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joining the choir, SATB choir, Uncategorized

All About That Bass: Life in LVM by Alex White

Having previously sung in a choir and barbershop during my school years, it wasn’t until after university that I decided to pick up singing again. After a quick ‘google search’ for choirs in Leeds I found Leeds Vocal Movement and decided to inquire and maybe give it a shot.

Rosa was very welcoming and after one rehearsal I was hooked! And after sticking with it, to this day we have covered multiple genres and emotive music led by our very enthusiastic conductor Caitlin.

Leeds Vocal Movement singing led by Caitlin

Personally I think it is great to do some midweek singing and get rid of the stresses of the day. I always feel more refreshed the next day. It runs like any society would at university with multiple socials throughout the year and the pub after rehearsal. Can safely say it is worth it!

choir social

Choir Trip to Tropical World, Roundhay Park

Recently we had one of our summer socials at Roundhay Park and Tropical World. The day after the Ed Sheeran concert, thank god.

Luckily, the weather stayed sunny and we had a great time at Tropical World, some of us reliving our childhood.

Choir manager and alto Rosa looking lovely amongst the leaves!
Treasurer and tenor Sally becoming one with nature!

The meerkats were dozing in the sand looking as cute as always, must have had full stomachs.

Walking around Roundhay Park seeing the aftermath of the concert, we were still able to enjoy the scenery (if you looked the other way) and walk round the lake with a spot of lunch at the lake side cafe.

Not long to go until our voices all fire up again !

We think this fish was getting ready to sing!
internship, joining the choir, SATB choir

More Than Just Accompanying by Sylvia Jen

As a pianist, I have accompanied soloists, ballets, musicals, and various kinds of ensembles, but never an adult’s choir, only children’s or youth choirs. I was finally given the chance to accompany an adult’s choir when I was appointed the accompanist intern to Leeds Vocal Movement. And what a journey it has been!

I learnt many things during my time with the choir. The first major thing is seeing the Kodaly method in action, which Caitlin (our amazing choir conductor) uses to hone the skills of the choir to help them pitch and tune more accurately as a group. It works wonders as the choir became better at keeping in tune without the aid of the piano as the year went on. I knew about the Kodaly method and the Solfege system, but have never used it to learn or teach music. Working with LVM has opened my eyes to the benefits of the system, and I’ve started to apply some of Caitlin’s techniques in my own teaching (I teach piano to kids). Caitlin has been keen to offer advice as well which just goes to show the open sharing culture of this friendly choir community.

Secondly, I got better at sight-reading, particularly four-part and sometimes six-part choral music! Even though this is an unauditioned choir, the quality of singing and complexity of music is not lacking. Certainly, not all the music that we sing is highly complex, as we learn pieces from all kinds of genres. However, I did find that I was playing more complex music than I had done for youth choirs, which really pushed my boundaries and I’m grateful for the challenge.

Lastly, I learnt about all sorts of things that are non-music related as the choir members come from various backgrounds, some are musically trained, though most are not. This makes for really vibrant and interesting conversations, which one can always find at the weekly pub gatherings after choir rehearsals.

I love that this choir isn’t just about singing and performing choral music (and me accompanying that), but it’s a community of like-minded people that come together to learn, socialise, and enjoy music-making, and I’m so proud to be a part of that!

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

Term Dates

  • Wednesday 4th September 2019 – 14th December 2019 : Autumn Term
  • Wednesday 8th January 2020- Wednesday 1st July 2020: Summer Term

Next Open Rehearsals

  • January 8th 2020 19:15 – 21:15 – East Street Arts, St Mary’s Ln, Leeds LS9 7EH, UK
  • February 5th 2020 19:15 – 21:15 – East Street Arts, St Mary’s Ln, Leeds LS9 7EH, UK

Upcoming Performances

  • Saturday 7th December 2019 – Carolling in association with Cash for Kids

Where: Victoria Gate, Harewood Street, Leeds. LS2 7JA 12:00 – 15:00

  • Saturday 14th December 2019 – Leeds Vocal Movement Christmas Concert

Where: Pyramid Theatre, Leeds University Union
2 Lifton Pl, Leeds LS2 9JZ
Time: 7:30

This term we are delighted to offer you a range of traditional and contemporary festive music, including White Christmas, Carol of the Bells, Silent Night, Away in a Manger, What Sweeter Music, Jesus Christ the Apple Tree, and more.

Price:
Adult (18+) : £8
Concession*: £6

*student, under 18, retired

Tickets can be bought in advance on Eventbrite or on the door. Tickets bought on Eventbrite include Eventbrite’s admin fee. 

Eventbrite Link

  • Saturday 27th June 2020 – Leeds Vocal Movement’s Summer Concert

Join us for our Christmas concert!
(All choir members must attend the pre-concert rehearsal at 3pm)

Details to be confirmed.

joining the choir, Uncategorized

What is Kodaly anyway?

