Date for your diary: Come & Sing Day on Saturday 11 November 2017 will feature Haydn's Nelson Mass conducted by Jonathan Kingston

Saturday 11 November 2017 9.15 am - 5.30pm; informal concert 4.30pm

Music for All @ SMSG warmly invites you to our fifth great Come & Sing! day here at St Mary & St Giles in Stony Stratford.

Online booking now open:

Haydn's greatest Mass, written towards the end of his life, cemented his friendship with a British hero. Come and be part of a large and glorious chorus in the 'Nelson Mass', which some musical authorities consider to be his finest single choral work. Singers who’ve been before will know how inspirational, and how much fun these days are (and how great the refreshments are!). Newcomers are most welcome too – you’ll be in for a real treat of a day. All funds raised will go to support the future maintenance of the restored Willis pipe organ, so that it always sounds as good as it does now!

James conducts the singers with Richard at the organ

James conducts the singers with Richard at the organ at the 2016 Come & Sing Day

Singer tickets £18 (concession £9 for full time students and job seekers) - tickets include score hire and tea/coffee and cake throughout the day.
Audience tickets £3 (concession free for full time students and job seekers).

Booking Ahead is essential for all singers (audience can book ahead or pop in on the day). Tickets for singers are available by voice part. It will be a popular day and we encourage people to sign up soon. Soprano and alto voice tickets tend to go fast – book as early as you can and encourage a tenor or bass to come with you! This will make sure we have a reasonable balance. Booking will close on 31 October to give us time to manage the waiting list, seating plans, labels and scores. We know that many people like to book together, so we've made ticket buying as simple as possible. Nearer the time we will write to everyone who's ordered tickets with information for you to pass on to your attendees, and a quick form for you to provide us with names of singers attending.

Timetable: Registration is from 09.15 am (tea and coffee available at the church), rehearsal in four sessions from 10.00 am – 4.00 pm with breaks. Informal 45-minute concert performance at 16.30 pm; audience will be most welcome.

Location The church has wheelchair access and facilities. Stony Stratford has plenty of good shops, plus cafes and pubs to pop out to at lunchtime or afterwards, and lots of free parking areas around the town

The work: Haydn's chief biographer, H. C. Robbins Landon, has written that this Mass "is arguably Haydn's greatest single composition". Written in 1798, it is one of the six late Masses for the Esterhazy family. This was a terrifying time - Napoleon had won four major battles with Austria in less than a year - and Haydn’s own title for the work was Missa in Angustiis (Mass for troubled times). What he did not know when he wrote the Mass, but what he and his audience heard (perhaps on September 15, the day of the first performance), was that Napoleon had been dealt a stunning defeat in the Battle of the Nile by Admiral Nelson. Because of this coincidence, the mass acquired the nickname Lord Nelson Mass. The Mass is in six movements: Kyrie (Lord have mercy), Gloria (Glory to God in the highest), Credo (I believe), Sanctus (Holy), Benedictus (Blessed), Agnus Dei (Lamb of God). It lasts around 40 minutes. We will be singing it with an organ accompaniment.

Conductor, Organist and Soloists: Jonathan Kingston (conductor) is Director of Music at St Mary & St Giles (from September 2017) and well-known as a lively and entertaining event leader. He has previously been deputy organist at Ely Cathedral and assistant Director of Music at Stowe School, Bromsgrove, and The Kings School Ely.  He performs with leading orchestras and is a senior examiner with ABRSM and RSM. Stuart Miles (organist) teaches part-time and is a freelance organist.  Most of his teaching career was spent in London schools, the Royal College of Music and The University of London Institute of Education. Solo parts will be performed by Claire Turner, Emma Westley, Peter Eales, Simon Woodhead.

Learning Resources: You need to be able to sight-read music well enough to cope with singing the full Mass in one day – however, it’s a day to have fun learning together and to do our best, not to polish a perfect performance.
- To listen: this file will let you listen to the Mass – our performance won’t be the same as this, but this file gives you a clue as to what each movement sounds like and how the Latin is pronounced.
- To look at the score: this free file gives you access to a public domain score; this is NOT the version we will use on the day so treat it as a guide.  We will be singing from a Novello edition on the day; hire of the correct score is included in the ticket price for singers.
- To hear the notes of your part: John Fletcher sound files can be found on his site, which provides part files (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) for a vast range of choral music including the Haydn we’re singing. You may need to register (Choose ‘Free’).  Then you need to logon to the site to choose ‘Haydn Nelson Mass’. What you will hear are sound files played on clarinets. The voice part chosen is enhanced so that it is louder than the rest. There are no words, just the notes.

Further information and queries: If you have any queries, please do contact the Come & Sing team.

Jane Wolfson, David Scrutton and Janet Walters
Come & Sing! Co-organisers


Further information and queries: If you have any queries, please do contact the Come & Sing team at SMSG on come& 

Newcomers are most welcome too – you’ll be in for a real treat of a day.

All funds raised on the day will go to support the future maintenance of the organ, so that it always sounds as good as it will on this day! We looking forward to making music with you.

Online booking for singers and audience opened on 24 June 2017
Online Box Office

Previous event

Come & Sing Classics for Choir and Organ: Saturday 12 November 2016, Stony Stratford

Music for All @ SMSG warmly invited you to our fourth great Come & Sing day!

See Come & Sing Day 2016 for a description of the event and some photos.

It was a wonderfully varied day under the baton of James Wharton, with Richard Heyes playing the newly restored Willis pipe organ, now tuned to concert pitch with a clear bright, bold sound, and new pipes which add greater tonal range and effect. It offered the chance to revisit, or learn some popular choral classics along with some lesser-known items.

We tackled three centuries of classics for choir and organ, from Handel's Zadok the Priest (1727) through to Sing! (1999, David Willcocks's setting of words to the famous Widor Toccata). We sang in eight parts (I Was Glad by Parry),  in French (Cantique de Jean Racine by Faure) and in unaccompanied Latin (Locus Iste by Bruckner). We lead the audience in a rousing hymn (Vaughan Williams’ setting of Old Hundredth) and saluted the light-hearted organ repertoire with an organ solo from the Wurlitzer era, and I do Like To Be Beside The Seaside for singers. It being Remembrance Weekend, we took time to remember former friends, with Nimrod as an organ solo and Brahms' How lovely Are Thy Dwellings Fair.

We sang three items from sheet music that is included in the price. The other five items are all in the wonderful anthology The Greatest Choral Classics (Novello, 2001) – singers needed to bring their own copy or book to hire or buy one from us at an additional fee. Prices for singers included plentiful tea and coffee and delicious cake to power us through the day.

There was an informal one-hour concert performance at 16.30; audience were most welcome.

James conducts the singers with Richard at the organ

James conducts the singers with Richard at the organ at the 2016 Come & Sing Day