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?

“Likes” on Facebook

I’ve just discovered how to feature “Likes” on the Singsation! facebook page.

So far I have added:

Gareth Malone – because it is his programmes on the telly that have been part of the inspiration behind my setting up Singsation!

John Rutter – because he writes such excellent tunes that I think it would be hard for anyone to say that singing them, or hearing them, does not make them feel good.

Howard Goodall – because he has just had an excellent series on music on the TV; plus he wrote the theme tune to “The Vicar of Dibley”, which is probably the only exposure to choral music that many people have had.

Music for Everyone – because this Nottingham-based charity runs brilliant participatory music events and groups for people of all standards and they are worth telling the rest of the world about.

The Really Big Chorus – Advertise themselves as the biggest choir in the UK, getting together a mix of choirs and singers who don’t sing in a group from across the country to perform choral works.  Sounds fun!

Is there anything / anyone else that Singsation! should be “liking”?

You can see the “new improved” “Likes” listing at http://www.facebook.com/SingLikeYourInTheShower

More words and music on the Singsation! website

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 tab on the http://www.singsation.org website you can now sing along to

  1. Row, row, row your boat
  2. Oh I do like to be beside the seaside
  3. Guide me O thou great Jehovah
  4. There’s a hole in my bucket

How much fun is that!

And it will be even better on April 20th with everyone else.

I’m working on putting together a poll at the moment, so that we can all vote on why we love singing.  Then we can compare the results of the on-line survey with a show of hands from the audience.  Keep your eyes peeled for the next blog post.

Is this a vision statement?

As part of my hunt for sources of the words and music that I want to use for Singsational Nottingham!, I was looking at the intoduction page in the Daily Express Songbook at the weekend and I noticed that they talk about massive community singing events which had thousands of participants!  I think at this stage I’d settle for a few hundred, but it makes you wonder what could be possible.

Daily Express Songbook

I thought a bit more about using the old community song books too.  There is this one and the News Chronicle equivalent is also quite common, but I believe there were probably quite a lot of other ones.  For instance, I have a Scottish University Students Song Book on the shelf (and that sounds quite esoteric to me, so it makes me wonder what else must be out there).

I did wonder if we should offer a discount off the ticket price for people who bring an old-style community song book with them, but then I looked at the words of some of the songs and I decided they were rather too politically incorrect to allowed out in todays world!

However, a number of songs that we will use at Singsational Nottingham! are in one of the two main community song books (My bonnie; Ilkley Moor etc.), so it is good to know that we are literally keeping the tradition they represent going.

The warm up for Singsational Nottingham! has begun

Members of the congregation at Chilwell Road Methodist Church, where Singsational Nottingham will take place on Saturday April 20th have already started to “warm up” their voices in preparation for a great nights singing.  Here they are giving a rousing rendition of “My bonnie lies over the ocean”.

If 20 people are deafening - what will 400 sound like?!

If 20 people are deafening – what will 400 sound like?!

I think I’ve just created a website!

I’ve had a play this afternoon and I think that http://www.singsation.org is actually starting to look like a proper website now 🙂

I’ve been amazed at how easy it is to get something that looks pretty professional. What have I been missing all these years….

There is lots more content to add, but I think you can get a real sense of what the finished website (if a website is ever fully finished) will look like.

Take a look and let me know (there is a feedback form and it may even work!), if the site would make you think about coming along on April 20th?

Baby steps

My foray into social media with Singsation is getting quite exciting.  I’ve created a facebook page for the organisation and an event.  And I’ve invited some people to come to the event and some are even coming!  The only problem I’ve got at the moment is that I’ve actually created two events, one as Chris Bridges and the other as Singsation, invited different people to each and now there are two sets of likes, posts etc. building up.  And there isn’t a link between them 😦

So I think I need to delete one of them and re-invite those people to the other one.

Apart from anything else, I get lost moving between all the different identities and events I have (and it’s only four in total)!

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.