We are always looking for new voices and are offering two free taster sessions to any interested voices who would like to swell our ranks.
At our AGM we said a formal 'goodbye' to our accompanist of approx 15 years, Mike Busby. Throughout that time he played during nearly all of our rehearals and had the useful knack of thumping out the relevant notes when voices were struggling.
He was also our concert accompanist until very recently. He always adapted to playing a variety of keyboards and pianos in many different venues, some more comfotable than others. Sometimes squashed in corners or surrounded by cables, he always did a marvelous job.
We were delighted to be able to present him with a variety of gifts as thanks for all his
loyal service over so many years. We will miss him!
We are pleased to announce that Simon Lubkowski will be joining the Chorale as Musical Director.
Simon is an accomplished choral director, having formed The Lancaster Community Choir (now called The Knighton Community Choir) when he took over as Head of Music at Lancaster Boys School, just after the Gareth Malone TV show ‘The Choir – Boys Don’t Sing’ had been filmed and aired. He has also formed an award winning School Choir at Lutterworth College, who went on to become the Leicestershire Schools Choir of the Year in 2019.
He has also formed the auditioned A Cappella ensemble Lux A Cappella, and is also the 2018 UK National Champion Barbershop singer with his Quartet ‘The Locksmiths’.
Simon arranges and composes a wide variety of vocal music, from modern choral pieces to A Cappella pop arrangements, Musical Theatre arrangements through to revisions of more traditional Choral repertoire, and is a well known creator of song learning materials for Choirs in the UK, America and Canada.
He is training to be a Judge for the British Association of Barbershop Singers, and coaches Choirs, Quartets, Groups and Choruses around the UK.
Simon is born proud and excited to have been made the MD of The Ratcliffe Chorale and looks forward to our future performances!
Members of the Chorale were delighted to perform in the wonderful setting of Barkby Hall as part of the Open Gardens event held there on Sunday 25th July. Our first concert since December 2019 was enjoyed by all present on a perfect summer's day but, most especially, by the singers themselves. After only six 'live' rehearsals (all other practices during the year were held on Zoom), we all felt a great sense of achievement and really appreciated the fun and camaraderie created by singing together once again.
It is with great sadness that we announce the 'retirement' of our current MD, who is moving away from the world of professional music to pursue a new career.We wish her all the very best for her future and send her on her way with grateful thanks for holding the Chorale together throughout the last year in hugely challenging circumstances, and even helping us to recruit new members!
We are currently advertising for a NEW MUSICAL DIRECTOR to start in September 2021. Further details can be found posted on the Making Music website, ABCD and British Choirs on the Net. For more information please use the contact link on this site.
Due to Covid complications, the date of our planned performance at Barky Hall Open Gardens has changed to Sunday 25th July. We intend to begin outdoor rehearsals in June and many members are really looking forward to getting together in the real world, rather than the vitual one!
For 6 weeks since the start of the Spring term we have enjoyed rehearsing with Georgie on Zoom, working towards singing in St Michael and All Angels Church in Thurmaston where we would have helped them to celebrate the church's 800 year anniversary. Sadly, once again, this event has now been postponed due to Covid until 2022; a big disappointment for all concerned but entirely understandable.
Already this term we have tackled a new piece and are also revising some old but slightly rusty songs from our extensive repertoire. All members, existing and new (yes, we have gained 3 new men despite lockdown!) have had hard copies of the relevant music delivered to them - a task that was a real pleasure for some of the committee members as it gave them a chance to have some 'doorstep chats' with singers.
Hopefully, Chorale members can still look forward to singing together in the summer as we plan to entertain the visitors to Barkby Hall's Open Gardens on 20th June. Fingers are firmly crossed that Covid restrictions allow this - and that the sun shines!
Zoom sessions continue to keep the choir members together on Monday evenings when we enjoy singing some old favourites but also tackling some new pieces. The Committee have also become quite expert Zoom users during the ongoing pandemic. The result of all this was a most enjoyable Christmas Sing- a -Long featuring familiar pieces and a few more challenging carols. We were all impressed by our guest soloists; home-grown but hitherto hidden talents which ranged from a lovely clarinet spot through piano pieces, an apt and very funny reading and a stunning slide show. A good time was had by all and the wine, champagne and several shorts, sprinkled with singing and laughter, enhanced the evening after what has been a challenging year for everyone. (Some pictures of the event can be seen on the members page)
Zoom sessions resumed after half term with Christmas music being the focus with a growing number of members embracing the technology with the more experienced members assisting people to get online.
Zoom has proved to be a successful tool in keeping the choir members together and as a point of contact for the committee during the ongoing pandemic
We are pleased to be starting a term of Zoom rehearsals under the guidance of our new Musical Director, Dr Georgie Lorimer. Although a relative newcomer to the wonders of online sessions, Georgie has impressed us with her willingness to tackle the vagaries of Zoom and we are very happy to be learning some new pieces, alongside old favourires and, of course, Christmas carols.
“ In spite of the many difficulties posed by this current situation, it was wonderful to be met by such a large number of singers on the fifth of October for my first session with the Ratcliffe Chorale. After a brief vocal warm-up, and a quick battle with the Zoom video settings, we together worked through pieces by Chilcott and Campion, both of which will hopefully appear in our first concert of 2021. Whilst at present we may not be able to meet face-to-face as a choir, it is wonderful to be able to still come together as a group and prepare for our future concerts. I very much look forward to meeting further members of the Chorale over the coming weeks, particularly as we move into November and begin to prepare for our online Christmas Concert. ”
The Chorale are very happy to be learning some new pieces, alongside old favourites.
Sadly, but understandably, all of our Xmas concerts have been cancelled so our aim now is to be ready for some performances in the summer months of 2021.
