BeVox Rocks!

One of the things that I find really exciting about my job, even if it sometimes messes with my head a bit, is that we’re constantly working on things with very different timescales. I can go from answering a telephone call about tonight’s session, to recording a backing track for a concert in a month’s time, to writing the arrangements we’ll be singing in two month’s time, to planning a concert in six month’s time – all within a few minutes of each other. The last few weeks have been full of this, and it all seems to be coming together right now.

Over the weekend, I finished the last backing track for the Autumn series of concerts. I’m really excited about how everything is sounding for these performances, and the work we’ll do over the next couple of weeks to polish everything up will result in some stand-out shows, I’m sure.

I’m now working on writing the arrangements for next season – I’ve only got a fortnight until our session singers, Alastair and Eloise, come up to record their parts! The song list has been chosen from suggestions made by our singers, and you can read it here, along with the song lists from all our previous seasons.

We’ve also just finalised the details for our big event for the Spring season – and it’s going to be a whopper! “BeVox Rocks” will take place on Saturday 11th April 2015, at The Octagon in Sheffield. It will feature a programme of stadium rock classics, as well as some more unexpected material, and we’ll be singing alongside a live rock band! The arena-like layout at The Octagon is ideal for this kind of music, and we’re sure to put on one hell of a show!

The Octagon, Sheffield
The Octagon, Sheffield

Choosing songs for Autumn 2013

I’ve spent most of yesterday and today going through all the suggestions that people have made for our songs for next season. There are so many! Over 570 in total, with nearly 200 being suggested specifically to fit with next season’s theme of “The Days of Our Lives”.

The hard thing has been whittling them down – there are so many great songs on the list. I’ve been trying really hard to tell a coherent story from beginning to end, whilst still providing lots of contrasts of style, tempo and mood. My first draft looked great, and really got into the story very well indeed – until I counted the songs and realised there were forty on the list!

There are so many exciting moments coming together for this concert now – I can see some of them really clearly in my mind’s eye, right down to the set design, lighting, orchestration, everything. It really will be a milestone in the BeVox journey. I can’t wait to share it all with you!

The final song list will be posted to the main website in the next day or two – keep your eyes peeled on http://www.bevox.co.uk/songlist.html

Spring 2013 songs announced

One of the crazy things about the schedules we work to at BeVox is that we’re always focussed on several different periods of time. One minute we’re making plans for events next summer, the next we’re dealing with what’s happening at tomorrow night’s session. So, whilst a lot of our time at the moment is spent making arrangements for our Autumn season concerts, especially Buxton, today I can let you know what songs we’ll be doing in our next season, starting in January 2013. The song list can be found here, along with a link to all the songs on YouTube.

We’re also launching our “Introduce a friend” scheme next season – so if you know someone who might be interested in singing with us, get them to come along next season and put your name on their application form as the person that introduced them – you’ll then get a discount yourself! Full details have been sent to all our existing singers.

The Spring 2013 season starts on Thursday 3rd January in Sheffield, followed by Monday 7th in Wakefield, Tuesday 8th in Nottingham and Wednesday 9th in Barnsley. We’ve got a whole host of performances between now and then (see our Performances page), but we’re already getting excited about what the New Year will have in store!

Summer performances, and news about the Autumn

What an incredible week it has been! Two very different performances this weekend – on Friday we performed “Voices at the Cathedral”, and on Saturday we sang at Dore & Totley United Reformed Church. Both events helped to raise funds for local charities, and we’ll post an update on here once we’ve got the final totals in. Musically speaking, both concerts were a real success. It was great to contrast the intimacy of the Dore & Totley event with the grandeur of Sheffield Cathedral, and it was so gratifying to hear the dedication that each singer brought to both events. We had some top quality solo, duet and small ensemble singing, to match the passion of the choir numbers – it really has shown what a dynamic, varied and interesting bunch we are!

As we’re coming to the end of our Summer season (still a few more performances to go!), here are the dates for the Autumn – we’ll start again on Monday 10th September in Wakefield, Tuesday 11th in Nottingham, Wednesday 12th in Barnsley and Thursday 13th in Sheffield. Those singers taking part in “Picnic and Pavarotti at the Priory” and/or “Bestwood MVC Diamond Jubilee Concert”, there’s a top-up rehearsal to remind you of the Summer season music on Saturday 8th September – more details to follow by email. The last sessions of the Autumn season will be on Monday 26th November in Wakefield, Tuesday 27th in Nottingham, Wednesday 28th in Barnsley and Thursday 29th in Sheffield. We are still working out the details of performances at the end of next season – we’ll definitely have performances in each area, in addition to our combined event in Buxton, but we haven’t worked out exactly when or where these will be just yet – we’ll keep you posted.

Finally, the song list for the Autumn is now finalised – follow this link to find out what you’ll be letting yourself in for!

End of season and new songs

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to a great Spring season. We had our first end-of-season concerts this week, at Sheffield Winter Gardens on Thursday and Friday lunchtimes and our “Real Variety Performance” on Thursday evening. All of these went very well indeed – thank you to our guest artists Nycha Dance Creations and Concord Youth Music, both of whom were stunning. We’re looking forward to bringing the show to Wakefield, Nottingham and Barnsley next week.

I’m in the studio today and tomorrow, recording the tracks for next season’s music. There have been a couple of last minute changes to the song list, for various reasons, so if you’re keen to see what we’ll be singing, check the list again – there’s a link here.

