We’re really excited to be performing at the Crewe Cosmopolitan Food Festival on 28th October 2018. With the nights drawing in, pumpkins swelling to full size and the damp Autumn mist lingering in the cool air, there’s nothing better than throwing on your wellies and scarf, kicking up the leaves, eating hearty warm meals whilst preparing for Hallowe’en.
We’re rehearsing some brand new spooky song repertoire for your listening pleasure and, owing to the season – it’s highly likely that we might be dressed in costume as well…
We’ll be singing in the Pumpkin Parade at 1pm on Sunday afternoon. Please head down and join us – not only to support us, but to enjoy entertainment from all the children who have been involved making masks that they will wear to scare away the Hallowe’en ghouls!
There will be plenty of entertainment and delicious food to enjoy all day long, so stay local and join us at Crewe Cosmopolitan Food Festival for a fantastic day of frolics, frights and tasty bites… mwahahaha!
MicWire are looking forward to performing at the Crewe Cemetery Open Day on Saturday 15th September. It’s an important event for the Cemetery as they are undergoing a big renovation project to upgrade the facilities for bereaved families in Cheshire to use. The scheme is to cost 1.3m and planned works are to improve visitor comfort by extending the existing building, increasing the space and seating indoors as well as installing a hearing loop. The car park capacity will also increase.
The team have also recently digitised the burial records meaning that families can now electronically search for ancestors and family members.
The aim of the event is to raise public awareness of what services are available from Orbitas and local funeral directors.
Times: The Open Day will run from 11:00 until 14:30. The choir will be singing during the “Golden Memories” service starting at 14:00.
Address: Crewe Cemetery & Crematorium, Badger Avenue, Crewe, CW1 2NA
- Lean On Me
- Poem 1 – I Am Always with You
- Poem 2 – He Is Gone
- Amazing Grace
- Poem 3 – Remember Me
- This Little Light Of Mine
P.S. Death can be regarded as a taboo subject or we may avoid talking about death because it makes us uncomfortable. Grief surrounding death is a natural feeling and can cause a multitude of emotions, which may be experienced very differently from person to person. There is no set time within which anyone is to grieve, and no set way to do it. If you have experienced loss of a loved one, remember that you are not alone in your sadness.
If you or someone you know needs help with emotions associated with grief and loss, here are some suggestions of where to find some healthy and comforting support:
A couple of people have asked me lately how easy (or hard!) it is to set up a successful choir and so I thought I would write down some of my initial structure when we set up MicWire just over a year ago.
1. What type of choir would you like to set up?
First of all, figure out what other choirs there are locally. Is there need for a new choir in your area and how is it going to set itself apart from the rest? Will it be an audition choir or can anybody join? What sort of music will you sing?
2. Asking other people for help
Whilst the internet can provide a multitude of ideas, guidance and strategy when setting up your choir, for me, the whole point of setting up MicWire was to bring together lots of like minded individuals to enjoy a singing experience that was different to everything else out there. To achieve this – I asked other people what they wanted from a choir that was perhaps missing from the existing groups and lots of ideas came forth that I could work with.
3. Keeping clarity and focus
There is SO MUCH amazing music out there to choose from and so many amazing choirs, each with their own niche and strength. When we set up MicWire, we chose to focus on Soul, MoTown and Gospel music. This helps us focus on which music to choose for our repertoire and gives us a clear advertising strategy. This is both when finding new members and for advertising performances. If people know what we are likely to be singing – they will know if it’s the kind of music they enjoy and whether to come and give it a try or come and listen to our performances. It also helped me to come up with the catchy name and logo as I knew what I wanted to deliver from the outset. We follow through on our MicWire message with the colours we wear, our ongoing branding and our online presence.
4. Finding a location for rehearsals
Deciding when and where to have your choir rehearsal is probably the hardest decision to make. Personally, I had to fit choir with my own timetable to make sure I could attend every week. I also wanted to make sure that the choir provided a location that was easily accessible, centrally placed, safe for young and older members to get to in winter and somewhere that had good parking facilities. I thought that Friday evenings or daytime rehearsals would perhaps discourage younger members, day workers or singers with families from attending. I also wanted to avoid being on the same night as the other local choirs so that singers would be able to come along to both if they wanted to: Singers just love singing!
