Kingston! Counterpint at the Canbury Arms is back!

For too long, the good people of Kingston have laboured through a seemingly unending cold, dark, booze ‘n’ polyphony-free night.

But no longer; dawn has broken at last and the light of alcohol-soaked harmony will once again bathe you in its warmth.

That’s right, Counterpint at the Canbury Arms is back, and it’s going to be better than ever! Tuesday January 31st is the date and 7pm is the kick-off time.

(The Canbury Arms is a great pub with a great selection of beers and food, and was a nominee for Timeout’s Love London Awards.)

Booking is now open and places are linited; as if you needed any more incentive, we have 6 months’ worth of fantastic material from PDtP to draw on so book yourselves in now.




Compliments of the season to you all

Last night we had a rollicking time at our final singing shindig of 2016, the Counterpint in the Cafe Christmas Special.

It was great to see so many of you willing to give up an evening just before Christmas to squeeze into Travelling Through’s cafe for our seasonal singalong! Just about everything we tried proved to be a hit and I am very glad that we are putting Gumpelzhaimer‘s music back in the spotlight where it belongs!

Other top numbers were the arrangements of In Dulci Jubilo by Paminger, Gesius and Bach (long-time PDtP followers will know that I have a deep and abiding love for this carol), Palestrina‘s utterly charming Alma Redemptoris Mater, the grandiose Omnes de Saba venient by Gallus and the smashing Viderunt omnes by everyone’s favourite new discovery Zieleński.

I was very grateful to you for indulging me in some traditional carols as well – Silent Night and It Came Upon the Midnight Clear were particularly lovely. 

Thanks to all who came and generously donated to the collection for St Mungo’s – we raised an impressive £140  – and of course thanks again to Travelling Through for hosting us.

Before I sign off, I want to let you know that it’s worth tuning into Radio 3’s The Choir at 3.45pm on Christmas Day

They’ll be celebrating 100 editions of the Meet My Choir segment and they have included Polyphony Down the Pub as one of their highlights.

It’s of course a great honour to be included in their Christmas programme for the second year running and it’s a fitting tribute to you all for making this crazy singing club such a success.

By the way, listen out too for the Mind & Soul Choir‘s inspiring story – we’re hoping we can link up with them for a session in the New Year.

That’s it for the moment – I’ll be in touch again next week for the obligatory Review of the Year, plus some thoughts on the question whither PDtP?; in the meantime, have a restful, a peaceful and above all a tuneful Christmas!





PDtP 25: a funkstertronic trip to the #HasslerZone

Too pressed for time to tell you how much fun it was busking through Victoria, Byrd, Moulu et al on Monday night – so I’ll let others do it for me:

Thanks to all who came and hope to see you in December.

In the meantime, we’re still looking for altos & tenors in particular for our Southbank gig on December 6th, so if you want to be part of it, please get in touch via the form on this page. (Sopranos & basses, stick your names down as well as we may be able to fit you in!)



You’re kidding: another poll?!?

Bear with me, as this one actually means something.

Voting in Timeout’s 2016 Love London Awards is now under way, allowing Londoners and other interested parties to vote for their favourite local restaurants, bars, cafes, shops and culture spots.

It’s a great way to support your favourite local establishments, especially if they are independent businesses, but I’m asking you to consider two venues in particular: Travelling Through, home of Counterpint in the Cafe, and the Canbury Arms, the hosts of Counterpint at the Canbury.

Both businesses provide us with excellent singing spaces for free and they never fail to extend the warmest of welcomes to us every time.

It’s no exaggeration to say that Counterpint would not be the success it is without them so please vote here for Travelling Through and here for the Canbury Arms. To take part, all you need to do is create a account (it takes seconds), through which you’ll receive e-mail updates and discount offers on loads of great London events, so it’s win-win.

(You’ll see that because of its location near the Southbank, Travelling Through is up against some of the biggest arts and culture venues in the country, so please do take the time to vote and see if we can achieve a David vs Goliath-style result!)

Other things that may be of interest:

BREMF 2016

The Brighton Early Music Festival 2016 runs from October 28th till November 13th and the line-up includes a wonderfully diverse range of events, including intriguing programmes by our friends L’Avventura London and the Marian Consort.

