Change of venue

It’s been a great start to the Spring season. Our first sessions in Sheffield, Wakefield and Nottingham have been great fun, and it’s lovely to see new recruits in each area. We’re looking forward to Barnsley’s first session of 2012 tonight.

Next week, our Nottingham session will temporarily move to a different venue. The Becket School isn’t available, so instead we will be at West Bridgford Methodist Church, on the junction of Musters Road and Patrick Road – the post code there is NG2 7PQ, and there’s a map here. Parking can be a bit of a nightmare, as it’s on-street only, and it gets quite busy – you may need to park a distance away and then walk down. Please accept our apologies for this temporary change of venue.

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!

Temporary venue change in Nottingham

We had a call from The Becket School this afternoon, letting us know that we’re not able to use the school for our session THIS TUESDAY, 4th October. We’ve secured an alternative venue, so for this coming week only, we’ll be at the West Bridgford Methodist Church on Musters Road (at the junction with Patrick Road). There’s a link to the alternative venue on Google Maps here: West Bridgford Methodist Church

Apologies for the late notice – this announcement is going out via email to all Nottingham singers, and will be on our Facebook and Twitter pages too.

We need your vote!

We’ve got a great opportunity to sing in the foyer of The Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham prior to a concert by The Soweto Gospel Choir. However, in order to get this chance, we need lots of people to vote for us in an online competition to choose which choir gets to sing. There are only two choirs to pick from, us and the Bestwood Male Voice Choir (which is kind of ironic as their assistant MD is a close friend of mine!). Please follow the link below and vote for us, so we can go and sing in this great venue (and have the chance to sit in on the Soweto Gospel Choir rehearsing).

http://www.trch.co.uk/index.aspx?articleid=15348

(Please note that it seems to take 3-4 minutes for the survey to register your vote – please be patient!).

We had the first session of the Autumn season in Wakefield last night, and it was great to be back. There were lots of new people too, which was really lovely – nice to see Wakefield going from strength to strength. We’ve had lots of enquiries from people wanting to join the Nottingham group tonight, so it looks like another busy night!

Autumn season approaches

We’re in the midst of preparations for the Autumn season, and it’s getting exciting! We have a new venue for the Barnsley group – Carlton Community College, on Royston Lane. The full postal address and a link to a map are on the Contacts page. We’re really thrilled to be moving to this new venue – it’s a bright, modern building with excellent facilities. Take a look at their website if you’re interested – www.carltoncommunitycollege.org.

We’ve made a start on putting the Magna DVD together, and we’re very excited about how it looks and sounds. Look out for a pre-order form which will be available from this website in the next few days, and hopefully in a week or two we should have a sneak preview of the DVD itself available on our YouTube page – check back here for details in a week or two!

I’m over halfway through writing the arrangements for the Autumn season, and there’s some great stuff to work on. I can’t wait to start singing it with you. I’m recording the rehearsal tracks in London on Friday and Saturday next week, then mixing and mastering the following week. There are some nice challenges in the music this season – scatting in “A foggy day”, made-up languages in “Adiemus”, and the longest medley we’ve ever done. There’s also the chance for some beautiful choral singing, with classics like “Moon river” and “What the world needs now is love”. All in all, it’s going to be a great season!

We’re looking forward to Lowedges Festival tomorrow, and the BeVox Fun Day/Picnic the following weekend. Let’s hope for good weather…

Steaming ahead

We have just a fortnight to go until the first “Real Variety Performance”, and everything is falling into place to make these concerts really great. Thanks to everyone who is donating their time and expertise – it’s a real testement to what people can achieve for a good cause.

Less than a fortnight to go until BeVox@Magna too. Things are coming together in a really exciting way for this – I have a little leap of excitement every time I hear a newly finished backing track or see a completed video. All we have to do now is develop more of an audience – ticket sales are only growing slowly, so we’re doing a big push this week. We have an ad in the Sheffield Star later in the week, and we’re encouraging everyone to spread the word. It’s truly going to be an amazing event. I hope you’re not one of the people who will hear about it afterwards and think “I wish I had been there”!

After a very positive meeting this morning, I’m proud to say that BeVox will be taking part in Alight – part of Music Nation, a Countdown event for the London 2012 Festival, the finale of the Cultural Olympiad. I’m still working on the various different events we’ll be bringing to Alight, so watch out for more details nearer the time; but for now, save the date! We’ll be performing at various events throughout the day on Saturday 3rd March 2012. I can’t wait!

How many hours in a day?

However many there are, it’s not enough! The publicity machine is really getting into gear for our upcoming performances. BeVox@Magna posters have just arrived (oh my good grief, did I really order 2 A0 ones? Yes I did!). The Magna event has also had a boost from a podcast by Magna themselves – you can listen by clicking here, then selecting “MAGNACAST – JUNE 2011 (EVENTS)”. We’re about six and a half minutes in.

We’re also putting the final touches to our series of charity concerts – “A Real Variety Performance”. The list of guest artistes is growing all the time, and includes acts as diverse as string quartets, street dancers, gospel choirs, classical sopranos, folk guitarists and girl bands!

We’re making a few changes to how BeVox is run, starting in our Autumn season. We’re offering more sessions, and our free taster sessions are now available throughout the season. If you’re thinking of joining us, please get in touch to find out how the changes affect you.

Finally, a big thank-you to all the singers who came to help celebrate Denise Kelly’s wedding with us. She was absolutely thrilled with our performance, and I was very proud to stand in front of you all – you sounded amazing. Thank you for your patience, and for helping to make Dee’s day even more “perfect”.

Summer season

Our summer season starts this week, and we’ve already had invitations to perform in several interesting places! After the success of our “Spontaneous Sing” events at the shopping centres, we’ve been invited to do more work with them, so look out for more concerts in the future – and even though it’s only April, we’re already making plans for how we can entertain Christmas shoppers…

We’re very pleased to be able to officially launch the BeVox @ Magna concert today – all the information is in our info pack, available from the “BeVox @ Magna” link on the right. This is going to be such an exciting event!

The blend of big events and sharing music with the community will continue throughout the Summer season. We’ve been invited to sing at a Charity Fun Day at The Cadlands Pub in Chilwell, Nottingham, and all of the retirement and care homes we performed in at the end of the Spring season have invited us back. We’re also looking for performance opportunities in Wakefield and Barnsley, as they are currently under-represented, so please email us your ideas.