Christmas Update 2022
We have just about recovered from our Family and Friends concert (Click here for the full story)
Late Summer Update
….and we’re back!
After what seems to have been a very short summer break, we’ve resumed rehearsals, but what a summer it’s been! The sun has shone constantly and life has mostly been lived outdoors – great for practicing.
Just before the holidays, we performed at Beaumont Village on 30 June. We love performing for them and they were kind enough to post the following on their fb page: ‘We were very lucky last night to have the #phoenixchoir perform for our residents, it was enjoyed by all. We look forward to them coming again very soon.’
The summer was filled with all sorts of events, from a party to celebrate the Farnborough Airshow (on the only day it rained!) to a wedding.
We have our very own Phoenix love story – imagine the scene: their eyes met across the rehearsal space, he thought ‘she’s hitting all the right notes for me’, whilst she thought ‘its all about the bass’. Love blossomed and soon they were making beautiful music together……
Well that’s quite enough of that! Suffice to say, it was a beautiful wedding where the joy and best wishes were so present that they were almost visible. We all wish Helen and Steve much love and happiness in their new life together.
After all that excitement, we are back to the business of rehearsing for our Family and Friends concert on 19 November 2022. It will be our first major concert for 3 years after Covid disrupted everything, so we have a lot of new material to perform – as well as some old favourites. We have been joined by loads of new members, so a big welcome to all who have joined recently – we hope that you are enjoying being part of Phoenix and, don’t worry – November will be fun!
We are still looking for Tenors and Basses, so if you are at a loose end on Thursday nights – come a find us!
Choir update April 2022
Spring has finally sprung, and we hope you are enjoying the warmer weather and the longer days.
We have carried out our first performance in two years – Yay! We attended the Beaconsfield Festival of Choirs (Beaconsfield Festival Of Choirs - Home) and performed three songs – Ain’t no Mountain, I’m still Standing and the Billy Joel Medley (Click here for Videos). It was lovely to have the opportunity to sing to an audience after all this time. Huge congratulations go to all our newer members for whom this was their first performance with Phoenix. It can be a nerve wracking experience, but they all sang their hearts out, and overall, they found it an enjoyable experience. Roll on ‘Family and Friends’…..
We have set the date for our ‘Family and Friends’ concert, so make an entry in your diary for 19 November 2022. We have so many new songs to share and we are working hard to make them ‘performance-ready’. This will be the first Family and Friends concert for three years, so we are really looking forward to it.
Its lovely to be able to hold weekly face-to-face rehearsals after the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021. We will never again take it for granted that we can catch up, gossip and sing the occasional song . It really is good for the soul.
Recently we have been joined by a few new members – welcome to you all, who have bolstered our numbers, however, we could do with a few more Basses and Tenors – if you want to unleash your inner Frank, Freddie or Gary Barlow, please come and try us out, we love to see you (join us)
Happy New Year!
Here we are the start of a brand new year – and hopefully, this one will not be interrupted by Pandemics (fingers crossed!)
We have already dived straight into rehearsals. We are performing at the Beaconsfield Festival of Choirs (Beaconsfield Festival Of Choirs - Home) on 5 March, so there are only a few short weeks left to perfect our three songs and learn the communal ones. It will be so good to perform again as we have missed it so much.
We have been joined by several new members recently – Welcome to you all!
If you are thinking about joining us, or are still looking for your New Year’s challenge, why not come along for a session and see what we are all about? We are particularly looking for tenors and basses at the moment – our poor bass section is almost (not quite) a one-man band and some support would be really welcome – details are in the How to join section. Remember - there is no audition!
We have big plans for 2022. We are trying to organise a workshop day which will focus on aspects of singing and performance. We are hoping some of the wonderful professionals that we have met through Yulia will be available to improve our diction, dynamics and singing techniques.
