Looking back on Spring 2018

We’ve done virtually all of our Spring concerts now – our big “Sounds of the Sixties” event in Sheffield last Saturday, and our end of season concerts in Lincoln on Monday and Nottingham on Wednesday. We still have Hilton Grange coming up, but I thought now was a good time to look back on the season, and the concerts, and reflect.

The season, especially the end

We’ve had an amount of disruption this season, for one reason or another – different venues, the “Beast from the East” etc. Another choir has started in Nottingham, which has attracted a number of people who have previously sung with us, and this (along with the ongoing parking problems at our venue) has led to quite a fall in numbers – which in turn has worried those people who are still singing with us.

I’d just like to say – don’t worry! BeVox is an incredible community, and all of the things that could have brought us down this season have instead only served to make us stronger. The lower numbers in Nottingham haven’t meant that the group has weakened – those people who have been with us this season have raised their game, and the sound has been fantastic. (Oh, and by the way, we’d just like to make it clear that we’re happy for the people who have joined other choirs – we’ve always said that what we really care about is that people are singing, rather than who they’re singing with. It’s important that people sing with a choir that is right for them, and if people have tried another choir and found it suits them better than us, for whatever reason, that’s good – we’re pleased they’re happy! If it doesn’t work out in their new choir, for whatever reason, they’d be welcome back with us too – we wouldn’t want anyone thinking we had any kind of problem with people who have sung with another choir.)

The atmosphere in the sessions during the last week of the season was electric. The problems caused by the snow just spurred people on to give it their all, and I was blown away by the energy and vibrancy of the sound. It was huge fun, and I felt privileged to be a part of it.

Sounds of the Sixties

The big concert at The Octagon was an exhilarating experience. The revised schedule made it a very long day – after I started sound-checking with the band at 10:30am, the next chance I got for a break wasn’t until 6:30pm – I didn’t even get to nip to the loo! All the hard work was made so completely worthwhile by the concert itself though – it was such a buzz. There were some real spine-tingling moments, and a real sense of fun too. Some audience members filmed a few bits, so look out for them on YouTube – “Whiter shade of pale” in particular was fantastically good. Dylan, the drummer from The Magic Mushrooms (and my best mate), did a “behind the scenes” vlog too, which is also on YouTube – a good giggle!

Bravo to everyone who made the show such fun. Remember – I only wave my arms around – it’s the singers who make the sound, so hats off to every one of you. I hope you’re suitably proud of yourselves.

Lincoln end of season concert

Monday saw us in Lincoln for another blast through this season’s music – a near-capacity crowd was thoroughly entertained by the nearly-hundred-strong choir. The reaction during the interval and afterwards was fantastic – a number of people told me it was the best Lincoln end of season concert we’ve done.

Nottingham end of season concert

We were in a new venue for Wednesday’s event, and we had some very positive comments about it – despite the heating being stuck on! It was so warm, Toni even took her jumper off!! We’ll be certain that they’ve fixed that before we return in the summer. The concert itself went very well indeed – I know a few people were concerned about the voice part balance, but actually it worked very well, and people were very sensitive in their singing as they compensated for the slightly uneven number in each part.

A note on dress code

At the end of season concerts, we did notice quite a number of people who weren’t quite within the spirit of the BeVox dress code – tops that were more turquoise than blue, or had significant amounts of white trim etc. We have a dress code so that we present a unified look to our audiences. We want everyone to feel like they’re on the same team – but still give enough latitude within the dress code for people to be comfortable with what they’re wearing. We’d like to ask all our singers to remind themselves of our dress code (www.bevox.co.uk/dresscode), and to stick to it for future events.

The future

We’re putting the finishing touches to the learning materials for next season’s music, and we’re also hard at work on several other events spread across the rest of this year (and into 2019). We’ll be posting more about some of these soon – especially our “Summer singing day” on 18th August, which will be open to all singers, not just members of BeVox. Watch this space for more info!

Snow update – Monday session in Sheffield WILL RUN

We’ve spoken to the school and looked at weather forecasts, and taken the decision that we WILL run tonight’s session at Sheffield Springs Academy. The school is open, and although there is still some disruption to traffic, it seems to be easing. No further snow is forecast. Of course, people should allow extra time for their journeys and drive to the road conditions – stay safe.

We hope to see as many people as can make it – let’s face it, we could all do with a good sing right now!

Snow update – Big rehearsal CANCELLED – 18th March

It is with great regret that we have to cancel today’s big rehearsal in Sheffield. Road conditions are treacherous, and the venue will be closed.

