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.

Alight rehearsal today going ahead

Despite the snow, we’ll be going ahead with today’s rehearsal for “Alight”. We’ve been out in Sheffield this morning (after driving back from Edinburgh late last night), and all the main and secondary roads are clear – side roads may be slippery, but generally seem passable. Please use your judgement when deciding whether it’s safe for you to travel personally.

We don’t have contact details for the site manager at the school, but we’re pretty confident he’ll open up for us. If not, we can always co-opt the function room at the pub opposite!

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…

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!

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!

It just keeps getting better

I’m in the middle of a very productive week, and it feels good! We had a great final session in Nottingham last night, putting the finishing touches to everything ready to share our singing with an audience at the Season Finale next week. Tomorrow is our final session in Sheffield, before the Season Finale on 31st, and I’m really excited about that too. And of course Wakefield has their final session next Monday – we had a great time on Monday this week, aided by a few visitors from the Sheffield group – always good to have people visiting other groups and sharing the experience.

Plans for our other end-of-season events are shaping up nicely too, with the coach places for our two surprise events nearly full, and the first of our planning sessions for these events happening this weekend. All the information about these events will be going out tomorrow to singers who have signed up for them – check your inboxes!

Toni and I spent the morning at Magna today, finalising some of the arrangements for our end-of-first-year celebration concert in July. The staff at Magna are so very welcoming and helpful, it’s a joy to be planning this event with them. The more I get involved with the forward planning for this concert, the more excited I am about it: right from the moment that we turned into the approach road and saw the massive building in front of us, throughout all the meetings about marketing and tickets, all the time we were walking around the site, checking dressing rooms, planning routes for singers to get to and from the stage, looking at sight-lines to make sure eveyone will be able to see the huge video screens, discussing possible future events and collaborations – I just couldn’t stop grinning the whole time!