End of term Zoom session with 25 chorale members.
After an extended break from singing due to the onset of Covid-19, the Chorale went online. It was a bit of a challenge for some of us; mastering Zoom and ensuring that we were muted, looking our best and singing the correct notes at the correct time in solitary splendour wasn't always easy! The sessions didn't quite have the same thrill as singing to a live audience and we all missed our usual season of summer concerts, along with the lovely social atmosphere that often occurs on warm summer's evenings as we mingle outside during the intervals ( stawberries and cream in hand if we are really lucky!)
We are extremely grateful to Chris Hill who stood in as our MD for a few short weeks and was busy preparing us with a great programme for our end of term 'gigs'. He then conducted our Zoom sessions and we finished these with a 'Warble for Wimbledon', tennis gear and alcoholic beverages to hand.
Sunday 15th December: another ‘first’ for the Chorale. We were invited to join the Melton Brass Band in their traditional Christmas concert at Sage Cross Methodist Church in the town. A full programme of instrumental and choral music showcasing the talents of both groups was applauded by a large audience and the choir certainly enjoyed the challenge of singing with brass band accompaniment.
Tuesday 10th December: Christmas Carol Service at Brooksby College. This has become a firm favourite for the Chorale in the lead up to Xmas and, as always, we were made to feel very welcome. A full church, some lovely Christmas wreaths on sale, delicious mulled wine and mince pies during the interval-what’s not to enjoy!
Saturday 7th December: a full Christmas concert in the beautiful Rearsby Church. The following letter to the choir was much appreciated.
'The Friends of Rearsby Church would like to thank Michael, Ron
& all who sang at the concert on Saturday 7th December. An unbelievable 67 tickets were sold and a total profit of £500 was made so many thanks for bringing friends & family, also for your
generosity in supporting the raffle & tombola.'
'Several people have commented on the enjoyable programme, the lovely sound the Choir made and the warm, friendly atmosphere. One comment received yesterday: ‘Ratcliffe Chorale’s Christmas Concert was splendid! A lovely selection of traditional Music and Carols. So pleased it was so well attended”. Lovely feedback on a successful concert.'
Thursday 28th November: our first Christmas concert (yes, in November!) held in Trinity and All Saint’s Church, Loughborough. This has become a very enjoyable precursor to the Xmas season when we are invited to sing at the annual Xmas Tree Festival. Of course, the church looked magnificent, the singing was well-received and we got to perform a couple of numbers with our joint guests, the Loughborough MVC, and a rousing finale when we were all joined by a scratch choir from the Falcon Centre. 80 carollers on stage certainly launched the Christmas spirit!
Monday 8th Sept saw us all gathering once more to start the term off. As usual, we began proceedings with our AGM, followed by as short sing and then -the best bit for some-drinks and nibbles!
Another ‘first’- but maybe not the last! On 7th July, the Chorale were invited to sing in one of Wyggeston’s regular Sunday afternoon performances. It was a sunny summer’s afternoon, but that didn’t deter the audience from attending, and what a lovely group of people they were; such an appreciative audience and they especially enjoyed the organ solos by our talented accompanist, Ron Berry. When he played the Battle of Britain theme tune arms representing Spitfire wings were waving enthusiastically and the whole occasion was very uplifting. We hope to perform there again!
Monday 8th July saw the official end to our singing year-but in a very unofficial way. Many choir members and quite a few partners gathered for an end- of- year picnic in the lovely garden of one of our members. We were blessed with fine weather and the beer and wine flowed as we all said our goodbyes until September.
Saturday 8th June was a landmark for the Chorale. For the first time we played hosts to a visiting choir and performed a very successful joint concert with the Liverpool Phoenix Voices. The evening concert, held by kind invitation of Birstall Methodist Church, was preceded by a joint rehearsal and a buffet at 5pm, giving the singers chance to socialise and compare notes (excuse the pun!) about the 2 choirs. The large audience were very complimentary about the choice of music and the quality of the singing and we all really enjoyed performing together in a larger group than usual This concert raised over £200 for the local Air Ambulance service.
This saw the 25th anniversary of the Ratcliffe Chorale’s first concert. Some members who sang in that concert are still active members of the choir today. To celebrate the milestone, we enjoyed a lovely meal which was provided and served by local caterers. Hoby Village Hall was very tastefully decorated by some hardworking committee members and a good time was had by all, amid plenty of reminiscing and a little singing.
RATCLIFFE CHORALE - APPOINTMENT OF NEW MUSICAL DIRECTOR
Ratcliffe Chorale are very pleased to welcome their new Musical Director, Dr Gerogie Lorimer.
It is not any easy time for her to be taking on a new choir, thanks to Covid restrictions, but we are looking forward to tackling the challenges of on-line rehearsals together.
RATCLIFFE CHORALE - MUSICAL DIRECTOR MOVING ON
We are sad to annouce that our Music Director, Michael Bonshor, has left the Chorale.
RATCLIFFE CHORALE - APPOINTMENT OF NEW MUSICAL DIRECTOR
Ratcliffe Chorale are exited to welcome their new Musical director, Michael Bonshor, who will be kept busy preparing the choir for their season of summer concerts.
RATCLIFFE CHORALE - MUSICAL DIRECTOR MOVING ON
We are very sad to annouce that our Music Director, Anne de Graeve, who has enjoyed long standing links with Ratcliffe College, is leaving the Chorale.
20 YEAR CELEBRATION:
We sang for our supper!
Ratcliffe Chorale celebrated 20 years in style. Brooksby College provided the most amazing 3 course meal in the beautiful panelled dining room. This was followed by A Capella singing by the assembled choir of 'An Irish Blessing' and 'Danny Boy'. A great time was had by all.
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