The BeVox story
BeVox was formed in September 2010. It started with three groups, in Wakefield, Sheffield and Nottingham. In the first season, the groups were quite small - just ten singers in Wakefield, and twenty-four in Nottingham. Sheffield started with fifty-two. Since then, a fourth group in Barnsley has come and gone (formed in April 2011, merged with other groups February 2013), the group in Wakefield has closed, and the choir has grown to over four hundred singers. A new group in Lincoln launched in September 2014. In the few years we've been around, we've done over 300 performances, and helped to raise well over £60,000 for charity.
The idea for BeVox came from its Musical Director, Timothy Allen. He had worked with amateur singers for many years in many ways - as a musical director for amateur productions of musicals, as a vocal coach in the Performing Arts faculty of Bretton Hall University, and with national amateur choirs. In the summer of 2010, on a long car journey, the idea of running his own community choir took shape. He was passionate about helping people achieve their potential, and about singers having a strong voice in the running of the choir. All these ideas came together to form BeVox - a real people's choir.
Each BeVox group develops connections with the local community. This happens through our singers, as they generate ideas for places we can perform and organisations we can support. As our reputation has grown, we now also receive a number of invitations to work with other groups, both musical and community-based. In fact, we're now in such demand as a performing choir that we're often fully booked months in advance. We've hosted several "Real Variety" performances, giving other local performers the chance to share the stage with us and showcase their talents to their community. These concerts alone have raised nearly £5,000 for local charities. We are constantly looking for new ways to develop and strengthen these links with the communities where our singers are based. If you would like us to work with a group in your community, please get in touch! We have a "Performance Pack" with full details of how to book us for your event - drop us a line and we'll send you a copy. We recommend getting in touch at least four months in advance - we have a busy diary, and we're often booked up quite quickly.
Ever since the end of our first season in December 2010, we've been organising "flash mob" performances, taking music out into the public domain and surprising people with performances in unexpected places. Our first flash mobs were in Sheffield and Nottingham Railway Stations, singing a medley of Christmas carols to unsuspecting travellers. Since then, we've flash-mobbed six different shopping centres (four in one day!), had a "Battle of the Choirs" in Meadowhall, astounded delegates at the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce annual dinner in Sheffield Cathedral, entertained the public at the Lincolnshire Show and outside the Scarborough Spa Centre, and joined with our friends at City Voices Cardiff and The Rodillian Singers to produce spectacular 200+ voice flash mobs in London's St Pancras International Rail Terminal, Victoria Rail Station, outside Westminster Cathedral and Buckingham Palace. We have plans for even more flash mobs in the future - watch this space!
Our weekly sessions are our bread and butter - we love spending time working together on new music, learning new techniques, and developing our voices. There is never an obligation to perform at the end of this. However, music is a performing art, and so we offer plenty of opportunities to share our songs with an audience. There are typically anything from ten to twenty-plus performances at the end of a season. You can do as many or few of them as you wish. And occasionally, we organise something big...
At the end of our first year, in the summer of 2011, we produced a concert called "BeVox@Magna". This took place in the incredible "Face of Steel" room at the Magna Science Adventure Centre in Rotherham. With huge screens mounted in the industrial scaffolding around the stage, a full light show including specially-created CGI effects and videos, this concert was a feast for the eyes as well as the ears. Around 120 singers took part, and the resulting show was described by many of them as the best experience of their lives. A DVD of this concert is available to purchase - get in touch if you'd like one.
BeVox took part in a once-in-a-lifetime event in March 2012. We were thrilled to be invited to be part of the Cultural Olympiad, and our specially-written "Sheffield Medley" formed part of an innovative programme of events across Sheffield. The day culminated in a massive performance at the City Hall, with over 650 performers and the world premiere of "Olympic Triptych", a piece commissioned for the event and written by our own musical director, Timothy Allen.
Summer Singing Retreat
August 2012 saw BeVox hosting a Summer Singing Retreat - a week of relaxing and singing in the gorgeous surroundings of Stubton Hall, a luxurious manor house near Newark. Our guest vocal tutors brought a different spin to the event - Alastair Brookshaw (West End singer and Westminster Abbey chorister), Dylan Axup (rock and pop producer and manager), and the truly inspirational David Grant (Fame Academy judge, vocal coach to the stars). And by sheer coincidence, we were working with David Grant's equally famous wife, Carrie Grant, on BBC's "The One Show" the following week!
BeVox at Buxton with Brass
In December 2012, we created another full-on extravaganza, but of a very different nature. We took over the magnificent Devonshire Dome in Buxton to produce a fund-raising festive concert entitled "BeVox at Buxton with Brass". This raised nearly £2,000 for the Air Ambulance, with nearly 150 singers taking part. Again we created a unique atmosphere in an unusual performing space - this time accompanied by the majestic ProMusic Brass ensemble. It was a thrilling experience, and brought the joy of live choral singing to a new audience.
Music at the Minster
April 2013 saw us singing at Southwell Minster, in a concert raising money for pancreatitis research. We were also paying tribute to one of our basses, Carl Cropley, who died unexpectedly from this complex condition a year earlier. Singing to a packed house, we raised over £3,000 to help fund research into how to beat pancreatitis and save thousands of lives a year. The concert also saw the choir reach new levels of musical maturity, with sensitive, passionate performances of music from Simon & Garfunkel to Take That, from The Lion King to Les Misérables.
Music for Life
Wakefield Cathedral was the venue for this highly emotional performance, in which we welcomed our co-director Toni back to performing after her kidney and pancreas transplant. The concert raised over £1,200 for Live Life Then Give Life, an organ donation charity. We were also joined by female choir The Rodillian Singers, who helped us entertain a capacity crowd. More information is available on our Music for Life page.
