The Bel Canto Singer – choral workshop – 7 September

A unique opportunity to work with an internationally-renowned chorus master, Edward Caswell, on the art of bel-canto singing.

The Paulinus Singers invite you to “The Bel Canto Singer”, a workshop for singers led by Edward Caswell at St John’s Church, Sharow, Ripon HG4 5BJ on Saturday 7th September 2019 (10am – 4pm).

Workshop fee: £20. Places on this workshop are limited, so please book yours now by visiting

‘Bel canto’ simply means beautiful singing and refers to the Italian school of singing which began to develop in around 1600. Essentially it is handful of simple ideas about posture, breathing and singing which can be easily understood and taught, enabling all singers to get the best out of their voices.

Understanding this technique will greatly enhance your contribution to the choirs you sing in and your own level of personal satisfaction.

This workshop will address vocal challenges, such as high notes and long phrases, and specific choral challenges, such as ensemble and intonation, all looked at from the point of view of a choral singer. Participants will be taken through a comprehensive warming up routine and then shown how what is covered in the warm-up relates to specific challenges in standard repertoire works.


10.00 Registration

10.30-10.55 Warm up: waking up body, mind and voice for optimum performance

10.55-11.20 Why posture is the key to good intonation. Working on If ye love me by Thomas Tallis

11.20-11.35 Break

11.35-12.30 The key to good ensemble and clarity of text. Working on O clap your hands by Orlando Gibbons

12.30-13.45 Lunch. We recommend you bring a packed lunch.

13.45-14.35 How to use challenging words for expressive effect. Working on God so loved the world by John Stainer

14.35-14.50 Break

14.50-15.25 Why singing shouldn’t feel like heavy lifting. Working on Locus iste by Anton Bruckner

15.25-15.45 Sing through and Q & A.

Music will be provided on arrival. If you want to study it in advance, please email

Tea and coffee will be provided throughout the day.

AGM postponed and Rehearsal cancelled tonight!


  1. The AGM will now be at 6.30pm next week.
  2. Rehearsal next week will be 7.15 warm-up for prompt 7.30 start as usual.
  3. Because we have lost some time, Sam asks you to scan your copy of Britten Hymn to St Cecilia whilst watching this clip:   Please!
I am sorry about having to cancel, but people have had to drop out because of the atrocious conditions on the roads.
See you next week!

Vocal Workshop open to all: the Science of Perfect Sound 15th September 2012

The St Paulinus Singers offer a warm welcome to come and take part in a workshop led by David Howard, vocal technique consultant on television programmes such as Hidden Talent and The Voice.

 This workshop will improve your basic technique, give you the tools to protect your voice and help you find out the reasons why your choir goes out of tune and how to solve the problem.

How to register: To register your place at this event, please email Sam Gardner on It would be helpful if you could provide a very short overview of your current singing activities, including which part you currently sing, so we can pitch (pun intended) the workshop at an appropriate level for the delegates.

Venue: Wavell Junior School, Wavell Road, Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire, DL9 3BJ

Cost: £15 per person (£10 for members of St Paulinus Singers), payable on the day + something to share for lunch

Session 1 – The vocal instrument

  • the power source – Breathing: Posture and breathing are basic to achieving a healthy vocal output and the three ways of breathing will be described and worked on.
  • the sound source – When we sing we engage the vocal folds in the larynx. Its function will be described with reference to models and sounds.
  • the sound modifiers – To set up different sounds when we sing or speak we change the shape of our mouths and throat and may make use of the nose also. Together these are known as the vocal tract and the acoustic changes that are brought about will be explored with reference to models.

Refreshment break

Session 2: Acoustics of the singing voice

The acoustic output from the voice will be shown using real-time displays that enable the main elements of sound that are used in hearing to be demonstrated and tracked in practice during singing.

Key elements of choral singing

  • Breathing and long lines
  • Vowels
  • Consonants

Bring and Share Lunch – including an opportunity to see if you have what it takes to become an opera singer by taking the tests you saw on Channel 4’s “Hidden Talents” programme

Session 3: Key elements of choral singing

Practical exercises for each will be worked through, always with reference to the vocal instrument itself.

  • Pitch, tuning and intonation
  • Performance matters
  • Ensemble singing

4.00pm Finish

Biography – Professor David Howard

David is the Head of the Department of Electronics at the University of York. His research focuses on the analysis and synthesis of singing, music and speech, tuning and pitch drift in unaccompanied (a capella) singing; the effect of singing training particularly on boy and girl choristers, the acoustics of singing in different styles and ‘ring’ and ‘tingle’ in the singing voice.

David engages frequently with the media and was made an EPSRC Senior Media Fellow specifically tasked with engaging the public with science, engineering and technology. You may have seen him on programmes such as BBC4’s Castrato, Voice and Channel 4’s Hidden Talent Show.

David has published a number of books and book chapters relating to his teaching and research. He writes apps for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch mainly in the area of sound and music and he conducts a local choir, Vale of York Voices, which sings Evensong approximately monthly in York Minster.

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