What a difficult (and very quiet) year it has been for so many people. I thought it would be wonderful to end it with a little flicker of hope and check that I still know how to lead a group, so I am planning, guidelines permitting, three weeks of singing sessions, IN PERSON, during December. These will be on Wednesdays at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. to suit your schedule.
You can book in via Eventbrite or for early bird discounts, please send payment directly here.
Whilst these sessions won't be the same as the choirs we remember and love, those that feel able to will be able to enjoy the voices joining together in harmony after so many months of singing at your screens, your pets or your plants.
I've sent out an email to those that have joined the mailing list for more info. What mailing list?!... Click Here To Join.
I have sourced some UK makers of singing masks and can provide them to you at £14 each. These are a handcrafted item and a labour of love as £10 from every mask goes to support a hospice. They have already raised over £5000!
If you would like to order one of these masks, please click here to email me by Monday 10 p.m. with your colour preference and contactless pick up will be at the first session you attend.
If you are not attending an Exeter singing session this year, I can arrange alternative pick up or postage with you directly. They're not just for singing, but also very good for speech and any prolonged mask wearing situations, such as workplace or public transport. Now we have got over what we look like, comfort is definitely key!
Looking forward to singing with you,
|For more information, see:||www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/winter-song-safe-singing-session-exeter-tickets-129139915965|
It's been a busy week here and a big thank you to those of you that were able to help us with our pilot episode of Carry On Choir yesterday. We'll be sending all choir members the booking link via email to give you priority to get one of the 100 places available before wider advertising on Saturday.
Following the online concert on Sunday evening, here are our YouTube videos featuring your voices and faces. Please give them a like, share them with your friends and leave a comment.
Kathy & Dale
In My Room
Times Like These
|YouTube Video URL:|
|For more information, see:||youtu.be/hlPnLhW8jHM|
Well, it truly feels like the end of term here at Carry On Choir HQ today. We had such a lot of fun on Monday and Wednesday evening recording your videos via Zoom. I've just finished editing our videos for our two lockdown recordings and sent them off ready to be part of the CHOIRSHOW Concert on Sunday 26th July. Don't forget to use the promo code COC to get a reduction on ticket price. Family and friends are of course very welcome and please ensure they also use the same promo code.
You will have to wait until the concert to see the videos, but in the meantime you can listen to the audio tracks via the website:
In My Room
Times Like These
You might be wondering what is happening next with community choirs in the UK as the guidelines on everything seem to change daily. Currently the guidance is that only professional choirs are to return and the likely scenario is that our normal service will not be resumed until 2021. This might seem disappointing, but we have to work within the guidelines to ensure that our insurance is not invalidated and to keep our members safe. There is also a financial viability issue to consider when having to hire extra large venues for small groups of participants.
Despite the obvious limitations of working online, I have enjoyed our time on Zoom. I've written new arrangements, found alternative ways to share learning resources, enjoyed hearing your voices and seeing you all on screen and socialising with each other. It has definitely been better than just shutting up shop and thank you to everyone that has supported us by paying subs, turning up with a smile and sending lovely messages too.
Dale and I are working on a way to continue singing with you all online and we would love you to join us as our lovely, happy bunch of super fans. We would like to invite all of our current choir members (ie, you have participated in person and/or online in the last 12 months) to be the first official members of the Carry On Choir community - we will send you an invite very soon. This combined group will continue through until choirs in person can be resumed.
Kathy & Dale
P.S. We are also going to send an email via Mailchimp and you should now also be on that list. If you that email please give a quick reply to let us know. If you don't get it have a quick check in spam and mark it as "not spam" or let us know
We've made it to the end of our first "virtual term", with many of you joining in via Zoom, Facebook or just learning in your own time with the website resources during these strange times. We've been learning four brand new arrangements, made an audio recording of one and plenty of you have braved submitting a second recording. There was a flurry of late entries, so apologies for not responding individually, but they have all been safely received. Dale has definitely got some work ahead of him getting all of those voices processed. If you would like to buy him a coffee just click here!
