BeVox at Buxton with Brass

Yesterday saw us give two performances in the magnificent Devonshire Dome in Buxton, raising funds for the Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance. I’m hoping to be able to announce the total raised tomorrow, so watch this space. It was a truly incredible (and very tiring!) day – with a tech run, matinee, pre-show supper, VIP dinner, evening performance and after-party all crammed in! I’ll be writing more fully to everyone involved in the next few days, but I just wanted to say publically here – thank you. Your energy, dedication, passion and talent made the concerts into resounding successes – every single person on that stage gave their all, and we thrilled the audiences thoroughly. The feedback I’ve heard from people in attendance has been overwhelmingly positive – you did yourselves proud. Thank you.

First Autumn season performance

It was our first performance of the Autumn season today – the switch-on of the Christmas lights in West Bridgford. I have to confess that I wasn’t looking forward to it on the drive down – heavy fog and torrential rain aren’t good for outdoor concerts! The fog had cleared by the time we arrived, but the rain was still persisting, and I wasn’t sure whether it would dampen the spirits of the singers or the audience. I was also worried because whenever we’ve sung for the West Bridgford Christmas lights before, I’ve had the singers on stage (under cover), but the piano out front, exposed to the elements, and that wasn’t going to be an option today!

I needn’t have worried. We had a great reception from the crowd, and as we were on straight after the lights and firework display, there were plenty of people still around. And as for the singing – I felt everyone really raised their game today, and put on a truly great show. The energy was there, the more complex harmonies were there, there was generally a good balance between parts, and lots of people were singing from memory too – really encouraging. Thank you to everyone who took part – you made me proud today.

We have a rare day off tomorrow (although of course I’ll be spending it working!). It’s the start of our really busy season now – regular sessions every night next week until Thursday, then the Ponds Forge Festival of Light on Friday (which we’re really looking forward to). The weekend is one of our busiest ever – Buxton dress rehearsal on Saturday morning, Beeston Christmas light Saturday afternoon, Chesterfield Pavement Centre Sunday morning, and Buxton band call Sunday afternoon. You’d think we’d have been sensible and booked Monday off – but no, it’s the Wakefield & Barnsley end of season concert!

Of course, we’re on the final push towards the big concert in Buxton on December 8th too. It’s great to have things falling into place for this – after a mad scramble to find a pianist after the guy I’d booked had to drop out (thanks for saving the day, Rickey Long!), the musical stuff is really on course. I genuinely believe that what we will put on that stage on December 8th will be the best concert we’ve ever produced.

Toni, some of the other singers and I spent some time visiting the base of the Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance on Friday – the charity we’re supporting with the Buxton concert. It was very humbling to hear about the incredible work the charity does, and reading the “thank you” cards on the wall brought a tear to my eye. I really hope we can pull out all the stops and raise a good amount of money to support them.

With the crazy way our schedules work sometimes, we’ve been spending some time this week working on events for next season – and the summer too! We’re hoping to be able to announce these next week, and we’re excited about the possibilities. We’re moving to a slightly different model for performances from now on – rather than doing just small local concerts most of the time, and one big concert every year, we’ll now be doing a medium-sized concert in one of our areas every season (a different area each season), and smaller-scale local concerts (including our regular end-of-season events) in the other areas. We’re hoping our first “medium-sized” concert will be in Nottingham at the end of the Spring season, followed by Wakefield in the summer. More details and dates to follow soon!

We’ve actually got three other concerts booked for 2013 already – events we’ve been asked to do by other organisations. These include a fund-raiser for a Citizen’s Advice Bureau, a community festival, and a concert in a very unusual location for Christmas 2013!

Buxton

We had a great first rehearsal of the additional material for the Buxton concert this weekend. It was fantastic to hear some of this music being brought back to life – we have songs from our very first season back in September 2010, all the way through to material from more recent seasons – and this is on top of the 11 songs we’re singing in all our other Autumn season performances too. We also have a top-quality line-up of soloists for Buxton, giving a real variety of entertainment. The draft running order has been drawn up, and I’m unbelievably excited about putting this show together.

Ticket sales are starting to pick up – encourage your friends, family, colleagues and neighbours to get them soon!

