LVM Annual General Meeting – 14.09.2021, 19:00

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  1. Welcome and apologies

Committee present: Rosena Stevens, Florence Mather, Thomas George, Jo O’Hea

Choir members present: Scott Wiseman

  1. Manager’s update (Rosa)
    1. Virtual rehearsals

We had fortnightly rehearsals Spring 2020-Summer 2021 to keep an opportunity for the choir to sing together, with pay as you feel donations. The rehearsals were attended by roughly ⅕ of members. 

In conjunction with those rehearsals, we managed to virtually perform two pieces, Seal Lullaby and Let It Free.

  1. Venue changes and COVID guidelines

Since starting in-person rehearsals again, we are singing in Yorkshire Dance, however we are currently looking into using studio space at Leeds City College, which we may be able to use from January 2021 if not before.

The COVID guidelines we have in place for rehearsals will remain for this term in both Yorkshire Dance and elsewhere, as they are a committee decision to keep members safe and comfortable; however, the guidelines will be discussed in advance of next term. In addition, Leeds City College has bigger spaces, which would allow for the possibility of a higher maximum of socially-distanced attendees.

  1. Committee updates

Since the last Annual Meeting, Holly stepped down as Social Media Officer, Francesca stepped in as Communicator (formerly Social Media Officer) and Emma stepped in as Open Seat (advisory role) with a focus on Events and Activities.

Rosa is stepping down as Manager/Chair and Librarian, and as of yet both roles are still available. In the meantime, committee members will share the duties of both roles, including two Subcommittees: Librarian Subcommittee led by Rosa, with Flo and Jo; and Events Subcommittee led by Emma, with Rosa, Flo and Thomas.

Rosa is staying on committee as a Trustee and as Open Seat: HR, and will still show as the Chair on the Charity Commission website.

  1. Staffing updates

Caitlin will be going on maternity leave in October, and will be returning in the Spring 2022 term. We are holding auditions for her substitute on Wednesday 22nd September, during the first half of the rehearsal. We will be asking you for your feedback on the auditions during the second half. 

  1. Finance report (Sally)

The financial position of LVM at the end of the year is good – we continued to maintain a level of reserves throughout the pandemic due to the pay-as-you-feel donations from members throughout, and managed our costs by focussing on music we already own. We were also successful in gaining a grant from the D’Oyly Carte foundation which will enable us to run three virtual workshops this year (the first of which was yesterday!)

The budget for this year is conservative as we build back up to full rehearsals and performances, and we’re focussing on ensuring we have a good space for rehearsals and expert leaders to help the choir come back to full strength. 

  1. Music (Rosa)

Due to budget constraints, this year we will focus on pieces we already have. This includes music we bought for our virtual rehearsals, music we performed several years ago and music we started but weren’t able to perform at the 2021 Summer Concert. One exception is the green Carols for Choirs books that have been hired for Autumn 2021, which we hope to use for busking opportunities. 

As we have started to give out music that we have bought (And So It Goes, Sussex Carol, O Magnum), we ask you to only write in pencil and take extra care as they are more difficult to buy again. 

We are expecting you to still have your music from Spring 2020, and will be using some of that music in future terms. If you have misplaced your music during the pandemic, please let me, Jo or Flo know via email or Facebook, so we know who will need music we will be singing in Spring/Summer 2022. 

If you haven’t got a black folder and would like one, please send through a deposit of £10 along with your first installment of fees. 

  1. Publicity (Jo)

It’s been great being back for in person rehearsals, but unfortunately we’ve not been able to welcome prospective new members to the choir because of social distancing and us prioritising welcoming back our current members. Due to this and us having a full waiting list, for the moment we’ve taken the decision to close the waiting list. To reflect this, I’ve closed the “I want to sing!” page on the website. We’ll be monitoring the situation closely so if you have friends or family who want to join we won’t be able to welcome them for a while but please get them to keep an eye on our socials and on the website to see when we are next recruiting.

  1. Communications (Fran)

The choir has 30 current members who are attending rehearsals this term. There are a further 21 members who have chosen not to return to choir, who we will be inviting back once we are able to open rehearsals to more people. 

We currently have 42 people on our waiting list who are not currently members, but are interested in joining the choir when a spot opens. When we are able to host our next open rehearsal, we hope to be able to invite a few people to join us.

  1. Fundraising (Thomas)
    1. Project Funding 

Through much of 2020 and early 2021, many funds similar to those that we’ve previously received funding money from understandably tightened their budgets and either stopped giving grants or limited their grants to charities directly affected by or dealing with the pandemic. As a committee we continued to seek funding through this period, and managed to obtain a grant for £1875 from the D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust, specifically to put towards the running of three online workshops. The first of these workshops took place last night, which was hosted by Caitlin and focused on the basics of sight singing. The other two workshops with take place in the upcoming year – more to be announced closer to the time!

We are starting to see a number of trusts and funds open up their funding again, and derestrict the charities that they’ll fund, so will step up our efforts in the coming months, hopefully focusing on securing some unrestricted funding if possible.

  1. Sponsorship opportunities

We are also starting to actively seek sponsorships. This has been a long term plan, but due to the pandemic we didn’t have an awful lot to offer any company looking to potentially sponsor us in terms of performance opportunities where they can be seen, so put this side of fundraising on hold. Now we are able to meet in person again, both for rehearsals and socials, we’ll begin to seek sponsorship from local businesses again. This could take a number of forms – they could give us money to put their name on our posters and flyers and be visible at any performance opportunities for example, or they might sponsor a social event and give discounted rates to members. If anyone here knows of any good local businesses who may be interested in any form of sponsorship with LVM, please let me know and I’ll gladly get in touch!