5. Finding a choir leader
If you’re not planning on leading the choir yourself, you will need to find a choir leader to host the rehearsals. You may want to hire an accompanist too. This leads us to…
6. Organising Finance
Hiring a professional choir leader, professional accompanist, paying for the rehearsal venue, paying for sheet music music, purchasing backing tracks, software and hardware to record rehearsal tracks, printing costs, spending money and time on advertising, your website, a website builder, a logo designer, web hosting, business cards, flyers, posters, stationary, equipment, a keyboard, an amp or speaker and social media ads all cost money before you’ve even had your first rehearsal. There are various arts funding opportunities available, there maybe a local budget for creative arts in your town, you could ask a local company for sponsorship to get you started and you could charge a fee to participate in choir rehearsals weekly, monthly or annually. Once your choir is established, you can charge for your performances too.
7. Recruiting People to Sing in the Choir
In my experience, word of mouth is the strongest and most effective tool of recruiting new choir members. You should have an up-to-date website to direct people to and you can use social media ads to get the word out. Advertising on local council pages or music / choir pages is a great idea. Putting up posters in local shops and businesses is also a good way to generate interest. Ask your first members to put up a few posters each and to bring a friend to the next rehearsal – perhaps offer an incentive to encourage your singers to spread the word.
8. Organisation and Administration
This bit is not for the feint hearted! So much needs organising to keep a choir running successfully. Here are just a few things that probably need to be sorted out as an ongoing capacity once your choir is set up:
- Choosing the songs for the choir to sing
- Arranging songs yourself or choosing appropriate musical arrangements for the people who attend your choir
- Finding and purchasing accurate backing tracks (appropriate key, correct version etc)
- Advertising for new members
- Advertising for gigs
- Posting on Social Media to generate (and maintain) interest
- Writing blog posts to promote what your choir is doing
- Thinking of interesting warm-ups for rehearsals including vocal and physical warm-ups and listening or rhythm exercises
- Promoting vocal health and good singing habits for all singers
- Ensuring you’re teaching at the appropriate level for the members who turn up
- Creating rehearsal tracks
- Organising concerts
- Advertising concerts to make sure an audience come to watch and enjoy
- Liasing with event organisers to get performance bookings for the choir
- Liaising with the choir to make sure they can turn up at concerts!
- Arranging social events outside of choir rehearsals
- Keeping on top of finances and paying invoices
- Updating the website and social platforms as your choir grows and develops
- Planning rehearsals
- Keeping record of rehearsals to ensure continuous improvements are made to the music being learned
- Listening to feedback and suggestions for the choir
- Implementing feedback and suggestions from the choir
- Maintaining objectives and giving the choir something to work towards – such as a concert
- Applying for funding
- Organising payments for the PRS
- Ensuring everyone is having fun!
9. Satisfied singers mean everything to the success of the choir!
If I’ve learned anything in our first 15 months, it is that your actual choir members make all of this possible. In MicWire everyone is so eager to help, to join in, to promote concerts, sing in concerts and to host concerts. Most of the performances we have done have been organised by singers in the choir putting us in touch with the right people. We have performed in several charity events, on the radio, at private gigs and at community days.
Collaboration is great and the local community is wonderful to get involved with. Get out and perform at local events – its a great way to boost the bank balance as well as advertising the choir to potential new members!
Use personal choir connections: Singers like music, they like concerts and they will likely sing elsewhere too. They may even know other musicians who you can collaborate with. There are endless suggestions from MicWire members of repertoire they would like to sing, people they would like to sing with and places they would like to perform. These may be both appropriate, inappropriate and even hilarious(!) but better to have too many options than not enough.
Running a choir takes dedication and passion. It is such great fun and you’ll meet no end of incredible people in setting up a choir of your own.
It is hard work but it is amazing fun, immensely rewarding, amazing for the community and local area and, in my opinion, absolutely worth it. If you decide setting up a new choir is too much to take on alone, perhaps form a collaborative committee or join another existing choir. Good luck on your new musical adventures, whatever you decide!
On Saturday 28th July, 21 members of MicWire took over the newly refurbished Orchard Studios for the whole day to record the awesome soul hit Human by Rag ‘n’ Bone Man.
“It was a lovely venue and a great experience”
We were thrilled to be the FIRST CHOIR to record in the new studio space. There was still so much going on with the building work – but the new studio space was fab: how exciting for us all!
“It gave us a good chance to chat to other members of the choir which we might not do in a normal evening, with having different groups singing at different intervals. Loved every minute of it.”
For all of the choir, it was a hugely intrepid, hardworking and fun day out. Most of our singers explained that it was the first time they had ever visited a recording studio, let alone recorded in one!
“If I hadn’t joined the choir I would never had this experience”
We worked hard learning the music in our rehearsals approaching the big day. On the day itself, we built our song part by part. We are not an audition choir and many of our members do not read music. As such, we did a few takes of the trickier lines to ensure we found the best we could get.
