Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year

Our final performance of the autumn season was yesterday, so we’re now officially finished for Christmas. Of course, that doesn’t mean we’ve stopped working – far from it – but we won’t see our singers again until January now. It’s been an incredible season – we’ve seen strong growth in the size of all four groups (over 25% bigger since the summer), we’ve done 22 performances in 24 days, we’ve helped to raise around £1,500 for charity, and we’ve surprised plenty more people with our flash mobs. Videos of us performing on YouTube have been viewed over 38,000 times, including around 1,500 views of our performances this season. (Incidentally, our Motown Medley videos are STILL really popular – over 2,000 views in the last fortnight alone!).

Thank you to everyone who has helped to make this season yet another successful one. I’m really excited about our plans for the future, and I look forward to another chapter in the BeVox story.

What a week!

It’s been an incredible time. After selling out for our Wakefield end of season performance last Monday, we then went on to sell out in Nottingham and Sheffield too – a fantastic experience. And although the Barnsley concert had a smaller audience, they more than made up for it with enthusiasm. Thank you to everyone who made these events so enjoyable.

Friday saw us raising money for Cancer Research with a private concert in Wollaton. Thank you so much to the golf club members for making us so welcome (even building me my own podium – incredible!). I hope you raised a great total for such a worthy cause.

We managed five performances in two days over the weekend! Our flash mob at Wakefield’s Ridings Shopping Centre was great fun, and it was great to take it to Meadowhall the following day (the place where Toni first had the idea of doing a “battle of the choirs” event). We did two really fun performances at Pinderfields Hospital (lovely to see patients enjoying the music – and some doctors too!). And on Sunday afternoon, even the pouring rain couldn’t stop us entertaining the crowds at the inaugural Lowedges Christmas Market. I’m very grateful to the organisers for finding us a spot indoors though!

The Wakefield group had their Christmas party last night, which was lovely – so nice to get people together and spend some social time just chilling out. We’re off to sing at Treetops Hospice in Nottingham this afternoon, before the Nottingham Christmas party tonight, then we’re at Sheffield Train Station tomorrow, singing for St Luke’s Hospice. That will leave just two more performances to go until Christmas!

Most of the music for next season is written now, and I’m in the studio recording it all next week. We’ve also had a great invitation to create a special event early next year, so I might have to throw an extra song in for that – details will be sent to singers soon…

Performing

What a great start to the week! The weekend felt very intense – surprising shoppers in Derby’s Westfield Centre with our flash mob was great fun, but also very nerve-wracking. These events always need a lot of focus, and the wait before it started had my stomach doing back-flips, but then to be hit with a technical problem just as the music was due to start – the stuff of nightmares! Thanks to everyone who held it together whilst I did an emergency re-cabling job! The end result was great though, and we’ve had lovely feedback from shoppers who saw it, and from the site staff at the centre.

West Bridgford was next, and we put on a good (high energy!) show. Challenging conditions, but we rose to it and sang our hearts out. It was great to be joined by Cat for our final number – and lovely to meet baby Austin (the second BeVox baby I met last week, after Anne brought her little Alys to Barnsley’s last session).

Toni and I managed to take most of Sunday off, and had a lovely meal out, followed by cuddles on the sofa in front of a romantic movie – great to stop for a bit and enjoy ourselves. Happy belated anniversary, love!

I spent a good chunk of Monday finishing “Olympic Triptych”, my commissioned piece for Alight – and I’m glad to say it’s finally done! I just have to prepare all the parts and record the rehearsal tracks now, then I can distribute it to all the performers. Looking forward to it…

Then, to start our week of End Of Season Performances, we headed to Wakefield. What a night! Definitely up there with some of the best performances BeVox have ever done. The energy and enthusiasm was great, the audience were very responsive (great feedback from people as they left), we had a capacity crowd, and the sound – oh, the sound – it was just incredible! Thank you to everyone who made it such a success – it’s set us up for the week now! Can’t wait to head to Nottingham tonight and do it all again!

The eye of the storm

It’s always a time of mixed emotions when we reach the end of a season. It’s sad that we’re no longer meeting every week, but exciting that we’re sharing our singing with audiences. It’s been a great week for that – after the Ecclesall concert in my last message, we sang at Meadowhall on 26th November, joining several groups who were raising funds for Lost Chord. There’s a video of us singing our “Phantom medley” on our YouTube channel – take a look on www.youtube.com/bevoxuk. Thanks to the generosity of passing shoppers, Lost Chord raised over £1,000 that day – a great sum.

I had a busy weekend, as I spent most of that Sunday on a non-BeVox event – running a custom workshop for someone’s 70th birthday. His family had invited lots of his singing friends to join him for three hours of singing to celebrate his birthday, and had commissioned me to write some original arrangements too. We had a great time!

Then it was the week of final sessions, which led to some quality singing – songs coming together in ways that hadn’t until that point. We took to the streets again on Thursday and Friday with lunchtime concerts at Sheffield Winter Gardens, and collected over £180 in donations for Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice. A very sincere “thank you” to everyone who gave so generously.

More performances today – the first of our “secret surprise” events, and the switch-on of West Bridgford Christmas Lights. We did this event last year, and we’re looking forward to going back again. Sunday is a rare day off, which Toni and I will be treating as a somewhat delayed celebration of our anniversary – we’ve been together for 5 years now. This last year has been a real whirlwind, and we’re both blown away by how exciting it all is. If you’d have shown us a picture of current lives when we got together 5 years ago, we would never have believed it!

Next week is the week of end-of-season performances – we’re very much looking forward to sharing our music with your friends and families. We’re very busy then, with thirteen events in as many days. I’ve now got just two weeks to write all the music for next season, and finish the “Olympic Triptych” for Alight – argh!