We’ll email everyone later with an update on what we’re going to do – there’s no time to reschedule this rehearsal before the concert, but we might be able to adjust the schedule on concert day to make room for more rehearsal. We’ll keep you posted.

We’ll post a further update here tomorrow when we know whether we’ll be able to run tomorrow’s session at Springs.

Stay safe – and keep singing!

Snow update – Saturday 17th March

Today’s rescheduled session in Lincoln is currently planned to go ahead. The school is open, and although there’s snow and wind on our route, it looks manageable. If anything changes whilst we’re en route, we’ll post here.

UPDATE: We’ve arrived in Lincoln and it’s fine – so fine, I had to wear my sunglasses!

Tomorrow’s big rehearsal with the band is also still expected to run. If the situation changes overnight, we’ll post here.

Dates and venues for the rest of the season

We’ve had an unusually disrupted time of it this season, with a number of sessions being in different venues, and some being postponed due to adverse weather. To make sure that everyone knows where we are and when for the rest of the season, the remaining session dates and venues are listed below. This replaces any previous information we may have released.

  • Wednesday 7th March: Usual weekly session in Lincoln, Christ’s Hospital School
  • Thursday 8th March: Weekly session in Sheffield, Park Academy (new venue – see www.bevox.co.uk/sheffieldparkacademy for directions)
  • Tuesday 13th March: Usual weekly session in Nottingham, West Bridgford Methodist Church
  • Wednesday 14th March: Usual weekly session in Lincoln, Christ’s Hospital School
  • Thursday 15th March: Weekly session in Sheffield, Park Academy
  • Saturday 17th March: Rescheduled session in Lincoln, 2pm to 4pm, Christ’s Hospital School
  • Sunday 18th March: Big rehearsal for “Sounds of the Sixties”, Sheffield Springs Academy, 1pm to 4:45pm.
  • Monday 19th March: Rescheduled session in Sheffield, Sheffield Springs Academy
  • Tuesday 20th March: Final session of the season in Nottingham, West Bridgford Methodist Church
  • Wednesday 21st March: Final session of the season in Lincoln, Christ’s Hospital School
  • Thursday 22nd March: Final session of the season in Sheffield, Park Academy
  • Saturday 24th March: “Sounds of the Sixties” concert, Sheffield Octagon (full schedule for the day will be sent by email to everyone signed up)
  • Monday 26th March: End of season concert in Lincoln, West Hall, Epic Centre, Lincolnshire Showground (singers arrive by no later than 7pm, doors open for audience at 7pm, concert starts 7:30pm)
  • Wednesday 28th March: End of season concert in Nottingham, Arnold Hill Academy (singers arrive by no later than 7pm, doors open for audience at 7pm, concert starts 7:30pm)

We will be releasing information about venues for next season by the end of March – we expect to be in a new home venue in both Nottingham and Sheffield, and we expect to have confirmed dates and venues for the end of season concerts in all areas at the start of the season.

Sheffield session 1st March 2018 postponed

Hi – we’ve had to postpone tonight’s session in Sheffield due to the snow. The school is closed, and we don’t think it would be safe to travel. We’ll reschedule for another date as soon as the current weather conditions abate.

Thanks for your understanding. Keep singing!

Lincoln session 28th Feb 2018 postponed

Hi – we’ve had to postpone tonight’s session in Lincoln due to the snow. The school is closed, and so we wouldn’t have a venue even if we could get down there. We’ll reschedule for another date as soon as it’s clear when the school will re-open.

Thanks for your understanding. Keep singing!

Venue changes, Sheffield, Spring 2018 season

We have a number of sessions at our alternative venue (Meadowhead Language College, Dyche Lane, S8 8BR) this season. Please see the list below:

  • Week 3 (Jan 18th)
  • Week 6 (Feb 8th)
  • Week 10 (Mar 8th)
  • Week 11 (Mar 15th)
  • Week 12 (Mar 22nd)

Weeks 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 9 will be at our usual venue of Sheffield Springs Academy, Hurlfield Road, S12 2SF.

How to make a BeVox concert happen

We’ve had some feedback from some of our singers who wanted to know how we decide on what concerts to do each season. We have a little section about booking BeVox for concerts on our website, but we realised that we don’t really explain it very clearly to our singers when they first join us. So, this post aims to lay out our process for organising concerts – how many we do, who we do them for, and how to make them happen.

Types of concert

We consider our events to fall into three different categories – based purely on who is producing them. When we talk about producing a concert, we’re referring to the process of booking a venue, finding an audience, selling tickets or taking donations etc. The best way to think about who is producing an event is to consider who is taking the financial risk of putting the event on. If no-one came, who would be out of pocket?

