Calling composers

There’s £1,000 to be won by a young composer in our Composition Competition, and there are just over four weeks to go before the closing date. Entries must be received before midnight on Wednesday 31 January 2024 so, if you are reading this and you have contact with any composers who will be under the age of 30 at that date, please point them in our direction. For more information, and the full Terms & Conditions, click the About Us tab on the top menu.

Composition competition

Hot on the heels of another very successful course comes news of a brand new initiative: a composition competition for composers under the age of thirty on 31 January 2024 (the closing date for receipt of entries). For full details, click About us from the top menu and select the competition tab. From there you will also be able to download the Terms & Conditions. Or click http://www.laudemus.org.uk/about/composition-competition/

Jigsaw complete!

We now have a full complement of choral scholars for this year’s course, and look forward tremendously to another week of glorious choral evensong music in beautiful Dorset churches.

If you are visiting Dorset in mid August, click 2023 Tour on the menu bar to see where we will be singing between 15th and 19th August, and what the music will be. Choral evensong is a uniquely wonderful experience, and not to be missed.

Missing piece of the 2023 jigsaw

Just one piece of the 2023 Laudemus jigsaw is missing: a tenor choral scholar! Everything else is now in place for our visit to Dorset this coming August: churches, clergy, repertoire, hymns, psalms and singers – apart from one young tenor, yet to be indentified!

Scholars have all their course costs paid apart from evening meals, and make a valuable contribution to the choir. They should be between 18 and 25 years old, confident singers and good sight-readers. If you know of anyone who might be interested, please contact the administrator, Marianne Barton.

Tenor needed

All is in place for our annual tour apart from the sudden and unexpected loss of a tenor! If you are a tenor with excellent sight-reading ability, or know one of these valuable people, please get in touch with Marianne (see Contact Us page). Dates (including pre-rehearsals) are Sunday 14th August to Sunday 21st August (or leaving Saturday night for those with commitments on Sunday morning). We can talk about money later, and come to a mutually acceptable arrangement.

Dr Francis Jackson

Dr Francis Jackson, who died on Monday 10 January aged 104, linked the 21st century to the 19th, serving as a chorister at York Minster under Edward Bairstow (1874–1976) whom he succeeded as organist at the Minster in 1947. A prolific composer as well as an organist, he was still writing music until just before his death, and he was delighted to be taken to the Minster in 2021 to hear the newly restored organ after a restoration project lasting two and a half years. There are many tributes and obituaries in the local, musical and national press; we direct you to one on the website of the Royal College of Organists.

Dates for 2022

With fingers crossed that our plans will not be scuppered by further variants of the COVID-19 virus, we are delighted to announce our tour dates for this summer: 14–21 August 2022. As usual, Jeremy Jackman will direct and Sam Hanson will be our organist. Music and churches have yet to be chosen, but the music will doubtless include a tribute to the Emeritus Organist of York Minster, Francis Jackson, who died on Monday 10 January aged 104. A great musician and a wonderful man – RIP.

New dates: 8–15 August 2021

Jigsaw now complete – all four sides firmly in place (thank you, Bryanston School!) and all bar two of the inside pieces fitting nicely. We are immensely grateful to the singers who re-arranged their diaries to accommodate the new dates. Almost all the originally booked churches were able to take us during August; we were left with a gap on Thursday, but the lovely people at Wimborne Minster invited us to make two appearances there this year.

Visit the 2021 Tour page to see where we are going and the anthems and canticles to be sung. All we need now is some summer weather!

A difficult jigsaw

Most people tackle a jigsaw puzzle by first completing the outside frame. With a four-week extension to lockdown now confirmed, the puzzle in front of us currently has the top (Jeremy) and the two supporting sides (Sam and Marianne) completed, but is lacking the crucial, underpinning base: Bryanston School. Most of the other pieces have at least been turned picture-side up, and we have assembled all the necessary ecclesiastical bits to enable us to put the tour together, and to work out how many pieces are likely to be missing in the soprano, alto, tenor and bass sections.

It’s quite a challenge. And the mental process is not helped by hints on this morning’s news that the extension might, after all, need to be only two weeks, meaning we wouldn’t have had to cancel in the first place. How is anyone supposed to plan anything in such circumstances?

A numbers game …

… or a question of extensions. Plus two weeks and Laudemus! this summer goes ahead as planned. Plus three weeks, and our fate hangs in the balance, dependent on guidelines given by the DCMS and the Church of England. Plus four weeks and existing plans collapse; we go back to the diary and try and reschedule the whole thing for August instead. Some game!