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!

End of season and new songs

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to a great Spring season. We had our first end-of-season concerts this week, at Sheffield Winter Gardens on Thursday and Friday lunchtimes and our “Real Variety Performance” on Thursday evening. All of these went very well indeed – thank you to our guest artists Nycha Dance Creations and Concord Youth Music, both of whom were stunning. We’re looking forward to bringing the show to Wakefield, Nottingham and Barnsley next week.

I’m in the studio today and tomorrow, recording the tracks for next season’s music. There have been a couple of last minute changes to the song list, for various reasons, so if you’re keen to see what we’ll be singing, check the list again – there’s a link here.

We’ve been inundated with requests to perform throughout the Summer season, so it will be a very busy time for us indeed. If you want to be a part of it, make sure you sign up before we start back after Easter – existing singers need to sign up by April 15th. If you’re new to us, just turn up at the first session and we’ll make you very welcome!

We’ve also posted up initial information about our glittering Christmas event, BeVox at Buxton with Brass.

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!

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!

An incredible week

This has been one of the most incredible weeks of my life. Last Tuesday, we did our first public performance of the season, singing in Nottingham’s Victoria Centre. We then had two more lunchtime concerts on the Wednesday and Thursday, in Sheffield’s Winter Garden. Thursday night saw the dress rehearsal for BeVox@Magna, then Saturday was the legendary Magna concert itself – and the best after-party I’ve ever been to. No rest for the wicked – Monday was the first of our “Real Variety Performance” concerts, in Wakefield, with each following night seeing another, in Nottingham, Barnsley and Sheffield. We also went back to the Victoria Centre in Nottingham this Tuesday for another lunchtime concert.

Over the course of the last week and a half, we’ve raised over £2,100 for four different charities – £289.63 for Wakefield Hospice, £646.93 for Treetops Hospice in Nottingham,£264.06 for Lost Chord in Barnsley, and £899.58 for St Luke’s Hospice in Sheffield.

We’ve performed alongside a great mixtures of other acts in the “Real Variety Performance” concerts – Stagecoach Theatre Arts, musical theatre singer Anita Adams, international storyteller Kevin Walker, girl band Finesse, ballet dancer Rebecca Ladds, teller of tales Oscar Morrey, the Quercus Minor Barbershop Quartet, Arabesque Dance Academy, the Hope Community Gospel Choir, Saxophone Sunday, classical tenor Melvyn White, Nycha Dance Creations, classical soprano Sheila Rothman, pop singer Daniel Shirazi-Nejad, and local folk singer/guitarist Ian Price. Our audiences have also been entertained during the intervals and before the shows by magicians Marcel Burns & friend, and Andy Ware, and by UK Yo-Yo Champion David Braden Holmes (only 10 years old!). We’ve been lucky enough to have some great hosts too – David Hartill in Wakefield and Barnsley, Rebecca Ladds and Oscar Morrey in Nottingham, and Rev Jonathan Haigh in Sheffield. A most sincere thank you to each of you for donating your time so generously.

Events like “A Real Variety Performance” don’t organise themselves. We’d like to extend our very heartfelt and genuine thanks to the people who have enabled these events to take place. These people have done incredible work behind the scenes, and we quite simply couldn’t have done it without them – take a bow, Margaret Burrell, Katie Chamberlin, Paul Howard, Kate Caulfield, David and Alison Pridmore, Louise Lewus, Ann Hallam, Roz Bexon, Lynda Simms, Jackie Wilson, Margaret Wilson, Sally Kirkham, Denise Duckworth, Pete Wood, Martin Clarke, and Pauline Firth.

We have a couple of events left this season – the Concert for Gus on Sunday, and Pinderfields Hospital on Monday. We’re also singing at the Lowedges Festival in August, which should be really exciting. As a result of some of the performances we’ve done this season, we’re already receiving some amazing invitations to perform elsewhere – we’re working through these over the next week or so, and we’ll have some exciting announcements to make very soon.

Thank you to everyone who’s been a part of BeVox in any way over the last 9 months. It’s been an incredible journey, and we’re very excited about what the future has to offer. Bring it on!

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!

How many hours in a day?

However many there are, it’s not enough! The publicity machine is really getting into gear for our upcoming performances. BeVox@Magna posters have just arrived (oh my good grief, did I really order 2 A0 ones? Yes I did!). The Magna event has also had a boost from a podcast by Magna themselves – you can listen by clicking here, then selecting “MAGNACAST – JUNE 2011 (EVENTS)”. We’re about six and a half minutes in.

We’re also putting the final touches to our series of charity concerts – “A Real Variety Performance”. The list of guest artistes is growing all the time, and includes acts as diverse as string quartets, street dancers, gospel choirs, classical sopranos, folk guitarists and girl bands!

We’re making a few changes to how BeVox is run, starting in our Autumn season. We’re offering more sessions, and our free taster sessions are now available throughout the season. If you’re thinking of joining us, please get in touch to find out how the changes affect you.

Finally, a big thank-you to all the singers who came to help celebrate Denise Kelly’s wedding with us. She was absolutely thrilled with our performance, and I was very proud to stand in front of you all – you sounded amazing. Thank you for your patience, and for helping to make Dee’s day even more “perfect”.