We also have a Family and Friends concert planned for October. Covid-19 has meant that this concert is well over due and we can’t wait to share all our new material with you all. A lot of this new material was learnt over Zoom whilst singing along at home individually – and its amazing how many different versions of the same song are possible when you finally get to sing it all together for the first time! However, practice makes perfect and we’ll be ‘practically perfect’ by the performance (hopefully!).
Let’s hope this year allows us to rehearse more, perform more, party more and make more friends.
How quickly the summer passes, and here we are at the beginning of autumn already.
The good news is we are back to rehearsing face-to-face and the dreaded Zoom is fading into memory (at least, for now). There are still a couple of COVID-safe precautions in place, but generally, the rehearsals are back indoors and cover the two hour slot from 8-10pm. If you are interested, the safety precautions in place include, spacing between singers, doors and windows open and we sing for two sessions of 45 minutes before taking a 15 minutes break in between to allow the room to ‘air’.
We are actively recruiting members, so if you are thinking about joining a choir, now is a great time to get in touch and give us a try (see How to Join for details).
As part of the recruitment drive, we spent the August Bank Holiday at the Mytchett Community Centre’s Family Fun Day handing out sweets and talking to people about the choir, if we met you – Hello again and have you joined us for a session yet? We’d love to get to know you more……
Soon it will be Christmas – I wonder how long it will be before we start singing Christmas songs?
After the disappointment of the Covid restrictions remaining in place after the 17 May announcement, we are now able to resume face-to-face rehearsals – Yay!
In order to do so, we are singing outside, and following all outdoor covid-safe requirements. Of course, the British weather hasn’t exactly been kind to us, but we’ve found singing in the rain to be preferable to zoom, particularly as the bar at the Mytchett Centre has also reopened and it’s the perfect place for a catch-up natter afterwards…….
We are also now in a position to start recruiting again……
NEW MEMBERS WELCOME
The lockdown, all 18 months of it, has been hard on all of us – I, for one, have become used to sitting at home and missing out on all the fun things that I used to do. If this is you too, why not think about joining us?
We are looking for new members of all ages and abilities to add to our numbers. We don’t hold auditions because we are a community choir and believe that singing is good for the soul - for everybody.
For more details, please see: How to Join
The testimonies across the site are from genuine members, and we think they reflect the spirit and camaraderie of Phoenix Choir. We’d love to see you if you want to give us a try.
Oh how disappointed and frustrated we are!
Words cannot express how deflated the latest DCMS advice has left us. There we were, looking forward to being able to restart rehearsals after the 17 May relaxation of Covid rules, only to have our hopes dashed.
The DCMS has said that amateur choirs can only meet indoors if numbers are restricted to 6 – and that really doesn’t make a choir……..not a Phoenix Choir anyway.
We are hoping that we can start rehearsing outdoors as soon as the weather improves and the risk of being hit by hail stones recedes. In the meantime, there is the possibility of ‘bubbles’ of 6 in member’s homes, and of course, Zoom sessions will continue.
Roll on 21 June…….hopefully, it will be better news for choirs.
As lockdown continues to relax, we are looking at the options available to restart face-to-face rehearsals.
As at today, 26 April 2021, we cannot rehearse indoors. Call us wimps, but we unanimously decided that the weather was too cold to rehearse outdoors! In addition, the Mytchett Centre is not reopening until 17 May, so finding somewhere with an outside power supply and big enough to allow for socially distanced groups of 6 was a challenge.
So we have decided to revisit the options available to us, once there is more information about the next set of relaxations due to begin 17 May. At the moment, the DCMS have not published any new advice for amateur choirs, but as soon as they do – we will assess it and try to operate a return which is fully in-line with Covid-19 measures. Watch this space…………….
Phoenix Choir CD
Phoenix Choir are delighted and proud to release their first album!
A collaborative project of ten songs we love to sing which were mixed and recorded in two sessions at the WaterRat Music Studios. A big thank you to everyone who took part in helping to make this happen.
