Lockdown hasn't stopped the music!!

On March 14th I put my violin away in it's case and made my way home for the evening just like I would after any gig.  I had just played at a beautiful wedding in the Moorland Garden Hotel.  Little did anybody know what was about to happen across the nation.  Lockdown! What did this mean?  In short, all live music work would be cancelled or postponed.  No more weddings for the foreseeable future.  No more Rock Choir rehearsals or Rock Choir gigs for the foreseeable future. More importantly for me I think - no more musical interaction with other musicians.  What do I do now?  It is so important at times like these to keep a positive mind and to keep a healthy mind and not let things get you down.  Yes there have been bad days and indifferent days where you start to wonder if there will be any gigs ever again and we are certainly not out of the woods yet.  We have just entered July and I am making this written note of what I have been doing since lockdown began.  First things first - get in touch with all my clients and re arrange all the gigs in the diary until at least October 2020.  It was a difficult task but thankfully this has been done and achieved with success.  What about Rock Choir?  We cant meet like we used to and every gig in the summer programme has disappeared because all the events have been cancelled. As you can see from the photo I have had to get my head around the latest technology as the only way forward was to move the choir online!  Those people that know me well will also know that this wasnt something that I found particularly easy and certainly not an enjoyable prospect!  With help from many friends and colleagues, far more knowledgeable than me, we did it!  I host three Zoom choir sessions every week.  To start with I was very unimpressed!  How can I run a choir and not be able to hear them sing? (Singers have to muted due to the latency!) I am just conducting my mac!  Urgh!!!! Over time I have come to realize that you have to make the very best of any given situation.  It was Zoom choir or no choir. Alongside my lovely choir members we have learnt to really enjoy Zooming.  Its lovely to see each other and I can teach the choir new material and we can sing through older songs.  Yes the members are singing in isolation but you can see your choir buddies and you can hear them in the rehearsal tracks so it is close to what we had!  We are coming to the end of a very different 'virtual' term but it has been a great experience.  Alongside Zoom sessions I have put together individual video tutorials for each section of the choir for each of the five songs that we have learnt together.  We have had facebook live sessions, Zoom quizes, fancy dress sing alongs as well as a lockdown recording project with the members for We are the Champions by Queen.  (This was brilliant by the way!). 

As a violinist I have been grateful in many ways for the down time.  It has given me the time to practice so much more which I have really enjoyed.  I have been working on new arrangements of songs and pieces ready for when we can get out there and gig again.  I have been a part of some recording projects alongside local friends and musicians.  All in all I am making the very best of a difficult situation.  We still dont know when large weddings will start again and we still dont know when my choirs can meet up safely so this may only be 'half time' at the moment. If this goes on for a long time then I may well come back and give you all an update.  In the meantime I am in a good place, enjoying the downtime and practice time and enjoying working with my choir members to keep us all singing and in good health! Take care and stay safe.

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Rockies in Tavistock battling the elements (exceptionally well!)

On Sunday we had another trip to Tavistock with the Rockies from Plymouth and Saltash.  Following on from our successful visit in November and the Tree Lights switch on event we joined Miss Ivy Events again to sing in the Christmas market and festival.  It was cold and wet and very windy but in true Rock Choir fashion we just got on with it and sung our hearts out!  Well done everyone and Happy Christmas.

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Rocking Teignmouth!

Rockies from Teigmouth, Newton Abbot and Torquay had the pleasure of rocking Teignmouth at their Christmas Tree Light switch on event last night. It was a lovely festive afternoon and evening with live music, stalls, festive food and drink and a lantern parade. The rock choir rounded off the event and as always looked and sounded superb!  Well done rockies on another great night.

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Rock Choir rock Tavistock

We had lovely day out yesterday in beautiful Tavistock. We went as a family to look around the markets and the historic town which was a really nice thing to do in the lead up to Christmas. I then joined 60 rockies and rocked Tavistock in the evening as they turned on their Christmas lights. It was so nice to see some past rockies in the crowd supporting the choir. Considering there was no sound check for anybody we sounded fab! Yvonne and the children who were in the crowd said it sounded great! Well done everyone and thank you Tavistock.

 

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Rock Choir Flash Mob Stroke Association Charity Dinner!

What a wonderful Rock Choir night we had at the The New Continental in Plymouth. Rockies turned out in their numbers in torrential rain to support the Stroke Association Charity Dinner last night. We discreetly arrived and prepared our Flash Mob which was so much fun as the guests had absolutely no idea we were coming. Well done Andrea for leading that for us - you were awesome! We then performed a short but very lively set of songs for a very enthusiastic, lively and keen crowd who had a great time singing and dancing with us! Many of the guests had only just recovered from a stroke so to see their energy and thirst for a fun night was so inspiring. One of our most enjoyable gigs I think - thoroughly rewarding! Well done 

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Rockies Rock Dawlish Carnival!

