It’s the end of our Summer season, so we’re right in the middle of a busy week of concerts. We sang at St Mary’s Church in Arnold on Saturday, in a concert organised by the Nottingham Soroptimists to raise funds for Nottingham’s Women’s Centre. This was a great success, and we helped them raise £720 for the cause. The audience feedback has been tremendous, and we’ve definitely got some new converts!
Monday was our end of season concert in Wakefield, and we had a brilliant evening. The singing was really strong, and it was great to see everyone throwing themselves into the spirit of it and having such fun. We had some lovely comments from audience members afterwards, and we can’t wait to come back and entertain them all again next season, when we’re back at Wakefield Cathedral.
We were in Nottingham again on Tuesday, this time for our end of season concert there. The heat seemed to have ramped up an extra level, and we were all melting before we even began, but it didn’t dampen anyone’s enthusiasm (even if it did dampen our brows!). Again we had a great concert, with powerful singing, lots of emotion and huge fun being had. It was lovely to see a number of singers in the audience too, coming to support their fellow BeVoxers.
There was an incident during Tuesday’s show that somewhat marred the evening though, and I feel it’s important for me to comment on it and make Toni’s and my position crystal clear. There were several small children at the concert, sons or daughters of singers who had been brought by their parents. As you would expect, these small children made a small amount of noise – nothing too distracting, and no more than you would expect. During the concert, an audience member turned to the mother of one of these children and told her to keep her child quiet, and that she shouldn’t have brought a small child to a concert. I’ve been told that she was fairly rude about it, and the mother of the child in question was really upset – so much so that she had to leave for a while to recompose herself. When she was able to return to the auditorium, after a while she challenged the woman who had spoken to her and told her how much she’d upset her. The woman reacted badly and upset the mother again. Unfortunately, both Toni and I were unaware of this at the time. We’re really grateful to the other audience members who offered their support to the mother of the child, and to those who came and spoke to us about the incident after the concert.
We’d like to make two things very clear indeed. Firstly, we are a family-friendly organisation, open for anyone to come to our concerts. We love having children at our concerts, and they add something really special – it was great to see kids dancing in the aisles at the end of the concerts, and even coming up and joining in with the choir. We are primarily a community, and this is actually more important to us than the singing. If this isn’t the kind of event that you want to be in the audience for, then our concerts aren’t for you.
Secondly, it is absolutely unacceptable for any member of our audience to make another member of our audience feel upset, unwelcome or threatened (just as it is for our singers too). This behaviour has no place in a caring, sharing community such as ours, and if we are made aware of it occurring, we won’t think twice about stopping the concert and ejecting the person responsible so that we can carry on in a positive atmosphere. If we knew who the audience member was who was responsible for the incident last night, we would be contacting them and making it clear that their behaviour will not be tolerated again, and if they are unable to restrain themselves from being rude to other audience members, they are not welcome at our events. As it is, all we can do is share our views with our singers and regular audience members, and make it very clear that if any member of our audience is ever made to feel uncomfortable by anyone else, it is absolutely fine to come and speak to Toni or me at any available opportunity, and we will address the problem as quickly and professionally as possible.
Onwards – we have a private event tonight, singing for a residential home, then it’s the Sheffield end of season concert on Thursday. We’re looking forward to this one, after the disappointment of missing last week’s session, so we can round the season off in style.