"we have now built up quite a good repertoire of a diverse variety of contemporary songs and “mash ups”.And all of this whilst spending time with good friends both singing and socialising.Perfect"
Following the excitement of our 10th anniversary year last year, we are trying to make 2020 special as well – just by being us.
Quick update on the final events of 2019: we celebrated Christmas in our usual exuberant style by holding our annual Christmas party early on 30 November, which being early, got us totally in the mood for all the other Christmas events. We sang Christmas songs for the residents and helpers at the Beaumont Retirement Village in Aldershot and at the Sebastian’s Action Trust Christmas fete. Finally, we joined St Peter’s Church in Tongham for their Carol service.
2020 will see us once again recording a few songs at the Waterrats studio in Woking. We are hoping to record another 5-6 tracks which will enable us to produce a cd for family and friends. We are also hoping that one of the tracks will be a charity single for the Little Narcies charity. ‘Fireflies’ (owlcity) is a song that resonates with the Herzog family, who run the charity, as the lyrics seem to describe a world through the eyes of a narcolepsy sufferer. We are looking at ways to make the recording available to download for a donation, so watch this space…….
We are also preparing for the Beaconsfield Choir Festival in March, where we will be performing the Ultimate Queen Medley as one of our three songs – we’ll let you know how it goes down!
LATE SUMMER UPDATE – ‘It was the summer of ‘69 ….19, oooh yeah’
What a summer! We had planned to celebrate our 10th Anniversary in style and we certainly managed that!
We had planned a few performances; first came the Little Narcies day of music which was well attended and managed to make £1100 for charity, of which £400 was from an auction of items such as a signed Tottenham Hotspurs shirt and a pamper session at Queenbee in the Woods. And there was a further £260 from Pete’s sponsored run We think that our performance was well received and we certainly enjoyed ourselves.
Next up, was the night of West End Theatre in June, ‘London Lights, Broadway Nights’, put on in aid of The Brain Tumour Charity and Phyllis Tuckwell. This was quite an experience for us amateurs – performing next to professional singers and joining in with the finale, One Day More (Les Miserables). Wow, how amazing was that! And all for good causes – we hear that about £5000 was raised.
As if that wasn’t enough excitement for one summer, we still had our Anniversary Mini Cruise to look forward to. Well, what can we say, we had such a laugh – whether it was at our favourite ‘Prosecco and Paddling’ spot on deck, Beer tasting in Bruges or hitting the dance floor in fancy dress (theme Rock and Pop idols), we enjoyed it all. However, we did have to be serious for our ‘big moment’ – the Independence of the Seas kindly allowed us to perform on a bridge in the ‘Promenade’. For those unfamiliar with big cruise ships, the Promenade is the hub of the ship with bars, shops and access to the theatre etc. We weren’t advertised, but enough people wondering by stopped to listen or emerged from bars to make our performance worthwhile. Here are some photos of the performance (and other activities):
Finally, we signed off with a set at Alexfest. Again, it was for a good cause (Phyllis Tuckwell) and it stayed dry! We were sandwiched between ‘proper’ bands, so we may have to rock it up a bit for next year!
Almost forgot about the sunglasses! To recognise ourselves in the crowds of fellow cruise passengers, we purchased some bright orange sunglasses, printed with our logo. We were instantly recognisable – in Bruges we were addressed as the ‘Orange Sunglasses Group’. We have some spares – so, a free pair to the first 5 new members turning up at rehearsal! (how can you resist?)
So, as we move into autumn, we are looking forward to arranging another recording session and perfecting some new songs for 2020 (another storming medley of Billy Joel songs). Oh, and Christmas starts soon…….Party on, dudes.
This is our 10th Anniversary year!
….and we’ve been far too busy planning celebrations to tell you about it – sorry.
