THE VENUE: Charney Manor is a grade 1 listed building, parts of which date back to the 13th century. It has three acres of garden, including a croquet lawn, and it is situated on the edge of Charney Bassett, a small village in the Vale of the White Horse. In mediaeval times the manor belonged to the Benedictine Abbey of Abingdon and it is now owned by the Religious Society of Friends. The bedrooms, which have tea and coffee making facilities, towels and complimentary shower gel, are located in the Joan Vokins Annexe, the Barn and in the manor house itself. We sing in a light, airy meeting room in the barn, which has views of the garden. The food is freshly prepared and locally sourced where possible. There is no bar, but guests are welcome to bring their own drinks. Special Diets: The venues we use work very hard to accommodate the dietary requirements of each participant. Please be aware that there is a significant amount of extra work and cost involved in providing different meals for different participants on a course so, if it is not something you stick to rigidly please think carefully before asking for it. Accessibility: There are 2 bedrooms that have been adapted for use by disabled people. Please only book one of these if you need a fully adapted room. In addition, there is one twin bedroom on the ground floor of the manor house (no steps), one twin and one single in the Barn (no steps) and 4 singles and 2 twins on the ground floor of the Vokins Annex (3 steps, with a handrail, up to the entrance). If you are OK with a regular room, as long as it has level access / limited steps / shower not bath etc, then book a regular room and describe in detail what you need (under special requirements) during the online booking process. If I can’t find a room to suit your needs, your payment will be fully reimbursed. The communal rooms we’ll use are on the ground floor or accessible using a lift. If there is anything else you need, to help participate fully in the weekend, let me know in plenty of time. Location: Charney Manor is about 14 miles south west of Oxford. 20 minutes drive from the M4 and 40 minutes drive from the M40. The nearest railway station is Didcot Parkway (14 miles).
THE SINGING: During this Jazz and Swing Harmonies weekend, we’ll be exploring the kind of complex, close harmonies found in British and American popular music of the 1920s, 30s and 40s. We may sing some standards from this period, unexpected songs that have been given the jazz or swing treatment and songs that have been created purely for these workshops. Some of the melodies may be familiar and therefore fairly quick to pick up, but the harmony parts tend to take longer to learn and can offer a challenge even to experienced acapella singers. Expect a swinging weekend of tantalizing melodies, crunchy harmonies, some fiendish rhythms and a right good sing!
THE TIMETABLE: You’ll be sent a full timetable about a month before the event, but in brief: the weekend starts at around 6pm on Friday evening, with a sing before dinner and finishes around 3.30pm on Sunday afternoon, with a sing after lunch. In between, there will be more singing, more food and some free time, when you can relax, explore the local area, socialise, or even carry on singing with other participants.