City Bach Collective

Our favourite ovpp Bach ensemble are performing Cantata BWV 89 as part of their Bach Vespers series tonight at 6.30pm in St Mary at Hill.

They’ll also be celebrating 40 years of performing Bach’s vocal music with a lunchtime concert on November 11th in the same venue; details of all of their events can be found here.

Even more Bach 

You have two choices for some more excellent Bach next Saturday, October 29th: either the Nonsuch Singers performing the motets in London or Amici Voices giving a consort-style reading of the B Minor Mass in Harpenden. (You may have to flip a coin.)

That’s it for now – details on booking for our next PDtP and Counterpint sessions will follow next week.



Start getting those vocal cords limbered up…

…’cos it won’t be long till London’s Favourite Night of Renaissance Motets & Booze!™ is back.

Our next PDtP session will be Monday September 19th in the Horse & Stables (venue details are here).

Booking will go live at 9am on Saturday September 3rd but I’ll send out a reminder and the page link nearer the time.

In an unusual feat of organisation, I can also share some more PDtP dates with you:

  • Monday October 17th (our second birthday party!)
  • Monday November 21st
  • Monday December 5th (Christmas Special!)

Again, booking will open a couple of weeks before each session (details to follow.)

I’ll soon be announcing some Counterpint dates as well and for those of you in Manchester and Sheffield, I’ll be in touch once I’ve figured out when we can schedule more sessions for you guys.



PS Don’t forget that Requiem to Cancer takes place on September 2nd/3rd. It’s your chance to take part in a singathon for a very good cause.




FM 90.2 MHz – 90.6 MHz, Sunday December 27th 2015, 4pm

The above info is all you need to tune in and hear London’s Favourite Night of Renaissance Motets & Booze!™ over the airwaves!

You may remember that some months ago we recorded some clips of our singing, plus some of your thoughts on PDtP, all in the hope that they might be of interest to the makers of everyone’s favourite BBC Radio 3 programme The Choir, specifically for the always lovely Meet My Choir segment.

It gives me great pleasure (and to be honest, just a little bit of pride) to let you know that they have chosen our little singing event for the Christmas edition of the programme.

Just in case you can’t listen in to the whole programme, our 3 minutes of fame will be on around 4.30pm; alternatively, the clip will be live via this page once the broadcast is over. (Thanks to Michelle for providing a pic that manages to sum up brilliantly everything about us!)*

I haven’t heard the segment myself so I have no idea whose interviews they have decided to use (you’ll be relieved to learn I wasn’t allowed to speak) but many thanks to you all who shared your thoughts at the time.

Also, in keeping with our rough-and-ready-backroom-of-a-pub approach to music-making, the clips were recorded on a phone, so it’s fair to say that the sound quality won’t be gold standard.

However, I am sure that the excerpts used will be a great showcase for what we manage to achieve each session!

Thanks again for all your efforts, not just in the recordings but throughout the year.

New dates will be published early next week so I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all and your loved ones a very Happy Christmas and I look forward to seeing you all again in 2016.



*I also love the fact that the pic has allowed us to sneak some filthy madrigal lyrics onto the Radio 3 website…

We’re gonna need a bigger pub…

Have just checked the pre-registrations for Monday’s birthday extravaganza and it looks like we are going to have a verrrrrrry* packed room on the night, which is both brilliant and terrifying.

I have spoken to the pub about the lighting but I think we need to prepare for the same low levels that we have had in previous sessions. It’s therefore best for anyone who struggles to read small dots by the equivalent of guttering candlelight to consider perhaps bringing along some sort of pen-torch aid (though try not to blind your neighbours).

Also, please do make sure you have your music downloaded in advance as the pub wifi couldn’t cope last time around.

Speaking of which, don’t forget to grab your music from here, and double-check that you have the correct edition of the Casulana, which was updated on Wednesday.

In terms of splitting voices, Altos, you’ll be singing the Quinta Pars of the Josquin, with a bit of help from the lads on the first phrase, and we will probably split you between the Countertenors (i.e. the 2nd and 3rd lines) of the Parsons.

Everyone will get to sing both choirs of the Gallus at least once, which is nice, and I urge you all to have at least a quick peak at BWV 437 as its glories are directly proportional to its tricky bits.

That’s it – have a great weekend and see you Monday night!


*How many extra consonants are too many when you are trying to be realllllly emphatic?