Fabulous gig today in my home town of Dawlish.  Carnival week is in full swing and over 100 rockies entertained the crowds with an amazing set of songs ranging from rock songs to ballads to The Greatest Showman.  A thoroughly professional performance from all of the rockies.  We sounded amazing and looked so smart.  We have been inundated with positive comments from the crowds and from family and friends.  It was a great way to end the Rock Choir 'season'.  Next 'season' starts with a big one - The Proms in the Park - Hyde Park London! Thank you everybody for being so amazing!

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Rock Choir rock Teignmouth

Part 2 of our amazing Rock Choir weekend!  75 Rockies sang at the Teignmouth Airshow weekend. This was a particularly important gig as we were singing in one of our towns that has a rock choir so there was lots of local support!  The sound was great and the harmonies came through so clearly!  Lots of great feedback and people asking how they join us!  Great day.

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Rock Choir Live 2019 - Plymouth.

Rock Choir Live 2019.  Plymouth. 600 Voices 4 Choir Leaders Live Band.  What a wonderful musical experience this was for all concerned.  This gave many of our members a unique opportunity to sing as part of a massed choir of 600 voices.  It was stunning! Powerful, emotional, sensitive, musical... I could go on.  Great Rock Choir experience.  We also raised over £1000 for the Rock Choir charity Nordoff Robbins.

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Saltash Regatta 2019 Rock Choir

I had another absolutley stunning Rock Choir experience on Saturday.  We sang at the regatta, right by the waters edge with the amazing Tamar Bridge in the background.  The sun was shining and the crowds turned out in their hundreds.  Members of Saltash and Plymouth Rock Choirs sang their hearts out on the stage.  It sounded amazing!!  Well done everybody.

 

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Rock Choir at Torbay Airshow

Well what a way to end a mammoth weekend of gigging in Devon!  I took the amazing rock choir to Torbay Airshow to perform to the crowds.  We did two sets today and we opened what was the second day of the airshow.  Unfortunately the weather wasnt great so there weren't too many planes around but we still sang our hearts out and we got the crowds over to listen to us and sing with us. The sound of the choir was excellent and the happy, vibrant energy coming from the choir was stunning. Many people in the corwd commented on how the rock choir performances brightened up a gloomy day!! 

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Rock Choir at Dawlish Arts Festival

What a great night!  We have just rocked Dawlish at their Arts Festival.  There was a lovely atmosphere in the Strand Centre in town last night and the weather was glorious! We opened the gig with Footloose and the atmosphere and singing and dancing was electric from the very first note!  We shared the gig with Dawlish band, Maddy and the Chaps with their mix of rock, Irish and folk songs which got everyone up singing and dancing.  Cracking night Dawlish!  Well done!

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Three Gig Bank Holiday!!

Well that was a busy Bank Holiday Weekend!!! Three gigs with my amazing Rock Choirs over the weekend in three beautiful places.  We are so lucky living here.  Friday night we sung at a concert at Maker Church to help raise money for Parkinsons mid Cornwall.  It was a stunning venue with a lovely acoustic. There was a variety of vocal groups on the programme and they were all fabulous.  Saltash Rockies and Plymouth Rockies - you were a credit and you sounded great!  On Saturday lunchtime we sung at Saltash May Fair with the river Tamar as a backdrop.  Different gig this time.  We sang on a big stage with a very powerful PA!  Again the rockies from Saltash and Plymouth sounded amazing!!!  Saltash was well and truly rocked!!!! On Monday I came closer to home as we sang at Sefton Hall Nursing Home in Dawlish.  We do this gig every year and its lovely.  We get to sing to the residents and their families which is so rewarding and they love us!!  Again the rockies, this time from Torquay, Teignmouth and Newton Abbot were brilliant - you looked and sounded so good!  All of you make me feel very proud!  Well done everyone.

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Lunch with The Boss of Rock Choir!!

I had a lovely lunch today with Caroline Redman Lusher the director and founder of Rock Choir.  I joined Vikki Hewitt, choir leader for the Exeter area, at Darts Farm for a meeting where we discussed all things Rock Choir!  There are some very exciting plans in place for rock choir members all over the country and I feel very privildged to be a part of this amazing vocal adventure.  If you want to be a part of this amazing choir experience then visit the website (www.rockchoir.com) and book a free taster session!

 

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