We’ve been inundated with requests to perform throughout the Summer season, so it will be a very busy time for us indeed. If you want to be a part of it, make sure you sign up before we start back after Easter – existing singers need to sign up by April 15th. If you’re new to us, just turn up at the first session and we’ll make you very welcome!

We’ve also posted up initial information about our glittering Christmas event, BeVox at Buxton with Brass.

Alight, and Summer season song-list

What an incredible day we had on Saturday! I’m so indescribably proud of every member of BeVox for what we achieved. The day started with a long and complex technical rehearsal, and everyone kept their focus and good humour without fail. It was great to have the chance to spend a little extra time working on “Olympic Triptych”, which really paid off.

Then we moved to the Winter Gardens for our slot in Alight: Daylight. Thanks to your co-operation and good discipline, we were able to get on stage and ready to perform like a well-oiled machine – with not a hint of any “drill sergeant” barking at you! The performance itself was phenomenal – such energy! I think the audience reaction spoke for itself – great to see so many people getting caught up in the spirit of it all and clapping and dancing along. We really brought people together with our performance, which is exactly what BeVox exists to do. Unite! Arise! Alight!

Alight: Twilight at the City Hall was an absolute triumph. All the different groups that came together could have created a disjointed and awkward evening, but thanks to the dedication of each of the groups, and the talent of the creative team behind it, the show was a glorious success. I’ve had great feedback from lots of different people, including people who had lived in Sheffield all their lives but still learnt something new about their city from our show. Our performance of the “Sheffield Medley” was as energetic as I could wish for, and it was great to hear the audience clapping along.

And then there was “Olympic Triptych” – the piece that has occupied an increasingly large corner of my mind since June last year. It didn’t go absolutely perfectly, but it was still an incredible achievement for everyone involved. It was certainly a world premiere to be proud of, and I’m so grateful to everyone who helped bring it to life. I’m already looking at how we can secure further performances – I would love for BeVox (and other choirs) to be able to sing this over and over again.

Thank you to everyone who made Saturday such a special day for so many people. I can’t wait for us all to get in front of an audience and share what we do again.

Finally, our song list for the Summer season is now available. You can find it here: www.bevox.co.uk/songlist

Songs for next season

We had a great time singing for the Ecclesall Live At Home Scheme yesterday – only a small number of singers, but what a great sound! The residents really appreciated it, and I’ve received a lovely “thank you” message from the scheme’s manager. Looking forward to the rest of this season’s performances.

I’ve finally selected the songs for next season, after Toni and I have gone through all the suggestions. There weren’t many to pick from – just 325! I realise that we won’t be able to please everyone with the songs we choose, but I hope we have another good mix – everything from Elvis Presley to Katy Perry, via traditional South African protest songs and Les Misérables! Full details can be found here.

Looking forward

After another enjoyable couple of performances, entertaining pensioners (including Toni’s grandmother) in Hemel Hempstead and patients at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield, thoughts turn to next season. We’ve already had a number of exciting invitations, and there are more in the pipeline. Singers have been emailed about these – if you want to come and hear us perform, see our Forthcoming Performances page.

The song choices for next season have been finalised – click here to take a look. We’ve gone slightly more traditional this season, which should work nicely with the community events leading up to Christmas. That hasn’t stopped us including a couple of pop favourites, and we’ve got some musical theatre in there too. The song list for the Christmas Medley is still being finalised, but already has everything from Mariah Carey and Wizzard through to Deck The Halls…

Excitement

Lots of great things falling into place at the moment. The song list for the Summer Season has been posted (click here), and I’m already halfway through writing the arrangements. It’s going to be really exciting! But I mustn’t get too carried away with thinking about next season just yet, as there are still lots of things to be excited about for this season.

We’ve just finalised the details of another community concert, which is quite personal to me – we’re going to be singing at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield, bringing the joy of singing to a group of people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to access it. It’s this kind of opportunity that makes me so glad to be a part of BeVox – it’s not just about the singing, it’s about sharing it with others and bringing happiness into people’s lives.

Plans for our secret surprise events are coming together nicely – for those people not involved, you’ll hear all about these as soon as we’ve done them. I’m really looking forward to the challenges these events present, as well as the great opportunities – not just for us as singers, but for us as a company too.

Tickets are now available for our Season Finales for this season – click on the “Come and listen” link on the right to find out more. We’re looking forward to sharing our music with you!

Great start to the season

We had our taster session in Nottingham last night – and wow! What a great start to the season. It was lovely to see so many people there, familiar faces and lots of new ones too. There was a real buzz in the room, and already the group has grown significantly since last season.

I was then on BBC Radio Nottingham after the session, talking with Richard Spurr and Dr Lauren Stewart about tone deafness and methods of working with people who believe they can’t sing. All light-hearted fun, but great to have these opportunities to spread the message that singing is for everyone! Click here to listen if you’re interested – Dr Steward comes on at about 2:10:00, and I’m a little after that.

I’m looking forward to the rest of the taster sessions now – Sheffield on Thursday then Wakefield on Monday. A group of us are singing at the opening of “Your Space” in Wakefield on Saturday – a great chance to support a real community event.

Finally, as a few people were asking last night, the link to the list of songs for this season ishere – enjoy!