Complaints Policy

Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus (the Chorus) is committed to working in an open and accountable way that builds trust and respect. We view complaints as an opportunity to learn and improve, as well as a chance to put things right for the person or organisation that made the complaint. Therefore we aim to ensure that:

  • making a complaint is as easy as possible;
  • we deal with complaints promptly, politely and, when appropriate, confidentially;
  • we respond in the right way – for example, with an explanation, or an apology where we have got things wrong, and information on any action taken;
  • we learn from complaints, use them to improve, and review annually our complaints policy and procedures.

We recognise that a complaint is any expression of dissatisfaction that relates to the Chorus and that requires a formal response.

All complaint information will be handled sensitively, telling only those who need to know and following any relevant data protection requirements.

However the circumstances may be such that it may not be possible to maintain confidentiality, in which case the situation will be explained to the complainant.

We are not able to respond to anonymous complaints, and we are unable to deal with matters for which we are not directly responsible. In such instances we will refer you to the appropriate person or organisation.

Informal Procedure

  • Many concerns will be raised informally and can be made verbally, by telephone, by email or in writing.
  • We aim to resolve informal concerns quickly, keeping matters low-key while addressing the issue.

Formal Complaints Procedure

If concerns cannot be satisfactorily resolved informally, then the formal complaints procedure should be followed. This is intended to ensure that all complaints are handled fairly, consistently and wherever possible resolved to the complainant’s satisfaction.

How to make the complaint

How Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus will respond

  • The Chorus will acknowledge the complaint in writing within 2 weeks.
  • Our aim is to resolve all matters as quickly as possible, so you should get a response and an explanation within 4 weeks.
  • However, some issues will be more complex and therefore may require longer to be fully investigated. If a matter requires more detailed investigation, you will receive an interim response describing what is being done to deal with the matter, and when a full reply can be expected and from whom.
  • Whether the complaint is justified or not, our final reply will outline the action we took to investigate the complaint, our conclusions, and any action we will take to resolve the problem and to make sure it doesn’t happen again

What to do if you are not satisfied

If you are not satisfied with our response, you can refer the matter to one of the following regulators:

  • The Fundraising Regulator – for complaints about fundraising methods.
  • The Advertising Standards Authority – for complaints about misleading or offensive advertising.
  • The Charity Commission – for complaints about Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus losing lots of money, harming people, using funds for personal profit or being involved in illegal activity.

This policy was approved by Trustees in October 2019

Lockdown performance of new arrangement for Handel’s Messiah

Julia Armstrong, Sheffield Telegraph

Tuesday 21 July 2020

A Sheffield choir music director has been busy over lockdown, writing a new brass arrangement for Handel’s Messiah which world-famed musicians performed in their homes.

The arrangement by Darius Battiwalla of the soprano aria How Beautiful Are the Feet is actually one of three from the Messiah that he put together for Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus.

“Darius wrote the new arrangements for us in return for continued payment during the lockdown,” said chorus chair Paul Henstridge.

“We’re absolutely thrilled. It means that when we eventually perform the brass version with the wonderful Black Dyke Band, we can sing two more choruses than would otherwise have been possible”.

The chorus were set to perform a brass version of Messiah in April but the concert had to be postponed.

Soprano Catrin Pryce-Jones was to have appeared alongside the chorus, so she was delighted when Darius asked her to make a virtual recording of How Beautiful Are the Feet, along with members of the world-famous Black Dyke Band, all performing from their own homes during lockdown.

“The new arrangement is very light and delicate, which is just right for this aria,” said chorus dministrator Anne Adams. “Catrin sings it beautifully and the band accompany her with great sensitivity.”

You can judge for yourself, as the recording has been uploaded to the chorus website and can be enjoyed for free at https://sheffieldphil.org/how-beautiful-are-the-feet

In addition to the new Messiah arrangements, the chorus also commissioned Darius to write some Christmas music for them to sing at their popular annual carol concert at the City Hall in December.

