Filming MicWire choir outside Crewe Town Hall

MicWire Make a Music Video

Remember back in July 2018 when we wrote about our first ever choir recording experience at Orchard Studios? Well, this July 2019 we had another first experience: our first video making experience, with local film director John Williams.

Filming singers outside Crewe Church

John has traditionally earned himself a name for being Stoke-on-Trent’s most awarded cult horror film director, but in light of his creepy stares and clever camera angles, we thought he was the perfect choice for our video production, as we wanted to capture a neutral yet urban feel to our video.

We filmed the action around Crewe town centre, near to where the choir rehearse at the Crewe Lifestyle Centre. For backgrounds we used the shutters at the back of the market, brick walls behind the gym, the beautiful church, the pillars in the car park underneath the civic centre and the concourse outside the court houses to give our video a modern, yet discomforting street feel.

We took to the streets of Crewe late one Sunday evening in July to capture some of the evening sunshine and it has to be said that we all had such a great time filming it. Try to spot the scenes where the singers are trying not to laugh (That’s because other choir members behind the lens are trying to make them chuckle!)

We love getting together to make music together every Wednesday, yet these annual socials offer members a super way to get to know choir members from different voice parts who you wouldn’t have the opportunity to chat to during a normal rehearsal session in a fun and exciting environment. MicWire is about singing, singing for fun and to make ourselves feel good.

We’re able to make friends, break down barriers, improve our confidence and learn new songs to sing. To be able to share just one of those songs with you in our music video is such a joy.

We hope you like what we have created!

Love MicWire

PS. New members always welcome: Join us on Wednesday’s at the Crewe Lifestyle Centre – it’s just £5 on the door.

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Halloween Choir Rock Crewe

MicWire at Crewe Cosmopolitan Food Festival 2018

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AARRRGGH! What an incredible afternoon folks.
Everyone gets TOP MARKS from me for their absolutely brilliant costumes – everyone looked horrific… (in a really good way!)
The pumpkin parade was super – the children looked fab with their painted masks and rumour has it that they really enjoyed dancing to our Halloween Mash too – which is handy, since officially that’s why we were there.
MicWire Fright Night - Cheshire Shropshire
We were blessed with lovely sunny weather and such a fantastic audience – a big thank you to everyone who came along to watch.
Another huge thanks to the local band Photo Booth Smile who kindly let us use their PA and of course a huge thank you to Lindsey and James for inviting us to be a part of the 2018 Crewe Cosmopolitan Food Festival – it’s such an honour to be able to support these great community events in the town centre by performing some of our favourite music 🙂
I’m also happy to say that together we raised £31.56 for IRIS Vision Cheshire – thank you as well to Carl, Dylan and Dan for being our unsuspecting bucket swishers!
You are all AAAARRRGGGH-mazing – thanks for being part of a really brilliant afternoon.
 
Remember – if you missed today’s excitement, you can join us live on RedShift Radio this Thursday 1st November from 9-10pm or next Saturday 3rd November for our FRIGHT NIGHT in Adderley which will be followed by Open Mic & Karaoke for everyone.
Crewe Choir in Alderley Shropshire. MicWire.

Crewe Cemetery – Behind The Curtain…

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

Service Programme:

  • Lean On Me
  • Poem 1 – I Am Always with You
  • Hallelujah
  • Poem 2 – He Is Gone
  • Amazing Grace
  • Poem 3 – Remember Me
  • This Little Light Of Mine

Click for the Facebook Event or Click for the Cemetery Website

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:

  • The Bereavement Helpline on 0800 435 455
  • Nicky Clifford Grief Recovery Specialist, Cheshire on Facebook
  • The Grief Recovery Handbook on Amazon
how to set up a choir, new choir

How to set up a new choir :)

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!