Tickets on sale

We’re using an online ticketing system to sell tickets for any of our performances that are ticketed. Most performances we do aren’t ticketed, as they’re out in the community and so are free, but for more formal concerts, such as “Voices at the Cathedral” on 13th July, or “BeVox at Buxton with Brass” on 8th December, we’ll be selling tickets. The link you need is bevox.eventbrite.com, and there you’ll find details of all concerts we’re currently planning that require tickets. PLEASE NOTE – this doesn’t include events that we’re not producing ourselves, as tickets for these will be sold by the event organisers – we’ll include information about how to buy tickets for these kind of events on the Performances page.

For “Voices at the Cathedral”, you can also buy tickets in person at the Cathedral itself – just call in to their office and they’ll be happy to help!

One last thing – a quick reminder to the Nottingham group – we’re at West Bridgford Methodist Church tonight, not the school. See you there!

Busy times!

It’s been a few weeks since I last wrote here, but the delay isn’t due to not having anything to say – it’s because I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time to write! It’s still very hectic here, with lots to organise for lots of different events. We’re really pleased to have confirmed our concert at Sheffield Cathedral – we’ll be there on Friday 13th July. Full details on ticket availability etc will be released soon.

We’re still waiting for confirmation of plans for the possible re-run of Olympic Triptych on 25th June – we should know more by early next week. We’ll update you as soon as we hear anything!

Our Come and listen page is currently up-to-date with all the performances we have planned for this season (except our flash mobs – we’ll keep those under wraps!). We’ve got lots of other events happening too, including our Singposium and a top-up rehearsal this Sunday, auditions for soloists on June 9th, and a couple of other bits and pieces we’re working on.

We’ve had a good initial take-up for our BeVox at Buxton with Brass event, although there are still plenty of spaces available. We’ve sent an invitation to our friends at City Voices Cardiff to join us for the Buxton concert – we had such a good time working with them on the St Pancras flash mob, we thought it would be lovely to involve them in another of our events.

We’re singing in the Spire Choir festival next weekend, a series of performances by lots of choirs throughout Chesterfield. It will be nice to dust off last season’s music and give it another airing!

Incidentally, we’re still open to new singers wanting to join us. We’ve seen lots of new people join us this season, and it’s great to see all the groups thriving and growing so organically.

Happy singing!

Concert details, and a thank you

First of all, thank you to everyone who has sent me such lovely birthday wishes. I had a lovely day yesterday, relaxing and doing very little – a real novelty for me! Toni is taking me somewhere this afternoon/evening – she’s not told me where, but she’s been bubbling with excitement about it for the last couple of months, so I’m sure I’m in for a treat!

I’ve put the details of our Real Variety Performances up on the website, and on our Facebook page. Please invite all your friends, family and colleagues, so we can have some great audiences for the shows and raise lots of money for some very worthy causes. Posters should be available in the coming week, if you’d like to display them anywhere (please get permission from the place you’re displaying them first!).

I’m putting the finishing touches to the information pack about our major concert this year – BeVox and Brass in Buxton (working title!). I’m hoping to get this information out before the end of the season, so you can read all about it and start making your decision about whether to join us for it.

I’m also working on the music for next season (couple of songs sorted already, itching to get onto the next ones) – if you missed it, the list of songs is here. We’ve already been invited to take part in lots of exciting events over the summer, singing this music, so it’s lining up to be a great season! Don’t forget, if you’ve sung with us before, all you need to do to register for the Summer Season is to send an email to signup@bevox.co.uk. If you’ve not sung with us before, come along to our first session and sign up then! Not sure when our first session is? Check out the website!

Big things ahead

We have big things ahead of us. Sunday is the dress rehearsal for Alight: Twilight, and I’m so excited and nervous I can’t tell you. There was a great feature about my piece, “Olympic Triptych”, on the Sibelius blog today – see www.sibeliusblog.com/people/sheffield-comes-alight-with-timothy-allens-olympic-triptych-scored-in-sibelius. All the preparation that can be done has been done. The show comes together for the first time tomorrow, and I can’t wait! There are still some tickets left, so if your friends and family haven’t got theirs yet, head straight over to www.sheffieldboxoffice.com/sheffieldcityhall and get them!