There will be a separate email regarding the video recording for these songs coming to those that participated and these videos will be a part of the virtual concert on the 26th July - CHOIRSHOW (click here for info/booking). Don't forget to use our promo code: COC for a discount which can also be used by friends and family. There are a great variety of choirs, so it will be an entertaining evening.
If you are missing choir sessions already, then don't despair. We are going to be producing some fast paced and fun singing sessions throughout the Summer in the form of Carry On Choir. Depending on what happens with UK choirs, government advice and financial sustainability for ourselves, the Carry On Choir model will carry on until we are able to get back to a more normal format. It's not a replacement, but we hope a more sustainable holding activity that you can access, have a really good sing with us and still see your choir buddies on screen. I'll keep you informed!
Finally, I'm popping a couple of links to a short, anonymous survey regarding choir member participation during lockdown that a fellow choir leader, Alan Boxer, has put together. Please don't share the surveys out to others.
Click here if you HAVE been participating online this term
Click here if you HAVE NOT been participating online this term
Once again, thank you for all of the support - it's much appreciated.
|Hello Honis, Gems & Rockets,|
The long wait is nearly over, but still one more week. Don't go turning up for choir a week early in your excitement!
I'm going to get the invoices out to you later this evening, giving you the chance to pay via BACS, online card payment or PayPal while it's the start of the month. No mad rush though and payments in cash will be collected at rehearsals throughout September. I'd prefer to phase out cheques before the banks do if possible. If you are not going to be at choir this term, please could you reply to the invoice to let me know and I'll update the records accordingly.
First rehearsal is on 9th September and I've had several emails and messages from people wanting to return after a break or come along for a free taster session. Jackie has made a suggestion on our facebook chat group that members might like to meet up for a drink at The Star pub tomorrow evening, so perhaps see you there from 8 p.m. This term we'll be working towards a joint concert with Sidmouth Gospel Choir at Honiton Community College Hall on Sunday 1st December.
First rehearsal is on the 11th September and again I've had several enquiries from new people, but we need to collectively focus our efforts on getting more women to come along for a free taster session. It will be our 1st anniversary! Let's have a coffee meetup at Jimmy's this Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. to catch up and discuss our marketing strategy and more. This term we'll be working towards a couple of short performances the details of which are to be confirmed, but hopefully collaborating with Mums Choir Exeter, St Thomas Methodist Pre-School (that's the ones you can hear in the room behind me), Isobel Court and/or Carousel Court. More details to follow.
First rehearsal and our 2nd Anniversary is on the 11th September. Let's get together this week at The Marine Tavern on Wednesday from 8 p.m. and I'll bring the postcards.
When you are networking and finding new choir recruits, please keep in mind that we have a discounted subs rate available for those up to the age of 25 and the termly cost for these young singers is just £25. As of this term we have just ONE person taking advantage of this, so please let your younger friends and family know.
Looking forward to seeing you all back at rehearsals with new songs....
|If you love singing in harmony, or just in the shower, here are some opportunities to have a good sing in a fun and friendly group setting. No membership or regular commitment is required for these August sessions:|
Summer Singing Sessions - Fridays / Saturdays during August
Up to ten participants can book in for these sessions on Fridays 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. and Saturdays 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. during August in St Thomas, Exeter. The first session was a full house of happy singers and positive feedback. This coming Friday there are only four spaces available as I type. Click here for more info and ticket booking.
One Song Wonder at Dawlish Carnival Week Tuesday 13th August, 2 p.m. - 4 p.m.
This new format is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face. a ninety minute workshop in the Shaftesbury Theatre learning a classic rock song in harmony, followed by a flashmob scratch performance on The Bandstand. Dress like a rock star if you wish, but we'll all be rock stars on the inside. Booking at just £1 can be made on the day. More info available here.
I'm adopting another choir!
Yes, I've been through the selection process and pleased to announce that I will be working as Musical Director for Newtown Community Choir starting in September. They are an established, mixed community group singing a cappella songs of various styles. They meet on Tuesday evenings in Belmont Park, Exeter.
