Yesterday was our Musical Mystery Tour – and what a day it was! Toni and I had been so excited (and nervous!) about the plans we’d made, and it was simply incredible to be there and see them all becoming real. It was a truly special day, in so many ways.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what actually happened:
- Two different coaches picked up our guests from four different locations, and took different routes to our first destination – the Seacombe ferry terminal on the Wirral side of the Mersey
- Everyone boarded the ferry and had a guided tour of the Mersey, ending at Pier Head ferry terminal in Liverpool
- We sang “Ferry cross the Mersey” to a very appreciative crowd right outside the ferry terminal
- We walked to Liverpool ONE shopping centre, where we had lunch
- At the end of the lunch break, another choir did a flash mob – but then it turned into “Magical Mystery Tour” and we all joined in
- We went to Liverpool Metropolitan Catholic Cathedral and sang a full concert to a good-sized local audience, with some of the Liverpudlian singers from the flash mob earlier joining the choir
- We had a celebratory themed banquet in the Lutyens Crypt beneath the cathedral
Something Toni and I keep coming back to whenever we think about the trip is how much faith everyone had in us. When we first came up with the idea for the trip (inspired by a throwaway comment by my mum), we knew it was a really big ask – we were asking people to trust us to give them a day to remember, without knowing any of the details beforehand – and to pay for the privilege too! No-one will truly know just what an effect it has had on Toni and I, seeing over a hundred people display that level of trust in us. We’ll never take it for granted, and we’re forever grateful for it.
People often refer to BeVox as their “singing family”. I think this is true of most community singing groups – the bonds formed when people sing together are so strong, and BeVox is no exception. We love to include as many people as we can in our BeVox family, in lots of different ways, and the Mystery Tour certainly did that. We had our singers, from all the different areas we work in, and the friendships and camaraderie between them were a joy to behold, yet again. One of the things we love about our events is that we normally have singers from at least two, if not all three of our different geographical areas, and it’s great to see old friendships being renewed – people who only see each other at the end of each season asking after each other and sharing stories of what has happened in their lives since the last “big concert”.
For the Mystery Tour, we also had a number of guests – friends or family members of our singers, who were coming along for the ride, and to be our audience whenever we sang. We love spending time with the people who like to come and watch us perform – they are as much a part of the choir as those who sing, and everything we do relies on them being there to listen just as much as the singers being there to sing.
BeVox has family at its heart – in its most basic form, it’s run by the family that is Toni and me. My parents are massive supporters of the choir, as many of you know, and having them along as part of the Mystery Tour was very special. We included a bit more of my family too – the catering for our celebratory banquet at the end of the day was provided by Gravy & Custard, the catering firm run by my brother Dan and his partner Sam. I was thrilled to be able to work with them, and I know it made our parents very proud indeed.
We extended the BeVox singing spirit out to a wider family with this event too. We wanted the day to be full of surprises, and one of the most surprising things we can do as a choir is to do a flash mob. We thought about how we could integrate a flash mob into the day without giving anything away to our singers – and hit upon the idea of having ANOTHER choir do a flash mob, with our singers as the unsuspecting audience! So, over the last few months, we advertised and recruited singers from other choirs across Liverpool, and gave them the chance to form a “scratch choir” especially to join us for the Mystery Tour. We put together a “Liverpool medley”, consisting of songs made famous by artists from Liverpool, and rehearsed it in secret, before surprising the BeVox singers with a flash mob just as they were finishing lunch. Of course, we couldn’t resist the opportunity of getting the BeVox singers to join in with the flash mob, so the final song in the medley was our arrangement of “Magical Mystery Tour” – everyone entered into the spirit and joined in, essentially doing a flash mob without realising they were going to do one!
We were thrilled that the Liverpool singers wanted to play as big a part in the event as they could, so a significant number of them learnt our whole summer programme (in just two rehearsals!), and joined us for our big concert that afternoon – singing in the incredible setting of Liverpool Metropolitan Catholic Cathedral. The sound of 145 voices singing in that incredible building will stay with me for a very, very long time.
We thought it would be a great shame to put on a concert at the Cathedral and not use it as an opportunity to help support charitable causes in Liverpool, so we reached out to some Liverpudlian friends of ours to find out which charities would be dear to the hearts of a local audience. We then collected donations as part of our concert in the cathedral – and many of our singers generously donated too. As a result, we’ve raised £1,030, which we’ll split equally between Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, and Sunflowers, a charity supporting cancer patients in Merseyside.
Comments we’ve had from people who took part in the Mystery Tour have been overwhelming. Below are a few quotes to give you a flavour of how much fun we all had:
“What an amazing day yesterday in Liverpool. Huge thanks to BeVox for a fantastic experience being part of the flash mob and the scratch choir at the concert at the Metropolitan Cathedral. Everyone made us so welcome. Great experience and can’t wait to do it again.” – Julie, Liverpool singer
“What a wonderful day. A massive thank you to Tim and Toni for organising the whole day. A massive thank you to all the Liverpool singers who made our day so brilliant. Thank you, thank you!” – Anne, BeVox singer
“Thank you so much for a brilliant musical mystery tour. It was a fabulous day and your imagination, organisation and attention to detail was amazing and made the day so very special. The fantastic performance venue came as a complete surprise and certainly brought the ‘magical’ into the mystery tour. The impromptu flash mob was another highlight and as for the banquet, it was fantastic in terms of both the venue and the food.” – Sue, BeVox singer
“Just wanted to say a great big thank you to you both for such an amazing day yesterday! It was an experience I wouldn’t have missed for the world. The flash mob was such fun and we were so lucky with the weather! Singing in the cathedral was a wonderful experience especially with so many great voices. It was very emotional. The banquet was a splendid way to round the whole day off. The food was absolutely delicious. It was lovely sitting and chatting to members of your choirs and sharing our musical stories!” – Gill, Liverpool singer
“Thank you so much for an unforgettable day in Liverpool yesterday. Fantastic surprises – much hilarity as usual – I had a wonderful time. Thank you for providing me with some opportunities and experiences I couldn’t have imagined having.” – Jill, BeVox singer
“It was a really phenomenal day, can’t remember when I last had a day that made so many memories! Every second was a joy; being flash-mobbed and working with local singers was a master stroke – a real surprise in a day of surprises- even the weather knew it had to do its bit!!! As for singing in the cathedral- well, words fail me. To sing there was absolutely awesome, so special – goosebumps and even feeling a little bit tearful! The banquet was glorious- Dan’s food was absolutely delicious, and our table comprised entertaining and interesting new friends. We had a ball!” – Lyn, BeVox singer
I’m collecting together as many videos of the various bits of the day as I can find and putting them all into one playlist on the BeVox YouTube channel. There are various other videos on Facebook, but they aren’t always publicly available – below is a link to everything I’ve currently found and have access to. I’ll continue to update this as I find more videos out there!
As a number of people have commented, it took a lot of work and organisation to make a day like yesterday run so smoothly. Toni and I are both done in – but it was so worth it! We do love creating unique and unusual events – and we’re looking forward to our next one already…