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!

Lots of things for Summer season

Welcome back! We started our Summer season in Sheffield on Thursday, and we’re looking forward to restarting in our other groups from Monday onwards. We’ve got lots of things happening this season, so please find below lots of important information.

Music and CD return date for the Summer: Friday 27th July

Performances

Performances we currently have confirmed are all listed on the Performances page. There are a couple of others that we’re waiting for confirmation on, including the Olympic Torch event on 25th June, a surprise event in Sheffield (all other areas confirmed – singers, see your email!), a concert at Sheffield Cathedral that we’re working on for Saturday 14th July, and another Concert for Gus on 22nd July. Once each of these are confirmed, we’ll move them to the Performances page.

Changes to the Singposium

We are making some substantial changes to how the Singposium works. We will now be running two events – a Singposium for people to get experience of singing in front of others, to try out new things and get valuable feedback, and an Audition for people who want to sing solos, duets or small ensemble pieces in our performances. The two things are completely separate, and you only take part in them if you want to.

The Singposium will be on Sunday 13th May, and will cost £10 – more details on the board at sessions, or available by emailing us. The auditions will take place on Saturday 9th June in Wakefield, and will remain free. We’re also making places available on the audition panel for choir members – if you’re interested in this, drop us a line and we’ll explain more about what is involved.

Top-up sessions

We have a number of performances early this season, for which we’ll be using the Spring season music. We’re holding a top-up session to go over this music again, if you feel the need – this will be in the afternoon of Sunday 13th May (venue and exact time TBC).

We’ll be doing a similar thing at the beginning of the Autumn season, reminding you of the Summer season music after the long summer break! This will be on the morning of Saturday 8th September, at Nottingham’s Albert Hall.

Feedback

It’s really important to us at BeVox that we get regular feedback from our singers – after all, this is your group, and we want to make sure we’re doing the things you want, in the way you want them done! Thanks to everyone who has sent us feedback forms – we’ve read them all now, and we’ll be sending an email to all our current singers outlining the general things that have been said, and how we’ll respond to them. It’s good to know that we’re generally on course and people enjoy what they do with us, but also just as important to know what we can do to improve the service we offer.

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…

Performing

What a great start to the week! The weekend felt very intense – surprising shoppers in Derby’s Westfield Centre with our flash mob was great fun, but also very nerve-wracking. These events always need a lot of focus, and the wait before it started had my stomach doing back-flips, but then to be hit with a technical problem just as the music was due to start – the stuff of nightmares! Thanks to everyone who held it together whilst I did an emergency re-cabling job! The end result was great though, and we’ve had lovely feedback from shoppers who saw it, and from the site staff at the centre.

West Bridgford was next, and we put on a good (high energy!) show. Challenging conditions, but we rose to it and sang our hearts out. It was great to be joined by Cat for our final number – and lovely to meet baby Austin (the second BeVox baby I met last week, after Anne brought her little Alys to Barnsley’s last session).

Toni and I managed to take most of Sunday off, and had a lovely meal out, followed by cuddles on the sofa in front of a romantic movie – great to stop for a bit and enjoy ourselves. Happy belated anniversary, love!

I spent a good chunk of Monday finishing “Olympic Triptych”, my commissioned piece for Alight – and I’m glad to say it’s finally done! I just have to prepare all the parts and record the rehearsal tracks now, then I can distribute it to all the performers. Looking forward to it…

Then, to start our week of End Of Season Performances, we headed to Wakefield. What a night! Definitely up there with some of the best performances BeVox have ever done. The energy and enthusiasm was great, the audience were very responsive (great feedback from people as they left), we had a capacity crowd, and the sound – oh, the sound – it was just incredible! Thank you to everyone who made it such a success – it’s set us up for the week now! Can’t wait to head to Nottingham tonight and do it all again!

The eye of the storm

It’s always a time of mixed emotions when we reach the end of a season. It’s sad that we’re no longer meeting every week, but exciting that we’re sharing our singing with audiences. It’s been a great week for that – after the Ecclesall concert in my last message, we sang at Meadowhall on 26th November, joining several groups who were raising funds for Lost Chord. There’s a video of us singing our “Phantom medley” on our YouTube channel – take a look on www.youtube.com/bevoxuk. Thanks to the generosity of passing shoppers, Lost Chord raised over £1,000 that day – a great sum.

