A great weekend

We had two really lovely events this weekend. On Saturday, we had our first ever Discussion Picnic – a kind of very informal Annual General Meeting, where we shared food and company, before sharing our thoughts and ideas about how we can shape BeVox for the next year or so. We’re grateful to everyone who was able to be there, and to the large number of people who couldn’t make it on the day but sent their ideas and viewpoints via email beforehand. We had a very lively discussion, as I’d hoped we would, with a good range of opinions aired. It was really reassuring that there was broad agreement on the majority of issues, and also fantastic to hear people’s ideas for how we can improve what we do. We’ll be reflecting on the whole experience over the next few days, and producing a document that outlines how we’ll respond to all this valuable feedback.

We spent Sunday celebrating the wedding of John and Lyn, two of our singers in Nottingham. We had a group of over 30 singers, beautiful sunshine, the relaxed surroundings of Langar Hall, and a very happy bride and groom! It was lovely to have the chance to socialise together for a while, and then the singing was great fun too – lots of slight panicking beforehand as people realised they hadn’t sung these songs for months, but then lots of relieved looks when they realised it all came flooding back as soon as we started singing! The sound was strong, the camaraderie stronger. Thanks to all who took part, and congratulations to John and Lyn – may you spend the rest of your lives blissfully happy with each other!

Victoria BID flash mob

What a day!

Yesterday, around 200 singers travelled from across Yorkshire, the Midlands and South Wales to London in order to flashmob the capital – three performances at Victoria Rail Station, the Piazza outside Westminster Cathedral, and Buckingham Palace. We were invited to put this together by Victoria BID to help promote the Victoria area of London as a tourist and business destination.

It was incredible! In the station, we had hundreds of people stopping to watch, take pictures and film us. The station management were seriously impressed with how well we did (and how well we respected their rules too), and have invited us back to do something similar there again in the future. It was a challenge, with so much space to fill and everything else going on around us, but it absolutely worked – a testament to everyone’s concentration!

Then we went to the Cathedral, and the acoustic in the Piazza really helped us – it sounded magnificent. The reaction from the tourists who had stopped to take pictures of the Cathedral was great to watch!

Finally, the big one – Buckingham Palace – time to take our Queen medley to the Queen! As all the singers know, I’d been very nervous about the musical side of this one – an open space with no walls to bounce the sound off meant some serious worries about us staying together and sounding good. I needn’t have worried – we rocked it! The sound was awesome, and the reaction from the crowd was immense – hundreds of people filming us, and dozens deciding to get involved and sing and dance along with us!

I’m sure everyone involved had a great day, and now have some incredible stories to tell (including the people who made a grand entrance to the Piazza performance – rocking up in a taxi just as they started singing – classic!). The events manager at Victoria BID was utterly thrilled with what we’d achieved for them, and is already talking about plans for our next appearance.

Thank you to everyone who took part, came along, or otherwise made it possible. Thanks to our friends at City Voices and The Rodillian Singers – it’s always great to sing with both of these brilliant choirs, and lovely to see friendships being renewed. Let’s do it again sometime!

Music for Life at Wakefield Cathedral

It’s been nearly a week since our “Music for Life” concert at Wakefield Cathedral, and now the dust has settled I feel I can write about it. It was an incredible concert, with some really remarkable and memorable performances. All the singers on stage raised their game to create a great sound, and I’m grateful to every single one of you. We made people laugh, cry, think and leap to their feet with applause – exactly what a concert should do.

I was particularly glad to finally produce a larger-scale event in Wakefield – we’ve had big things in Sheffield and Nottingham before, but this was a first for most of our Wakefield singers, and from the comments I’ve received this week, it’s clear that people really enjoyed the experience. I hope that means that we’ll have more and more of the Wakefield crowd joining us for our larger-scale things in other areas in the future.

Of course, we weren’t just singing for pleasure on Saturday – we were also raising awareness of organ transplantation, and funds for “Live Life Then Give Life”. I’m thrilled to announce that we’ll be making a donation of £1,241.05 to this very worthy cause.

BeVox performing in Wakefield Cathedral
BeVox performing in Wakefield Cathedral (photography by Peter Wells LRPS)

Sheffield concert

Another great concert last night, as Sheffield raised the roof with its end-of-season performance. Great to see another full house, and to get some lovely reactions afterwards. Thanks to everyone who came to support us, and to everyone who contributed to making it such a good night.