Toni and I spent some of this afternoon on a site visit to the Devonshire Dome at Buxton, the venue for our spectacular concert planned for December 8th. It was great to meet up with Bill from Transmitta again, and talk through the sound and lighting – we’re going to make it look even more magnificent than our Magna concert last year! Also good to talk to representatives from the Air Ambulance, who we’ll be raising funds for with this event. The PR plan is swinging into action very early for this one – we’ve got to get a preliminary flyer out by the end of next week, to catch an event where we can promote the concert to a few thousand prospective audience members!

I’ve had more conversations over the last day or two about the plans for a performance of “Olympic Triptych” when the Olympic Flame comes to Sheffield. Everything is still in the planning stages, but we’ll let you know just as soon as everything is firmed up.

We’re also working on plans for our guest spot in Bestwood Male Voice Choir’s jubilee concert in September at Nottingham’s Albert Hall – a great opportunity for us, and one we’re really keen to pull all the stops out for.

Of course, our next events (after Alight on March 3rd) are our series of Real Variety Performances, and plans are continuing to move ahead for these. I was very pleased to be able to confirm soloists yesterday, after our very successful Singposium last weekend – congratulations to everyone who took part. Weekly sessions continue to go very well indeed, and I was thrilled to hear the Les Mis medley all the way through for the first time on Thursday – what an epic!

Thank you to each and every person who makes BeVox so much fun, so exhilarating, and so rewarding to be a part of. Together, we have a great future.

Our biggest week

It’s been a great week at BeVox. Despite the change of venue for Nottingham again, we still had plenty of people there (including a few new faces – welcome!). I know people have enjoyed the sound at the Methodist Church, but the parking is a real problem – we’re still looking at solutions. We are back to our usual home at The Becket School next week.

After some more new sign-ups and great attendance, I’m happy to say that this week has seen the most singers at sessions that we’ve ever seen – over 220 across the four groups. We’re thrilled that Barnsley is continuing to grow, and the sound in each group is getting better and better. “Shona malanga” is rapidly becoming a favourite, I think!

I’ve been trying to get all my loose ends tied up this week, as I’m in London from Friday to Sunday working on another project. I was at Sheffield City Hall yesterday, making plans for Alight, then I had a lovely email from David Grant, who is looking forward to working with everyone who is coming to our Summer Singing Retreat. I’m just booking another site visit to Buxton to prepare for our Charity Gala Concert on 8th December – it’s shaping up to be a busy and exciting year!

Back up and running

I’ve not been able to update the website for the last couple of weeks, as my computer broke down. It took a few days to get the components for a new one, then a few more days for Toni to build it, then several days to reinstall all the software and move the data over from the old machine. At least I back everything up very regularly! I’m now up and running again, with lots to report.

It’s the Alight Commissions workshop this weekend – everyone who is signed up should have received an email last night with the link to the scores. Remember, you need to download and print this, and bring it with you on Saturday.

We’ve been working hard on creating some future events, as well as getting things ready for the end of season performances. I’ve updated the Performance page with details of all the performances we have coming up.

We should be able to announce all the details for our Summer Singing Retreat in the next couple of days – we’re very excited about it. Pencil in August 19th-24th…

We’re also planning another set of “Variety” performances, again raising funds for local charities – these will take place in early April. We’re putting things in place for a rock and pop concert, in collaboration with Tragical History Tour, which will happen in mid-July and include two very different halves (our music in the first half, and a Beatles set in the second half – featuring a recreation of the entire Abbey Road album live on stage).

And, would you believe it, we have a date booked for NEXT Christmas – we’ll be doing our very own black-tie gala evening, with dinner and a concert, at the incredible Buxton Dome – this will be on December 8th 2012, and will include a full concert, accompanied by a live brass and percussion ensemble. It’s going to be a busy year!

Back to today, and we’re off to view a performance venue this afternoon (for one of our “secret” events), then it’s back to getting everything ready for this weekend – not just the Alight Commissions workshop, but there’s the small matter of a wedding on Friday – looking forward to that VERY much indeed!