Information in this blog post has been taken from the official Kodaly Academy website. To find out more about the Kodaly Approach, please visit www.kodaly.org.uk

Kodály training develops musicianship through singing. The student engages in the most direct of musical responses without the technical demands of an instrument. This practical approach combined with a clear progression from the simple to the complex facilitates the development of excellent musicianship skills such as sight singing and keen pitch discrimination, as well as high levels of musical literacy. Kodály training is suitable for all ages and stages and can be applied to all kinds of music from classical to world music and jazz.

“Music belongs to everybody”

The educational work of Zoltán Kodály was driven by his overriding belief that “music belongs to everybody”; that active participation in music-making develops a person on all levels and that best approach is through the instrument accessible to all – the human voice.

His ideas evolved into a philosophy of music education based on the way that children learn most naturally: through singing games, fun and play. Through his vitality and research, and the work of his colleagues and students, a sequential and progressive approach to teaching music was implemented in schools throughout Hungary based on an integration of the best practices observed throughout Europe.

Kodály believed that music education should begin as early as possible, that highly trained teachers were essential, especially in the early years, and that the rhymes and songs used should be of the best quality starting with familiar children’s songs and simple mother-tongue folk songs.

The 21st century sees Kodály’s principles at the heart of music education in many countries throughout the world, adapted whilst remaining true to the core tenets of the concept. It is a complete and comprehensive approach that covers every requirement of the music curriculum – and so much more!

“A well-trained ear, a well-trained mind, a well trained heart and well-trained fingers”

http://kodaly.org.uk/about-us/kodaly-approach/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0qFMkpXd2o

This video comes from the channel L – tiz on YouTube and gives us an insight into how Kodaly can be used to teach music to a group.

internship

Katie McKinnon – Apprentice Conductor 2018/19

Katie was our apprentice conductor for 2018/2019. It was so nice to have her in the LVM community; she has a big personality and puts a lot of herself into the music she conducts. When she left she wrote us a letter highlighting her favourite parts of the year which you can read below. It was an absolute pleasure to have her on board and we wish her all the best in the future!

Dear Leeds Vocal Movement, 

I want to let you know how much I appreciated the opportunity to be your apprentice conductor last year through this wee blog post, and let you know some of my favourite things about LVM.

My favourite musical moment in LVM was conducting Northern Lights by Ola Gjello in the Christmas Concert 2018. I never saw myself as a “classical” conductor because most of my conducting experience before LVM was with popular, music theatre or a capella music. However when Caitlin asked me to choose which pieces I would like to conduct for the Christmas concert I was drawn to Northern Lights. The piece was inspired by Aurora Borealis (the northern lights) and is performed in Norwegian. Conducting this piece was difficult in terms of my conducting technique, there are several time signature changes and pauses and lots of dynamics, but by working with Caitlin in individual lessons and the choir member’s excellent musicality we pulled it off magnificently. I had lots of wonderful feedback from audience members. Northern Lights sounds like winter without sounding like Christmas and I appreciated the contrast with the other piece I conducted – Let it Snow – which sounds wonderfully like roast reindeer with a side of mistletoe. 

One of the biggest highlights of being a member of Leeds Vocal Movement is the social side – I was greeted with open arms by LVM and have made life-long friends (they helped me discover ale – I’m now a big fan). There are so many interesting people to meet out there, and us millennials can feel lonely and find it difficult to meet new people and make friends, but with LVM everyone is accepted and has a place. For example: I broke my ankle in January and only missed two rehearsals because choir members helped me get in and around Leeds in my wheelchair/crutches (big shout out to Dan – you are so kind and I miss our car chats! #folkislife). 

I was sad to leave LVM this year because of all the connections I had made and how much my artistry had grown and blossomed, but I got a dream job, so I moved to Essex. I am now the Learning and Participation Coordinator for a large concert hall called Saffron Hall. We have so many interesting musicians that visit, including Britten Sinfonia, London Philharmonic Orchestra, and The Sixteen just to name a few.  LVM set me in good stead for full-time work, through things like: regular meetings with Rosa, having to manage my own schedule, a formal but friendly application and interview process, and learning to communicate with lots of different people. I really enjoyed my time with LVM and learning new skills from Caitlin and although I’m not conducting at the moment, I am still singing, I have a job that I love, and I’m pretty proud of myself. 

Thanks for the laughs, miss you all.

Katie XOXO

Gallery, Workshops

09/03/2019 ~ Leeds Vocal Movement Workshop: The Role of the Conductor with Katy Cooper

Big shout out to our photographer Sarah Brabbin for helping us look wonderful. Check her out here! www.sarahbrabbin.co.uk

choir venue

New Term, New Us

It’s a new year in the world of Leeds Vocal Movement, and we’ve had a busy first couple of months. Our membership has grown, we’ve already performed once in the wonderful Left Bank choir festival, and we’ve moved to a new rehearsal venue, which is also going to be our home for our upcoming Christmas Concert on December 15th.

