Closure of BeVox Barnsley

After much consideration and consultation, we’ve taken the decision to close our Barnsley group. Whilst at atmosphere and community spirit of the group was incredible, we just didn’t have enough singers for it to be financially viable. We’re encouraged that most of the Barnsley singers will be joining our Wakefield or Sheffield groups, so we won’t be saying goodbye to too many people, and we’re confident that they’ll find the other groups really welcoming.

Thank you to everyone who has supported BeVox Barnsley since it launched in April 2011. We’ll see you around!

It keeps on coming

Well, if I’d hoped for a rest after the end of the Summer season, I haven’t got one! We had a great time in our final performances of the season. Wakefield’s end-of-season concert was lots of fun, with a few people singing in their first ever public performance. Barnsley’s was really energetic too – fast-paced, due to having to drop the interval, but a great atmosphere. Then we had the Nottingham Variety Performance. I’m always nervous whenever we do an event that someone else is producing, so letting someone else produce our end-of-season concert was a real risk, but it went fantastically well. It was a pleasure to share the stage with a number of the other artistes, and we were very well received.

Then this weekend we sang trackside at the English Institute of Sport, where Jessica Ennis trains every day, just the day after she won her epic Olympic Gold medal. Despite the audience being small, they were very enthusiastic, and hopefully all the singers enjoyed the rest of the Sheftival.

We’re at Weston Park Bandstand at 12 noon this Sunday, then at Lowedges Festival in Greenhill Park at 3:30pm – great to have two shows on the same day. And then, in just a week and a half’s time, we’re off for our Summer Singing Retreat!

There’s not even chance to catch breath when we get back from Stubton Hall either – we’ll be joining Carrie Grant and the rest of the BBC One Show team for the One Show Roadshow on Wednesday 29th August – for more details, see www.bbc.co.uk/thingstodo/activity/the-one-show-roadshow/occurrence/151562.

I’m in the studio all day tomorrow recording the final bits of our rehearsal tracks for next season, which I’m excited about – lovely to be working with our session singers again. Here’s some fun facts for you – I took Toni to see the West End production of “Ghost” for her birthday, and the lead role of Molly was played by none other than Rebecca Trehearn, who sings some of our rehearsal tracks for us – I’d been in the studio with her just the week before. And for those small number of you who watched the Olympic Opening Ceremony(!), as the Olympic Cauldron was lit, you’ll have heard some beautiful high soprano notes – sung by Eloise Irving, our other female session singer, who I was in the studio with a few days later. I’m working with Alastair tomorrow, singing all the male parts, and we’ll be making plans for his workshop at Stubton Hall while he’s up north. Exciting stuff!

Performances all over the place!

Yesterday, we went on tour and surprised the public in no less than four different shopping centres, in different towns across Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire. You can see videos of our performances on our YouTube channel – www.youtube.com/bevoxuk. It was great to take our “flash mob” out to the public again – after we startled guests at the drinks reception prior to the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce Annual President’s Dinner at Sheffield Cathedral on Thursday night! It’s such an exciting time for us at the moment – in the last few weeks we’ve sung for the Olympic Torch, entertained a local village fayre, and shared the stage with the inspirational Sooper Troopers – and we’ve got loads more planned for the next few weeks!

We’re putting the final touches to our upcoming “Voices at the Cathedral” concert, which sees us return to Sheffield Cathedral on Friday 13th July for a full evening of singing (get your tickets here). We’re then off to Dore & Totley United Reform Church on Saturday 14th, before our Wakefield end-of-season concert at Sandal Methodist Church on Monday 16th, Barnsley end-of-season concert at Kingstone School on Wednesday 18th, and two performances at the Nottingham Variety Show on Saturday 21st (tickets from www.nottingham-theatre.co.uk).

We’re then appearing at several festivals over the summer – we’re at the Sheftival on Sunday August 5th (see www.sheftival.co.uk), then two shows on Sunday 12th August – Weston Park Bandstand at 12:00, and Lowedges Festival at 3:00pm. Time for some rest and relaxation (and our Summer Singing Retreat) then, before “Picnic & Pavarotti at the Priory” on Sunday 9th September (see www.lost-chord.org.uk/events?id=26) and our appearance as special guests of Bestwood Male Voice Choir at Nottingham’s Albert Hall on Sunday 23rd September (tickets from 01623 484 091).

All that will be a great build-up to our massive concert at the end of the year – BeVox at Buxton with Brass. Wow – I’m out of breath just typing about it all!

