Alan Vincent

An appreciation

The year 2006 marked the 25th year of Alan Vincent's superb leadership.

Having Alan as our musical director is an extremely enjoyable and rewarding experience. Alan is fully committed to the society, and shows this in every part of his dealings with us. Every Wednesday during school term time we meet in Chantry School in Gravesend, and Alan immediately puts us at our ease with a selection of warm up exercises that are both fun and educational. A few moments of callisthenics accompanied by comments about the weather or the traffic conditions leads swiftly into voice exercises - tongue twisters such as the notorious "I rattled my bottles in Rollockses yard", or perhaps an invitation to sing up and down the scale of F sharp minor harmonic saying the names of the notes!

Alan is consistently forgiving and accommodating of our many deficiencies as singers. He accepts all-comers - a rarity these days - and never seems at all put out when we fail to make a decent stab at even the simplest material. However, he can pick out a false note from any part of the hall, which is quite a feat, and even the most experienced singers can learn something new from him. In short, rehearsals with Alan are nothing less than a master-class in choral singing.

Alan really comes into his own in performance, when he shows seemingly effortless control of a full orchestra and choir, with sometimes more than 200 individuals under his baton. We all respond to his energy and artistic mastery of dynamics, phrasing and tempo. In recent years we have also had the added honour of performing his own distinguished compositions.

For all this, and for what is yet to come - thanks, Maestro!