Victoria BID flash mob
The Victoria Business Improvement District in London asked us to produce three flash mob performances to help promote their work. We invited our friends at City Voices Cardiff and The Rodillian Singers to join us, which led to 200 singers invading the capital and entertaining passers-by at Victoria Train Station, Westminster Cathedral's piazza, and Buckingham Palace. You can watch videos of our performances on our YouTube channel here!
A Circle of Life
This sound-and-light spectacular was a unique event in BeVox's history. It told the story of a life, in words, images and song, right from childhood to the end of our days. Theatricality was key to this production, with an unusual set design, full lighting rig, video projections and lots of little "moments" - including a really personal moment at the end of the evening performance, when the two directors of BeVox, Tim and Toni, got engaged.
A Circle of Life was also a personal story for the choir too, as hundreds of photos from throughout their lives were included in the production. There was a massive photo montage in the foyer before the show began, and during the show selections of these photographs were projected onto the stage to help tell the story. Anecdotes from singers' lives were included too, both in the souvenir programme and incorporated into the show. The whole experience was described by audience members as unique, theatrical, and an absolute triumph. A DVD of this concert is available to purchase from us - get it touch if you'd like a copy.
You can find out more about this event on our "A Circle of Life" page here.
David Grant workshop
Although this wasn't a public performance, it was certainly a milestone in our journey. In March 2014, we had a full day's workshop with leading vocal coach David Grant, whose work includes releasing Top 40 singles, winning MOBO awards, judging Pop Idol and Fame Academy, and presenting everything from Songs of Praise and School Choir of the Year to Glee Club and Carrie and David's Popshop. He inspired everyone who attended, and brought new levels of sensitivity and musicianship to our singing. We're forever grateful for his support and friendship.
Voices at the Lakeside
We headed to Nottingham for "Voices at the Lakeside", performing in the prestigious Djanogly Recital Hall at the University of Nottingham's Lakeside Arts Centre in April 2014. The level of performance seemed to go up a gear yet again, as we took the audience on an emotional rollercoaster that swept from the upbeat energy of Mr. Blue Sky and Firework, via the haunting Hushabye Mountain and Over the rainbow, to the majesty of the Jesus Christ Superstar medley. Two shows in a day was tiring work, but the reaction from the capacity crowd made it all worthwhile. Another stirring and inspirational step on our journey!
You can find out more about this event on our "Voices at the Lakeside" page here.
Christmas at the Cathedral
We returned to Wakefield Cathedral for our sold-out Christmas concert in 2014. Featuring over 120 singers, trumpet soloist Jess Bland, and an array of vocal soloists, this concert showed the many sides of Christmas - from the traditional O holy night to the quirky I believe in Father Christmas, and from the majesty of The Carol of the Drum to the energy of Frozen heart/Let it go.
There's more information about this event on our dedicated page here.
By far our largest and most ambitious event to date, BeVox Rock blew the audience away with over 200 singers, live rock band, top-notch soloists and a full-on light show. We sold out a couple of weeks before the event, so we knew we'd be singing to a capacity crowd of 600. The reaction from the audience was incredible! You can find out more about this brilliant night on our dedicated BeVox Rocks page, which includes links to photos and videos from the event.
Fifth anniversary CD recording
Although this wasn't a public event, it was a milestone in the journey of the choir. To celebrate five years since BeVox was formed, we took over the Ocean Room at The Spa Centre, Scarborough for a weekend of recording and partying! Camaraderie abounded, great music was made, and a good time was had by all! The result of this recording, our first ever CD, is called "BeVox: The First Five Years", and is on sale at all our performances.
One Night at the Albert
Our Christmas concert for 2015 was at Nottingham's Albert Hall, and featured around 200 singers, singing to an audience of over 600. The acoustics of this incredible building raised our game, and the overall sound from the choir was simply awe-inspiring. When coupled with solo performances of the highest standard, this really was a night to remember. You can find out more on our One Night at the Albert page, which includes links to photos and videos from the event.
Let Us Entertain You
Just a year after starting our BeVox group in Lincoln, we took to the stage at the Lincoln Performing Arts Centre with a full-on sound and light extravaganza! On a beautifully sunny April day, well over a hundred of our singers blew the socks off audiences of over 300 in both the matinee and evening performances - comments from audience members afterwards showed just how thrilled they were with the whole experience. The choir reached new heights of sensitivity with their singing of the evocative Something inside so strong and the a capella delights of All I have to do is dream, before finishing the show off with a rousing rendition of the mighty Les Misérables medley.
The BeVox Show
We took to Leeds Town Hall with our most successful concert to date, showcasing music ranging from Gershwin to the Rolling Stones, from Dirty Dancing to The Muppets! The sound was utterly superb, and the fun and camaraderie were off the charts too. From the jungle beat and gospel harmonies of River of dreams, to the powerful and emotional Come what may, the spectacular marble pillars of this incredible venue rang with the sound of hundreds of voices, and rapturous applause from the audience.
We returned to The Octagon in Sheffield for another massive show, featuring over 200 singers, incredible solo performances, a full light show, and a special appearance by our guest artists John Reilly and Lewis Nitikman. We sang John and Lewis's Christmas single Peace sign with them, which was great to do live, after we'd provided the choir for the recording of the single, which was released just a few weeks before the concert and at this point was already getting national airplay. The concert included music ranging across nine decades, from classic Disney tunes to Jessie J! The show ended with a heartfelt tribute to Greg Lake, who had sadly passed away just a few days earlier.
You can find out more about this event on our "Christmas: Impossible!" page here.