Getting the technical stuff sorted

I’ve just spent the evening with three friends, all of whom sounded as if they were speaking a foreign language, sorting out the technical requirements for making Singsational Nottingham! (www.singsation.org) a success.  There was a lot of talk of VGA splitters and composite feeds, but basically it means that we will be able to have the song words on screen for both the audience and the performers.

Plus (and this is the best bit), when the stars of the show (Frank and Mabel) watch the telly, what they will see is the audience!  We’ll have a video camera pointing towards the audience, so they will be the football crowd (singing “I’m forever blowing bubbles”) and the Proms audience (singing “Jerusalem”)!

Having the video cameras there means we should be able to upload Singsational Nottingham! on YouTube after the show – so then everyone, where ever they are in the world, will be able to join in a great sing-a-long evening of entertainment.

VGA splitter - not musical; but vital!

VGA splitter – not musical; but vital!

We discussed lighting and sound too. All in all, this is turning into a proper show. And thank the Lord for talented, generous friends.

Two weeks to go!

I can’t believe there are only two weeks to go until Singsational Nottingham!  I first had the idea for a “sing-a-long” cum “celebrate singing” event over the Christmas holidays and I was so inspired that I decided I had to commit to a date and “just do it”.  Well it has been hard work, but we are nearly there.

It doesn't matter what your voice is like.  You are still welcome at Singsational Nottingham!

It doesn’t matter what your voice is like. You are still welcome at Singsational Nottingham!

I’ve not done anything on the blog for a while because I have been enjoying the Easter holidays instead.  But I have added some more words and music to http://www.singsation.org so that you can go and remind yourself how “Jerusalem”, Singing in the rain”, Show me the way to go home” and “I’m gonna wash that man right out of my hair”.

I’ve also  got the musicians lined up.  We’re having a couple of rehearsals and the second one, at 7.30pm on April 19th at Chilwell Road Methodist Church, Beeston, Nottingham NG9 1EH, is open to anyone who wants to come along and sing through the songs.  I want to check that everything runs smoothly, identify any points that need to be explained to audience etc., plus the more people who know what should happen next at Singsational Nottingham! at 7.30 pm on April 20th  (in the same place), the better.

And, a friend has built me a “shower cubicle” so that Mabel (the hero of the show) can actually “sing in the shower”!  What a theatrical / musical experience the evening promises to be.

I’ll keep you updated on progress over the next couple of weeks.

Chris

Another survey and more words and music

It has been a while since I posted anything about the lead up to Singsational Nottingham! – it has been a busy week at work in the lead up to the Easter holiday. So now I am publishing something before it is too late!

Firstly, a week or so ago I asked where people like singing most. Here are the results, in descending order of popularity:

1st place: In a choir
2nd place: In the car
3rd place: In the kitchen (whilst cooking)
4th place: Anywhere (followed by “it annoys my Dad” in one case)

No one voted for “Singing in the Shower” 😦

Looks like someone has beaten us to it with this idea!

Looks like someone has beaten us to it with this idea!

Sing in the car - where no-one can hear you (unless the window is open)!

Sing in the car – where no-one can hear you (unless the window is open)!

So, the readers of this blog and the facebook page must be quite “choral”. I hope to get a few a larger proportion of “car” and “shower” singers to the event on April 20th.

Here is this times question. See what you make of this:

Finally, there are some more words and music on the http://www.singsation.org, so that you can remind yourself of how “My Bonnie lies over the ocean” and “I’m forever blowing bubbles” go.

QR codes and choirs

Despite the weather, I've been working on Singsational Nottingham!

Despite the weather, I’ve been working on Singsational Nottingham!

I’ve been busy inviting local choirs along to Singsational Nottingham!, so that they can advertise themselves during the interval and attract new members and so that their members can spread themselves around the audience so that less confident singers can get a bit of extra support.

So far, five groups have said that some of their members are going to join the event, which is brilliant!  It will be great for members of local choirs to meet each other – I bet there will loads of “I never knew you were a singer too!” as people recognise each other through the evening.

The other things that I have been up to are sending out a press release to local papers to try and drum up some publicity via the local papers (they should be interested in a community event like Singsational Nottingham!) and creating a QR code for http://www.singsation.org.   This was so much easier than I ever imagined. There is no shortage of free QR code creator programs available via a google search and all you do is put in any “string” and a QR code is created. Here is http://www.singsation.org:

Who'd have thought this could represent a great night out?

Who’d have thought this could represent a great night out?

I’ve added the QR code to the black and white poster / A5 handouts that I am putting out around the area.  I wonder if anyone will point their iphone at one of them to find out more?

Five weeks to go. More words and music for Singsational Nottingham!

I’ve just spent some time putting in some more words and You Tube links for the music that we’ll be using at Singsational Nottingham!  By clicking on the Get Singing! – Words and Music (2)  tab on the http://www.singsation.org website you can now sing along to

  1. Climb every mountain
  2. Mud, mud. glorious mud

How much fun is that!

Or, if you can’t wait any longer, just scroll down a little more on this post!!

Climb every mountain,
Search high and low,
Follow every highway,
Every path you know.

Climb every mountain,
Ford every stream,
Follow every rainbow,
‘Till you find your dream.

A dream that will need
All the love you can give,
Every day of your life
For as long as you live.

Climb every mountain,
Ford every stream,
Follow every rainbow,
Till you find your dream

A dream that will need
All the love you can give,
Every day of your life,
For as long as you live.