I had a busy weekend, as I spent most of that Sunday on a non-BeVox event – running a custom workshop for someone’s 70th birthday. His family had invited lots of his singing friends to join him for three hours of singing to celebrate his birthday, and had commissioned me to write some original arrangements too. We had a great time!

Then it was the week of final sessions, which led to some quality singing – songs coming together in ways that hadn’t until that point. We took to the streets again on Thursday and Friday with lunchtime concerts at Sheffield Winter Gardens, and collected over £180 in donations for Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice. A very sincere “thank you” to everyone who gave so generously.

More performances today – the first of our “secret surprise” events, and the switch-on of West Bridgford Christmas Lights. We did this event last year, and we’re looking forward to going back again. Sunday is a rare day off, which Toni and I will be treating as a somewhat delayed celebration of our anniversary – we’ve been together for 5 years now. This last year has been a real whirlwind, and we’re both blown away by how exciting it all is. If you’d have shown us a picture of current lives when we got together 5 years ago, we would never have believed it!

Next week is the week of end-of-season performances – we’re very much looking forward to sharing our music with your friends and families. We’re very busy then, with thirteen events in as many days. I’ve now got just two weeks to write all the music for next season, and finish the “Olympic Triptych” for Alight – argh!

Spontaneous Sing at St Pancras

On Saturday, BeVox joined with City Voices Cardiff for a Spontaneous Sing at St Pancras International station in London. Over 200 singers took part, and we entertained passengers, station staff, retailers and members of the public in four performances throughout the afternoon. It was great fun! There are several videos already available on YouTube, including our “official” one – visit www.youtube.com/bevoxuk to see them.

Simon Curtis, the director of City Voices Cardiff, was interviewed by Media Wales yesterday, and a small piece (admittedly with a Welsh bias!) appeared in the Wales on Sunday newspaper too. It has been great working with the CVC singers – they’re a great, friendly, talented bunch. Simon and I are looking into working together again in the future, so watch this space for more combined BeVox/CVC events!

We’re still welcoming more new singers for our Summer season, which kicked off with a bang in Sheffield on Thursday – loads of energy and enthusiasm, which was great to see and hear. Looking forward to Wakefield tonight, Nottingham tomorrow and Barnsley on Wednesday.

Summer season

Our summer season starts this week, and we’ve already had invitations to perform in several interesting places! After the success of our “Spontaneous Sing” events at the shopping centres, we’ve been invited to do more work with them, so look out for more concerts in the future – and even though it’s only April, we’re already making plans for how we can entertain Christmas shoppers…

We’re very pleased to be able to officially launch the BeVox @ Magna concert today – all the information is in our info pack, available from the “BeVox @ Magna” link on the right. This is going to be such an exciting event!

The blend of big events and sharing music with the community will continue throughout the Summer season. We’ve been invited to sing at a Charity Fun Day at The Cadlands Pub in Chilwell, Nottingham, and all of the retirement and care homes we performed in at the end of the Spring season have invited us back. We’re also looking for performance opportunities in Wakefield and Barnsley, as they are currently under-represented, so please email us your ideas.

Sharing it with the world (in threes!)

What a week it has been! After three superb Season Finales, in which we sang to over 300 people over three nights, we then had three very successful free lunchtime concerts at Sheffield Winter Gardens – and today, three amazing “Spontaneous Sing” performances in three different shopping centres! The performances at Sheffield Winter Gardens enabled us to start our charity fund-raising efforts, and we collected over £220 for the Red Cross Japan Tsunami Appeal. The “Spontaneous Sings” were an absolute blast, and we entertained hundreds of shoppers. Videos are already hitting YouTube, and I’ll try to keep up with posting them on our “Photos/videos” page (check out the link on the right). We’ve been invited back to do more of these events in the future, so watch out – you never know when we might start singing to you!!!