However, we have also been up to lots. The biggest thing so far this year is our session at a recording studio. We decided to see what we would sound like if we recorded ourselves professionally – and we were thrilled by the results. We booked a session at Water Rat Studios in Woking, where Kim gently herded us into a studio and patiently allowed us to record 5 tracks. Following a few weeks of mixing – the results can be found (here). We think that we sound fantastic – it’ll be interesting to hear your feedback (https://www.facebook.com/groups/405197339670330/ or https://twitter.com/choir_phoenix ). We are planning a return a return visit to record a few more tracks with the aim of producing a CD which we can give to family and friends – hopefully, in time for Christmas.
We have also planned an anniversary cruise at the end of August to celebrate our birthday – and the birthdays of two of our members, Pete and Kirrie. It promises to be a riot! Can’t wait.
We haven’t quite forgotten about singing and we have a few summertime performances coming up:
6 July: Little Narcies Musical Charity Event – this is a charity (http://www.littlenarcies.org) which is close to our hearts. This biennial events showcases local musical performers throughout the afternoon and evening - with all the fun of a fete: tombola, raffle, cake stalls etc . Tickets cost £5 and are available from www.Eventbrite.com and searching for ‘Little Narcies in the ‘event’ field – or email us at email@example.com and we will sort it for you
7 July: London Lights, Broadway Nights, Princes Hall, Aldershot – this is a once-in-a-life performance in aid of The Brain Tumour Charity and Phyllis Tuckwell.. We will be performing with stars from the London West End. Tickets cost £18 (https://www.princeshall.com/event/97001/london-lights-broadway-nights )
7 September: Alexfest – this will be the first time that Phoenix have performed at Alexfest and we are really looking forward to it. Its held at the Alexandra pub in Farnborough.
Shout out to all budding Sopranos – we need you!
Are you hiding an inner Beyonce or do you think you could give Mariah Carey a run for her money? If so, we need you! Whilst there is no doubting that our soprano section is loud – we do notice it when there are a couple missing. Therefore, we are looking to strengthen our sops with a couple of additional members. They have the most fun and they don’t sing that high, really, honest. Reckon you’d like to give it a go? Then we would love to hear from you – firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s not to say that Altos, Basses and Tenors aren’t welcome too.
Seasons Greetings to one and all.
Our short Christmas season comes to an end on Sunday 16th December when we take part in the Christmas Carol service at St. Pauls Church, Tongham. Prior to that we have been involved in a number of activities, not least was our Christmas party on the 1st December at @ the Princess Royal near Farnham. A few sore heads at breakfast the next day to say the least.
From a performance perspective we sung to guests at a Black Tie Charity Event in aid of Sebastian’s Action Trust in Windsor Guild Hall on 16th November. Some of our choir also visited The Woodlands run by Sebastian’s, not only to look over the facilities they provide and find out about the work they do, but also to hand over a cheque from the fundraiser we held in October. Here are a few pictures from the visit....
In total we raised £500 for the trust and we were presented with a nice certificate to record the fact....
The day before this visit (6th), we again were invited along by Eagle Radio’s Drive Time show’s Christmas Light Switch-On from a listeners house. And by a stroke of ‘luck’ it was from one of our choir members house (Michelle). We sang a couple of carols live on air and also had the opportunity to present a cheque to Little Narcies a charity close to Michelle’s and our hearts. Again we managed to raise £500 for the charity and made the presentation live on radio (a big thank-you to Simon Rose of drivetime to allow Little Narcies some airtime to explain their mission). Here are a few pictures from the fun evening....
And finally we on 13th December we did our regular Carol Concert at the Beaumont Retirement Village, which as always was well received and enjoyed by all.
So that’s it for this year. 2019 sees us celebrating our 10th Anniversary, which we hope to do in some style. All will be revealed next year.
Well we did it! Another successful Friends & Family Concert under our belt, and even if we say so ourselves we think we pretty much performed every part of our set to ‘perfection’.
Of course as always we would like to thank the Mytchett Community Centre for allowing us to use their hall including the bar. Also thanks to the ‘behind the scenes’ help, Tony Bowman for setting up the lights and Colin Paterson for the sound engineering and ‘MCing’ throughout the concert. Not to mention, Rob Halhead-Baker for all his designs and artwork and finally all the efforts by Vicki Harrison for her organisation behind the scenes.
