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Associate Conductor Opportunities

Salary

£75 per rehearsal, which includes preparation time, with a bonus for concerts.

Job description:

LVM is seeking to appoint experienced, friendly choral conductors, who can provide occasional cover for our choir over the coming years. We are keen to hear from a variety of candidates as we may offer several Associate Conductor positions, in case of deputising opportunities coming in at short notice.

Additionally, whilst our Musical Director is on maternity leave this year, there will also be a longer-term opportunity to deputise regularly for us from mid-October until Christmas 2021 (and potentially also into Spring/Summer 2022). For this maternity cover position, we are keen to employ one principal Associate Conductor who is available to deputise for all our regular rehearsals. 

About Leeds Vocal Movement:

Leeds Vocal Movement (LVM) is an un-auditioned SATB choir based in Leeds, West Yorkshire. Our choir aims to bridge the gap between youth choirs and choral societies, and we provide musical opportunities for young adults between the ages of 18 and 35. We are a fun, educational and social choir of approximately 40 singers, who perform music spanning a range of genres, including contemporary, classical, jazz, sacred and traditional music. Focusing on inclusive musical education, our Musical Director Caitlin Mayall uses the Kodály Method to help our members develop their ability to pitch, sight-read and improve tuning.

The choir rehearses every Wednesday evening during school term time, from 7.15-9.15pm in Leeds City Centre. We usually hold biannual concerts in December and June, as well as taking part in an annual collaborative event with local music groups. Previous collaborations have included concerts with Bradford Festival Choral Society, Phoenix Concert Band, and several choirs at the Left Bank Choir Festival. We also do an annual Christmas busk for charity and have released online videos throughout the pandemic.

Duties and responsibilities: 

  • Plan rehearsals and rehearse the choir on an ad hoc basis
  • Deliver fun, engaging warm-ups at the beginning of each rehearsal
  • Lead sectionals (usually upper or lower voices)
  • Work collaboratively with our piano accompanist
  • Prepare music prior to rehearsal as directed by our Musical Director 
  • Following the rehearsal, liaise with the Musical Director to provide feedback and suggestions for next steps
  • Communicate effectively with the Choir committee

Person specification

LVM is a unique choir in that it is made up of singers of all abilities, from those with very little musical experience, to confident sight-readers with years of professional training. As such, we are seeking to appoint Associate Conductor/s who:

  • Have excellent knowledge of, and passion for, choral music
  • Are trained singers who can model musical phrasing
  • Have experience in conducting choirs and planning rehearsals
  • Can direct our choir in a personable, dynamic, and most importantly fun style
  • Understand how to be inclusive of all our members, by providing support for our less experienced singers whilst seeking an excellent choral sound which challenges even the most able
  • Are highly reliable and good communicators
  • Can confidently use a tuning fork or pitch pipe to give notes
  • Are available on Wednesday evenings and able to travel to/from Leeds city centre

Recruitment Process

If you are interested in joining us as an Associate Conductor please send through a CV outlining your experience relative to the choir and the personal specification with reference and a short statement about why you are interested in Leeds Vocal Movement, via either:

  • A written document – two pages maximum, or;
  • A short video – 5 minutes maximum

Please submit all applications to manager@leedsvocalmovement.co.uk

Please send through applications by Friday 20 August 2021. If you are interested in the maternity cover position, please specify in the application. 

We will let you know by Wednesday 1 September 2021 whether we would like to ask you to attend a mock rehearsal followed by a short interview on Wednesday 22 September 2021.

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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”

internship, Uncategorized

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

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!