Bob Chilcott Workshop in Teddington

Those of you who’ve been reading my blog for a while will know that I attended a Bob Chilcott workshop in Kingston last year… and loved it.


Clearly, one of the other attendees of the Kingston workshop, Anne, was also super excited about the event.  She was so excited she encouraged her church in Teddington to host Bob Chilcott for another workshop today. I was, again, very excited to receive an invitation to attend.  However was then disappointed that despite my eagerness to return my application and cheque, I was beaten by others to attend and I was put on the waiting list for tickets. However ‘Postive-Spin Wallace’ put it in her diary anyway and waited for a call to say that I’d been moved off the reserve bench and had a ticket… a few weeks ago the call came and today was the day of the Workshop.


I’m sure there are some reading this that don’t sing and perhaps think I’m a dullard to do so. Truly I was in your camp not that many years ago and used to wonder what Mum got out of the choirs she was a member of. I joined the Rock Choir for many reasons but one reason was so that for an hour and a half each week all I thought about, was singing. It truly lifted my spirits in doing so. I met a new group of enthusiastic people who laughed – a lot. People who appeared (at least for 1.5 hours) to be carefree and this rubbed off on me. ‘Carefree’ is a feeling that I lost when I was diagnosed with an unsure rare cancer. I hadn’t realised that I missed it nor that everything I did, thought or felt appears now to be planned, considered or reserved. So to be ‘carefree’ again has been a joy.

At Rock Choir we learn songs with only the lyric sheets. No music. We learn by ear and eventually without any lyric sheets too. At first I found it hard to not see and read the music but realise that this makes it ‘all inclusive’ and that noone is disadvantaged if they don’t read music. The music choices are contemporary – such as Adele, Beegees, Olly Murs, Amy Winehouse etc.

I signed up for the first Bob Chilcott workshop in Kingston as I wanted to challenge myself further. Learn to sing reading music. More choral and classical pieces and demanding a more precise method of singing with more vocal parts in the choir.

Today’s workshop once again challenged but was sooo enjoyable. During the day we learnt the following pieces:

Five days that changed the world (3 movements) – The Invention of Printing; The Abolition of Slavery; The First Powered Flight.  (Sung here at in Worcester for the first time in 2013 –
Chilcott Anthems – God so loved the World; Be Thou my Vision
Chilcott Requiem – Thou Knowest Lord.

The workshop attendees were once again a wonderful mixture of people from different choirs, choral societies and Rock Choir. It was lovely to have so many men singing in the bass and tenor sections. As always, I enjoyed speaking to lots of new people and discussing how we each worked with our choirs to learn new songs. Listening to people talk animatedly about their choirs. What they enjoyed about being part of a choir. I was also surprised to hear from a couple of people that they were envious of our singing without music as they felt that it was really difficult to then sing without the score. Whereas I said that I’d love to see the musical score and to be able to learn or re-learn the back catalogue of Rock Choir songs from the music score. There is probably a happy medium for us all!


Although we learnt so many pieces during the one day – OK perhaps there was a lot of finessing that was still required (!) – I was once again encouraged by Bob Chilcott’s teaching style. YouTube clip.  He has the ability to encourage everyone to sing. To hear where there can be improvements or tweaks required. He tells us why he wrote the piece that particular way, the inspiration behind it and who’s previously sung it. We are then able to understand further what we are singing and, I hope, interpret the emotion through our collective voices. There are lots of laughs throughout the day too.


At the end of our day’s Workshop we headed over to the Church to put on a short concert of the pieces we had learnt to anyone who had turned up…mostly family and friends. Here’s a YouTube clip of us performing one of the pieces.  I’m quite impressed!

If you’re encouraged to attend a workshop or perhaps to listen to Bob Chilcott in concert, keep an eye on his website for opportunities.

1 thought on “Bob Chilcott Workshop in Teddington

  1. Pingback: Darren Black | AnnaGoAnna Wallace

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