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LVM Annual General Meeting – 14.09.2021, 19:00

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Agenda

  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.

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Virtual Workshops : Artist Brief

Leeds Vocal Movement are looking for talented musical professionals to work alongside our choir and create engaging virtual workshops which give our community the opportunity to learn more about choral music. 

This year we have funding available to create three bespoke virtual workshops. 

What are we looking for?

We love working with anyone who is as passionate about choral music (of any genre) as we are! We welcome proposals for any type of workshop you would like to run, as long as it fits into our model:

  • A live session of between one and two hours, led on a virtual platform, allowing our members and the public to learn directly from you. This session should be structured to include some content which we can record and retain to share with our members in the future.
  • Creation of any supporting materials for your workshop, including any recordings or backing tracks (we have excellent contacts who can collaborate on this area)

While we are open to any suggestion, we are particularly keen to host a workshop on music-reading for singing, and any genre-specific workshops. 

What will you get out of it?

It’s a paid gig, and we have provisionally set aside £350 for the creation and delivery of the session, with an additional £200 for post-production. We can negotiate within these bounds if you are interested in both delivering and editing the session yourself. 

We have a budget set aside for marketing and promotion, and you will be referenced on all our outreach materials as well as our website. We have a membership of over 50 paying members, and typically advertise to between 300 and 500 young musicians in the Leeds area.

You also get a lot of support when working with Leeds Vocal Movement, both from our dedicated committee and from our network of local professionals. If you haven’t led a workshop session of this type before, don’t be put off getting in touch – there is a lot we give back to our collaborators!

Who are we?

Leeds Vocal Movement is an unauditioned choir that aims to offer high quality musical opportunities for adults between 18 and 35; by targeting this age group, we bridge the gap between youth choirs and choral societies.

Our objectives are to advance the musical education of people aged between 18 and 35, and to advance and improve public engagement of choral music. These objectives are reflected in our activities; we provide musical education to our members through weekly rehearsals, in which we teach musicianship through a range of techniques, including the Kodaly method. Our projects are also aimed at improving musical education; we hold regular workshops in sight-reading and choral techniques, and our internship programme provides skills to early-career musicians, and improves the choir’s training. We have improved our public engagement through concerts, public performances and collaborations with the local arts scene, and free open rehearsals and choral workshops. 

Who’ve we worked with before?

Our workshops have included Neil Balfour (Sing for Pleasure Master Conductor), on vocal techniques and applying them to music, Katy Cooper (Chapel Music Director, Glasgow University) on choral conducting, and Anna Weister Andersson (choral expert) on the genre of gospel music.

All sounds great…how do I apply?

If you like what you’re reading and think you have a workshop that is right for Leeds Vocal Movement, then please get in touch with us by emailing your proposal to manager@leedsvocalmovement.co.uk. In your proposal please include:

  • A short personal introduction, including any qualifications and relevant experience
  • An overview of your proposed session
  • Any supporting materials you intend to create or have created for the session

Please limit proposals to a maximum of two pages.

The deadline for submitting proposals is Tuesday 31st August at 11:59PM

We look forward to hearing from you soon!

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Seal Lullaby – Eric Whitacre

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

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!

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!

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?

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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

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?

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

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: £15.80

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!