We understand it if you are a Clare Grogan fan hankering back to the New Wave days of the 1980s (as good as they might have been!), but despite our heading here, please don't get too excited... ...because today's item from The Phoenix's Blogsphere is all about the 'official' 10th Anniversary Year look for Norwich's very own birthday 'boy band' and the 'birthday banners' on our publicity this special year!
Hopefully you approve... ...and will kindly look out for our 2020 10th Anniversary Concert Season Brochure in an Arts, Entertainment and Information Leaflet Rack near you, as well as our individual Concert publicity as it happens. We're detailing our 'Spring into Song!' Concerts as we write, with some advance ticket options already available and an announcement regarding a local box office for Aylsham very soon.
So it's Altered Images all round - stand by for a quick chorus... ..."Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday!..."
Whew! We've got there...! ...at last... ...Day 12 !!! We've arrived at the very last blog of The 12 Blogs of New Year 2020, Norwich's Phoenix Male Voice Choir's antidote to withdrawal symptoms following the end of The 12 Days of Christmas!!!
It always seems strange that in the gloomy days of mid-ish winter, we take down the very decorations that have brightened things up for the previous weeks! It's actually good to see the number of the small pockets of 'decs' which are still on display in places. But the '12 Blogs' are all about brightening things up too, be those things our personal moods, spirits, well-being, and so on. So our theme for our final day is very close to 'home' to improve those things and this final blog will still be the gift that keeps on giving.
It's the final blog of our 12, so it's a great excuse to make a weekend of it and have a bit of a celebration! It is our 10th Anniversary Year, after all! Well, our Day 12 theme is: singing! OK, you're not surprised, but you are wise folk, so we're not surprised that you're not surprised, and we're not surprised you guessed our final theme!!!
We're a Choir, so singing is what we do! But it's not just 'any old' singing for us, it's got to be male choral singing... ...we divide our membership group into 4 different clusters of men who share similar levels of singing voice. When you look at us onstage, our highest voices (Tenor 1) are on the left and our lowest voices (Bass 2) are on the right, and everyone graduates in between, depending upon whether their singing voice is higher (Tenor 2, left centre) or lower (Bass 1, right centre). It's this division of voice textures, along with some skilfully written music which gives each of our voice parts different notes (and quite often different words...) to sing, which gives male choral singing and the Male Voice Choir its distinctive sound. Our mission is to give you, the general public of Norwich and of Norfolk, the chance to hear a Male Voice Choir live, and to add to the body of understanding and enjoyment of choral singing in the County.
Now, Men, if you think that there's a place within our Singing Men for you, we still have our rehearsal doors open at 7.30pm on the next two Thursdays, so just come along! If you don't know whether singing is for you, then our Open Rehearsals are an idea chance to give it a try...! ...No Charge, No Audition, No Obligation. Stay and join us, or ride off into the proverbial sunset - it's entirely your choice!
Otherwise, our Singing Men (not in the least forgetting our Accompanist Jason and lady Musical Director Sarah!) give you their greatest gift (...well, OK, you do still need to buy a ticket...), and that gift is the chance to hear live male choral song!!! We have six Concerts lined up for our special year - three at our 'home base' and 3 around Norfolk - and we hope you can make one or more of them! It will be great to see you in 2020!
Speaking of which, for our final blog, we offer a special (and additional...) gift and we've tagged it onto the end of our song to finish our 12 Blogs of New Year. If you have avidly kept up with us over all 12, then thank you! We hope you'll keep checking our website and social media platforms for what we are getting up to during the year! For you, indulging in our finished verse of our final ditty will be easy peasy for you!
Otherwise, to the tune of The 12 Days of Christmas, with an additional 'partridge' bit in the final blog, everybody join in now! Ready? 1, 2, 3:
"In the 12th Blog of New Year, 'The Phoenix' gave to me:
Male Choral Singing,
Level Minded Piping,
Ten Nyrrhs are Needed,
Nine Days' Revision,
It's a 'Made Up' Man Thing,
Serene Swans a-Swimming,
See Geezers Playing,
Five Sing-ing Live!
