Posted In: Blog

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Frankie Armstrong – The Godmother of the Community Singing Movement

March 31, 2024 - By 

We have loved hearing stories of your choirs, how you came together, what was the spark that ignited the flame right at the beginning, and how things have developed since then. There are almost as many different stories as there are choirs, and this is one of the fascinating things about this recent explosion of Community Choirs in particular.

I was chatting to Gitika Partington, my fellow ChoirCommunity pal, who has been running choirs long before I started in the early 2000s. I asked her where she originally got her spark from and her answer was instantaneous, “Oh that would be Frankie Armstrong – she ran a workshop in the early 90s and she set me on the path.”  So I had to discover more about this amazing woman.

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New Arranger Welcome – Dan Pate

January 15, 2024 - By 

We published Dan’s introductory collection of arrangements on ChoirCommunity just before Christmas.  Everyone was probably quite distracted with concerts then so we’re making sure the collection gets a proper promotion now.

In this first video of a new series covering all our new arrangers, Craig chats to Dan over Zoom about his musical journey and his approach to choral arranging.

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The Results of our #60SecondsofSound’ Competition are in!

May 12, 2023 - By 
Banner Image of floating music staves weaving around each other

We had a really great response to this competition over the first few months of the year and have enjoyed judging all the entries immensely.  Thank you to everyone who took the time and effort to send us something.  We enjoyed listening to every one and have been assured that the community choir scene is thriving around the world!

The range of entries was also impressive.  We received over 30 submissions in total and the winners chosen span three continents – North America, Europe and Australasia.  It’s rather gratifying to be able to say this was a truly international competition!

….but now, onto the results!

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A Look Back At 2022

December 29, 2022 - By 
ChoirCommunity Arrangers; Ed Aldcroft, Ben See, Fiona Lander and Keely Hodgson

Well, it’s been quite a year hasn’t it? Despite all the challenges for so many people in 2022, there was still plenty to be thankful for at ChoirCommunity so we thought we’d look back on a few highlights of the year.  We hope you enjoy looking through them and sparking some positive memories of the last 12 months!

2022 Was The Year We……

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New Arranger Welcome – Keely Hodgson

March 29, 2022 - By 
Keely Hodgson and Choir

Earlier this month, we published a new collection from our latest arranger to join the team, Keely Hodgson.  Keely is the last new arranger we will be adding to the website for a while now as we focus on consolidating and adding to everyone’s collections.  That means this is probably the last Zoom chat for a bit as well, so we’re making the most of it!

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New Arranger Welcome – Fiona Lander

February 16, 2022 - By 
Fiona Lander conducting her women's choir banner image

Last week we published Fiona’s introductory collection of compositions and arrangements on ChoirCommunity. To accompany this launch, Craig chatted to Fiona over Zoom about her music influences and career.

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New Arranger Welcome – Ed Aldcroft

January 26, 2022 - By 
Ed Aldcroft Conducting a choir banner image

We launched Ed’s exciting and varied initial collection of arrangements in mid-January on ChoirCommunity.   Craig had a chance to catch up with Ed over Zoom (between the UK and Spain) the week after to talk about his musical influences and career.

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New Arranger Welcome – Ben See

January 10, 2022 - By 
Ben See Conducting Banner Image

We kicked off 2022 by publishing a brand new music collection from composer, singer and choir leader Ben See. We’re now following up this launch with another in our series of Zoom interviews with Craig.

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Introducing a New Series of Music Videos

July 15, 2021 - By 

We thought we’d try a new way of showcasing some of the great music we have on ChoirCommunity and especially the fantastic talent embodied in our wonderful team of arrangers.  Each week, we’ll put a new video up on YouTube created by one (or sometimes more than one) of our arrangers of a song which is available from our library for download.  The format will be a mixture of ‘virtual’ and live performance and we hope you’ll enjoy subscribing to the channel and having a listen each week.

The first video to be published is Wendy Sergeant’s version of I’m Still Standing, sung by Wendy herself along with Doug Watts (another of our team of arrangers), Catherine Smith and Katherine Everett.  The video was created by Doug as part of the Portishead Festival of Song in 2020.

The sheet music and learning tracks for this arrangement can be downloaded from the website here.

Make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel and click to receive notifications of videos as they come out each week at https://www.youtube.com/c/choircommunity

 


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New Arranger Welcome – Tim Allen

July 8, 2021 - By 
Tim Allen conducting a choir banner image

We’re delighted to welcome the multi-talented Tim Allen to the team of arrangers this month and Craig has marked the occasion with another wide-ranging and often fascinating chat with Tim over Zoom.