And of course we mustn’t forget our wonderful Musical Director Yulia Hauer, for helping us to get to such a high standard and to Chris Snelling for his wonderful accompaniments on the piano.
Part of the reason for this concert was to showcase what we have been doing these past months to our friends and family but also as stated below, to raise money, for two worthy causes, Sebastian’s Action Trust and Little Narcies. To this end we have raised approx. £1385. So thank-you to the 100+ people that attended.
Pictures and a few of the songs we performed can be found in the Performances section of our website.
We are holding are latest Friends & Family Concert on 13th October 2018 at The Mytchett Community Centre. It starts at 07:30 pm with the doors opening at 07:00pm. There is a Bar an Raffle, which is included in the price of the ticket. The concert is in aid of the following two charities;
Sebastian’s Action Trust & Little Narcies
Tickets are £10 details in the poster.
Last night we performed at Beaumont Retirement Village. We had a good time as usual and managed to include our two new songs, Lean on me and the Ultimate Queen medley, into the setlist alongside some old favourites. Here’s what Carol had to say on Facebook afterwards:
‘Well what an amazing sing last night!! The feedback was fantastic, especially from people who know us. Colin was so impressed with all of our new songs, but Queen was the clear winner. A true showstopper in the making!! Another couple were so impressed, we have been invited to sing at a local music festival they are organising!'
'Can’t tell you how much I love Choir! And thank you so much to our new members who have worked so hard to learn the songs.'
'Our Friends and Family show will be awesome!!’
Has spring finally arrived? We hope so as we are fed up of travelling through driving snow and torrential rain to rehearsals.
We’ve had some success in attracting new members following our mini-recruitment drive in January. We have gained extra Basses, Tenors and Altos, who are all now settling in nicely and we’d like to extend a BIG WELCOME to you all. With the increase in numbers, we are sounding great and nicely balanced, however, there is still room for a couple more (in particular, sopranos), so if you are interested, please get in touch and arrange for a trial session (no auditions – see ‘How to Join’ for details).
We worked extremely hard in preparing for the Beaconsfield Festival of Choirs which took place in early March. It was very nearly cancelled due to snow, however, we braved the elements and had a very enjoyable day. We sang 3 songs and gave a good account of ourselves.
We are currently learning new stuff as we are preparing for a Family and Friends performance on 13 October ‘Songbook II’, which will be held at the Mytchett Community Centre.
There are two new work-in-progress songs that we are working on. One of which is going to be the ULTIMATE Queen medley – should be impressive if we can pull it off. Yulia has developed an amazing arrangement covering 6 Queen songs!
DECEMBER 2017 UPDATE
We are looking for new members - we have a load of lovely singers but we would like to have a few more. So, we are holding an Open Evening at the Mytchett Community Centre, on 11 January 2018 @ 20:00.
Made that new year’s resolution? Fancy trying something new? Or, just fancy a bit of a singsong? Well, here’s your opportunity - we would be delighted to meet you and spend an evening with you whilst we sing a few songs. We don’t audition - all we ask for is enthusiasm. Look forward to seeing you there!
AUGUST 2017 UPDATE
Unlike most summers we’ve not taken any time off as we have been busy rehearsing for a charity event being held at the Mytchet Community Centre in Surrey on Saturday 2nd September. This event is in aid of supporting children and young people with Narcolepsy (www.littlenarcies.org). The reason we are supporting it is that one of choir members son suffers from the condition (http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/camberley-teen-sleeping-disorder-creates-13498469).
There will be a number of local bands and groups also supporting us and events get under way at 4pm. Tickets are available from www.eventbrite.com/e/little-narcies-charity-music-festival-tickets-35180176856 @ £4 or £5 on the day.
We are also looking at holding an open evening/rehearsal on the 19th October. We will post more information about this nearer the time
Just a quick follow up from our Friends and Family event in the form of a thank-you letter received from Phyllis Tuckwell, which is reproduced here.
