joining the choir, SATB choir, Uncategorized

My Journey to LVM – Holly Angel

 

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Leeds Vocal Movement hard at work!

I have always loved to sing. When I was in primary school, Friday assemblies where everyone sang together were my favourite thing. I once got moved to the front of the group while rehearsing for a school play because I was singing so enthusiastically. I jumped at the chance to join my high school choir, and at sixteen I fell in love with Glee and Gareth Malone. When I joined university I couldn’t wait to join the choir. I was really surprised to be the only non-music student there. I had joined as an “enthusiastic amateur”, the person who loves something without understanding it. I couldn’t have told you what the musical terms meant (I’m a little better now) and if you asked me to sing you a G sharp I’d have no idea (still don’t!) but it was there that I first fell in love with choral music. It was divine, passionate, emotive, and utterly moving. I loved it.

When I graduated university in 2013 and moved back to my home city, Leeds, I was looking for a new choir. I did some googling of Leeds choirs and was disappointed but not surprised to find so many choirs were either up to the age of 18 or didn’t have a specific age but consisted of people who were in their 50s, 60s, 70s…where was the choir for young adults? Luckily, I happened to find one that fit the bill – Leeds Vocal Movement.
Leeds Vocal Movement would generally be considered a small choir – I think the most we’ve ever boasted is roughly 35 members. But what has never been small is the passion! While my university choir introduced me to the wonders of choral music – Handel, Faure, Britten – this choir has introduced me to a much wider range since then – folk songs, contemporary covers, traditional pieces and modern choral music (Eric Whitacre is a choir staple!). It’s hard to pick one favourite piece because there have been so many great ones, but a standout piece for me is one called “Name That Tune” by Grayston Ives. It’s a mashup of multiple classical pieces – Beethoven, Mozart, Strauss. It took the choir a good six months to perfect it, and there were so many laughs along the way as we fluffed different parts. We really made it our own, and that’s one of the most special things about being in a choir to me – taking a piece, adding unique touches to it and having a lot of fun along the way!
I was asked to manage social media not long after I joined the choir and it was a really fun challenge thinking about different ways to sum up rehearsals with pictures, videos and tweets. It’s no easy feat trying to raise the choir’s profile without the money for a marketing campaign but over the five years I’ve been working on it I think our name is gradually becoming more known through Leeds and hopefully will continue to do so.
During my time in the choir we’ve worked hard to give something special to our audiences, whether that’s creating a Christmassy atmosphere and bringing a smile to passers by as we carol to raise money for different charities, or our own concerts that we strive to fill with a variety of musical styles so that there will be something for everyone to enjoy. As much as we get out of performing for others, we also gain so much ourselves, from learning different musical techniques (such as Kodaly) from our conductor, to understanding more about what we really love to sing as a choir and as individuals. So much of the fun is that you never stop learning and growing!
Leeds Vocal Movement has been a wonderfully unique choir to be part of – relatively new (less than ten years old), young adult, secular and unauditioned – brimming with people of different skill levels and musical experience but all bursting with the same musical passion. I’m proud to have watched it grow and change over the years and I hope it will long continue to provide a place for young people in Leeds who love to sing with somewhere to go and express themselves and share the joy of music with others, both members and an audience.
joining the choir

How to win friends & influence people (choir edition)

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Picture this. I’m 27, and I’ve lived in this city for almost 10 years. I’m settled, with a job, a flat, and a fairly active social life.

Then, Something Happens (a life event) which causes me to take a good look at everything I’m doing. And what do I realise? To my abject horror, I realise that I don’t really know many people in this city, or certainly not ones who share my interests.

What do you do in a situation like that?

It can be hard when you’re an adult to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. Inevitable parts of being an adult like paying your council tax and doing the hoovering can become a bit all-encompassing – when will you ever have the time to commit to new friends, new skills, new hobbies? It’s easy to build up lots of reasons to not try the new thing.

Well, I’m here to tell you that joining Leeds Vocal Movement is a wonderful new thing to try.

I arrived at the open rehearsal hesitant, even though I knew people in the choir. I’d not sung actively for a few years, and prior to that I’d been shaky at best. But I needn’t have worried that I’d be judged, or that I’d struggle to fit in. LVM is unauditioned, and allows for people of all skill levels. I don’t read music but that doesn’t necessarily hold me back, and our musical director Caitlin is not only patient, but also uses a diverse range of teaching methods which really enable everyone to learn whatever their preferred style.

After rehearsals we tend to pop to the pub for a drink, though we also hold non-alcohol socials too (our recent trip to Tropical World and Roundhay Park being a personal highlight). Joining LVM has made me feel like part of a community – I’d taken on the mindset that I didn’t need any more friends, but LVM has proven to me that going out and making new friends can be fun, even as an adult.

So that’s how stepping out of my comfort zone and joining the choir helped me win friends.

..and as for influencing people, if you like the sound of what you’ve just read, maybe you’d be interested in joining us?

joining the choir, Uncategorized

FAQ

Here are a few of our frequently asked questions. If you have a question that isn’t listed here, please contact us!

How do I join?

Just pop over to our joining page and fill in your details. We’ll be in touch as soon as we can!

When and where do you rehearse?

