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!

Crewe Place Branding Workshop

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.

MicWirkshop | Brazilian Drumming

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!

Our First Birthday

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 🙂

 

Our First Headline Concert II

A huge thanks to Gosia in our Alto section for inviting MicWire to be a part of her fundraising efforts for Wild Hearts Charity, via the Micro Tyco Campaign.

WildHeartsMicWire

Leading up to the event, there were many unforeseen obstacles to overcome in order to bring the night into successful fruition. However, lucky for us and lucky for the charity, absolutely nothing can get in the way of Gosia’s awesome tenacity.

Suffice to say, the hurdles were probably a great way to boost the teams’ acquaintance with the fine art of entrepreneurial spirit and making money, which as I understand it, is part of the purpose of the Micro Tyco project.

Together, MicWire sang every single song that we know – most of the songs we have performed at events before, but some of the songs were a treat for everyone there – performed as a MicWire premiere!

Our audience were fantastic, super-duper generous and really supportive to the cause. Many of the choir performed solo pieces to wow the crowds and our lovely guests shared a multitude of vocal talent too.

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There was a really long raffle and plenty of tea and cake for all of the audience in the interval, and the feedback from everyone who came to watch was really great.

In total, we made £362 on the night for Gosia, thus boosting the Barclays Apprentices’ total to a huge £841 which will be donated to Wild Hearts.

A huge congratulations to all the Barclays’ Apprentices, a great big round of applause to everyone who came along to perform on the night and a whopping great thank you to all of our audience for coming along to support us.

Together, we brought together a community, shared great music and raised money for a really good cause. Let’s do it again soon!

Our First Headline Concert I

MicWire March 2018

MicWire are thrilled to have been invited to sing on 24th March 2018 for such a great cause.

This will be our first concert where the choir are the headline act, so it is very exciting for all of us. This Micro Tyco Event, raising money for Wild Hearts, is coordinated by a group of local Barclays Apprentices. At the start of March, they are given £1. With this £1 they have to raise as much money as possible for the charity.

The idea raises awareness and helps to improve competence and ability in event management, small business growth, money management, network building and creativity, amongst other skills. It provides a great learning process where the groups can acquire new knowledge and skills, explore new subjects and share their current skill set with colleagues to make as much money as possible throughout the course of the month.

We hope you will support us and the Barclays Apprentices in their project, by coming along to our concert and clapping along to the songs we perform. We have a wide selection of music to perform for you including soul hits, motown classics, well known spirituals and upbeat, clap-along vibes.

We will be joined in performance by local singers, some of whom are taking to the stage for the first time. It will be an unmissable evening of music and good times!

 

Our First January

So we’ve been going for 9 months now. It’s not long, but we have achieved so much.

Last year we finished off with a bang by performing with the NSPCC singers raising money for charity. Our big Christmas event was at Broad Street supporting some super talented local artists including Jack Marshall, Carl North and The Oli Ng Trio. It was a fantastic sell out evening complete with dinner and it was a real honour to take part.

NSPCC MicWire 2017

Our first gig of 2018 took us to Richmond Village. We performed every song we have learned so far and sang for 45 minutes. The crowd loved it and it was such fun chatting to the residents afterwards with some tea and cake. As a result of that performance, we are delighted to have been asked back to perform again twice more this year! We’re already planning what to sing next…

January has brought with it a myriad of new singers to our ranks. The choir is going from strength to strength and we’re excited to be using sheet music instead of lyric sheets for the first time – this is especially for two of the new trickier songs we are learning.

A crash course in reading music is just part of being in such a friendly community choir.

Come along and join us, we would love to sing with you and we are a very friendly bunch 🙂

See you soon!

Our First Summer

MicWire formed just 4 months ago, but for a new choir, we’re certainly packing a punch!

In 4 short months we have performed at the Nantwich Show, The Big Day Out, Kath’s Strawberry Tea (where we were raising money for Breast Cancer Care) and Crewe’s recent Twin Town Celebrations with guests from Macon in France.

 

The new school term started this week and we were delighted to celebrate our biggest choir rehearsal yet, welcoming along 5 new members.

We are a mixed ability group of singers including both experienced singers, hobbyists, absolute beginners and everyone in between. Everyone is very welcome to come along to try us out. Rehearsals are usually £5 however, during September 2017 we’re offering the opportunity to come and sing for just £1 at your first rehearsal.

In other news, MicWire are really honoured to have been awarded a grant of £500 from “A Vision for Crewe”. The scheme is in conjunction with Crewe Town Council. Part of this vision is to encourage nearby residents to visit the town centre for activities including arts, health and well being.  MicWire are delighted to be able to offer a group that nods to all!

 

Singing in a choir is proven to have great health benefits and is a fantastic way to meet new people. We’re a sociable lot and whilst our rehearsals are fast paced and filled with energy, we regularly visit the local pub afterwards for a chilled opportunity to chat together.

If you’re thinking of joining a choir, if you love Soul and Motown music and want to get involved. Simply turn up to any rehearsal at Studio 1, Crewe Lifestyle Centre. We rehearse every Wednesday from 7:30-9pm and can’t wait to welcome you along.