So far in 2017 we have performed at the Choir Festival in Beaconsfield (http://www.beaconsfieldfestivalofchoirs.com) and our rendition of One Direction’s (1D) History had the youngsters and choristers from the other choirs singing along enthusiastically. The organiser, Jane Smith, is so impressed with Yulia’s arrangements that she asked Yulia to share them with her - how flattering is that!
We have also posted some videos of songs performed at last years Friends and Family Showcase and these can be found here
In addition we are hopefully performing at a number of events, all in aid of charity over the summer months;
Victoria Day - Aldershot - 10th June @ 3pm
Samfest - Tongham - 24th June (although still to be finalised)
Farnborough World Food Fair - 1st July (again still to be finalised).
And finally, best wishes to Megan and Andrew, who get married on 14th July 2017.
Following on from our Family and Friends event in November, you’ll be glad to know that we managed to raise £1000, thank-you to all those that attended
and gave so generously, and hopefully you enjoyed yourselves too. We certainly did!.
Below are a couple of pictures of the presentation ceremony for Phyllis Tuckwell.
We hope you had a lovely summer, we all did….and its Autumn already.
We recently sang for the wedding of Kirsty and Daniel at St. Paul’s Church, Tongham and received the following lovely thank-you from the happy couple;
From: kirsty daniel
Date: 9 October 2016 at 19:16:38 BST
Subject: Thank you
Dear The Phoenix Choir,
We would like to say a massive thank you for being able to sing at our wedding on the 17/09/16 at St Paul's Church Tongham. You all sang beautifully and really did give the boost needed with the hymns. We also loved the other songs we had chosen for you to sing whilst the signing of the registers took place, our only thin was we were gutted that we didn't get to hear the 3rd song we had chosen but it didn't take as much time as the vicar had thought unfortunately.
We have had loads of compliments on having you in the chuch and we were both very happy and really can't to see/ hear you again on our wedding video!
But we knew you would be perfect at our wedding from when we first heard you all sing for us at Mychett Community Centre.
We will reccomend you to family and friends and will be happy to send over pictures once we have received them.
Kirsty & Daniel Wilson.
I promised to provide details for our Family and Friends concert on 26 November – it’s all been confirmed and details are available here. The Mytchett Community Centre have kindly offered us the large hall with the stage, and as it’s for charity - Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice Care, we have decided to open it up to a wider audience – we’d love to see you all there – and tell your friends!
We have been working hard to learn new songs for the show, which is now entitled ‘Songbook’, and to perfect some others, such as the long awaited Bohemian Rhapsody (it’s been a difficult birth, but I can promise you it’s worth it).
In addition, to the above, we have a few Christmas dates confirmed, as follows:
19 November Tongham Christmas Fair, The Old School, Tongham
15 December Beaumont Retirement Village
18 December Christmas Carol Service, St Paul’s Church, Tongham
Christmas already….hasn’t the year gone quickly
SUMMER UPDATE 2016
We are working very hard at the moment. We have decided to have a family and friends concert in aid of Phyllis Tuckwell (more of which later) and we want to have as many new songs ready to perform as we can – we know that the family and friends who have been with us for a while get a bit bored of the old favourites that they have heard many times before – so, its all hands on deck and frantic song learning time! - quite frankly, it probably takes more discipline than we’re used to (we’re more used to gossiping and arriving late ;-) )But we are determined. Just a taster of the new songs we will be performing: Mr Brightside (the Killers) and we promise there will be a world premiere of Yulia’s arrangement of Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen) – it has to be heard to be believed….
Recently, we performed at the Victoria Day celebrations, timed so that it could include the celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday. We performed a 20 minute set to what was quite a large audience for us. We think that we went down well, and we have received some lovely feedback from the organisers. There will be another performance during the summer, at the Beaumont Retirement Village – they have kindly invited us back, but the date has still to be confirmed. They were lucky enough to have a performance by our star singers, Carol Patterson and Keith May, who sang a selection of their favourite songs, as soloist and as a duet. Rave reviews of the concert have been received – we are so lucky to have such talented singers in the choir.