We are now based in the amazing St John the Evangelist church, in the heart of Leeds city centre. Don’t be surprised if you’ve never heard of it though – it is tucked away behind the St John’s Centre (which takes its name from the church) and surrounded by a quiet churchyard which is a haven for those in the know.

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Inside St John’s (photo courtesy of LeedsInspired)

St John’s is a venue owned and managed by the Churches Conservation Trust (CCT), a charity which works to protect historic church buildings nationwide. They preserve spaces like St John’s and allow them to continue forming a part of the community, by being used for all kinds of diverse activity – including our choir rehearsals! We have loved rehearsing in St John’s over last few months, and in the new year we are planning a concert in aid of the CCT, to support the work they do for our historic buildings.

The oldest church in the city centre, St John’s is a spectacular building now hidden behind the urban landscape of Leeds. Step inside though, and you are greeted with a genuinely surprising interior. It has a Jacobean carved wooden screen and fittings, including wall panels, pews, and pulpit. Our regular rehearsal space is behind the screen, though we will be in front of it during our concert.

We’re proud to work with the CCT in such a great venue, and we’re excited to share it with you as well! Tickets for our concert are available now, so we look forward to seeing you there!

Uncategorized

Musings of a Conductor’s Apprentice by Gregory Moor

I have never considered myself to be a singer, but have always enjoyed performing and being involved in music in any way I can. My first instrument is the flute, which I took to grade 8, but I’ve always felt it to be a solo instrument so I then moved to the trumpet. I took this as far as grade 3 and officially stopped lessons as a result of family circumstances, but I loved how loud the trumpet was compared to the flute. It was also my way in to the local concert bands and ignited my passion for community. I studied music at university and there I picked up the French horn. I was always eager to be involved in bands and orchestras, so when the opportunity came to start conducting I couldn’t wait! I became conductor of the Leeds University Union Music Society (LUUMS) Concert Band and studied conducting under the guidance of Eduardo Portal.

After graduating, conducting opportunities came few and far between, so when I saw the advert to conduct Leeds Vocal Movement I got an application in as soon as I could. Looking into them, they appeared to have a great community built around singing in a relaxed environment which really appealed to me. I found out after the audition that I wasn’t going to be leading the choir and that was fine by me, I’ve never considered myself to be a singer after all. Months later, I got a call asking if I wanted to try a new role for LVM as apprentice conductor.

When I first arrived, the role was very much in its infancy. There were ideas for how the role would look, but as I was to be the first to fill the role I got to find out what worked and similarly what didn’t. Since I’d never had much experience with singing, I wasn’t particularly comfortable warming up voices, so I was very glad to have more of a back seat and learn techniques from Caitlin in more of a participatory manner. The Kodaly method Caitlin uses to warm LVM up is perfect as it encourages the singers to learn the fundamentals of music theory practically. The effects of this were really noticeable when taking sectionals since it took much less time to learn new pieces towards the end of the year.

It has been a wonderful experience working with LVM and I feel I’ve really learnt a lot about rehearsing singers and a choir efficiently and effectively, and I’m glad to have learnt this in such an encouraging environment too! I got to conduct a few performances in the last concert, but I would say the most enjoyable and most rewarding part of the role was seeing the choir grow musically – it’s really encouraging as a conductor to see the musicians grow in confidence and musicianship together. It’s really helped my musicianship personally, and most importantly I now consider myself to be a singer. I am sad to be leaving this position, but strongly believe the choir is going from strength to strength.

Uncategorized

Vacancy – Piano Accompanist

Looking for choral accompaniment experience with a established and expanding local choir? Look no further – Leeds Vocal Movement is recruiting!

We are currently accepting applications for a Piano Accompanist. This is now a paid position for a budding professional pianist, to join us from September 2018 to July 2019.

We are looking for a well-organised musician with a keen focus on improving their accompanying skills and willingness to commit to the development of the choir. LVM’s mission is to improve musical education and create community through choral singing, and we need an accompanist who can internalise and apply those values in the role.

To find out more about LVM’s aims and operations, please visit our ‘About Us’ page. 

The candidate must be a University of Leeds student with Grade 8 Piano, preferably a first-study pianist.

To apply for the position, please download our application pack.

The deadline for applications is 12 noon on Tuesday 21st August 2018.

Interviews will be held on Thursday 30th August 2018.

If you have any questions about about the choir or the position, please contact Caitlin (Musical Director) or Rosa (Choir Manager) via email: leedsvocalmovement@gmail.com