It’s been a really fun week – we had our end-of-season concerts on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, followed by a concert for Bolsover Parish Church yesterday afternoon. It’s the culmination of our summer season, our chance to share the music we’ve been making for the last twelve weeks with our friends, family and other guests. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and judging from the feedback we’ve received so far, so have our singers and audience members too!
When we were planning it, this season was meant to be a slightly easier ride than last season – we pushed ourselves hard for the Elemental concert, and we thought it would be a good idea to relax things a little this time around. That went out of the window pretty quickly though! The music was more complex than I’d originally intended, with wordy songs like “Windmills of your mind” and “Skid Row”, complex harmonies in things like “Blue skies”, stylistic challenges with “I won’t give up” and “The Greatest Showman medley” – it ended up being just as big a sing as last season was! Nevertheless, as ever, everyone rose to the challenge and we ended up with some really strong singing. Thank you to everyone who was a part of it along the way – both in the choir and in the audience.
Our first full concert of the season was in Nottingham, and we returned to the Performing Arts building at Rushcliffe School. Everyone on stage did a grand job under challenging circumstances – probably the hottest room of the week, and the new addition of curtains all the way around the room also gave it a very dull acoustic. It took a little while to adapt, but as the concert went on, everyone raised their game all the way through to the finale. The end result was a mixed bag of a concert – a slow start, but a really strong finish, and I think everyone who was a part of it should be really proud of being able to push through the challenging situation and deliver something at that level.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I had a slightly odd sensation going into the Epic Centre to set up for the concert – last time we were here was for Elemental, and it felt strange to be coming back to do a “normal” concert here, even though we’ve done so many times before. There must have been something in the air though, because the concert was electrifying. Singers from others areas who’d joined us in Lincoln were coming up to me in the interval and saying, “What’s happened? It feels like a different choir tonight!”. That’s the joy of live performance – you never know what’s going to happen until you start singing, and occasionally something really special comes together, for no particular reason at all! I loved being able to play with the songs and finding new subtleties in them – “Fields of gold” was a treat, with so many nuances it really came to life.
Another hot room, another sell-out crowd – and another great concert. Having 110 singers on stage was always going to make a big sound, and it didn’t disappoint. We had a cracking reaction from the audience, and some really strong moments on stage too – I felt like I was on stage at a massive festival when we got to the final choruses of “You’re the voice”! The husband of one of our singers filmed the whole concert, so if you want to take a look, it’s on YouTube here.
Bolsover summer concert
Our (almost) final concert of the season was at Bolsover Parish Church, a venue that we’ve developed a great relationship with over the years, and a real treat to sing in. With just over forty singers, we made a great sound, and it echoed off the walls and up into the rafters – hurrah! The concert contained a very special moment for me: singing “Blue skies” with my beloved Grandma Joy in the audience. Joy introduced me to the music of Irving Berlin when I was really small, and her passion for his songs has stayed with me all these years. She went on to teach me music theory, and to encourage my development as a musician throughout my childhood, so it’s always a real thrill to be able to perform for her. It was also lovely to see a number of BeVox singers in the audience (as we’ve had at all the concerts this week) – it’s great that people want to support their fellow singers, and to see what all the fuss is about!
We have a few things coming up over the summer, with a summer singing day, our annual picnic, and (hopefully) singing at a wedding in Nottingham. We start sessions again in the middle of September, and we’re looking forward to that very much – some fun and interesting songs next season (see the full list here), and a return to The Octagon in Sheffield for our big concert. We’re also very close to releasing the DVD of Elemental, our unique concert from this spring – singers will be able to place pre-orders very soon indeed, then the DVD will go on general sale via our website in the Autumn. On top of all of that, we’re also getting very close to being able to announce our plans for our 10th anniversary celebrations next summer – watch this space!