Sing with your mouths, listen with your ears….

May11

So Vanessa is always banging on at us that one of the most important skills in choir is keeping our ears open, as listening (even to other people’s parts) helps us to understand how the arrangement comes together, and – crucially – prevents us all from chatting away during rehearsals!

But did you know that you might be a better listener (and learner) if you studied a musical instrument at school? Studies have shown that musical training (but not necessarily just passive listening to music) affects attention and memory. It’s suggested that the reason for this is that the motor and listening skills needed to play an instrument in concert with other people appears to heavily involve attention, memory and the ability to inhibit actions. Merely listening passively to music by, say, Toto, does not produce the same changes in attention and memory. So if you were a whiz on the recorder at school, there really is no excuse for not already having memorized this term’s parts!

 

“We built this city on sausage rolls” (and other misheard lyrics!)

May04

So this week at choir, Vanessa encouraged us to get on with learning the words to our songs, and put down our lyric and music sheets as quickly as possible. There’s no cheating at the gig, after all!

But some choir members get a shock when the lyric sheets go around, and they discover that the words to a song aren’t quite what they thought they were….

This week some of the Brighton choir were surprised to learn that Toto were singing “I bless the rains down in Africa”, rather than “I bet it rains down in Africa”; “I left my brains down in Africa”, or even better, “I bet Lorraine’s down in Africa”! Who’s Lorraine? And why has she gone to Africa?!

If you’ve got any misheard lyrics stories, we’d love you to share them!

 

 

Guess who’s back? Choir’s back!

Apr27

Well it certainly felt good to get the old vocal chords moving again this week, after a short break over Easter. And what an exciting term we’ve got to look forward to!

The summer term will see us getting ready to take part in the Voices Now festival at the Roundhouse in July – a celebration of all things choir.

The Roundhouse is an iconic venue, and we absolutely can’t want to follow in the footsteps of some of the acts that have performed there – the Doors performed their only UK show there in 1968, and Oasis and The Stranglers have both recorded live albums there. Who would have thought that the venue would rise to such legendary status from its humble beginnings as a railway turntable and a warehouse!

If you aren’t already a choir member and want to get involved, come along to one of our FREE taster sessions! Details in the ‘Join In’ section of the site!

 

 

 

What a weekend!

Apr13

So last weekend saw the majestic SOTC Choir take one two towns and two venues over two crazy days!

The Hassocks choir were resplendent on Saturday night, teaching the audience to sing ‘Lean on Me’ and raising an incredible £443.48 for St Catherine’s Hospice.

The Brighton choir did their thing on Sunday at  The Old Market, and wowed the audience to the point that a two song encore was demanded!

It was so much fun, we can’t wait to do it all again…. Speaking of which, if you haven’t already, don’t forget to get your name down for next term!

How to nail it on gig day

Apr07

With both of Soul of the City’s Spring Gigs approaching this weekend, we ask ourselves – how do you get the most out of a performance?

  • If you suffer from stage fright, focus solely on getting through that very first line. Once that’s out of the way, everything tends to fall into place, so giving yourself something specific to do before singing your first note can work wonders!
  • Enjoy the feeling of being on stage, look around you in rehearsals to get used to the size of the performance space and think how much energy you will need to fill that space.
  • As Johnny once (almost) said to Baby in Dirty Dancing – The words aren’t enough…….FEEL the music!
  • Vibe off the audience – just take the time to appreciate how much they are enjoying hearing you sing!
  • Lap up the moment – this is what all your hard work has been for, so bask in the glory!

Who sings with us? And why?!

Mar30

This week, meet Russ, who as well as singing with our Brighton choir, is performing as a support act at our end of term gig next week!

I joined Soul of the City Brighton at the beginning of 2017.  I knew I loved singing but I didn’t have the confidence or outlet to go it alone. A friend suggested I try joining a choir, and after some Googling I found Soul of the City.

 It was terrifying turning up for the first time and trying something completely unfamiliar! I was made to feel really welcome by everyone, especially the other guys in the tenor and bass sections. There is a genuine sense of camaraderie, and I really felt this when we went to the Roundhouse for the gathering day for the Voices Now festival that is happening in July.

