Tue, 11 May | Zoom

"Musicals Medleys" project

Learn five choral arrangements of epic medleys from musicals, and record them in the comfort of your own home.
Thanks for your interest in this project. Registration will open soon.
"Musicals Medleys" project

Time & Location

11 May, 18:30 BST – 02 Sept, 21:30 BST
Zoom

About the Event

This summer, we're running a special project, bringing people together to sing, without anyone having to leave their home. Since the first lockdown in March 2020, we've been working on ways for people to make music together, and we've run several projects with our own choir, BeVox, that have helped us hone what we can offer. This spring, we ran a similar project and opened it up to anyone who wanted to take part. We'd like to invite you to join us as we sing and record five epic musical theatre medleys, which we'll release as an album. 

How it works

If you sign up to take part, you'll receive the sheet music and rehearsal tracks (either by post or digitally). We'll have an initial welcome session via Zoom, in which you can meet Tim (your conductor) and ask any questions you may have. There will then be a few weeks before we begin regular weekly online sessions. You will begin learning your music by listening to the rehearsal tracks (and using the sheet music if this is helpful to you). Once weekly online sessions begin, we'll work on ths music, and there will be sessions on vocal technique, performance and other things too. In the Zoom sessions, you will be muted (so no-one will hear you sing), but you'll be singing along with our custom rehearsal tracks, so you'll have a professional session singer singing your part along with you. You'll also be actively encouraged to unmute yourself to ask questions or request to go over bits again, so the learning process is two-way. You can also send questions or requests by email between the sessions, and your input will help shape how the sessions are delivered. The majority of our online sessions will be tailored specifically for your voice part, so every part of the session is relevant for you. We will also have some Zoom sessions where we'll bring everyone together, which is great for a bit of socialisation, but also allows us to work on aspects that affect the whole choir, such as dynamics, interpretation, phrasing, and technique. Throughout the process, we'll support you to be self-evaluating - listening closely to your own singing so you become more aware of where you need additional help from us. 

We're also bringing in leading experts in the field of vocal technique to deliver one-off workshops as part of the project. The first of these will feature Lin Marsh, one of the UK's most in-demand vocal workshop leaders. 

When you're ready, you can start recording your contributions to the album. To do this, you just need a device with a microphone, such as your phone, tablet, or a computer/laptop with a webcam or built-in microphone (if you're using a phone or tablet to record with, you'll need a separate device to watch the conductor videos on, such as a laptop or computer, or another phone or tablet). You'll also need headphones or earphones that will connect to the device you're watching the conductor videos on. You send your recordings to us, and we mix them all together to create the sound of a whole choir. At the end of the project, we'll have an album, which we'll share with you (on CD or digitally), and which we'll make available for sale to the general public. 

What's included

  • Printed sheet music of bespoke arrangements that have been tried and tested with community choir singers.
  • A CD (or downloadable MP3 files) of rehearsal tracks, recorded with professional session singers. Each track features your voice part, with the rest of the choir mixed in very quietly, and full accompaniment.
  • Access to online conductor videos, which have your rehearsal track playing as the audio, with our conductor giving you all the cues, cut-offs, dynamics etc that you'll need, in addition to the lyrics appearing at the top of the screen to help you remember the words. These are very useful to practice to, and essential for the recording process.
  • At least twelve weeks of online sessions, delivered over Zoom, which help you get under the skin of the music, and ask questions about specific sections or techniques you'd like help with. (See below for more details on the sessions). 
  • Access to online videos to help with warming your voice up, and other aspects of vocal technique.
  • Access to our resource library, which contains a wealth of articles about singing.
  • Weekly update emails with additional tips and information.
  • All mixing, mastering and associated production of the recording.
  • One copy of the finished recording, on CD or as a digital download. Additional copies will be available for participants to pre-order before they go on public sale.
  • (You have the option of receiving your sheet music, rehearsal tracks and final album either physically or digitally. We can only provide these items physically to UK mainland addresses - if you live outside the UK mainland, you'll need to order them digitally).

The music

We will be singing five massive medleys from five iconic shows. The shows, and the songs included in each medley, are listed below:

Jesus Christ Superstar

  • Heaven on their minds
  • Pilate's dream
  • Everything's alright
  • I don't know how to love him
  • Gethsemane
  • Superstar

Beauty and the Beast

  • Belle
  • Be our guest
  • If I can't love her (excerpt)
  • Beauty and the Beast

Mary Poppins

  • Chim chim cher-ee
  • Jolly holiday
  • Feed the birds
  • Let's go fly a kite
  • Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

The Greatest Showman

  • The greatest show
  • A million dreams
  • Never enough
  • Come alive
  • This is me

Les Misérables

  • Look down
  • I dreamed a dream
  • The Thenadier waltz of treachery
  • Stars
  • One day more
  • Bring him home
  • The death of Valjean
  • Do you hear the people sing?