For Auld Lang Syne,
Three Hearty Cheers,
To All Men an Invite and
A Calendar with Dates we can see!
And Best Wi-shes for Twenty-Twen-teee!!!"
We thang yew!
It's late, very late... ...in fact Day 11 in our series of New Year blogs to celebrate the start of New Year 2020, the new decade and the start of our 10th Anniversary Year. In the process, we hope you have had a bit of an insight into our first 10 years and have enjoyed a glimpse at what's going on at the moment in the life of Norwich's Phoenix Male Voice Choir!
And that's the point of our Day 11 message - as a Choir, our rehearsal endeavours are all rather pointless if we don't keep our audience and supporters in touch with what is going on and don't keep our singing membership at the centre of our plans. That's why we try to be level minded about the various ways we communicate with everyone and why we are 'piping up' about it! So, you should know the drill by now... ...everyone, on the count of 3...! ...a-1, 2, 3:
"In the 11th Blog of New Year, 'The Phoenix' gave to me: Level Minded Piping, Ten Nyrrhs are Needed, Nine Days' Revision, It's a 'Made Up' Man Thing, Serene Swans a-Swimming, See Geezers Playing - Five Sing-ing Live - For Auld Lang Syne, Three Hearty Cheers, To All Men an Invite and A Calendar with Dates we can see!"
Here's a rundown of the various locations of where information about us is currently available:
If there is a better way to communicate with you, as a potential audience, as a group of men, or as a lover of choral song, please do let us know! We'd like to contact you in the way you prefer!
Can't believe it...! ...just Day 12 to go!!!
We're back with our Day 10 blog of the 12 Blogs of New Year! After a day off, you say? No! Yesterday was all about revising what we had done so far (OK, partially inspired by blogging so late on 'real' Day 9...) and we hope you have found the reminders and additional links useful! But day off...? No! It's a bit like 'reading week' at Uni... ...not a 'week off', but just a week without lectures to catch your breath, catch up with things, and revise what's happened so far! And let's face it, if you were up-to-date with reading our series of blogs, then you more than fully deserve your chance to catch breath!
So, here we are then... ...double figures at last... ...Day 10!
Yes, we knew it...! ...you're all clicking on 'spellcheck' as you read... ...muttering... ...what is 'nyrrh'...? ...did they mean 'nyrrh'...? ...was it a throwback to Christmas and they meant 'myrrh'...? Anyway, nyrrh, myrrh, whatever, why do they need them...???!!!
Well, let's sing up, and metaphorically reveal all!!! It's the 12 Days of Christmas tune folks, so 1, 2, 3:
"In the 10th Blog of New Year, 'The Phoenix' gave to me: Ten Nyrrhs are Needed, Nine Days' Revision, (quickly!) It's a 'Made Up' Man Thing, Serene Swans a-Swimming, See Geezers Playing - (like 5 Gold Rings!) Five Sing-ing Live - For Auld Lang Syne, Three Hearty Cheers, (quick here, too!) To All Men an Invite and A Calendar with Dates we can see!"
So, our Open Rehearsals are currently on - when we throw open our Mile Cross rehearsal doors to non-member men so they can have a 'listen around' to how we are preparing for our 10th Anniversary Year in general and our 2020 Spring Season in particular, as well as get to freely see behind the scenes of a male voice choir without charge, audition or obligation.
All men are warmly welcomed tonight, and on the next two Thursday evenings, at 7.30pm at our rehearsal base. If you are a man at a loose end on Thursday evenings, or know a man who is at a loose end on Thursday evenings, point them in our direction. You (and They) will be equally welcome whatever your singing experience (if any) and whatever you know, or think you know, or don't know(!), what your voice range is. We have more Basses than Tenors at the moment, but that's not an issue, so don't be put off! It will just be helpful to have the different voices in numerical balance!
