Reporting on …

Come and Sing 2017 with Bob Chilcott

Held on Saturday 18 November 2017


Many thanks to those who came to our latest Come & Sing event on Saturday 18 November 2017. We had a great day of singing with Bob Chilcott at St John the Evangelist Church in Oxford, and, as ever, welcomed singers from a range of different choirs from across the country. There were more than sufficient numbers of singers in each part, and we even had a good array of tenors! We worked on four of Bob’s own pieces, namely, Jesus Springing, On Christmas Night, Where Riches is Everlastingly, and Thou Knowest Lord (from his Requiem, which was written for the Oxford Bach Choir).


Bob is well known as a composer, writing for many types of choirs and is particularly known for his compositions for children’s choirs. Bob is a much sought after as a conductor and is in much demand for choral workshops, which take him all over the world. We were therefore very pleased when we were able to find a date when he could come to Oxford. Since he lives near Oxford, he was happy to do an event close to home for a change! We divided the day into a series of workshops, where everyone worked very diligently on the pieces. The workshop sessions were punctuated by much tea, coffee and cake, which made the day go extremely well. Thus, fortified and after all the hard work of the day, we then gave a performance of the works for a small, but appreciative audience of friends and family, who arrived in good time to take advantage of our tea and cake!


Thanks not only go to Bob for an inspiring day of music making, but also to all the helpers who made the day go very smoothly. However, much praise must go to our pianist, Josef Laming, OBC’s accompanist, who as usual, played through the workshops and performance with seemingly no effort at all.


We had some lovely comments and here are just one or two, together with an image of the day.


“I very much enjoyed the workshop”

“a big thank you to you and all your OBC committee colleagues for a wonderful day on Saturday”

“I enjoyed it tremendously”


Reporting on …

Come and Sing 2016 with Paul Spicer

Held on Saturday 5 November 2016


A Sea Symphony, Ralph Vaughan Williams


Many thanks to those who came to our latest Come & Sing event on Saturday 5 November. There were no fireworks on offer, but the sparkling singing set St John the Evangelist Church ablaze (as it were!). The event was a great success and we welcomed many singers from a range of different choirs across the country, many of whom had sung the work before. We were under the baton of Paul Spicer, who is much in demand for choral workshops, something which takes him all over the world. He conducts, amongst others, the Birmingham Bach Choir. He also runs a series of choral courses, including the English Choral Experience courses, which take place around the UK and in France.


Due to the complexity of the work, we did wonder if we would complete all four movements in time for our run-through performance at the end of the day. We need not have worried! 150 singers, under Paul Spicer’s inspired direction, worked on the whole piece diligently in the various workshop slots during the day. Fortified by much tea and coffee and, more importantly, a large amount of cake, everyone enjoyed a challenging day.


For our performance, we had a small but appreciative audience. As well as to Paul Spicer, our thanks go to our soloists, Abigail Broughton (soprano) and Richard Bannan (baritone) who made the performance complete. Much praise must be given to our accompanist for the day, Josef Laming, our usual OBC accompanist. Joe managed to play such tricky music for the workshops and the performance with seeming ease – our very own one-man Philharmonia Orchestra!


A few images of the day are shown here, and cake seems to feature somewhat. We have also had some great feedback from those taking part. Here are just a few comments:


“Thank you so much for organising another fabulous day – and Paul Spicer was excellent too: we had not come across him before but he was very special.”

“Thanks so much for all your hard work to plan and organise this – it was a most enjoyable and memorable day!”

“A big thank you to everyone else involved in yesterday’s Come and Sing. I thoroughly enjoyed it and appreciated the comfortable venue, tea and cake, great soloists and accompanist, and perhaps most of all having Paul Spicer to conduct us. He struck just the right tone for the occasion and was really motivating.”

“Thank you for an extremely well-organised event today. It was a very enjoyable day. The conductor was the best I have ever sung with, with very clear directions”.


Education projects


Over the past few years OBC has increased its involvement with local schools in Oxfordshire and has hosted and funded several Education Projects in collaboration with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, specifically with RPO resound, the orchestra’s Community and Education programme. OBC’s most recent project was in conjunction with our performance of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem in March 2013.

Over six workshops secondary-aged pupils from Wood Green School in Witney worked alongside professional musicians from the RPO to create a composition inspired by themes from the Requiem. This helped pupils develop their creative, musicianship and team-working skills, increased their confidence (with some playing percussion or singing solos for the very first time) and inspired some to take music to the next level.

The project culminated in the pupils performing their new composition in front of parents, friends, professional musicians and concert- goers in Oxford Town Hall immediately before our own performance of the War Requiem.

Previous education projects have accompanied our performances of Elgar’s The Kingdom in 2007 and Chilcott’s Requiem in 2010.


A Choir for all occasions


Although our roots are in Oxford, we are happy to venture further afield in order to sing for special occasions. We have provided small choirs for weddings in city churches, in more rural locations and even in the splendid setting of King’s College Cambridge.


Members of the Oxford Bach Choir would be delighted to sing for your special occasion and are available for weddings, funerals, birthdays, anniversaries, and any other special event.

Perhaps there is a piece of choral music with special significance to you or your family? The choir’s repertoire is extremely varied and versatile.

To discuss your event and for help in choosing music please contact Liz Stock on events@oxfordbachchoir.org


Carols for all


Our annual Christmas Carol Concert is held in December in the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford. ‘Carols for all’ has become a firm favourite with audiences, and always includes some lesser-known seasonal music alongside traditional carols.


Not to be missed is our version of “Twelve Days of Christmas”, where audience participation is definitely required!