Songs for next season

We had a great time singing for the Ecclesall Live At Home Scheme yesterday – only a small number of singers, but what a great sound! The residents really appreciated it, and I’ve received a lovely “thank you” message from the scheme’s manager. Looking forward to the rest of this season’s performances.

I’ve finally selected the songs for next season, after Toni and I have gone through all the suggestions. There weren’t many to pick from – just 325! I realise that we won’t be able to please everyone with the songs we choose, but I hope we have another good mix – everything from Elvis Presley to Katy Perry, via traditional South African protest songs and Les Misérables! Full details can be found here.

End of season approaches

It seems like there’s never time to catch breath at the moment! Our first full performance of the Autumn season is tomorrow (Ecclesall Live At Home), and we’re off to Meadowhall to help raise funds for Lost Chord on Saturday. It’s always exciting when we start taking our music out and sharing it with people, so I can’t wait for our concerts to get started. At the same time, there is so much other stuff happening at the moment, it’s hard to believe we’re approaching the end of the season – I think we’re busier than we’ve ever been.

The Magna DVDs have started to go out, so if you pre-ordered a copy, remember to bring your receipt to your weekly session so you can collect it. We’ll have them available to buy for people who didn’t pre-order next week. It’s really exciting to think that there will be people across all of our groups reliving the memories of that great concert – please share your memories and thoughts on the DVD with us, either on Facebook if you use it, on our Forum, or by emailing them to us.

The Summer Singing Retreat is filling up very fast – in fact, we no longer have any rooms available at Stubton Hall itself. There are still several places available on the B&B and single-day options, so if you want to join us, there’s still time to apply for those. We’ll be sending out confirmation letters to everyone who has applied once we hit the deadline (30th November).

The new venue in Barnsley was great last week – lovely to be made to feel so welcome, and we’re looking forward to a long association with Barnsley Academy. Let’s get lots of people to come and see our end of season performance there, so they can see how much fun it is!

Singers, a reminder that the deadline for returning your printed music and CD is Saturday December 17th – please ensure you get them back to us, in an envelope with your name on, by that date.

Whilst we’re definitely focussing on our end of season performances, we’re also working hard on some great events for next year – and beyond! We’ve had a very exciting invitation, which I can’t talk about just yet… Let’s just say it feels very weird to be thinking about events as far ahead as 2014. We’re trying our best to get at least the basic details of all our major events for 2012 sorted before Christmas, so we can let you know the key dates. I know it’s important for some of you to be able to plan things quite a distance ahead, so if we can help with this by getting our dates confirmed early then we will.

Enjoy the next month or so – we’ve got so many events lined up before Christmas that I’m sure we’ll be all sung out by December 25th!

Busy times

It’s been a busy week! We had a great time singing at Louise Lewus’ wedding last Friday, and we wish her and Chris a long and happy life together. Then it was off to Sheffield University’s Firth Hall for the Alight Commissions Workshop – a breathtaking day, in many ways! It was incredible to hear “Olympic Triptych” starting to take shape, and I’m very grateful to everyone who persevered and made this first workshop so successful.

We have a new home for our Barnsley group, as of next week – we’re moving to Barnsley Academy, Farm Road, Kendray, Barnsley S70 3DL. There’s a map here, and you can check out the school on their website – www.barnsley-academy.org. It’s a welcoming place, with good car parking, and great acoustics. We’ll be here for the foreseeable future, including for our end of season performance.

We also have a new venue for our Nottingham end of season performance. As The Becket School is unavailable, we’ll be singing at the Chilwell Arts Theatre, attached to Chilwell School, Queens Road West, Chilwell, Beeston, Nottingham NG9 5AL. There’s a map on the Contact page of their website – www.chilwellartstheatre.co.uk.

We’ve had lots of interest in our Summer Singing Retreat, which is great. We visited Stubton Hall on Tuesday to check everything out, and plan menus for the week – very exciting! In response to questions and feedback from our singers, we’ve added a few extra options, including the chance to add dinner at Stubton to the B&B packages, and some “first half of week only” options. Take a look at the “Additional options” application form on the Summer Singing Retreat page for more information – and to see some of the menu ideas we have!

We’ve also finally finished editing the Magna DVD – it will go to the duplication company this weekend, so the DVDs will be ready to ship out to people who have pre-ordered as soon as they come back from being duplicated. We’re really pleased with how the DVD has come together – it’s a great way to remember a very exciting day, and will make a brilliant Christmas present for friends and family – especially people who couldn’t make the concert itself.

Summer singing retreat

I’m very excited indeed to be able to announce the details of our Summer Singing Retreat. Taking place from 19th to 24th August 2012, we’ll be taking over the luxurious country manor house of Stubton Hall, just outside Newark, and running an incredible programme of workshops and one-to-one sessions. We have three guest workshop leaders – Alastair Brookshaw (West End performer and session singer on albums such as the 50th Anniversary recording of West Side Story), Dylan Charles (studio producer and song-writer) – and we’re thrilled to announce that we’ll be having a session from David Grant, best known as a judge and vocal coach from the BBC’s “Fame Academy”. For more information, head straight to our Summer singing retreat page!

Back up and running

I’ve not been able to update the website for the last couple of weeks, as my computer broke down. It took a few days to get the components for a new one, then a few more days for Toni to build it, then several days to reinstall all the software and move the data over from the old machine. At least I back everything up very regularly! I’m now up and running again, with lots to report.

It’s the Alight Commissions workshop this weekend – everyone who is signed up should have received an email last night with the link to the scores. Remember, you need to download and print this, and bring it with you on Saturday.

We’ve been working hard on creating some future events, as well as getting things ready for the end of season performances. I’ve updated the Performance page with details of all the performances we have coming up.

We should be able to announce all the details for our Summer Singing Retreat in the next couple of days – we’re very excited about it. Pencil in August 19th-24th…

We’re also planning another set of “Variety” performances, again raising funds for local charities – these will take place in early April. We’re putting things in place for a rock and pop concert, in collaboration with Tragical History Tour, which will happen in mid-July and include two very different halves (our music in the first half, and a Beatles set in the second half – featuring a recreation of the entire Abbey Road album live on stage).

And, would you believe it, we have a date booked for NEXT Christmas – we’ll be doing our very own black-tie gala evening, with dinner and a concert, at the incredible Buxton Dome – this will be on December 8th 2012, and will include a full concert, accompanied by a live brass and percussion ensemble. It’s going to be a busy year!

Back to today, and we’re off to view a performance venue this afternoon (for one of our “secret” events), then it’s back to getting everything ready for this weekend – not just the Alight Commissions workshop, but there’s the small matter of a wedding on Friday – looking forward to that VERY much indeed!