So, that's our Day 10 theme focus, then - Basses are welcome, but Tenors are needed! See you tonight, or sometime later in January.
)Whew, it's some going, having to write 12 days of [hopefully...] entertaining blogs which are interesting enough for you to have learnt something about our Choir...!
With Day 9 today of our 12 Blogs of New Year, we are three-quarters of the way through our series, so what better idea then, than to have a bit of a Catch-Up??? Yes, folks, it's Day 9 Revision Time!!!
Everybody in, then! You know what happens by now - we sing about the ninth day to the tune of The 12 Days of Christmas and incorporate all the days we have had so far. So, here goes! a-1, 2, 3:
"In the 9th Blog of New Year, 'The Phoenix' gave to me: Nine Days' Revision, It's a 'Made Up' Man Thing, Serene Swans a-Swimming, See Geezers Playing - Five Sing-ing Live - For Auld Lang Syne, Three Hearty Cheers, To All Men an Invite and A Calendar with Dates we can see!"
Phew - tired just thinking about it! But we have covered some really good ground in our previous 8 blogs... ...and if you click on the links, you get some more information!!! (www.norwichphoenixmvc.org/stop-press-blog)
On Day 1: A Calendar - Brand new for New Year and our 10th Anniversary Year 2020, you can now find all our events, all in one place, on our Website Home Page Calendar (http://www.NorwichPhoenixMVC.org)
On Day 2: An Invitation - At the start of our new Singing Season, we open our rehearsal doors to non-members and invite all Men to call into our home base at Mile Cross for 7.30pm each Thursday in January and come to our Open Rehearsals! Have a free look around behind the scenes at how we do things - No Charge, No Audition, No Obligation (www.norwichphoenixmvc.org/sing-with-us.html)
On Day 3: 3 Cheers for the Past 10 Years! - A brief review of our Founding Moments and who we have to thank 10 years later! (www.norwichphoenixmvc.org/we-are-phoenix.html)
On Day 4: For Auld Lang Syne... - A look back at our membership over the years and why it is important to be a welcome home to new members... (pmvc_open_reh_10th_anniv_year.jpg)
On Day 5: Five Singing Live! - not just the fact that all of our members can sing in all of our concerts, but that within our membership, there is a broad spectrum of different types of singer with different reasons for wanting to sing with us, and all are equally welcomed within our ranks!!! (july_2019_concert_phoenix__7_.jpg)
On Day 6: Can You Hear Our Geezers Sing??? - Of course you can, and we show you how! (www.norwichphoenixmvc.org/see-us-sing-in-2020.html)
On Day 7: Are Established Members 'Swanning It'? - They may look like it, but what's happening below the 'waterline'? New members, or men thinking about joining us should not be put off...! This is what we do to help you find your feet (or give you webbed feet!!!) (img_20171021_102107.jpg)
On Day 8: Being Made Up! - ...with our fabulous audiences! (thank_you.png)
There! All set up for Day 10 and just two days from our second January 2020 Open Rehearsal!!!
There was plenty to say yesterday in our 7th daily blog to welcome in our 10th Anniversary Year, but we hope it was a useful read if you were either thinking about your own singing hobby, or were encouraging someone to think about theirs. Either way, January is an ideal time to get in touch. However, today, we won't need anywhere near as many words to convey our theme for Day 8 (Hurrah! you cry, Get on with it!!! - OK, I hear you...):
Today's theme is effectively 'Thank You! We're Made Up!'. So, let's all sing the Day 8 verse (care: it's another 'quick' one to start with...), then we can get on with today's message! Everybody, now, 1, 2, 3:
"In the 8th Blog of New Year, 'The Phoenix' gave to me: It's a 'Made Up' Man Thing, Serene Swans a-Swimming, See Geezers Playing - Five Sing-ing Live - For Auld Lang Syne, Three Hearty Cheers, To All Men an Invite and A Calendar with Dates we can see!"
