Our Conference in 2017 will be held over the weekend of Friday 21-Sunday 23 April, at the Cheltenham Chase Hotel, Shurdington Road, Brockworth, Gloucester GL3 4PB.
The Hotel is four-star, and is in a superb location for exploring both the towns of Gloucester and of nearby Cheltenham. The Hotel itself boasts a stylish and contemporary interior, appealing to business travellers and to those looking for a leisure break in Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds. It is in close proximity to the M5 motorway and provides the ideal base for exploring the area.
With ten conference rooms accommodating up to 350 people, and offering state-of-the-art facilities, the Hotel is well able to cater for any event from a small board meeting to a large annual dinner.
Away from work or sightseeing, guests can take some time to relax in the fantastic Health Club and Spa.
Additional attractions are the 122 bedrooms in the Hotel, the free Wi-Fi throughout the Hotel, and the excellent dining facilities. There are 200 complimentary car park spaces on-site. There are bus stops outside the Hotel, and buses run every ten minutes into the centre of Gloucester, where there are endless opportunities for sightseeing and shopping.
The National Officers have stayed in this Hotel to sample the facilities and to ensure that Conference Delegates would be happy to attend, and we can wholeheartedly endorse the Hotel's advertising. The rooms are comfortable and spacious, with all conveniences you would expect of a four-star hotel, and the food is simply wonderful. The conference facilities are all on the ground floor, so no hiking upstairs (particularly important for trade stand attendees), with the bedrooms upstairs, all accessible by lifts. The restaurant is also on the ground floor.
On the Saturday evening of the Conference, Churchdown Male Voice Choir are organising a massed voice concert in the wonderful surroundings of Gloucester Cathedral. Five local choirs will be taking part. The NAC Chairman and General Secretary attended just such a concert there in 2014, and the venue and acoustics are superb.
We are delighted to say that our main speaker for the Conference will be Jonathan Willcocks. Jonathan is a very well-respected choral conductor and composer, who is currently Musical Director of the Guildford Choral Society, the Chichester Singers and the professional chamber orchestra Southern Pro Musica, and freelance conducting and workshop engagements in recent seasons have taken him to many parts of the world including USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Singapore, China and most of the European countries as well as the United Kingdom. These engagements have seen him conducting concerts in many of the world's finest concert halls, including the Carnegie Hall in New York, the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, Perth Concert Hall, Australia as well as closer to home in the Royal Albert Hall and Royal Festival Hall in London and Symphony Hall in Birmingham. In May 2016 he took up a new appointment as Conductor of the Leith Hill Musical Festival.
Jonathan's extensive choral and orchestral conducting experience results in many invitations to take choral workshops and adjudicate competitions. Although his career now focuses principally on his conducting and composition work, he has in past held major posts in general and specialist music education - most recently at the Royal Academy of Music in London.
The three seminars which Jonathan will present will cover his musical life and experience - with special reference to his late father, Sir David Willcocks; childrens' choirs, the challenges and opportunities they present, and some of the music Jonathan has written for them, leading on to an SATB repertoire session for delegates; and finally a session introducing delegates to his arrangement of three African songs called "Sing for Africa" and leading to an informal performance to finish with.
Among other sessions during the weekend will be a drop-in Come and Sing on the Friday afternoon, for those who arrive early and have nothing to do, and a Speed Dating for Trade Stands.
Information about booking will follow in due course, so please continue to watch this space!