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When One Voice met Total Voice - a choir twinning workshop

When One Voice met Total Voice – a choir twinning workshop

One of the things we love most about Total Choir Resources is the interaction and relationships with choir leaders all over the world.

It was through the Total Choir Resources Facebook Mastermind that I met another choir leader in my neck of the woods. William Shering runs One Voice, a contemporary choir similar in size to our Total Voice Contemporary Choir and located about 45 minutes away. Last Saturday, after a few months of planning, we met at a local hotel for a joint choir workshop day with 82 singers.

Breaking the ice

From the outset, it was wonderful to welcome One Voice to our village. The choirs immediately hit it off and got chatting over a cup of tea and biscuits. The sun was shining and we were lucky to be in a lovely country house hotel which has a big function room complete with chandeliers!

The workshop was a chance to offer our choirs something different, for them to see how other choirs work, the kind of repertoire they sing and warm-up exercises they enjoy. It also allowed us to double the number of singers we usually have, creating an amazingly strong choral sound.

Working together

By having two choir leaders running the workshop, we were able to pull together our resources and offer an abundance of ideas for the workshop. We put everything together in a timed plan (we played it safe and put too much in the plan, which meant we were able to drop some things – much better than not having enough material).

William and I met at the hotel about a month before the event to do make our plan. We viewed the event space, discussed plans with the hotel owners and came up with lots of warm-ups, exercises and ideas for the choirs to sing their repertoire. We tried to put ourselves in our singers’ shoes and think about what would really make the day exciting for them.

Opportunities to socialise

As well as singing together, we felt the social element was important so we started the day with refreshments to give everyone a chance to settle in and get chatting to each other. We also included a two-course lunch. Different coloured napkins were placed alternately around the tables with each choir allocated a colour. This meant we were completely mixed up and able to chat to new people. This worked brilliantly and friendships were clearly formed over lunch with much more interaction afterwards.

Performing for each other

As well as working together on warm-ups and exercises, we also included time for the choirs to perform to each other. Each choir chose three of their favourite pieces. All the songs were different and it was really great to hear them being performed.

Although it was in no way a competition, I found my choir was more determined than ever to sound their best.

Performing together

We also wanted the choirs to be able to sing together, so in the run-up to the event we learned one of their songs and they learned one of ours. This was great fun as it not only provided new rehearsal material, it also meant we could work with all the singers on repertoire. Hearing them sing together was very special.

We all know that choirs enjoy an audience, so at the end of the day we informally invited friends and family for a mini-performance. We performed the joint songs and a couple of the fun exercises which had gone well during the day.

It was such fun working with William and the One Voice Choir. Now we’re busy planning a return trip!

9 Responses to When One Voice met Total Voice – a choir twinning workshop

  1. Helen Wade 7 April 2017 at 1:12 pm #

    Congratulations on a wonderful day. What a brilliant idea. Such an inspiration to hear how you went about it. I’m determined to do this with one of my choirs. Thank you so much.

    • Christine Mulgrew 28 April 2017 at 2:15 pm #

      Thanks Helen,

      Go for it, you’ll have so much fun. It was wonderful seeing all the choir members getting to know each other.

  2. Barbara strong 7 April 2017 at 3:41 pm #

    I am one of the singers from One Voice and I agree with everything you said. If anything, it was understated. The friendliness shown between the two choirs, the stimulus to sing to the best of our abilities, the laughter as well as some of the challenges to keep us on our toes, and of course, the wonderful sound produced by so many singing together, were all amazaing. It was a truly memorable day.

    • Christine Mulgrew 28 April 2017 at 2:18 pm #

      Hello Barabara,

      Thanks for your lovely message, it was great to meet you.

      Best wishes

  3. Jennifer Noxon 7 April 2017 at 4:05 pm #

    How timely! My choir will be hosting another choir made up of mostly immigrants and more recent newcomers to Canada in a few weeks. Our plan is to share a potluck supper and sing together and for each other. This project is designed to introduce the newcomers to the vibrant life of a small town 45 minutes from the city of Ottawa. They will also learn a little about the immigration history of the area. It will also give my choir members (of mostly Anglo Saxon/Euro descent) a chance to meet people from many different countries. Often, immigrants stay in the larger cities because of work and convenience without knowing the possible opportunities available in the smaller outlying towns. We’re hoping this is the first of what becomes an annual event. Your article was very helpful and inspiring.

  4. Jennifer Noxon 7 April 2017 at 4:06 pm #

    Did you charge your singers for the day? And if so, how much? Could you comment on that and any extra costs (food) etc. ?

    • Victoria Hopkins 7 April 2017 at 4:48 pm #

      Hi Jennifer. I’ll do a quick reply for Christine because I know she’s not around this afternoon. Yes, we did charge the participants. The main overhead was the hotel. They didn’t charge us for the venue, but obviously we had to pay for lunch and refreshments. Then we added a couple of quid on top to cover admin.

  5. Hilary Quinn 10 April 2017 at 3:32 pm #

    We recently did a similar thing but on a smaller scale. 3 parent/staff choirs from 3 local schools joined together for a musical evening. The 3 choir leaders led different warm ups, each choir performed 2 of their own songs then all 3 choirs joined together for a mini ‘rehearsal’ and ‘performance’ of 2 very contrasting pieces – the combined sound was very satisfying! The whole evening was interspersed with wine drinking, socialising and laughter. It was a great way to be able to perform in a very relaxed atmosphere. Our choir has a quite small repertoire and only meet 5 or 6 times a term so just preparing 2 pieces to perform was manageable. We already have another planned for next month

    • Christine Mulgrew 28 April 2017 at 2:23 pm #

      Hi Hilary,

      Sounds wonderful, nothing like mixing a bit of singing with some socialising! Also great to learn some new warm-up and repertoire ideas.

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