In December 2019, we held two cracking concerts and our reports for those and their programme details will appear in our 'About Us - Past Events' pages on this very website in due course. But there is more to a cracking concert than just the Choir itself being very good (even if that was true, which of course it was!!!). We had two super audiences for a start and on both occasions, the volume of applause at the end of each concert was tremendous, so no surprise that we were fully made up both times as a result!
Singing to an audience really is the best bit of what we do and it's what makes it all worthwhile. Any singing group can practise privately for its own pleasure, but practising with the intention of entertaining a public audience which has paid for the privilege of listening to your concert is an ambition, a mission, a risk, a challenge, and an honour.
There's no real way of describing the feeling of knowing that either new audience members had attended our concert for the first time (and we hope that we will see them again at a future date), or that our regular concert-goer friends were in attendance again. Indeed, a vast amount of our 'raison d'etre' is to wish to perform male voice choral song in a live environment, and to help maintain and educate the general public in the artform. The cherry on the top of our cake is the general public's appreciation of this. So if you were in our audience at either Mile Cross or Stalham in December 2019 (or indeed any of our 2019 concerts...), we're not making it up to say we owe you and send you all a huge thank you!
In fact, by showing us at our concerts you think our rehearsal endeavours are all so worthwhile, it's our group of men who are absolutely 'made up'!!!
We hope you're enjoying our series of blogs marking the start of not just 2020, but our 10th Anniversary Year. At the same time, we're taking the opportunity to talk about life in a male voice choir, and ours in particular! It's a duty we are taking very seriously, so we are seeking commissions to turn the entire series of The Twelve Blogs of New Year 2020 into a box set for global streaming...
...so you can't say we're not setting our sights high enough!!! And setting sights high is a reminder that life in a male voice choir is a bit of a balancing act. It's a great chance though to let everyone know what we do to manage it, so that's our theme for today... ...just like a swan swimming across a peaceful and calm pond, we hope that you'll agree that our concert performances are graceful, flowing and majestic (well, as near as, anyway???). But, below the waterline, where the rehearsals, practice and gaining confidence in the pieces we are singing reside behind the scenes... ...we can't deny it, the metaphorical webbed feet are thrashing away at a rate of knots...
Yes, for Day 7, we are talking about Swanning It...! Remember to join in singing our happy refrain, but don't worry Men, it's not an audition by the back door - we definitely don't audition for choir membership or concert participation at all - ever...! So, sing up everyone - Here we go then, 1, 2, 3...
"In the 7th Blog of New Year, 'The Phoenix' gave to me: Serene Swans a-Swimming, See Geezers Playing - Five Sing-ing Live - For Auld Lang Syne, Three Hearty Cheers, To All Men an Invite and A Calendar with Dates we can see!"
We talked on Day 5 of our Choir being made up of local men with all different reasons for wanting to sing with us and it is an important part of what we do that we also attract new men as choristers by inviting non-members to our Open Rehearsals. We get then that our Open Rehearsal Guests and our newest Members may not at all be used to singing in a choir, or to how a male voice choir creates its sound by using 4-part harmony, or indeed to the prospect of singing in public which is guaranteed by us as a membership benefit.
So we know what it's like for our Guests and Newcomers to meet up with a pretty confident group of men who have been with us for perhaps some time, or maybe since we started Phoenix in 2010, or in some cases were members of other Male Voice Choirs such as our predecessors in the Norfolk Millennium MVC, colleague choristers of Bure Valley MVC and, in Welsh Mike's notable case (Noswaith dda, Mike!), Kenfig Hill & District MVC in South Wales. But we'll have no-one to become our longer-standing members if we don't support our newcomers properly, so in our membership, we promise you...
So, then, Seven 'Day 7' Reasons for Serenity when 'a-swimming above the waterline' from even our newest choristers, even if our more established choristers are just better, in reality, at looking like they are just swanning it!!!
(t)Witterings from the Choir's Webmaster, The Phoenix, but it's normally about what we are going to be or have been up to, something nice about someone we have sung with, or a gracious reply to one of your own wonderful comments.