Climb every mountain,
Ford every stream,
Follow every rainbow,
Till you find your dream.

A bold hippopotamus was standing one day
On the banks of the cool Shalimar
He gazed at the bottom as he peacefully lay
By the light of the evening star
Away on the hilltop sat combing her hair
His fair hippopotami maid
The hippopotamus was no ignoramus
And sang her this sweet serenade

Chorus:
Mud, mud, glorious mud
Nothing quite like it for cooling the blood
So follow me follow, down to the hollow
And there let me wallow in glorious mud
The fair hippopotama he aimed to entice
From her seat on that hilltop above
As she hadn’t got a ma to give her advice
Came tiptoeing down to her love
Like thunder the forest re-echoed the sound
Of the song that they sang when they met
His inamorata adjusted her garter
And lifted her voice in duet

Now more hippopotami began to convene
On the banks of that river so wide
I wonder now what am I to say of the scene
That ensued by the Shalimar side
They dived all at once with an ear-splitting sposh
Then rose to the surface again
A regular army of hippopotami
All singing this haunting refrain

Chorus

(Extra verse:)
The amorous hippopotamus whose love song we know
Is now married and father of ten,
He murmurs, “God rot ’em!” as he watches them grow,
And he longs to be single again!
He’ll gambol no more on the banks of the Nile,
Which Naser is flooding next spring,
With hippopotamas in silken pyjamas
No more will he teach them to sing…

Chorus

Imagine singing these great songs at Singsational Nottingham! on April 20th with everyone else.  Make sure you send this post on to anyone you think might be interested, or tell them to look at http://www.facebook.com/SingLikeYourInTheShower

What kind of singing do you enjoy the most?

As we move towards Singsational Nottingham! in 6 weeks time, I have decided to do a “poll” a week to find out a bit about why people like singing and what they like to sing.

Here is the first one, designed to find out a bit more about the kind of singing that people like to do:

When I’ve got some responses I’ll summarize them in a future post.  For future Singsational! events we’ll be able to build the programme for the evening based on the preferences of the people who come along.

Singing in the shower cartoon 1

Why we do this stuff

Over the past few weeks of putting together my ideas for Singsational Nottingham! and floating the idea with people, I have been amazed at the level of enthusiasm that there is for the concept.  It made me think about what inspires other people to sing and a quick trawl on the net very quickly came up with this quote from (probably) the best song writer ever.

“I love to hear a choir. I love humanity to see the faces of real people devoting themselves to a piece of music. I like the teamwork. It makes me feel optimistic about the human race when I see them cooperating like that.”

If Paul McCartney thinks that about singing in a choir, who are we to argue with his wisdom?

Singsational Nottingham! is going to deliver that feeling of optimism to everyone who attends.  It will be a great “feel good” experience (even though at the moment there are no Paul McCartney or Beatles tracks in the program).  😦

We love Paul McCartney - even if his best known piece of choir music is for a frog chorus!

We love Paul McCartney – even if his best known piece of choir music is for a frog chorus!

Publicity is king!

One of the things that I have learned over the past few weeks is that a lot of the people I know who would be interested in Singsational Nottingham! have never been on Facebook, have never considered following a blog and don’t really visit websites unless they have to!  But many of them do get emails.

So when someone mentioned Mail Chimp (www.mailchimp.com) to me I had to give it a go.  It is a service that allows you to design and manage email campaigns.  A bit like WordPress (www.wordpress.com), which I have used to create the http://www.singsation.org website and this blog), it is a free service up to a certain limit. And I don’t think that I am going to need to send more than 12,000 emails before the event on April 20th….

Even a Mail Chimp enjoys a good sing!

Even a Mail Chimp enjoys a good sing!

So, yesterday evening I sent out my first Mail Chimp email campaign to all the people in my address book about Singsational Nottingham! and why they have to come along.  I have had a spike in the views on the website today, so something must be working!  I’ve decided to send the mailing list  a weekly digest of any blog posts that I put onto this site; that way they won’t miss out on anything.  I’ve created a QR code to put onto the Singsational Nottingham! posters too, but I’ll not tell the email gang about that – they will think it is way too technical!

And as for the rest of the potential audience, I’ll carry on putting up posters in the town and leaving A5 fliers in the library.  That method of building an audience has worked for years.  🙂

Looking for celebrity help!

Having “liked” various musical celebrities on facebook the other day, I thought why “not tell them about Singsational Nottingham!”  So I went on their facebook pages and sent them each a post, with a few words about April 20th!

I also asked them a couple of questions / favours.

“What is your favourite warm up?” – I’d like to use them at the start of the evening if the celebs suggest anything.

“Could you write a round for us to use as the climax to the warm up part of Singsational Nottingham!”

Don’t suppose I’ll hear anything back.  But nothing ventured; nothing gained.

Watch this space!

Singing birds.  Or are they just hungry?

Singing birds. Or are they just hungry?

The First Post

Over the past few years more people than ever have become aware of singing in groups and choirs through watching TV shows such as “The Choir”. But most have not sung with others since they were a youngster at school. So even if they fancy “having a go” they may not feel ready or able to go along and join a choir. Which is a great pity; because they don’t know what they are missing.

Mass singing, whether in a choir, at a wedding or even at a rugby or football match can be an amazing and life afirming experience.

I call the thrill that you experience when you sing together with others a “singsation”. And this blog will record my progress in making that experience a reality for as many people as possible.