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Dartford Township Choir - Sing Through the Ages 2017

and Songs of Travel 2018 with Paul Ayres

Paul Ayres

We have had responses from people who took part last year as
well as this year.  Below is a small selection, edited for space:

Last year we welcomed a brand new (to us) musical director, Paul Ayres, to run a series of workshops and a concert at Christ Church, Dartford.  He came to DTC with very positive recommendations.  

He brought great enthusiasm and skill to this project, more than living up to his reputation as a composer and arranger, conductor and musical director, so we asked him to come back in 2018.

This year the theme was ‘Songs of Travel’ and journeyed from Handel’s ‘Where’ere You Walk’ through the ‘Volga Boat Song’ two Flanders and Swann songs ‘Transport of Delight’ and ‘The Slow Train’, the very moving ‘Exodus’, ‘Going Home’ (meoldy by Dvorak) all the way to ‘Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now’.

There were also two piano duets with Paul and the wonderful pianist Marija Stručkova, ‘The Arrival and Departure of the Queen of Sheba’ by Handel and Vangelis’ ‘Chariots of Fire’ - what a treat!

Sing Through the Ages 2017

This concert included Paul’s versions of parts of Handel’s Messiah and Fauré’s Requiem, traditional folk music, and songs from The Beatles, Starship and Elbow, as well as two instrumental pieces with Paul and pianist Jonathan Pease playing ‘four hands one keyboard’ - one was ‘Mostly Bach’s Toccata

and Fugue’ and the other a ragtime influenced ‘Intermezzo’.

Yes. I did enjoy the experience.  It was fun to try so many new things and types of music. I also enjoyed his vocal coaching which he wove into our sessions. I did, however, find it a bit difficult to be asked to sing a new song straight from the score without hearing it first - especially for those of us who can't read music.  On the plus side, Paul want to the trouble of recording the parts of all of the songs so we shouldn't complain!  I would definitely enrol with him again.

Thank you so much for putting together such a fantastic series with Paul. Yes, PLEASE PLEASE can we invite him back again next year - as we both know each other now, I think the result could be even more fantastic.

Thank you so much for giving me the privilege of working under the direction of Paul Ayres. He is such a kind, funny and modestly talented man, and I really enjoyed the variety of the songs he chose, and his way of directing us. As always the concert was over much too soon; I so enjoyed this workshop, and really hope Paul is asked back.

Maria Stručkova  Stručkova

As one of the lowly singers I wanted to thank you for giving us such an enjoyable evening.  It was a special treat to thrill to those brilliant notes tumbling from the piano.  That's an experience we don't get every day.


The new songs were so moving, particularly Exodus; a member of the audience said it brought tears to her eyes.   I don't think it was the way we sang it.  


I must admit I quite like to sing the whole songs through at the start to 'get in sync' with the rest of the group. It also gives me a chance to get a feel for the song and note the parts where I wander merrily off onto my own interpretation.  

Wow what an evening we all had last night!

Challenging, inspiring,, remarkable and miraculous.... are just some of the words that come to mind that reflect what a bloody good night it was!


Did joke with you Paul at the end as we luckily didn't receive a request for an encore of ‘Every Tube Station’ however if we did I am sure we would have delivered it  just as well like we did first time around in the concert!

It was quite daunting to correctly learn our programme in sixteen hours (minus chat) but it was well worth the effort.  The DropBox was invaluable though having struggled so hard to grasp the tunes it is now impossible to get them out of our heads. We were very fortunate to have such a talented and patient director.