Sweet Honi, Dawlish Rocks and Generation Exe all recommence the week beginning 9th September. Term dates and more details can be found on our website by clicking here. Free trial sessions for all newcomers with no auditions, music reading or previous experience required.
Have a wonderful Summer and I hope to see you at a group soon or perhaps in the audience if you're more of a supporter than a singer.
|The first ever ONE SONG WONDER singing workshop! Can you spot yourself or your singing buddies?|
Don't forget our various end of term events coming up this month, whether you're singing or coming to support, we'd love to see you there.
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|Livin' On A Prayer live in Exeter Guildhall|
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Hope you have been enjoying the school holidays and lovely sunshine we've been having.
Work is underway creating new song arrangements ready for Summer Term, plus plans are coming together for various performances, parties and workshops with another flashmob performance in Exeter looking likely.
First back are SWEET HONI on Easter Monday - don't forget we have a choir rehearsal! Bank holidays have been included in our schedule due to our big gig coming up with Honiton Town Band at The Beehive on 6th July. Tickets are on sale now and with two large and popular local groups performing we are expecting a sell out event. Follow SWEET HONI on facebook and for current members we also have a facebook discussion group.
Next are GENERATION EXE on Wednesday afternoons, 1:15 - 2:45 p.m. in St Thomas, Exeter. The all-female singing group are looking to attract some more younger members and have introduced half termly and also pay as you go options to better suit busy lifestyles with children and variable work hours. Facebook fans and followers click here and our discussion group for members can be found here.
Last, but certainly not least are DAWLISH ROCKS. Now settled into their new home at The Welcome Inn, they are kicking of term with a "BRING A MAN" week (new women welcome too of course!) and the following week on 1st May they are taking part in Dawlish Walking Festival, with a bit of singing on the go. Check out their facebook page and group chat via these links.
New and returning singers are welcome at all groups for a free taster session and we look forward to seeing you at one of our rehearsals or performances soon.
|All three choirs sang together at Exeter Christmas Market on the 8th December. It was a windy and wet evening, but everyone sang together with great Christmas spirit. Well done to everyone that was able to make it and stick out the challenging conditions |
First up, Generation Exe sang a couple of songs on their own, as they have a different repertoire.
We then added a few more female singers to great effect with a fun rendition of "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now" - a very appropriate title!
Finally, we got everyone on the stage for White Winter Hymnal and then Sweet Honi and Dawlish Rocks continued with their rock and pop repertoire.
Here we have Emma singing the solo in "Like A Prayer" and there were a good number of people watching us, too. Shortly after this the weather turned to quite heavy rain and we took the decision to cut a couple of numbers from our set and short cut towards our finale, a mash-up of "Poison" and "You Give Love a Bad Name"! Many of the crowd stayed out in the pouring rain to enjoy the singing and support the choir. Fantastic!
Finally a quick pack up was enabled by our wonderful roadies and then the hard-core choir members moved into the tavern to enjoy some mulled beverages. A great end to our term and a lot of fun all round.
We're now looking forward to getting back to rehearsals from 14th January. Check under our events section for all the details.
|On Saturday 29th September the UK Choir Festival came to the South West for the first time. Just down the road in Exmouth, twenty of us booked tickets and went along for a day of vocal workshops. We had not originally intended to perform as we didn't think we would have the balance of voice parts or songs ready to go so early in the term. However, the festival were keen to encourage more groups to get up and have a go and our singers were really keen to do just that. Here they are on stage and preparing to sing in front of the vocal coaches and hundreds of singers from other local choirs. We sang White Winter Hymnal and received a fantastic response from all of the coaches and attendees. Here's what they said:|
Loved the rhythmic start. Nice build of voices. Lovely blend of sound. Engaging and nice ooooohs. Good men, too!
Once started keep claps to a minimum or more together. Try opening vowels more to help with colour. Perform more to the audience.
Confident start with body percussion. A lovely, unforced sound and a good balance between voices. A simple song, done well. I'm about to start this piece with my choir. I now can't wait!