The sessions

Timings

Sessions will be delivered via Zoom on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings every week for at least twelve weeks. Timings will vary depending on the content of sessions, but the earliest sessions will start is 6:30pm, and the latest they'll end is 9:30pm. Most sessions will be either an hour and a quarter or an hour and a half. There are likely to be occasional weekend sessions, which will run on Saturdays between 2:30pm and 5pm. You do not have to attend every session. Most sessions will be specific to one voice part, although some will be for everyone. Most nights will have two sessions, each for a different voice part, at different times - for example, there may be a soprano session from 6:30pm to 8pm on a Tuesday, with a tenor session from 8pm to 9:30pm on the same night, followed by an alto session from 6:30pm to 8pm on a Wednesday, with a bass session from 8pm to 9:30pm on the same night. Sessions for your voice part will vary in terms of the day of the week they are on and the start and end time. This is to accommodate as many people as possible - if you cannot make a particular night of the week every week, you'll still have at least two-thirds of the sessions available to you. 

Schedule

The schedule of all the sessions is not fixed at the start of the project - we will adapt and react to people's needs. We'll always give at least two weeks' notice of forthcoming session dates and times, including details of which songs we'll be focussing on in those sessions. We'll begin with a welcome session in mid-May, then regularly weekly sessions will start at the beginning of June and run through until approximately the end of August. The schedule for the welcome sessions  is below (you only need to attend one of the welcome sessions!):

  • Tuesday 11th May, 6:30pm to 7:30pm
  • Wednesday 12th May, 6:30pm to 7:30pm
  • Thursday 13th May, 6:30pm to 7:30pm

Learning

We expect people to come to online sessions having spent some time becoming familiar with the songs we'll be covering in that session. We won't be teaching every note, as this kind of learning is more effectively done individually with the rehearsal tracks and/or sheet music. Instead, we ask singers to pick up as much as they can from their rehearsal tracks and sheet music, then come to the sessions armed with questions about things that they're not clear on or would like additional help with. Whenever we're working on a segment of a medley in a session, we'll start with a sing-through of that segment, then get into the details that people would like to work on. We'll end with a further sing-through as well, so you can "bed in" the work we've done in the session. At any time, you can request a further sing-through if it would be helpful. 

We'll provide as much support as possible to encourage people to evaluate their own learning, so you know where your strengths are, and where you need additional help. Throughout the project, you can ask for help via email or phone at any time.

We've been running online sessions using this model for nearly a year now, and it delivers great results. We'll be completely up-front and say that it is no replacement for a real, live, "in the room" rehearsal - but it is the best alternative we have at the moment. It requires a little more concentration than a normal rehearsal, and a willingness to engage in the learning process in a different way. There are some other challenges too - it's often quite disconcerting to record your own voice and listen back to it, for example, and it can take a bit of getting used to. However, it also presents some opportunities that aren't possible with a "normal" rehearsal and performance process. For example, we don't have to necessarily get one perfect take all the way through a song. We can break it into sections, and record individual sections then stitch them together afterwards. The fact that everyone is recording their own submission and sending it to us for mixing actually means that the audio quality of the end product is better than we could ever achieve in a recording studio - because everyone essentially has their own personal microphone, which is recording them and just them, with no other voices and no accompaniment. These are the absolutely ideal recording conditions, and they aren't achievable if we're singing together "live". In all the online work we've done in the last year, we've realised that the audio quality of "remote recording" can be absolutely superb. We've now recorded two albums this way, and the feedback we've received from them has been incredibly positive.

The cost

Everything outlined above is included in the price for the project, which is £100 per singer. We are prepared to discuss reductions to this fee for singers who are in difficult financial circumstances - contact us to discuss this if necessary. By taking part, you're helping to support an arts-based small business, and as we're sure you're aware, businesses like ours need all the support they can get at the moment. Thanks for considering joining us for this unique and exciting opportunity. 

Signing up

Once you have signed up and paid, you'll get a brief confirmation email. On 7th May, we'll send you the Zoom log-on details for our welcome sessions, and we'll post out your sheet music and rehearsal tracks (or send you the links to download them) straight after those welcome sessions. Our regular weekly Zoom sessions will begin on 1st June, and continue until the end of August (except 10th-12th August, when we'll have a week off). The finished album will be released a month or two later, once it has been mixed, mastered and duplicated. 

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