Taking on a choir is always a daunting task, especially when the previous director has had a sizeable tenure with the group. I distinctly remember my audition and first few weeks with the Durham Singers and particularly how responsive and supportive the choir was of me as the new kid on the block. As conductors, we like to get a lay of the land before trying to inject our own personality more prominently into the shape and direction of a group, but here the choir and committee were so willing to try new things and explore different ways of improving the pieces, that by July it feels like I have been in post for much longer than a couple of months! That is something which is certainly special about this group: they want to produce the best result they can and are confident to put their trust in the director in front of them to help achieve that. I always know a concert has gone well when immediately my mind turns to ‘what next’? This is certainly the case as I’m writing this as we plan for the year ahead and it certainly hopes to be an exciting one. Multiple audience members commented on the fact they could tell the choir enjoyed performing in the concert, and I think that, fundamentally, this is something we can lose along the way in pursuit of high-quality music-making. Music is there to enrich our lives, and conducting the Durham Singers is certainly doing that for me as I hope it does for the choir and our audiences. I look forward to an incredibly exciting first full year with the group, but first: a good book in the sun with a glass of something red…!