There were some really strong solo performances, as well as the choir in good voice. I’d like to say particular congratulations to Jacky B and Jacky W. Jacky B, recovering from a mis-pitched start takes nerves of steel, and once you’d got into the groove you delivered a strong performance, made all the more impressive by the fact you didn’t let your false start put you off. Well done. Jacky W, after auditioning so many times and not getting anything, you chose last night to deliver a spine-tingling performance. It was absolutely the best I’ve ever heard you sing – a masterclass in bringing light and shade to a song. Thanks for your perseverance, for putting the work in, and treating us to a beautiful performance.

All the other soloists did a great job too, from people who have done it many times before to people who are still pretty new to solo singing – congratulations to Paul on your first big solo, and Shelley on continuing to impress after your first solo outing last week.

The choir were in good voice, with “The Sound of Silence” being the stand-out moment – I had some lovely feedback on this one from an audience member who is a big Simon & Garfunkel fan, but who said that our performance had been like listening to the song for the first time. There were several other moments that really showcased what a good sound we can make – looking forward to building on this more and more in the coming months.

So, off to Southwell tomorrow – can’t wait! Hopefully see you there…

Wakefield end of season concert – incredible!

I’m going to say it – that was simply the best concert we’ve done in Wakefield! Thank you to every single person who made it such a triumph of an evening. Great to see the venue full, and what a reaction! You should all be very proud of that standing ovation – you earned it.

Congratulations to all the soloists, who rose to the occasion (even those that had to cope with me getting the key wrong!). But I think the biggest congratulations of all have to go to the choir as a whole – you put in a mind-blowingly strong performance, and you nailed all the little details that I’ve been going on and on about for the last few weeks. I’ll be honest and say “The Sound of Silence” was a worry for me – I’ve never been sure whether we’d get it just the way I’d imagined it. It was a thing of beauty tonight, just the way I wanted it. And what can I say about Les Mis? Some fantastically powerful and emotional singing there, and I’m thrilled to have shared the stage with you all. If that’s what you can do in a “regular” concert, I can’t wait to hear you all at Wakefield Cathedral on July 27th!

I’m very much looking forward to doing it all again in Sheffield on Thursday, then in Southwell on Saturday. I think this is going to be an emotional week!

Thanks to Jane Hughes’ family for videoing the end of the concert – watch it here: The Les Mis medley from the end of the Wakefield 2013 Spring concert

Really enjoyable performance at Ecclesall Live At Home

We were made very welcome by the organisers at Ecclesall Live At Home for our performance there last Thursday, and it was great fun singing for everyone there. I’ve had lots of lovely feedback, and we certainly won’t leave it 18 months between visits again.

I thought it was going to be a challenge for us to make a good sound for this one, as it was a very unusual balance of voice types, but everyone rose to the challenge and sounded really excellent. A big thank you to the tenors and basses for holding their own – not easy when there’s 4 of you against 26 women! Also a big thumbs up to all the soloists – especially Shelley, doing her first ever public solo performance.

Hopefully people will remember to check BeVox OnLine for the dress code details before each performance, so we’re all on the same page. I’ll also try to make it far clearer what the running order is for each concert – having the list of songs in different orders in different places really isn’t helpful, so I’ll come up with a solution for that as soon as I can.

Looking forward to the next set of concerts now – Wakefield tonight, Sheffield on Thursday, and Southwell on Saturday. Woohoo!

Great concert at Music from the Crofts

Thanks to everyone who came along and made last night’s “Music from the Crofts” concert such a success. Everyone was in fine voice, despite the downpour, and I was really pleased with the overall sound. There were a couple of sopranos who need to look again at “I ain’t gon’ do you wrong” – I’ll start getting cross if I hear “gonna” again! Les Mis was epic, and I’m so glad we’ve brought it back.

Thanks everyone for your patience and organisation too – we looked very professional, and I was really pleased with how everything came together. I really appreciated the support from Shelley signing people in, Howard helping with my gear, and Pauline keeping us all organised – great to see the teamwork. Looking forward to giving the rest of the songs a public airing now – keep working hard, and the end-of-season concerts will be incredible!