Final concerts of the Spring season

What an incredible week it has been – and that’s just the weather! Thank you to everyone who contributed to our “Real Variety Performance” concerts – they all went very well indeed, and I’m pleased to let you know how much we raised for the four different charities we were supporting:

  • Barnsley raised £413.09 for Lost Chord
  • Nottingham raised £588.83 for Hayward House
  • Wakefield raised £627.22 for Forget-Me-Not children’s hospice
  • Sheffield raised £934.54 for Neurocare

So, in total, we raised £2,563.68 with all our performances. Again, a very sincere thank you to everyone who made this possible.

If you’d like to join us for the Summer season, please remember to sign up before April 15th. We look forward to seeing you then!

What a week!

It’s been an incredible time. After selling out for our Wakefield end of season performance last Monday, we then went on to sell out in Nottingham and Sheffield too – a fantastic experience. And although the Barnsley concert had a smaller audience, they more than made up for it with enthusiasm. Thank you to everyone who made these events so enjoyable.

Friday saw us raising money for Cancer Research with a private concert in Wollaton. Thank you so much to the golf club members for making us so welcome (even building me my own podium – incredible!). I hope you raised a great total for such a worthy cause.

We managed five performances in two days over the weekend! Our flash mob at Wakefield’s Ridings Shopping Centre was great fun, and it was great to take it to Meadowhall the following day (the place where Toni first had the idea of doing a “battle of the choirs” event). We did two really fun performances at Pinderfields Hospital (lovely to see patients enjoying the music – and some doctors too!). And on Sunday afternoon, even the pouring rain couldn’t stop us entertaining the crowds at the inaugural Lowedges Christmas Market. I’m very grateful to the organisers for finding us a spot indoors though!

The Wakefield group had their Christmas party last night, which was lovely – so nice to get people together and spend some social time just chilling out. We’re off to sing at Treetops Hospice in Nottingham this afternoon, before the Nottingham Christmas party tonight, then we’re at Sheffield Train Station tomorrow, singing for St Luke’s Hospice. That will leave just two more performances to go until Christmas!

Most of the music for next season is written now, and I’m in the studio recording it all next week. We’ve also had a great invitation to create a special event early next year, so I might have to throw an extra song in for that – details will be sent to singers soon…

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.

Our second year

Well here it is – the start of our second year. We’re VERY excited about getting back into the weekly sessions again. It seems like an age since we were last together, even though it’s less than a month since our last performance. It’s been a busy time, getting things ready for the new season, but I managed to get two weeks away – I even managed to take Toni with me for the second week(!).

We’ve come back to a flood of email (once we’d fixed a problem with my computer – I got very frustrated with it until Toni managed to get it working again!), so if it takes us a little while to respond then please bear with us. The first week of a new season is always busy, but it’s busier than ever this time around. After the craziness of our first week’s sessions, we’re heading down to London for the evening on Friday to see Alastair Brookshaw (the guy who sings all the male parts on our rehearsal CDs) star in a production of Jason Robert Brown’s “Parade” at the Southwark Playhouse. We’ll be heading straight back up to Yorkshire after the show though – we have to be at The Mall in Barnsley for the first leg of our promotional weekend by 8:30am on Saturday… Well, we do, but thankfully those singers who are kindly joining us don’t have to be there until 9:45!

Please encourage your friends, family and work colleagues to come along and give BeVox a try this week – their first session is free, so they’re not risking anything, and we’ve got a great season of music and performances lined up. We’re raring to go – see you there!

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…

Launch of BeVox Barnsley, and change of venue for Wakefield

We’re very pleased to announce the details for our newest group, based in Barnsley. Our taster session for this group is on Wednesday 27th April, from 7pm until 9pm, at Staincross Methodist Church, Blacker Road, Mapplewell, Barnsley S75 6BP. We then start our regularly weekly sessions on Wednesday 11th May (a fortnight after the taster). If you are interested in joining us in Barnsley, or in any of our other groups, please get in touch using the “Contact us” link on the right, and we’ll see you soon.

Our Wakefield group is moving. We’ve been very well looked after at St Andrew’s Church, and we hope to continue running weekend workshops there and supporting their work in the community. From the Summer season, we’ll be meeting at Sandal Methodist Church instead, which is at 253 Barnsley Road, Wakefield WF1 5NU. Please spread the word and get your friends, family and colleagues to come and join us – everyone’s welcome!