He has created a new brass arrangement of Resonet in Laudibus, a 16th-century German carol. If that concert can’t go ahead, they plan to perform it virtually as part of an online carol concert, along with the Black Dyke Band, again recorded from their own homes.

The brass Messiah concert has been rescheduled for Saturday, April 23, 2022 in Sheffield City Hall. The 180 members of the chorus were going to be joined by more than 50 singers from Perigeux in France and from Sheffield’s twin city of Bochum in Germany.Happily, both choirs are planning to cross the Channel for the rescheduled concert.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Read the original article on the Sheffield Telegraph website

Chorus starts on-line rehearsals

28 June 2020

The Chorus will start on-line rehearsals on Tuesday 30 June 2020. Music Director, Darius Battiwalla, accompanist Rachel Fright and Voice Coach Maggie McDonald will lead the Chorus in rehearsing Handel’s Messiah and Rachmaninov’s Vespers.

“We are not going to let the coronavirus stop us from singing, and if on-line is currently the only way, then on-line it will be” said Chorus Chair Psaul Henstridge. ” A small number of us had a trial run last week, which went very well, and we’re very much looking forward to getting everyone together for the first time since the lock-down”

Music Director Darius Battiwalla was one of eighteen signatories to a letter ‘Covid-19 has silenced choirs – we must find a way to restart singing together‘, published in the Guardian recently.  Composer/conductors Bob Chilcott and John Rutter joined Harry Christophers, founder of The Sixteen, opera singer Sarah Connelly and internationally-renowned choral directors Simon Halsey and David Hill, asking the Government “to show how we can restart singing together on an equal footing with opening theme parks, shopping and kicking a football around. It is imperative that we find a way for choirs in this country to resume as soon and as safely as we can.”

Mr. Battiwalla was extremely keen to start rehearsing in some form or other, rather than waiting until Government advice enables choirs to get together and sing as they did before the pandemic. He has worked with accompanist Rachel Fright, Voice Coach Maggie McDonald and the Chorus committee to find a way to re-commence rehearsals virtually, with advice from other large symphonic choirs who are already running on-line rehearsals.

“Colleagues from Bournemouth Symphony Chorus, which has been rehearsing online for some weeks, have been very helpful” said Music Director Darius Battiwalla. “We know it will be a different experience, but we are determined to do everything we can to continue with our music making.”

The Chorus will rehearse Messiah simply because members already have their own scores, but will also make a start on the beautiful Rachmaninov Vespers, which they hope to be able to perform in Sheffield cathedral next May.

Music Director joins choral greats in highlighting challenges faced by choirs

18 June 2020

‘Singing in a choir …… is a powerful expression of our culture and humanity, and it cannot be allowed to fade away.’

The Chorus Music Director, Darius Battiwalla, is one of a group of ‘choral greats’ whose powerful letter to the Guardian was published on Tuesday 16 June 2020.

The letter, ‘Covid-19 has silenced choirs – we must find a way to restart singing together‘, has eighteen co-signatories, including some of the most highly respected and influential names in the world of choral music.

Composer/conductors Bob Chilcott and John Rutter joined Harry Christophers, founder of The Sixteen, opera singer Sarah Connelly and internationally-renowned choral directors Simon Halsey and David Hill, are among those who have written in response to the open letter by Sir Simon Rattle and Sir Mark Elder on 10 June about the immense challenges faced by musicians. 

We are writing in response to the heartfelt letter on behalf of classical music and musicians from Sir Simon Rattle and Sir Mark Elder (UK orchestras may not survive coronavirus pandemic, conductors warn, 10 June), to give voice to the millions of people who sing in choirs in this country.

Up until now we have had one of the most vibrant choral landscapes in the world. Our professional choral life, consisting of world-renowned chamber choirs, vocal ensembles, opera choruses, cathedral choirs and theatre ensembles, faces an uncertain future. The financial picture for such groups has always been challenging, even in the best of times, but the outlook now for such ensembles, mostly made up of freelance musicians, is not an optimistic one.