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Delivering a Better Browsing Experience

June 24, 2021 - By 
A screen capture of the new browse page design

We’re constantly looking to find new ways to make the website better and easier to use, especially when it comes to search for the right piece of music!  One of the things which has held us back is the way in which all the classification data – things like genre, voicing, difficulty level, accompaniment, choir type, etc.  – have been grouped together as ‘categories’ or ‘tags’.

Well, this has now all changed, along with a brand new design for all the pages on the website where our arrangements are listed.  Now you can filter any list by any of these categories independently, while also typing more specific search terms to find exactly what you want.

We hope you find the new page design easy to use and more importantly, enables you to find the best arrangements for your choir quickly and easily.

All the product pages still have the ability to preview the full scores, as well as listen to an excerpt of the ensemble learning track for every arrangement (well, nearly every one – we’re working on that!).  All our learning tracks are all properly sung and recorded in high-quality audio as well to make the browsing experience as enjoyable and useful as possible.

Try out the new full catalogue search page here.

We hope you like the changes – please let us know by replying on this post, or emailing us directly at hello@choircommunity.net

 


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New Arranger Welcome – Jake Alexander

June 3, 2021 - By 
Jake Alexander Conducting a Choir

We’re delighted to welcome Jake Alexander to the growing team of ChoirCommunity arrangers this week.  Jake is a multi-talented musician and instrumentalist, who spends his time in a wide range of musical activities, as well as writing and arranging choral music.

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An Interview With Craig McLeish

April 18, 2021 - By 

It’s only taken four years, but we’ve finally got around to having a chat with Craig – Co-founder of, and prolific contributor to ChoirCommunity!   Many thanks to Gitika Partington for taking Craig out of his comfort zone and putting him through the same sort of paces he has set for all our other arrangers over the last few months.

There are some great stories, as well as lots of insights into Craig’s approach to musical direction, arrangement and composition, influenced by exposure to some of the greatest musicians the country has produced from a very early age!

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The Making of ‘Nothing Like Pilchards’

March 25, 2021 - By 
Nothing Like Pilchards Song Banner

Despite the latest boom in Sea Shanty interest they have been a regular feature of the folk session that our resident soprano, Laura Featherstone has taken part in for many years.  The annual Sea Shanty festival in Falmouth is also a very popular event every year, so they have always been big business down in Cornwall.  However it’s fair to say that the same favourites are sung often, so Laura thought she would try and create something new!

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New Arranger Welcome – Kate Shipway

March 3, 2021 - By 
Kate Shipway conducting her choir

This week, we’re delighted to welcome our newest arranger, Kate Shipway to the website.  Kate is the first new arranger to come on board via our new ‘Artist Application’ process which we introduced at the end of 2020.   Her submission was the one which really caught our eye so it’s great to be able to publish her first collection of songs and arrangements this week.

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Zoom chat with Gitika Partington

February 25, 2021 - By 
a choir and conductor

In this week’s blog, we finally present a chat between Craig and our other founding arranger and ChoirCommunity co-director, Gitika Partington.

Gitika has been a wonderful supporter of the ChoirCommunity initiative since the very start and it’s been great to have her support (and of course here fantastic music) throughout the first three years.

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Roslyn’s Lullaby – Sam Burns

February 11, 2021 - By 
Sam Burns Montage Banner Image

This is worth a complete blog in its own right as it is such a lovely story with one of our own at the centre of it.  Sam Burns is currently taking a sabbatical / on semi-retirement building a school in Portugal, but still managed to find time to help a little girl in Pennsylvania, with the help of his Bristol MAN Chorus, some sea shanties and a special lullaby….

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New Arranger Welcome – Richard Salt

January 27, 2021 - By 
Notorious Choir, Birmingham

The first thing to sat about this blog is that Richard is not a new arranger at all – in fact he is one of the original three  (along with Craig and Gitika) who helped to launch ChoirCommunity at the start of 2018.   It’s just taken a little bit longer to get round to him – but then we haven’t had recorded a video chat with Craig or Gitika yet either!

In this Zoom chat, Craig and Richard talk about his musical influences and memories, as well as getting into the craft and joy of creating the perfect choral arrangement.

Richard has a fantastic collection of pop arrangements on the website which will add sparkle to any repertoire.  Preview all his arrangements here.

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New Arranger Welcome – Dom Stichbury

January 20, 2021 - By 
Dom Stichbury Conducting the Chaps Choir

In the seventh of our series of video conversations with our team of arrangers, Craig chats to Dom Stichbury about the formative years of his musical career, leading choral groups of different types, including male voices and many other aspects of how music has influenced him.

The collection of Dom’s arrangements, which will continue to grow,  can be found on his shop page here.

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New Arranger Welcome – Anna Tabbush

December 8, 2020 - By 
Anna Tabbush Conducting

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 
Paul Ayres Banner Image

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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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 
Val Regan Banner Image

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 
Abi Moore Conducting a Choir Banner Image

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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