Events where BeVox is the producer

We do a minimum of three BeVox-produced events every season – one in each of the areas that we operate. In the Autumn and Spring seasons, we will do two “end of season” concerts (in two of our areas), and one “big concert” in the third area (and we rotate the “big concert” around our three areas in order – for instance, we’re in Lincoln this season, Sheffield next season, and so the next big concert after that will be in Nottingham). We break this pattern for the Summer season, as experience has taught us that people are often away at the end of the Summer season and so we don’t always have enough singers to do a “big concert”. For the Summer season, we do an end of season concert in each area, and a “special event” that isn’t based in any of our three locations – it’s either somewhere in the middle, or somewhere else entirely! These events are things like the CD recording we did this summer, or the “Musical Mystery Tour” we’re planning for next year.

For all of these events, we produce the concert, so we are responsible for every aspect of it – booking a venue, advertising, selling tickets, checking tickets on the night, looking after the audience etc, as well as all the musical and logistical details. Tickets for these events are available from us (depending on the event, either directly in our weekly sessions, or via our website), and the proceeds cover the cost of putting the concert on, with anything left over going into choir funds (although we sometimes, when we feel it is right, partner with a charity and donate some of the proceeds to them).

BeVox – A Circle of Life
Events where an external organisation is the producer

We are happy to take bookings for concerts from any external organisation. We’ve done hundreds of events this way – everything from singing in retirement homes to charity fund-raising events in cathedrals. We have a straightforward process for organisations who want to book us – they provide a venue and an audience, we provide the choir and all of the musical equipment to support the concert (PA, mics, piano etc). We also provide promotional material for the producers to distribute. As the external organisation is producing the event, they are responsible for ticket sales (or any other method of allowing people to attend the event), and they take the proceeds from the event. We charge a fee to the producers for providing the choir, equipment, and organisational support. This is on a sliding scale depending on the nature of the event, and discounts are available for registered charities.

We are often booked by external organisations because one of our singers has recommended us to that organisation. For instance, we have sung for residents at a local hospice on several occasions, because some of our singers who work there suggested to their manager that it would be good to book the choir to sing. We get the majority of our bookings from external organisations because of an introduction made by our singers, although some people have just found us by searching the internet, or by word of mouth.

Because we’re dependent on receiving bookings for these kinds of events, the number we do each season varies depending on who books us. In 2015, we did 39 of these events, and in 2016, we did 20.

Concert for TASTE
Events where one or a group of our singers are the producer

We’ve done a few events which have been produced by some of our singers. These have normally been where the singers in question have a close personal connection to a particular charity, and they’ve wanted to do a concert to raise funds for that charity. They have secured a venue, advertised the event (using publicity material that we provide), sold tickets, and run the front-of-house on the night. We have provided the choir, musical equipment, and as much practical advice and support as we possibly can! We understand that this process can appear daunting to people who have not produced a concert before, so we help as much as we can along the way – by sharing our experience, by recommending suppliers, by being a sounding board for bouncing ideas off – and by providing moral support too! We do still make a charge for these events, to reflect the work we put in, but it typically only takes a small number of people buying tickets to the event to cover the fee we charge. The events that our singers have produced themselves have been resounding successes, and have resulted in significant donations to the charities our singers have wanted to support.

Over the last three years, we’ve done six of these events. We’d love to do more!

Ride on a Star

Conclusion

We would like to actively encourage our singers to get involved with making events happen. We will always produce at least one event in each of our areas every season, so there will always be an opportunity to perform locally. We’re very happy to do more events than this. We do have a maximum number we’d consider in a season (there’s a limit on how much work we can squeeze in, plus we have other commitments that can reduce our availability too), but until we reach that maximum number, we’re open for bookings! Part of our philosophy as a choir is to encourage our singers to take responsibility for their own involvement – we know that people achieve their best, and get the most satisfaction possible, when they are fully invested in what they’re doing, and the best way to achieve that is for more and more of our events to be led by our singers.

Footnote

If you’d like to consider booking BeVox for an event, whether you are one of our singers, or a representative of an external organisation, please get in touch. We have a Performance Enquiry Form that guides you through the process of booking us, and this includes all our fees. We recommend making initial contact with us 3-6 months in advance of your event – or even longer if you’d prefer. We usually have three periods of the year where we take bookings – late March to late April, late June to late July, and mid-November to mid-December. We will consider events in all kinds of venues, but we’d recommend locations that are within 15-20 miles of Nottingham, Lincoln or Sheffield.