky and I have been mainly redesigning our back garden this week.

One of the perennial problems that Newstead Abbey Singers, and every group that sings unaccompanied, always have is that of keeping pitch. In the grand scheme of things I have always maintained that, at our level, other things are more important but it is an annoyance sometimes. Over the next few weeks I am going to share with you my thoughts with reference to some of our current repertoire.

This week we are going to look at God so loved the world. Before watching the video have your copy to hand and warm up.

Here is the video Tuning Part One: https://youtu.be/CxhLxFtBo5A
The choir of St. Paul’s for you to listen to, or sing along with: https://youtu.be/X5Akz6J8Rw0

Keep safe, keep well, keep singing.



We are planning combined projects with The Ollerton Singers and Derby City Singers in 2019.



Tickets for our Christmas Concert at Newstead Abbey on 16th December are already on sale at the Abbey. £8 no concessions.


Great news. We have been able to secure a Christmas concert in Newstead Abbey. After more than 20 years we will give a concert on Saturday, 3rd December 2016 at 7 pm. Tickets will be £10 (£8 in advance) available at the Abbey and through this website from the beginning of November.


We have been invited to perform in Woodborough Parish Church on 1st October 2016.


It was great to sing at Newstead Abbey again after all these years.


The re-designed web site went live on November 23rd. Hope that it helps to promote the choir.

Our next concert will take place on Saturday, 20th December 2014 in St. John’s, Carrington. The programme has been planned and ticket news will be available shortly.

We were pleased to welcome two new members to our ranks in September 2014. We hope that Mary and Elliott enjoy their singing with us.