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Disappointment. I expect, like me, you were very disappointed that the rehearsal was cancelled last night but sometimes things are just beyond our control.

Maybe some of you were grateful not to have to go out in the cold and dark!


All is not lost and wasted. As the Maestro says, 'Practice! Practice! Practice!

It is building up in your muscle memory and will stand you in good stead for the following weeks.


It is important to keep that momentum going; if everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.


You’ve Got a Friend writer, Carole King and her friend James Taylor recorded individual versions of this song around the same time in 1971. 

What makes the whole thing even more special is that James Taylor (73), and Carole King (79), remain great friends today.

Just Call Out My Name, a documentary about the creative pairing of Carole King and James Taylor. It showcased their friendship and deep admiration, both as people and as artists. They reflect on their five decades of collaboration and friendship; includes concert footage from the 1970s and their 2010 reunion tour.


Go over your parts in Dropbox and we can be prepared to sing it all the way through with perhaps only an occasional tweak here and there.


Keep Steal Away and The House of the Rising Sun fresh in your minds too as we will be building up our repertoire over the next weeks and gradually adding new songs until we have enough for our concert on 31 July. It is easy to forget the first songs we learn as they are put on the back burner.


Joshua is yet to be introduced to some or refreshed by others who have previously sung it. 

The lyrics allude to the biblical story of the Battle of Jericho in which Joshua led the Israelites against Canaan.

A local dialect was used, “Joshua fit the battle of Jericho” meaning “Joshua fought the Battle of Jericho”

Like those of many other spirituals, the song's words may also be alluding to eventual escape from slavery – in the case of this song, "And the walls came tumblin' down."The lively melody and rhythm also provided energy and inspiration. Critic Robert Cummings wrote: "The jaunty, spirited theme hardly sounds like the product of the pre-Civil War era, and would not sound out of place in a ragtime or even jazz musical from the early 20th century. The closing portion of the tune, sung to the words quoted above, is its most memorable portion: the notes plunge emphatically and impart a glorious sense of collapse, of triumph

Teamwork.The best teamwork comes from those who are working independently toward one goal in unison.


With that in mind, keep going. Practise a little each day and see you all next week!

Trillers on the Perch

Crows peck on snow, white

Winter’s monochrome landscape

Magpies watch and wait

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We had an enormous turn out last night with new people joining in all voice parts which gives logistical problems with seating.


As such, we are going to ‘block’ the choir into voice parts which will help with the sound.

Please be flexible as you may not be sitting where you have previously sat


You will find a section for each voice part and all will be four rows deep.

Sop 1 – 4 x 4

Sop 2 – 3 x 4

Altos – 4 x 4

L Tenors/Tenors – 3 x 4

Bases - 3 x 4


With so many wonderful voices to blend and harmonise, Eamonn had us sing a simple round ‘Hey ho, nobody’s home, Meat or drink nor money have I none. Yet I will be merry, very merry’

 When learning by ear it is important to come in at the beginning at the right time, and if you get lost through the rest of it and join in again at the right time, you’ll be fine.  This will give you something to build on until you can learn it all. Don’t freak out and do nothing!

 We sounded glorious, so a good start to revisit Steal Away.

This needs a crisp start – not lots of ‘ssssssteal’

When the ‘trumpet sounds’ put the ‘z’ sound on the end of the word as you here the bass chord played and jump off of that to ‘withina my soul’ and don’t make ‘soul’ too long. Watch for the cut offs.


Do not breathe in the phrase ‘I ain’t got long to stay here’ and make ‘here’ long.


It is all gentle until you reach the verses and then really sing out ‘My Lord he calls me….’ And ‘Green trees a bending ….’.

Create a big contrast.



Before we revisit the Animals and, The House of the Rising Sun. A very different version by Nina Simone. The same but different.

Back to the Animals. The Tenors/Basses starting us off giving extra weight to the word ‘house’.


Lady & Gent Tenors sing the Oohs and the Sop 1s must smile at the top notes to keep them bright and not under the note.


Don’t be polite ‘when he’s all a drunk!’


Altos, then come in gently on ‘Oh Mother tell your children’.  The tempo doesn’t change, so do not rush it;

it is just quiet,


On the last ‘There is a House in New Orleans’ the Lady and Gent Tenors sing out boldly as it is very low in your voice range, while the Altos can sing like ladies of the night with their Oohs.


After a well earned break, we looked at You’ve Got a Friend. This a 1971 song written by American singer-songwriter Carole King. It was first recorded by her and included on her second studio album, Tapestry (1971).

Another well-known version is by James Taylor from his album Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon. His was released as a single in 1971, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and number four on the UK Singles Chart. The two versions were recorded simultaneously in 1971 with shared musicians.

Carole King has stated that "the song was as close to pure inspiration as I've ever experienced. The song wrote itself. It was written by something outside myself, through me."

According to James Taylor, Carole King told him that the song was a response to a line in Taylor's earlier song "Fire and Rain" that "I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend.

Carole King said in a 1972 interview that she "didn't write it with James or anybody really specifically in mind. But when James heard it he really liked it and wanted to record it".

