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!

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!

Launch of BeVox Barnsley, and change of venue for Wakefield

We’re very pleased to announce the details for our newest group, based in Barnsley. Our taster session for this group is on Wednesday 27th April, from 7pm until 9pm, at Staincross Methodist Church, Blacker Road, Mapplewell, Barnsley S75 6BP. We then start our regularly weekly sessions on Wednesday 11th May (a fortnight after the taster). If you are interested in joining us in Barnsley, or in any of our other groups, please get in touch using the “Contact us” link on the right, and we’ll see you soon.

Our Wakefield group is moving. We’ve been very well looked after at St Andrew’s Church, and we hope to continue running weekend workshops there and supporting their work in the community. From the Summer season, we’ll be meeting at Sandal Methodist Church instead, which is at 253 Barnsley Road, Wakefield WF1 5NU. Please spread the word and get your friends, family and colleagues to come and join us – everyone’s welcome!

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!