We have a world-leading cathedral and church choir tradition, largely made up of young boys and girls and paid adult singers who face financial hardship and also serious challenges of continuity. The amateur choir life of this country is huge, from the world-class symphony choruses and university choirs to community and school choirs, and all these groups face a time of great uncertainty.

We need church leaders to have the courage to speak out so that we can make singing together in churches work within certain guidelines. We need the government to show how we can restart singing together on an equal footing with opening theme parks, shopping and kicking a football around. It is imperative that we find a way for choirs in this country to resume as soon and as safely as we can.

Singing in a choir is not only about communality, social cohesion and harmony; for many it is an essential source of emotional wellbeing and positive mental health. Moreover it is a powerful expression of our culture and humanity, and it cannot be allowed to fade away.’

Bob Chilcott Composer/conductorJohn Rutter Composer/conductorSarah Connolly Opera singerSimon Halsey Chorus directorLSO, CBSOHarry Christophers Founder, The Sixteen, David Hill Musical director, The Bach ChoirGavin Carr Chorus director, The Philharmonia Chorus, Bournemouth Symphony Chorus, Matthew Hamilton Choral director, The Hallé, Ben Parry Conductor, National Youth Choir, David Temple Conductor, Crouch End Festival ChorusAndrew Carwood Director of music, St Paul’s CathedralAshley Grote Master of music, Norwich CathedralAdrian Partington Director of music, Gloucester CathedralRobert Dean Guildhall School of MusicJonathan Willcocks Musical director, Guildford Choral SocietyDarius Battiwalla Musical directorSheffield Philharmonic ChorusLeslie East Chair, Association of British Choral DirectorsAidan Oliver Conductor

Link to the letter on the Guardian website

Link to Sir Simon Rattle and Sir Mark Elder’s letter

Concerts postponed and rehearsals cancelled

23 March 2020

It is with deep regret that we announce the postponement of all three of the remaining concerts for this season, due to the need to protect our members, musicians and audiences and in light of Government advice regarding the Coronavirus.

We have also cancelled all rehearsals for the time being. 

Chorus supports its locked-down musicians

The Chorus continues to pay its three professionals during these strange times, which are proving to be very difficult for professional musicians, many of whom are self employed. In return for the continued payments, the three musicians are working for the Chorus in different ways.

For example, Music Director Darius Battiwalla is composing a new Christmas carol, and writing brass arrangements for the sections of Messiah that don’t currently have them. This will enable the Chorus to sing more of Handel’s work when it joins with Black Dyke Band in the re-scheduling of the brass concert which was postponed due to the coronavirus.

“We are pleased to be able to support our three professionals by commissioning alternative work from them at this time” said Chorus Chair Paul Henstridge. ” We are all missing live rehearsals, but at least we will gain a lasting positive out of this very difficult situation”.

Accompanist Rachel Fright and Voice Coach Maggie McDonald are working together to digitise Maggie’s vocal exercises, which are sent to the Chorus to enable them to continue to keep their voices in trim during the lock-down.

Chorus to sing Messiah with French and German visitors

2 February 2020

The Chorus is busy preparing to sing the brass band version of Handel’s Messiah at Sheffield cathedral on Saturday 18 April 2020 at 7pm, with the world-famous Black Dyke Band.

‘We are all very excited about what is going to be a very special concert’ said Chorus Chairman Paul Henstridge, ‘Not only are we singing the brass band version of Handel’s wonderful work with probably the best brass band in the world. We are going to be joined by singers from Perigeux in France, and from Sheffield’s twin city of Bochum in Germany.’

The overseas singers are coming by invitation following recent visits by members of the Chorus to Perigeux and Bochum. 

‘A small number of us joined the Bochum Choir to sing Messiah in English in February last year’ explained Chorus Finance Officer Graham Dawson, who organised the trips to Germany. ‘ More recently we went over to sing in their annual Christmas carol concert, and had a wonderful time joining in the local festivities. We got back just in time to sing in our own Christmas carol concert in the City Hall!’.

