Blog - ChoirCommunity

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Score or No Score? Teaching Songs By Ear

January 13, 2021 - By 
Gasworks Choir Learning By Ear

Photograph is of the Bristol Gasworks Choir by James Barke

The first time I learned songs in unaccompanied harmony by ear was at a “Sweet Soul Sisters” Bristol workshop in the early 1990s. I remember feeling my musical brain being challenged in a new and exciting way – trying to remember intervals by feel rather than counting the lines on a stave, noticing how the five parts of the song fitted together and letting the notes slowly seep into my brain – without the help of a musical score. And I was moved to tears by the sensation of singing in harmony with a large group of people. Two members of the Sweet Soul Sisters (Dee Jarlett and Ali Orbaum) later started the now legendary Gasworks Choir teaching large numbers of people in this same way, by ear.

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New Arranger Welcome – Anna Tabbush

December 8, 2020 - By 

In this, the sixth of our series of video conversations with our team of arrangers, Craig chats to Anna Tabbush about her very musical upbringing and her passion for making music an experience with emotional and physical impact.

All of Anna’s arrangements, to which we are expecting to add may more,  can be found on her shop page here

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New Arranger Welcome – Paul Ayres

November 14, 2020 - By 

After a short summer / autumn break, we return to the fifth of our series of video conversations with our fantastic team of arrangers and composers.  In this installment, Craig talk to Paul Ayers about his own musical influences and passions and the trials and tribulations of trying to get work published.

All of Paul’s arrangements, including his collection of 3-part settings of Christmas Carols can be found on his shop page here.

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Launching a Classical Choral Repertoire for Community Choirs

September 21, 2020 - By 

Community Choirs come in all sizes and shapes and the diversity across these variations is wonderful. When my own choir started out around 12 years ago we majored on singing quite straightforward songs with repeated verses, things we could grasp fairly quickly yet were very effective and fun to do. Songs from the African continent, Folk songs and Spirituals fitted that category. And we still love singing those sorts of songs, it’s really the core of what we’re about.

The wealth of classical choral repertoire has a reputation for being beyond the reach of most Community Choirs but we have over the years found this not to be the case, and if chosen carefully and taught in the same way we learn all our pieces, there is much pleasure to be had in dipping some toes in the waters of this great rich ocean.

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New Arranger Welcome – Wendy Sergeant

June 30, 2020 - By 

Wendy isn’t actually a new arranger, but we didn’t make nearly enough fuss about her the first time around so we’re making up for it now!  In the fourth of our series of video conversations, Craig and Wendy chat about early influences, song-writing and arranging techniques and much more besides!

All of Wendy’s arrangements can be found on her shop page here.

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New Arranger Welcome – Val Regan

June 24, 2020 - By 

In the third of our series of video interviews – partly inspired by the the experience of endless Zoom calls during lockdown – Craig talks to Val Regan about his musical influences and the particularly inspiring attributes of music and arranging which have guided her through her career.

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New Arranger Welcome – Doug Watts

June 15, 2020 - By 

In the second of our series of video interviews – partly inspired by the the experience of endless Zoom calls during lockdown – Craig talks to Doug Watts about his musical life and the steps which led up to joining ChoirCommunity!

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New Arranger Welcome – Abi Moore

June 8, 2020 - By 

This is the first of a series of interview blogs (or vlogs?) introducing new artists as we welcome them to ChoirCommunity.   Thanks in part to the deal we have signed with Hal Leonard, we have been able to expand no only our library of music, but also our team of arrangers, many of whom had songs which were effectively locked away in drawers until now.

Abi Moore is one of these talented musicians who contacted us well over a year ago to see if we could work together.  It’s fantastic to be able to start offering her music now on ChoirCommunity and we thought it would be great to try out something new to support welcoming her, and our other new arrangers to the website.

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Warehouse Adventures For Beginners – Part 3

May 8, 2020 - By 

Or, “How an Ageing Choirleader Briefly Sullied His Hands and Became a Spokesman for All The World’s Downtrodden Workers”

Day to Day

Overall, it’s actually not bad. A lot of the men comment that this is one of the best warehouse gigs in the west. Nightshift (10pm-6am) pays just over £300/week after tax, which is top whack apparently. (Yay….. 😉

Plus, there’s many fewer Orange Jackets on the night shift – the line managers. Us green jackets distrust ’em, though they’re mainly ok really. Here, as everywhere, the odd person who was clearly bullied at school & now finds themselves in a position of power is easy to spot, but happily there are few.

Most importantly, though we work hard non-stop.  There is no-one constantly pushing us to work even faster, & there’s time to do the job properly. That’s a game-changer in any crap job. Our manager paused as he passed last night, cast a critical eye & said. ‘Nice pallet that’. I swelled with pride… -”Nice? – Moana Pallet Lisa mate!”  He laughed & moved on. A good moment.

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Warehouse Adventures for Beginners – Part 2

May 5, 2020 - By 

Or, ‘How an Ageing Choirleader Briefly Sullied His Hands, & Became a Spokesman for All the Worlds Downtrodden Workers.”

First Shift

You clock in/out at the door. A second late equals 15 mins docked pay & a bollocking.  Ant-like & vaguely 2m apart, our feisty platter of misfits files down to the evening briefing.

Good news!  Last night we were (again) the most productive shift of the 24hrs …and the lowest sickness rate. We scoff of course, but are secretly proud. Night shift represents.  Bays assigned, the teams head out.

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