  1. Socials (Flo)

Most of this year we have held virtual socials. From October, we began monthly virtual film nights which allowed us to watch a film together, a low effort way to socialise! We also held a virtual Christmas carol concert during a Saturday afternoon in December, followed by a virtual Christmas quiz that evening and exchange of Secret Santa gifts. These were well attended and really enjoyable – especially as a replacement for our usual in person busking and Christmas dinner.

Over the summer we sent out a survey to discern what kinds of socials people might like to do, and pub trips were most popular. We held pub trips most weeks over the summer break, a great way to keep in touch with each other prior to in person rehearsals starting up again.

  1. Events (Emma)
    1. Virtual Workshops

Our first virtual workshop last night proved to be a real success! We’ve had some really lovely, positive feedback and as a committee we are looking forward to planning another virtual workshop in the next few months (there are some exciting possibilities). 

  1. December performance opportunities

We’re hoping to get out there busking and bringing festive cheer once again to the people of Leeds which is so exciting! We hope to go ahead with busking on several dates in December but we will hold off from confirming these as the situation on what we’re able to do could change at any time and with Covid rates still high our priority remains keeping our choir safe. This same thought applies to any potential concert we hold this winter. We will want to see how singers, and our new associate musical director, feel about the idea of a concert after such a short time back and while we are still in the midst of a pandemic. If we do go ahead with the concert this is highly likely to be on the 20th/ 21st December so it may be worth pencilling in the date for now and we will keep you updated very soon with what’s happening.  As our funds are lower than previous years we need to ensure that this is a viable opportunity for the choir so we are currently looking at affordable venues. We’ll keep you all updated over the next couple of Months!

  1. Any other business

Rosa: I enjoyed my time as Manager and Librarian. The choir has grown a lot since taking on the roles and I’m leaving the position with it far more established than when I took the helm. Thanks to committee, Caitlin, Sylvia and for their amazing support and friendship, and choir members for helping to make great music together.


Seal Lullaby – Eric Whitacre

Leeds Virtual Movement’s rendition of Eric Whitacre’s “Seal Lullaby”

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”


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.

joining the choir

How to win friends & influence people (choir edition)


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?


Caitlin Mayall: How I got into choral conducting and what LVM means to me!

I wasn’t always into choral music – I grew up loving jazz and spent a lot of time listening to Ella Fitzgerald in our family kitchen. I also started composing when I was 12, because I didn’t like practising scales on the piano and I used to turn them into different motifs and write lyrics to them. My mum encouraged me to join Stockport Youth Orchestra, where I messed around a lot because I didn’t like the screechy sound I made on the violin – but I met a friend there who convinced me to audition for the Hallé Youth Choir in Manchester which was where it all started.

Going to the Hallé was like getting an overdose injection of the musical bug. We were regular performers at the Bridgewater Hall and sang everything from Poulenc’s stunning ‘Gloria’ to Elgar part-songs to Mahler’s 2nd symphony. I remember sight-reading Bruckner’s ‘Locus Iste’ at Ampleforth College surrounded by friends, breaking into Lambert’s ‘The Rio Grande’ at regular intervals on a tour bus to Italy and marching through the streets of York singing a swingle singers arrangement of ‘I’ll Be There For You’ at the top of our lungs. Jamie Burton was our wonderfully eccentric and hugely inspiring director, who taught us to read music using Solfege sign language and who intrigued us with his knowledge of the composers whose works we were performing.

It’s because of this exposure to so much gorgeous, life-changing music as a teenager that now as an adult I feel determined to bring the same experiences to others. I found myself volunteering to direct LUUMS Chorus whilst at Leeds University and now I devote my time to teaching Kodály music in schools and leading children’s and youth choirs. As my personal experiences of music have been of high quality but also highly social, I believe choirs should be joyful and create community – whether they are amateur or semi-professional, young or old, sacred or secular – because that’s what lasts. Leeds Vocal Movement does just that, and it’s becoming part of a choral music revolution in our up-and-coming city which I want to help fuel.

Music, and the friends I’ve made through music, has been there for me in some form throughout the best and darkest moments of my life. There is a big difference though between experiencing music by listening to CD or going to a concert and actually being the music itself. It is far superior to share music with others and we can create much more variety as singers in a choir than alone. On that note, if you want to be part of a vibrant musical community which sings for pleasure and experiences a range of music from all genres, styles and periods, come along and sing with us on a Wednesday evening!

joining the choir, Uncategorized


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?

Please note that due to the recent pandemic and limited space in our rehearsal venue we are unable to accept applications for new members and have closed our waiting lists. Apologies for any disappointment this may cause.

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 2021/22 are £15 per month (with a £10 reduced rate, for example for students or those receiving 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 2019: 4th September – 14th December

Spring 2020: 8th January – 8th April

Summer 2020: 29th Apr – 1st 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 Sponsorship 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


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: £15.80

Reduced Rate: £10.60

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!


Meet our new Musical Director

caitlin_mayall_MD_LVM_2We proud to introduce our new Musical Director, Caitlin Mayall. Caitlin comes to us with years of experience, and is excited to be joining us to push our choir forward into the future!

Caitlin has directed Leeds University Chorus, Darlington Youth Choir and the Leeds University Ensemble Choir Project among others and her teaching style is perfect for an unauditioned choir of mixed musical background and ability.  You can find out more about Caitlin on her website.

Caitlin joins us for the new term on Wednesday 13th September 2017.  If you’ve always wanted to sing in a choir, head to our joining page to register your interest and we’ll get back to you very soon!