 I have met people I probably wouldn’t otherwise have encountered, and have now got an activity and interest that is completely unconnected to my work, which is refreshing! I’ve been really enjoying this term and have been in awe of how the harmonies and arrangements are constructed and composed- it can be challenging sometimes to get the parts right, but it sounds amazing when it all comes together.

 I would encourage anybody who loves singing, or just wants to get out and meet new people to give it a go. 

Hassocks Choir supports local hospice

Mar23

This term, the wonderful Hassocks Choir has chosen to support a local hospice, with the proceeds from their spring gig going to St Catherine’s Hospice, Crawley.

St Catherine’s was established in 1983 and provides expert end of life care in Sussex and East Surrey, helping more than 2,000 terminally ill people, their family members, friends, and carers each year. They also provide emotional, spiritual and welfare support to anyone affected by death and bereavement.

SOTC Hassocks is proud to help ensure that people receive the best support when life comes full circle. To find our more about St Catherine’s please visit https://www.stch.org.uk/

And you can snap up the last few remaining tickets to the Hassocks choir’s gig on 8 April here – but be quick!  https://www.wegottickets.com/event/391756

 

You’re in for a treat…

Mar16

At Soul of the City Choir’s gigs, the audience get to enjoy amazing choral singing – as well as being treated to some of the best local musical talent, in the form of our fabulous support acts.

On 8 April, The Hassocks’ choir’s audience will enjoy a performance from Brighton band Nighthouse. Nighthouse have been described by Nuit magazine as: ‘Crushed melody of sweetened folk and bitter rock music. Falsetto vocals and a sparse electric piano which then crescendo into a soft as butter unreleased Radiohead single‘. You’re welcome, guys!

At the Brighton choir’s gig on 9 April, local musician Paul Murray will be performing a mix of folk, indie and blues songs, with a bit of heavier rock guitar thrown in. Over the past few years Paul has been gaining recognition on the London and Brighton scene having played hundreds of venues including The Garage, ULU and Ronnie Scott’s in London – as well as everywhere around Brighton and Sussex! We really can’t wait to see him.

Tickets for the Brighton choir’s gig are sold out, but you can snap up the last few remaining Hassocks’ gig tickets here: https://www.wegottickets.com/event/391756

Support at both gigs will also come from two of our amazing choir members, Mike Hanna and Russ Grooms – but more about these guys next week…

Hft – supporting people with learning disabilities

Mar09

Soul of the City Choir is proud to donate the profits from our gigs to local charities. Choir members have the opportunity to nominate charities that mean something to them to receive the proceeds from our gigs. This term, the Brighton choir is delighted to be supporting Hft, a charity for people with learning difficulties.

Hft is a national charity, providing services for people with learning disabilities throughout England. They support people to live the best lives possible – whether by providing support for just a couple of hours a week, or 24 hours a day.

Hft Sussex works hard to find creative ways to help combat isolation and enable people to enjoy new experiences and activities. Last year, Htf Sussex created CoreFest; a unique fully-accessible music festival for the whole community. CoreFest is set in the beautiful orchards at Hft Sussex, and is fully equipped to cater to the various needs of people with disabilities; from wheelchair-accessible pathways, to adult changing stations, to chill-out sensory areas, to staff with a sound understanding of the challenges people may face. Corefest 2017 is set to be even bigger and better that last year’s debut!

Music is close to all our hearts here at SOTC, and we all know that live gigs can be exciting, exhilarating and a fantastic social experience. So we are thrilled that we are able to help support Hft through our Spring Concert on 9 April 2017 to make CoreFest 2017 an event to remember, accessible to all.

Check out more about Hft here: http://www.hft.org.uk/

Voices Now!

Mar02

Soul of the City is absolutely delighted to announce that we have been invited to perform as part of the Voices Now Festival at London’s Roundhouse in July 2017.

The festival will bring together different types of choirs from around the UK, to sing at one of the country’s leading venues in front of thousands of people across three days. SOTC will get to work with some of the UK’s most exciting choral directors and musicians to create the next Voices Now festival… and we simply CANNOT WAIT!

The creative process began on 26 February, when SOTC singers took a road trip from Hove to London to meet the other choirs who have been selected to take part, and got to feed into the planning process.

To find out more about Voices Now, check out their website: http://voicesnow.org.uk/

 

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