Eammon’s version starts gently with Altos and Sop 2s.  The Tenors/Basses notes are not very exciting, as they are mainly on one note!  However, when sung with the other voice parts they blend deliciously.


Do not breathe – this will be become a running theme you will find - in the phrase ‘And you know wherever I am, I’ll come running’


Keep moving forward with this song, don’t relax in the warm bath of Eamonn’s quavers!

Enjoy the ebb and flow.


This song will be completed next week and we will run through Joshua and may be something else.  Keep your eye on the Dropbox for new material and listen the tracks and be ready.


See you next week in your starting blocks!


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We started off our year with the great big personality of Eamonn O’Dwyer back as our Musical Director to lead and teach us his wonderful arrangements, which will culminate in a summer concert on 31 July 2024.


It sounds a long way away, but with an Easter break in the middle, time will soon fly.  Keep the date in mind and book your summer holidays accordingly!


From Eamonn’s point of view, he was facing a greatly increased choir from when he saw us last.

With so many newbies, a lot of the old songs will be new to a large majority of the choir.


Our treasured Treasurer (aka Mrs Moneybags) wanted to ensure everyone was happy with her position in the choir, along with her side kicks, Carol and Pauline, as we’ve never been officially elected. 

This was duly announced and greatly approved by the choir and the In Flagrante Committee is now officially elected.


With so many numbers, it will take time to get to know everyone and patience will be needed to get everyone in place and we will now probably need up to four rows of chairs for each section. 

With the different voices in blocks, rather than long lines, this will help to concentrate the sound and bring out the best in us.


We started our warm up with the painful tongue circles. Get used to it as it will be happening every week!


Steal Away is a classic American Negro Spiritual, and was composed by Wallace Willis, a slave, sometime before 1862. Alexander Reid, a minister, heard Willis singing it, transcribed the words and melody, and sent the music to the Jubilee Singers of Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. The Fisk Jubilee Singers were formed in 1871 at a school for freed slaves in order to help save the school from being closed. The choir toured America in order to raise money, and even came to Europe where they performed for Queen Victoria.


It is believed that songs like Steal Away and Wade in The Water had double meanings for the slaves who sang them. Not only did the words reflect their faith and that they would one day “steal away to Jesus” but also acted as code to their fellow workers that they were going to seek to escape their slave-owners, that they would “steal away” via the secret network called the Underground Railroad that would help them reach the northern U.S. states or Canada where they would be free.


One academic has suggested other lines in the song have this double meaning too. “He calls me by the thunder”, for example, refers to the fact that stealing away during a storm was safer because the rains washed away clues that might lead the trackers and their dogs to find the fleeing slave.


Steal Away has been recorded by gospel, rock, country, folk, classical and soul singers and now in Flagrante sings Eamonn’s arrangement with a beautiful underlying piano part.


Don’t rush this song; it has long, slow phrases, so give it plenty of space.

We run through to the end of the first verse and start at the back at the beginning and then sing the lines underneath for the second verse. 


The Sop 1s have a harmony the second time ‘The Trumpets sound…’


The House of the Rising Sun was next.  This is such a well-known song and everyone will want to sing it in their own way.  However, it is not karaoke!

It is important to get the rhythm right so we are all singing the same thing. Keep it clean!


Basses have the stage with singing the first two verses. They can really let themselves go and sing out loud.

The rest of us start with Oohs!  Not unusual for Altos and Tenors, but Sopranos (who usually get the tune) really struggle.  Eamonn is determined that Sops ‘Ooh’ with harmony in his new songs. 

It doesn’t help when they are told they sound like a chorus of owls! Smile and keep it in the cheekbones and that should do the trick!


We all sing the verse ‘Now the only thing….’ Again, the rhythm is important.  It is a short ‘suit’ and a long ‘case’ on the word ‘suitcase’


Emphasise the ‘k’ at the end of ‘trunk’ and ‘drunk’


Altos have their quiet moment ‘Oh, mother tell your children …’ keeping ‘children’ short


We all join in ‘spend your life in sin’ – make ‘sin’ short’ and listen for the chord underneath, before coming in with ‘and misery’ with a short gap before singing ‘at the House of the Rising Sun’.


Remember all the individual parts as well as the full versions are in Dropbox. 

Listen, sing along and practise at home.


We will be going over them again next week and then starting the other songs in Dropbox, so print your music and be prepared!

Trillers on the Perch

Haydn Nelson Mass

Date:  3 February 

Venue: All Saints church by Putney Bridge

Come and sing Haydn Nelson Mass.  There will be copies to rent of the Mass.

The Fulham  and Hammersmith Choral Society always has a ‘come and sing’ in February ahead of their Spring Concert.  I sang with FHCS for over 20 years and they are a friendly bunch of people.  It’s a non audition choir.  I left when I found the journey too much.  Alright when you go there but too many times I found myself at Hammersmith at 9.45 waiting for a non existent Richmond train having sung my heart out for two hours.  You all know the feeling!  We rehearse during the day \ break for lunch and at 5.00 we sing a ‘performance’ for anyone who turns up.  I will send anyone who thinks they’d like to come more details, time it begins and the cost of a ticket.  My email is:


A great start to the year!

From Ms Moneybags and the Management

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