Good rhythm from the choir. Group breathe together, therefore the words were very together. Lovely part singing.
Beautiful group sound. The group relaxed as the performance continued, showing more enjoyment.
What a great day and topped off with a successful performance! We'll let you all know straight away when we have the date for next year! Kathy
|For more information, see:||www.ukchoirfestival.com|
|The theme for BBC Music Day this year was "The Power of Music to Change Lives" and one BBC initiative was Platform to Perform, involving forty choirs at forty railway stations across the UK at various times during BBC Music Day on Friday 28th September 2018. |
Exeter St David's was the station for Devon and Kathy was asked to provide the choir. It seemed fair to involve both Sweet Honi and Dawlish Rocks. In fact, this was the first time the two choirs would meet on a small scale, with less than 10 singers from each choir participating as a small group had been requested on account of building works taking place at the station!
With songs and a small choir selected from the available singers, balancing voice parts and choirs (quite an equation!) we headed to the station to be greeted by lovely staff from GWR and the BBC. It was certainly an interesting environment to perform in and TV cameras and broadcast vans can bring out some unusual behaviour from certain members of the public!
We were featured on Radio Devon and went out live for a little snippet at the end of Spotlight News on BBC1. One of our Honis, Jo Hawdon, came along to capture some behind the scenes video and photos for us.
All involved were left on a high and had a fantastic experience. It goes to show that you probably should say yes to any crazy suggestions coming your way. Don't miss a golden opportunity! Well done everyone. Well sung and well supported by all of our other choir members and fans. Thank you!
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|What a fantastic evening at The Beehive! Local singer/songwriter duo The Awesomes joined Sweet Honi to create an evening of crafted performance and wide musical variety from the freshly penned original songs through to classic, cheesy pop that had the whole audience singing along. Just over £882 was raised for mental health charities, The Project and Mind. Thank you to everyone who assisted, participated and supported. It was a brilliant team effort.|
|Dawlish Rocks gave their first formal, public performance on Thursday evening to a packed church. The evening, organised by Dawlish Arts Festival, featured five choirs from around the Dawlish area, offering a varied programme. Dawlish Rocks kicked off the second half with three songs. The acoustics were great, everyone sang well and our two soloists, Steve and Jo, both gave strong performances. Photos and video to follow! We had a few people very interested in joining our ranks. Please get in touch ASAP if you would like to come along for a free trial session or even join us for the remainder of Summer term if you are a quick learner!|
|What a great end to our Spring Term!|
On Monday night Sweet Honi filmed their very own music video. Plenty of photos and of course the finished video project to follow. They looked and sounded fantastic. Everyone pitched in with the set up, pack up and we had a lovely tea break with home baked goodies - wow, we really needed refuelling.
On Wednesday night Dawlish Rocks departed their rehearsal hall early and set off to the pub! An evening of drinking, socialising and singing in three Dawlish town pubs ensued. Video evidence is being tracked down, but it was great fun and well received.
|What a fantastic evening! It was the culmination of much hard work in rehearsals and great team work from our Sweet Honi membership. Along with our guest act, Sidmouth Gospel Choir, we produced an inspiring and fun evening of music that was enjoyed by a full house! A cheque payable to MacMillan Cancer Support for £714.63 has been sent off to Utility Warehouse, and they are doubling all fundraising efforts at the end of the year. Big thanks to everyone who helped, took part and supported the event.|
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|We're now looking forward to end of term performances and celebrations.|
First up is Dawlish Rocks, hosting a celebration evening on 29th November. This will be an opportunity for family and friends to hear the progress of the new choir so far and also for potential members to get a flavour of our rehearsal and performance style.
Sweet Honi are hosting a concert with special guests, Sidmouth Gospel Choir, on 3rd December. Ticket/more info available here.
|Their final show for Sweet Honi founder and director, Andy Hague, featuring the 50+ strong chorus, "The Bumbles" (Sweet Honi's very own backing band) and guest support act The Brass Warriors |
An energetic performance from the choir wowed the sell out crowd at the popular, community venue.