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!

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!

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.

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

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.

What a great day!

Yesterday was really incredible – a packed Singposium in the morning, and an exhilarating Alight rehearsal in the afternoon. Thanks to everyone who attended either event.

The Singposium is always a fun experience (well, for me anyway!), and this season’s was no exception. Some great performances, from people who have done it before and raised their game, to people who were taking their first steps into singing solo. Nerves aplenty, but lots of fantastic singing (and acting) too. Now I’ve just got to sort through all of that and work out who’s doing what, where and when! Emails will go out just as soon as possible.

The Alight rehearsal in the afternoon was fabulous – I pushed hard and you responded. You’ve truly made me proud, and that’s before we even get to concert day! Keep working on it, don’t let the focus drop, and let’s lift Sheffield Medley as well as Olympic Triptych to be pieces we can amaze people with on the night.

And of course we mustn’t forget last weekend, when over 80 of our singers headed to Meadowhall to help raise funds for the South Yorkshire Heart Appeal. We had a great day, dusting off the music from last season, and we got a great response from the crowds of shoppers who gathered to listen. The SYHA sent a lovely email the following day, thanking us for helping them to raise over £1,200 over the weekend.

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.

Steaming ahead

We have just a fortnight to go until the first “Real Variety Performance”, and everything is falling into place to make these concerts really great. Thanks to everyone who is donating their time and expertise – it’s a real testement to what people can achieve for a good cause.

Less than a fortnight to go until BeVox@Magna too. Things are coming together in a really exciting way for this – I have a little leap of excitement every time I hear a newly finished backing track or see a completed video. All we have to do now is develop more of an audience – ticket sales are only growing slowly, so we’re doing a big push this week. We have an ad in the Sheffield Star later in the week, and we’re encouraging everyone to spread the word. It’s truly going to be an amazing event. I hope you’re not one of the people who will hear about it afterwards and think “I wish I had been there”!

After a very positive meeting this morning, I’m proud to say that BeVox will be taking part in Alight – part of Music Nation, a Countdown event for the London 2012 Festival, the finale of the Cultural Olympiad. I’m still working on the various different events we’ll be bringing to Alight, so watch out for more details nearer the time; but for now, save the date! We’ll be performing at various events throughout the day on Saturday 3rd March 2012. I can’t wait!