Exciting stuff going on in March

In a week’s time we’ll be blasting the roof off the Horse & Stables with our double choir special.

I’m pretty excited about it, not least because there’s a wealth of great material to draw on – so much so that we have enough numbers on the shortlist for 2 or 3 sessions at least. The sheet music will be ready in the next couple of days so keep an eye out for updates.

All spaces have been taken but do join the waiting list as we’re bound to have a cancellation or two before the day. (Don’t forget to cancel via Eventbrite if you have booked and can no longer make it.)

In the meantime, here’s a heads-up on a few things that may also be of interest:

Opportunity to do some more ‘drop-in’ singing

At last month’s PDtP, we were joined by Michael from the London Motet & Madrigal Club.

Like PDtP, they are a non-performing group who get together for the pure love of singing rather than performing, though I understand that they finesse their run-throughs a little bit more than we do, which no doubt appeals to some of you perfectionists.

They are always looking for new members so drop them a line via the link above or their Facebook page if you’re interested.

Also, on March 12th, Zêzerearts are giving a choral workshop in East Grinstead, with a nice line-up of repertoire, and are still looking for singers to join them – if you’re a confident tenor, you may even get a space for free.


It is of course the season where we’re in danger of drowning in a sea of performances of Bach Passions. (But what a way to go, eh?)

Great those these works are, if you’re looking for concerts of perhaps slightly lesser known works then the Borough Chamber Choir (some of whom are PDtP regulars) are performing a great programme this coming Saturday, March 5th, including Macmillan, Mozart and Bach.

Also, on March 15th, youthful singing group Amici Voices are presenting a concert of early Bach cantatas. They perform one voice per part and have a pretty stunning backing band, made up of some of the UK’s finest early music instrumentalists.

The concert is in Harpenden but if it’s anything like the Christmas Oratorio that I heard last December then it’s well worth the effort of getting out there.

Become a patron of an early music recording

And finally, early music group Capilla Cayrasco are making a CD of music by Ockeghem and PDtP favourite Josquin Desprez and they’re looking for funding assistance for the project.

Depending on the amount offered, donors can expect anything from a thank you card through to a credit in the CD booklet and even a conducting lesson from the group’s director; details can be found via the above link.




Mind that alligator!

Which is both clearly a great idea for a family fun game show (remember, you read about it here first) and the reason this review of PDtP 17 is so late – I had to hightail it to Florida the day after the session to look at some of the local wildlife:

Now that I’m back in Blighty, I’ve been reflecting on just how great our Italian Special was.

Standouts were the crunchy goodness of Anerio’s Christus factus est, contrasted with the lovely smoothness of Croce’s O sacrum convivium and of course the expressive richness of Palestrina’s Super flumina Babylonis.

We didn’t do a bad job on the Gesualdo, either, keeping it together despite the tricky bits.

Apologies for the coughing and spluttering (my eyes and nose appeared to be doing their own version of the rivers of Babylon) but I can honestly say that an evening spent singing with you all was an absolute tonic. Well, that and 10 days in the Sunshine State.

Once again, it was great to see so many long-term friends:

as well as meet some new ones:

including Kristine and Laura, two singers from Belfast who just happened to be staying at the Horse and Stables that night and decided to forgo several better options in order to join us; looking forward to setting up PDtP Belfast soon, guys!

And finally on PDTP 17, our antics even attracted the attention of this early music lover – hope to see you at a session soon, Paul.

Looking ahead, quite incredibly, all spaces for PDtP 18 on March 7th are now pretty much taken (there is one alto spot left as I type this).

There are already quite a few people on the waiting list so if you think you may not be able to make it then please give someone else a chance to join in by cancelling your booking via the Log in link in your confirmation email.

For those of you who are disappointed on missing out, I am frantically looking into getting a Counterpint session or 2 in for the end of March; more details to follow but if you’re keen for me to set something up, let me know via the comment box below.




The wait is over – here at long last are the posters for the February & March PDtPs:

You’re right; some things really are just too beautiful for words.



There’s a fair bit of virtual sleeve-tugging going on at the moment…

…as many of you are extremely keen to find out the details of the next Counterpint session.

(In case you needed reminding, Counterpint is Polyphony Down the Pub’s slightly flightier and less reliable sibling, in that it’s always in a different pub and on a different night of the week each time.)

I have a couple of pubs in the pipeline but it would be utterly great if any of you could also suggest some London venues in which you think a Counterpint session might work.

The ideal pub:

  • has a private room that can accommodate around 40 – 50 people (seated)
  • is less than 10 minutes’ walk from a tube station
  • has a good selection of beers and wines. And gins, for the sopranos.
  • is willing to have you lot rock up to belt out Palestrina and Byrd.

If your neighbourhood boozer meets these criteria then drop me the details via the comments below and we’ll see if we can set something up.



PS If you are stuck for something to do on Saturday night, why not go and hear the excellent Crouch End Festival Chorus perform Bach’s B Minor Mass at the Barbican?

PPS If you’re still twiddling your thumbs on Sunday, the also excellent St Bride’s Choir are singing Victoria in the morning and Byrd, Gibbons and Weelkes in the evening.

I must be getting old…

…as it now takes me a couple of days to recover from a PDtP session.

And what a great session it was! Despite my best efforts to put you off (deliberate errors, of course), you all sang lustily and with a commitment rarely seen in a group of people largely singing together for the first time.

Speaking of which, it was lovely to see so many new faces there – many thanks for coming and hope to see you at future sessions. Thanks too of course to all you for whom it wasn’t your first time – we must be something right for you all to come back!

Highlights for me were the Bach chorales – we definitely had some crackers in the line-up – plus the Crecquillon and the Mantua. The Hassler ended up being more challenging than I’d envisaged but by goodness it felt like an achievement to make it through to the end!

By the way, apologies to any Peñalosa fans – I was probably a bit harsh about him so I will make it up to you by including something slightly more interesting by him at a future session.

As always, special thanks to the 15 or so who stayed back for the post-10pm session; the Mantua sounded even more stunning with reduced forces.

I’d also like to thank the people who told me that this was the first time they’d sung in years – in fact, 40 years for one gentleman! – as it’s extremely gratifying to know that our little evening can act as a way back in to singing.

As a reminder, the next PDtP is Feb.8th and is our Italian special (a third of spaces have already gone) but don’t forget that March 7th is our double-choir spectacular, so book now to avoid disappointment.

Thanks again and see you next time!