A group of Chorus members went to France with Music Director Darius Battiwalla in 2017, to sing in a special World War II memorial concert, a trip which was all the more memorable because it took place during Bastille Day celebrations with the World Cup final the following day.

‘We are thrilled that more than 50 singers are coming from the French and German choirs to sing Messiah with us’ said Chorus Administrator Anne Adams. ‘The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress are big fans of brass music and are joining us for the concert. And we’re planning a party afterwards at Cutlers Hall, so it’s going to be a really special occasion’

With over 200 singers, plus the fantastic Black Dyke Band, this will be a performance to remember. The concert starts at 7pm, and tickets are unallocated and cost £20, £5 for under 25s. Details on the Chorus website.

Carol wins Classic FM competition

16 December 2020

The Chorus version of O Holy Night has been selected as a winner of the Classic FM / Making Music carol competition, in which 5 carols are selected to be played in the Classic FM Drive slot in the week commencing Monday 16 December 2019. 

O Holy Night, arranged by Chorus Music Director Darius Battiwalla, was recorded by Black Dyke and the Chorus in the City Hall in 2015 and released on our CD ‘Awake, Arise! A Yorkshire Christmas Carol Collection for Brass and Voices’.

The CD has a real Yorkshire flavour and includes some of the Sheffield carols, traditionally sung in local pubs over the Christmas period. Darius Battiwalla’s O Holy Night for chorus and brass band is a wonderfully uplifting arrangement which goes down a storm at our carol concerts each year. 

This is the fourth time one of the carols from our recording has been selected for the Classic FM Drive competition, and we are thrilled that this time it’s our favourite, O Holy Night. 

It will be played in the Classic FM Drive slot sometime between 5pm and 8pm on Monday 16 December 2019.

Of course the Chorus will be singing O Holy Night at the annual carol concert at the City Hall on Saturday 14 December 2019 at 2pm and 5.30pm. We are thrilled that the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Sheffield will attend the 2pm session.

Also on the programme will be Darius Battiwalla’s arrangements of three local carols – Egypt, Tyre Mill and Hail Smiling Morn – all also on the CD, along with Paul Fincham’s new carol Ring the Bells, the royalties from which will be donated to homelessness charity Crisis.

Tickets available online or from the City Hall box office. The CD will be on sale in the foyer for the special concert price of £10.

Find out further information about the carol project.  or about homelessness charity Crisis.

Read more about the Christmas CD

Find out more about the Classic FM / Making Music Drive competition.

Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus in finals of national carol competition

Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus have been shortlisted in the top ten for a national carol competition.

By Julia Armstrong

Sunday, 15th December 2019, 10:00 am

Updated Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 12:40 pm

Run by Making Music UK and Classic FM, the festive competition invited performers to submit a performance to be played on the popular classical radio. With more than 5.7 million listeners tuning in every week, Classic FM is the biggest classical music radio station in the world.

The competition is part of Classic FM’s 11-year partnership with Making Music UK, which regularly offers member groups the chance to submit recordings for live broadcast.

The shortlisted carols have been broadcast in the lead-up to the festive season on the station’s Drive programme. The winning five were then being played all this week on the show.

Resident chorus at Sheffield City Hall, the Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus, won through to the top 10 for the competition.

The Philharmonic Chorus teamed up with Black Dyke Band for a beautiful rendition of O Holy Night.

The duo often perform this work at their annual Christmas concerts at Sheffield City Hall, with this year’s event, which took place on December 14, proving no different.

The carol, composed by Adolphe Adam in 1847, reflects how the birth of Jesus has impacted on humanity.

Many popular artists who have covered the carol include Nat King Cole in 1960, Patti LaBelle (1990), Mariah Carey (1994), Josh Groban (2002) and Idina Menzel this year.

During the first three weeks of December, Classic FM listeners were also invited to vote for their favourite-ever Christmas carol – and O Holy Night has held the top spot since 2016.

This year’s results will be revealed on Christmas Day between 1pm and 3pm.

Link to article in Sheffield Telegraph