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.
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.
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!