“Lovely hanging out with everyone in the studio, and in the beautiful grounds, or simply sitting at the foot of the stairs when it rained.”
Every single person worked incredibly hard learning the music and performing on the day. We discovered that with our headphones on, we lost some of the dynamic interpretation and emotional intention of a live performance. But with a little work, we think we captured a real sense of what we are capable of.
“Loved every second of it!”
We’re extremely excited to hear the final audio mix in a few weeks. Additionally, for our future plans we are intending to make a full music video with this recording. We will proudly share the final cut with you when we have finished making it.
Of course, all new choir members are welcome to be a part of our video too – so come and get involved in something so much more than just a choir! We rehearse every Wednesday at Studio 3, Crewe Lifestyle Centre from 7:30-9pm. Over here, we do things a little differently… come and be a part of our crazy fun singing adventures, we would love for you to join us.
“Really enjoyed it”
On Friday 20th July, Kate attended the Crewe Place Branding Workshop on behalf of MicWire.
“Place branding is a perception that people have about a place and it’s reputation in the eyes of residents, investors, workers, visitors and wider public.
The sense of a place represents a range of tangible and intangible elements (historic, symbolic, cultural, economic and physical) that together make a place special and distinctive, and therefore potentially competitive and successful from the perspectivenof those who live, work of come from a place, and those who have an external perspective.
The meeting aims to find out the identity and the personality of the town in order to develop a shared place branding strategy for Crewe.”
It is an exciting time to be involved in the branding of Crewe. There is a lot of positivity and strength when so many people from so many different businesses come together with a shared purpose.
The speaker, Professor Vish Maheshwari spoke of:
Presence, Potential, Place, Pulse, Pre-requisites and People
In boosting arts and culture around the town, MicWire have the people and skills to bring music and singing to local community events set up by other groups. There was also animated talk of new collaborations with other longstanding musical groups over the next few years as well – so watch this space!
If your business or group would like to get involved with the Crewe Place Branding Strategy, you should contact Simona Garnero at the Crewe Town Council.
MicWire hosted another MicWirkshop in June inviting everybody to come and join us for a music making workshop – with a difference!
Whilst we are a choir, we are also music makers and when three members of our choir suggested a drumming workshop I jumped at the chance – what a fantastic way to work on rhythm and pulse together.
We welcomed a handful of new friends and guests to our ranks for our drumming evening – people who perhaps don’t feel confident to sing or who can’t commit to the regular attendance of a choir, but who still want to get out and enjoy inclusive musical activities in Crewe.
Mika from Art Brazil is a truly fabulous workshop leader and led us all in a fiery and energetic dazzling drum spectacular for a full hour and a half. During that time we were able to try out our skills on every drum, learn different beats, play together as a full sound, play individually in our parts and learned some basic Brazilian rhythms, beats and breaks. It was impossible to stand still or to keep from smiling. The room was pumped with energy and laughter and the whole room buzzed with excitement from start to finish.
“Samba reggae beats, in the street!”
A huge thanks to Mika for coming along to our rehearsal and looking after us, and we hope that all those who joined us for a one off evening will come back and join us for another MicWirkshop again in future. It was thrilling!
In June, we enjoyed another fantastic headline concert in Adderley, to raise money for their Village Hall. We performed a variety of our favourite songs and included some of our newer repertoire too – including singing Billy Joel’s “The Longest Time” in 6-part harmony: That’s a super impressive feat for a non-audition choir!
We worked really hard on our concert repertoire and Phil & Carol worked really hard to set up a fabulous stage and lighting rig for us. The room was flooded with purple and the audience were wowed with amazing performances not just from us – but from our super guests too.
There was plenty of joining in, clapping along and laughter. The bar was open and the atmosphere was amazing. After the show, Phil opened the stage to the audience and we enjoyed an evening in karaoke together! A really huge thank you to Phil and Carol for inviting us along to sing and organising a truly fabulous evening, to all our guests who performed, to all the choir for working so hard and putting so much energy into their performance and to our super audience for joining in, cheering and laughing at my bad jokes.
We’re very much looking forward to sing for all the friendly folk in Adderley again sometime soon. Thanks for having us!
We are absolutely over the moon at the anniversary this May of our first year together and I am totally overwhelmed with the support from the local community, the Crewe Town Council, the local radio and every single person who has come along to sing with the choir or watch the choir perform.
I was asked to set up the choir early in 2017: I never could have imagined how much we would be able to achieve in the first year of being established. I am absolutely blown away with the quality of the singing, the camaraderie of the choir members and the fantastic friendships that have been struck up as a result of our Wednesday night rehearsals.
