History and background
NC3 was formed in 1992 and has performed over 180 concerts during the last 30 years.
Principal conductors have included Ashley Stafford (1995-1998), Jonathan Leonard (1998-2009) and Sarah Tenant-Flowers (2010-2022).
We regularly work with guest conductors, including (in the last 10 years) David Bednall, Alex Berry, Bob Chilcott, Peter Hunt, Jeremy Jackman, Mark Jordan, Kevin Stannard, Matthew Smallwood and Bernard West. We also seek to provide a platform for young aspiring conductors and have recently worked with Tristan Weymes.
Concerts are mainly performed in and around North and West Oxfordshire (the North Cotswolds) with venues (mainly parish churches) including: Adderbury, Bloxham, Chadlington, Charlbury, Chipping Norton, Deddington, Enstone, Hook Norton and Shipton under Wychwood.
Notable soloists and ensembles that NC3 has performed with include: the Adderbury Ensemble, Nancy Argenta, Catherine Bott, James Gilchrist, His Majesty’s Sagbutts and Cornetts, Craig Ogden, Rebecca Outram, William Purefoy, Jennifer Smith, David Watkins, Silas Wollston and members of the English Baroque Soloists.
The choir is currently drawn from an active pool of 50+ singers with individual performances typically mustering 20-30 voices depending on repertoire. There is a core group of nearly 30 singers who have sung with NC3 for over 15 years. Most singers are drawn from within a 30 mile radius of Chipping Norton. We are most definitely not an ‘Oxford’ choir or wishing to compete or participate in the lively Oxford city music scene, although some members also sing in Oxford and further afield.
All singers are initially auditioned prior to joining the choir and are expected to be competent sight-readers, able to hold a line, and to prepare music between rehearsals.
Typically we rehearse on 5 occasions prior to a concert. Recent concerts have had a pattern of a Sunday in-depth rehearsal (4 hours) and then 4 weekly 2-hour rehearsals on Thursdays prior to a weekend concert dress rehearsal/performance. Rehearsals are usually in Chipping Norton, Hook Norton or Charlbury. This is a feature of the choir; we do not rehearse in Oxford or other major towns (Banbury, Warwick, Stratford etc); we have a short intensive set of rehearsals; and our concerts are mainly in our local vicinity. We have performed further afield in Oxford, Banbury, Burford, Cheltenham, Witney, Bicester, Northleach or Stow but find it is difficult to generate a local audience unless we liaise with a local music festival or similar.
In recent years we have performed four programmes a year, including an Advent/Christmas concert and have worked with guest conductors as well as our principal conductor. The benefit of our rehearsal patterns means that our concerts do not tend to clash with local choral societies whose concerts are typically at the end of academic terms.