Posted In: Featured Arrangements
It’s ‘acapella’ week this week as we’ve got a bumper crop of new unaccompanied arrangements published – a fantastic addition to our collection from Gitika Partington and Wendy Sergeant. As long-time members of the ChoirCommunity team, Gitika and Wendy both have well-established collections on the website, but these latest additions bring something new and fresh as always.
Wendy has recently undertaken an “Innovative Choir Leading” course at the Royal College of Music in Denmark and I think you can definitely hear the influence of that in her latest arrangements. In particular, her version of ‘Sweet Child of Mine’ and an original composition called ‘Winter Waltz’ are well worth a listen.
As a Co-founder of the website, Gitika now has 164 titles in her collection and these latest ones are great additions, mostly harking back a few decades and including some of the greatest song writers of the time. Her version of the Rolling Stones ‘Paint It, Black’ is understandably one of her choirs’ favourite songs. I also love the melifluous feel of Joni Mitchell’s ‘Blue’ which also has a recording you can listen to on Gitika’s Soundcloud channel.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ve got a new look to our homepage this month. We hope you like it as much as we do! Hopefully it looks lighter, sharper and also a bit clearer. We have introduced featured music panels, which showcase different aspects of our library, each of which is illustrated with a unique icon. We will be rotating these over the next few months to see which work best and also to introduce new music as it becomes available.
…which leads me onto the real reason that we did this. I am delighted to be able to launch a whole new section of the website for ChoirCommunity. Thanks to our partnership with Making Music, we have reached an agreement to publish the original works created as part of their ‘Adopt a Composer’ initiative. This is a scheme which runs every year and encourages music groups of all types to commission original pieces of work from composers working in the UK. All of the completed works are performed by the group in question and most are broadcast on BBC Radio 3.
For the launch of this new section, we welcome Mark Boden, Aran Browning and Rosie Clements whose original compositions are a wonderful examples of the contemporary choral music scene in the UK. Meet them on the new composers’s page here and take a look at their submissions.
We have also added one of Craig’s original works here too and will be adding more from him, as well as many others in the future.
One of the really enjoyable experiences we have had since setting up ChoirCommunity has been to see the growing number of choirs discover the website and sign up. I get an alert email every time that happens and it still gives me a little buzz each time it happens!
….which is quite nice since it has now happened well over 800 times since January 2018! After we put out the results of the competition last month, it struck me that it might be rather cool to see a more visual illustration of that experience, so after researching various options, our new Maps page has been born!
It is apparently ‘industry best practice’ to regularly refresh and update your website. Something about search engine optimisation, click through rates and other important-sounding phrases. We don’t know much about that, but we thought that there were some improvements we could introduce to make the browsing experience on ChoirCommunity a bit easier and to introduce some of the new elements we have been working on.
ChoirCommunity is nearly 5 months old this weekend. It’s been a very enjoyable and rewarding process for us so far – as well as being quite hard work! By far the best part of creating a new service like this has been getting the positive feedback and support from choir leaders who have embraced our idea and given some arrangements a go. We’re always delighted to hear that a piece has been enjoyed and even more delighted when customers come back for more!
To that end, we wanted to create our own way of rewarding the people who are supporting us as we continue to develop the website. Every purchase on the site from now on will earn rewards points which can be redeemed later for discounts on future purchases. We will also be offering lots of ways to earn additional points in various ways in the future (we just need to work out what they will be!).
To kick things off, we are recognising our top 10 customers so far (e.g. the 10 customers who have bought the most music) by offering them 1000 rewards points as a thank you for giving us a try. We can’t tell you who they are, but they will be receiving a thank you email from us today.
We are also offering 500 points for anyone registering a new account with us through the summer. So if you haven’t taken that step yet, why not go to the registration page here and join up!
Something struck me as I was working on the website last week to do with the how people are interacting with the site.
What struck me is that no matter how much we grow our portfolio over the next few years, ChoirCommunity is never going to be the sort of site where a prospective customer can say “I wonder if they’ve got <enter song title here> ?” and then search for it.
Since our launch on 1st January, we’ve had a very welcome steady stream of questions from you asking for clarification and answers on a number of topics.
We’ve tried hard to answer every one personally (and will continue to do so), but I thought it would also be a good idea to consolidate as many of the more generic and most commonly asked questions into a proper ‘FAQ’ page.
Many thanks to all of you who have contacted us with questions or comments about the site.
We’ve had an overwhelming proportion of positive comments which has been great to read, but also some really good feedback on areas which could be improved.
One of the most consistent messages has been focused around the availability of the music scores to preview the arrangements. We completely understand that as choir leaders, you need to be fully confident that the arrangement will suit the voices and style of your choir before you commit to purchasing and the small ‘representative’ image that we had put up there just wasn’t cutting it!
So we did some research and found a perfect bit of tech which we could integrate into the site relatively easily, while still retaining the necessary copy protection of the original document. We hope you will appreciate the results as every sheet music arrangement page now has a fully scrollable view of the score with controls to page up and down and zoom in and out to your heart’s content!
Try it out on Craig’s arrangement of ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water Here’
Hopefully you’ve noticed that all arrangements come in pairs too. At the bottom right of every product page is a button to toggle between the sheet music and learning tracks. On the latter you can listen to excerpts of each learning track and the top one is always the full arrangement with all voices together, so just clicking on the play button should give you a reasonable representation of how the piece will sound.
Finally, we have also had lots of questions about alternative arrangements being available, in particular SSA / SAA and SAT / SAB. I am very hopeful that as we grow, we will be able to add many of these voice arrangements to both existing titles and new ones and I will of course keep you up to date with any new arrangements that we add.
Please do continue to send us your comments, questions and ideas, either in the comments box below or using our contact form.
If there is a particular song which you’re dying to do, please let us know and if it’s got a good chance of being cleared by the rights owners we’ll certainly consider it for the future.