Together, we have contributed to the raising of over £1000 for a variety of amazing charity causes and have provided the Crewe community not only with a town centre choir, but also we have provided the local community with lots of musical entertainment throughout the year as well.
We are delighted to be booked for a number of up coming events later this year across Cheshire, Shropshire and Staffordshire. We can’t wait to perform for you somewhere soon 🙂
MicWire began almost a year ago on 10thMay 2017. To start this project, we were granted £500 from A Vision for Crewe to be put towards the cost of publicity and advertising.
Fast forward one year and we now have 40 regular attendees – about 25 each week and with over 60 on the mailing list!
In the past year we have performed for local community events, charity campaigns and even a few paid gigs including:
- The Nantwich Show 2017
- The Big Day Out 2017
- Kath’s Strawberry Tea for Breast Cancer Care
- Redshift Radio with David Foulkes
- The Crewe Twin Town Celebrations with Macon
- Wychwood Village Hall Community Charity Day for Alzheimers Society
- The NSPCC Singers – Singing Christmas Carols in Crewe Tesco
- The Broad Street Project with Oli Ng and friends
- Richmond Retirement Village
- St Mary’s Church Alsager for Wild Hearts via Barclays Apprentices
How we are fulfilling A Vision for Crewe Criteria:
Building Alliances – as the choir continues to grow, we welcome singers (and non singers) from all walks of life. Regularly, the concerts we perform are arranged by people in the choir or their friends and we have been lucky enough to perform not only in Crewe, but in our neighbouring towns and villages too. This has led us to meet so many new people, new audiences and make lots of new friends. The MicWire Network is growing slowly but surely and we are proud to be asked to return and sing again for the event organisers.
The Choir have also arranged and enjoyed other social activities outside of rehearsal too including:
- Tropic Party x 2
- Karaoke Night
- Christmas Party
Enabling the community – we welcome singers from everywhere and at all ages. It is usually our own choir members who introduce us to new singing opportunities and open the door to performance and fundraising possibilities. Whilst the choir always welcomes new members, we often host workshops that are aimed at involving everybody in the local and wider community, even if they have never sang in a choir before or cannot commit to our regular rehearsals.
We have hosted:
- Aretha Franklin Workshop
- The Big Day Out – Sam Smith Workshop
- Performance Anxiety Workshop
- Coming soon: Brazilian Drumming Workshop (watch this space!)
Improve health – research proves that singing is fantastic for health and it enriches the lives of peple who are immersed in song both as a performer and listener. Singing releases endorphoins that make us feel great, reduces the stress hormone cortisol and is proven to help stave off diseases such as Parkinson and Alzheimer. Singing is fantastic for lung health as well as general health and wellbeing.
Empower young people – Our ‘older’ choir members refer to MicWire as the young choir, but truthfully I think MicWire is empowering for everybody who is a part of it! There is a fantastic vibe, we always have a good time and we always get a lot of work done. Some of our music has been quite straightforward whereas other songs have been much more challenging. The group are really supportive and we let everyone take to the mic and offer opportunities to choir members to sing solos in our concerts as well.
Stimulate arts and culture – Music and arts is something I am personally truly passionate about. I see first hand how much music can benefit us both individually and as part of the wider community and am delighted that MicWire is able to contribute to the growing arts and culture community in Crewe.
Develop pride – I think I can safely say that our members are all very proud to be a part of MicWire. Collectively, we are always entheusiastic to sing at local events and regularly find new opportunities to perform. I am so proud to direct such an incredible group of friendly, hard working and talented singers.
Live, learn and love to be in Crewe – Many of our members live in Crewe or its suburbs. Some members are singing for the first time sing school whereas others have sang their whole life. Some of our singers are professional musicians and others have never tried singing before. We love to learn new music and we embrace new challenges. We are currently learning an acapella song in 6 part harmony which is taking a long time and three of the choir are currently planning a drum workshop for June 2018. This will enable members to try something new, play around with rhythm and pulse, learn about Latin and Brazilian beats alongside attempting drumming as a new skill.
After our rehearsals, we are frequently to be found in the local pub, Hops. It’s not just a choir on Wednesday night, MicWire is a real feel-good evening of socializing, laughter and enjoyment.
We would all like to thank A Vision for Crewe for their grant to help make this dream a reality – bringing this successful choir project into fruition. It was an honour to be asked to speak at the council meeting in April alongside many other grant money recipients from the town. It’s really incredible and humbling to learn what is happening in Crewe as a result of the town council funding injected into culture, empowerment, and enablement.
As a choir we are very much looking forward to Year 2 and looking forward to performing at more local events. Living, learning and loving being in Crewe.
See you soon 🙂