Conference 2018, 13-15 Aptil

Maid's Head Hotel, Tombland, Norwich NR3 1LB

The Maid's Head Hotel is known to be the oldest hotel in the UK dating back over 800 years. Situated in the historical centre of Norwich, in the Cathedral Quarter, this independent 4-star hotel boasts charm and individual character and is the jewel in Norwich's crown. Take in the many styles of architecture as you walk through the hotel from Tudor, Georgian and Jacobean as you picture how the hotel has evolved over the last 800 years.

Maid's Head Hotel - Norwich

Walk through its doors and embrace the welcoming splendour of a traditional and historical hotel which today boasts elegant contemporary charm. Providing excellent service, the hotel is an ideal place to stay when visiting the Norwich or the Norfolk area.

Our 2 AA Rosette restaurant, the Winepress, will delight you with mouth-watering dishes made from local produce combined with our extensive list of over 52 wines, all available by the glass. Step back in time and enjoy an afternoon tipple or after dinner drink in our Jacobean bar, a beautiful oak lined bar and snug which is believed to be one of the oldest bars in the area, or relax in one of our contemporary lounges. Sample a local beer, wine, Gin or even Vodka and relax and imagine times gone by in this stunning hotel.

The Maid's Head got its name not from an unfortunately shortened lady, but from a local fish from the River Wensum!

We are very pleased to be able to host our Conference in the lovely surroundings of this most interesting hotel. The rooms are very comfortable and the food is - as the advertising from the hotel suggests - mouth-watering. The room in which the Conference will be held is large enough to hold the trade stands as well as the seminars and workshops from our presenters.

The Conference will open on Friday 13 April with a Come and Sing session, very informal as people can pop in as they arrive at the Hotel and take part as they wish.

The session will be run by Karl Harper and Celia Johns. The evening will continue with our usual Gala Dinner, and there will be entertainment to follow that. The bar, of course, will remain open for some time.

For partners who are accompanying delegates, there is time over the weekend to explore Norwich and its shops and markets, and to go out into the surrounding countryside for those with cars and enquiring minds. The Cathedral is very well worth a visit as well. Partners are of course welcome to join in with the delegates in the seminars, workshops and discussions, and we would be pleased to see them.

Our headline presenter this year is Bob Chilcott, who is a British choral composer, conductor, and singer, based in Oxfordshire.

Bob Chilcot

Born in Plymouth, Chilcott sang in the Choir of King's College, Cambridge, both as a boy and as a university student, when he conducted the voluntary Choral Society, which included many singers from other colleges, including women. He performed the Pie Jesu of Fauré's Requiem on the 1967 King's College recording. In 1985 he joined the King's Singers, singing tenor for 12 years.

He has been a composer since 1997. Chilcott was the conductor of the chorus at the Royal College of Music in London for seven years, and is Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Singers. He is also President of Southend Boys' Choir, a well-respected boys' choir from Southend-on-Sea which regularly performs at major London venues, such as the Royal Albert Hall.

One of Bob's compositions for children's choir is Can you hear me, written in such a way that the performers can sign the words of the chorus. This ties in with our second presenter, making a welcome return to the NAC Conference, Dr Paul Whittaker OBE. We hope that Bob and Paul will be working with our delegates to teach them this song - words, music and signing - so that the delegates can perform it at the concert on the Saturday evening.

Dr Paul Whittaker OBE

Born in Huddersfield in 1964, Paul has been profoundly deaf all his life, yet has pursued a career as a musician. Initially a pianist and organist, he has a music degree from Wadham College, Oxford, a postgraduate performance diploma from the RNCM and holds ALCM and ARCO diplomas. In 1988 he founded "Music and the Deaf", a charity to help deaf people enjoy music, which he ran for 27 years. Since May 2015 he has been working independently, continuing to share his passion both for music and for encouraging people to achieve their potential. In 2007 he was awarded an OBE for Services to Music, and also holds Honorary degrees from the University of Huddersfield and the Open University.

There will be a presentation from one of the legal partners from the solicitors Bates Wells Braithwaite on the Sunday morning - we are hoping that the NAC's Hon Legal Advisor, Erica Crump, will be able to attend but this is not yet confirmed. It is some years since we had any updates on the legal side of running a choir, and this will be an opportunity to catch up and to ask questions.

Our concert on the Saturday evening will be presented by choirs from the Anglia Group, in the wonderful setting of Norwich Cathedral. Full details will be available nearer the time, but it promises to be a most enjoyable evening, with choirs from various genres performing. The Cathedral is situated literally across the road from the Maid's Head, so there will be no necessity for driving - all we must hope is that the weather is kind and we do not get wet!

The AGM of the NAC will be held on the Sunday morning, and will be followed by a Member Open Forum which is always a lively affair. The Conference is then brought to a close at lunchtime on Sunday.

Further information and a provisional timeline can be found under News & Views, then look for Autumn 2017 214 and go to the centre pages. For your convenience though we provide below a copy of the booking form, which may be freely downloaded and copied. Don't forget that both sides of the form must be completed. We look forward to welcoming you to Norwich in April.

National Association of Choirs