We rehearse every Wednesday 7.15-9.15pm during term-time in Leeds City Centre. For more details on our rehearsals, please visit our Contact page.

What does membership get me?

At LVM, as well as having an amazing time singing with like-minded people and making friends, you’ll have:

Quality professional singing coaching from our amazing and experienced Musical Director Caitlin.

The opportunity to sing a varied repertoire of music, from classical right through to popular music!

The opportunity to perform in concerts and at competitions in Leeds and further afield.

Access to Highnotes magazine as part of our group subscription to MakingMusic.org

Regular updates from our Facebook Group and via email – we’ll pass on any musical opportunities we are informed about!

Do I have to audition?

No, we don’t audition any of our singers – just turn up and join in!  If you’re not sure what part you are, our Musical Director will ask you to join a part and listen to see how you are doing.  After hearing how comfortable you are with the range, she may move you – but don’t be offended if this happens!  She’s just making sure you are in a place where you can shine!

Do I need experience in singing or music?

Not at all! We welcome anyone and everyone who wants to sing! Just register your interest and then turn up ready to make some noise!

What if I can’t read music?

Whilst an ability to read music will help, our Musical Director adjusts her teaching style to fit the range of abilities within the choir, and we learn using several techniques alongside reading music to improve sight-reading ability – after a few months you will have developed a new skill!

I can’t sing!

At LVM we firmly believe everyone has some innate ability to sing, and we aim to nurture that and bring your unique voice out! Who knows – maybe after a few months you’ll be braving the karaoke!

How much does it cost?

Fees for 2017/18 are £15 per month (£10 for students or benefits) during term-time only.

If you feel you would struggle to pay membership fees, but you still want to join, or if you are a current member and your circumstances have changed, please get in touch and have a confidential conversation with our Treasurer, Sally.

What are our term dates?

Autumn 2018: 5th September – 15th December

Spring 2019: 9th January – 10th April

Summer 2019: 1st May – 3rd July

What do my fees pay for?

LVM is run not-for-profit and our committee members are volunteers.  Your fees are put back into making the choir the best it can be. We pay for lots of things including our rehearsal venue, competition fees, insurance, sheet music, musical tuition and our website. You can help ensure the choir can continue to run by sharing our GoFundMe page, inviting as many of your friends and family to concerts as possible, and by paying fees on time!

How do I pay?

You can pay in one of two ways:

Bank Transfer (preferred):

Sort Code: 09-01-29

Account Number: 25132863

Paypal:

Click on the appropriate link below to be taken to the Paypal payment page. This will set up a monthly recurring payment for 3 months, you will need to re-subscribe for the next term. The below amounts are for PayPal only due to the small extra charge from them. Please only send £15 or £10 if you are paying by bank transfer.

Standard LVM Monthly Fee: £15.75

Students/Benefits: £10.55

You can also pay by cheque by making it out to Ms S V Stephens for the appropriate amount. However this should be as a last resort, as we do not often have access to a branch to pay in cheques, and therefore the cheque could clear when you are not expecting it.

How often do I need to attend rehearsals?

Regular attendance is important:

We want to make sure everyone is getting the most out of LVM that they can, and consequently we take attendance very seriously. We take attendance on a weekly basis so that:

  • You get the most out of your time – missing multiple rehearsals will mean you may not learn the pieces as quickly as others, and we want to ensure everyone is confident for performances and their own personal progression
  • You get the most out of your money – fees are the same price no matter how many rehearsals you miss
  • The choir can progress with its repertoire – as we are still recruiting, missing members makes some pieces impossible to rehearse or perform

Our attendance policy is as follows: we allow a maximum of three absences per term, including last-minute emergencies, after which the committee will contact a member regarding their membership. This is to touch base with the member, to make sure everyone is still satisfied with and progressing well in the choir.

We want to make sure we are being as fair as possible to our members, so if you have any questions about attendance, please contact us. Similarly, if know you will be unavailable for some Wednesday evenings, or have extenuating circumstances, including shift or evening work, please let the committee know as soon as possible.

Can I get a discount if I only attend half of the month?

Technically the membership fee is a termly fee, as we expect all members to commit to one term of rehearsals and performances; however last year we found that a lot of members struggled to pay in one lump sum, or forgot, resulting in a lot of late payments.  This meant it was very difficult to plan and pay for the rehearsal venue, competition entries and other costs such as insurance.  This is why this year we have changed it to a monthly fee, over 9 months of the year (during term-time only).

There are benefits that will be available to you even if you miss a rehearsal, such as membership, news and updates in our members-only Facebook group, your own folder of sheet music to practice at home, and access to our group membership of Making Music where you can search resources, find information and apply for solo competitions. So there are no discounts for missed rehearsals.  The payment is due at the end of the month and the payment months are: September, October and November; January, February and March; May, June and July.

If you have any questions regarding payment, please get in touch!

joining the choir, Uncategorized

I want to sing!

We are always interested in hearing from anyone who wants to join the choir. Please ask us about our open rehearsals, these let you see what it would be like to join!

For term dates and membership fees, please have a look at our FAQs.

Please fill in the form below to register your interest, and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

NB: please DO NOT PRESS ENTER in the message box below until you have completed your message, as it will automatically send an email to us before you are finished!