Finally, as promised details of our Family and Friends concert in aid of Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice Care – the date has been confirmed as 26 November 2016 at the Mytchett Community Centre, so put it in your diaries now! The finer details are still being agreed, such as ticket prices and concert times, but there will be a bar, and you can be guaranteed that all the profits will be going to a fantastic cause.
Time for another update – where does the time go to?
We have spent the first quarter of 2016 working on and perfecting 4 songs to perform at the Beaconsfield Festival of Choirs. We tried valiantly to finish Bohemian Rhapsody but it wasn’t to be (it’s almost there, but still needs polishing….). We dragged out an old favourite, which added to be ‘Sunday Morning’ and ‘More than Words’ made 3 – so what to do as our 4th song? Yulia suggested we tried something different to our usual ‘popular’ song choices and suggested a modern choral arrangement called ‘Flow Water’ by Damien Kehoe. Its beautiful, soulful and quite haunting. It was also a challenge because it relies on precise harmonies and timing. I think that we managed to do it justice and it was very satisfying to have tried, and succeeded, with something so different.
Once again, we enjoyed our time at Beaconsfield, and for some of us, it was our first taste of performing (Christmas carols don’t really count). We are planning a family and friends gig, possibly with some special guests, for sometime in October – watch this space for the date.
Once again, we are seeking new members, so if you were interested before, but never made the move……well, what are you waiting for? We’d love to see you.
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE
We’ve been having such a good time, I forgotten to update the website!
Firstly, our Choir is going from strength to strength – we have had such a fun year last year:
March: Beaconsfield held their first ever Sangerstevne and we went along to support it. It was great – very friendly and well organised. We liked the common songs so much that we kept them in our repertoire. (http://www.beaconsfieldfestivalofchoirs.com ). We’ll be going back next year.
May: May saw the return to the Ealing Sangerstevne. We had ‘unfinished business’ as for our last visit, we had not performed as well as we wanted to. We stormed it and so, we feel ready to move on.
Summer: We spent the summer gearing up for our recruitment drive. We visited many local events (making lots of new friends and performance opportunities), did leaflet drops, brushed up our social media presence and made the front page of the local paper. The ‘Recruitment Committee’ worked very hard to create a buzz around our planned open evening – all planned and digested over a couple of curries out!
September: September saw our first open evening to attract new members. We had a good turn out and many of those who turned up - stayed. We are delighted with our new members, who have added to the depth and quality of the choir in so many ways, A big thank you and welcome to you all.
December: This saw the return of the legendary Phoenix Party – which as usual did not disappoint. It almost went ‘down the pan’ with a late night version of ‘White Christmas’ (you know who you are ;-)) but was enjoyed by all. The Christmas performances were all great fun, and included the traditional visits to the Beaumont Retirement Village and St Paul’s Church, Tongham. We also had the excitement of appearing on Eagle Radio as part of their Christmas lights feature ‘Lewis’ Lights’ with DJ Lewis Mason. This saw us perform in a living room in Woking, helping to turn on the Christmas tree lights – you can hear it all here.
Finally, a huge thank you to our lovely Yulia for moving us so far forward – Yulia, you manage to come up with arrangements which challenge us and transport us to greater things. You also manage to instil in us the confidence we need to perform, so, from all of us – thank you..
What will 2016 bring? Hopefully , just more of the same…….
OPEN EVENING - UPDATE
Thank you to everyone to turned up – it was lovely to see you all, and it was a great deal of fun.
Yulia arranged a version of ‘More Than Words’ (Extreme) into 4 parts so that together we could all learn a new song to provide a genuine taste of what goes on at our weekly rehearsals. In addition, we all sung through a couple of old favourites which are easy to pick up. At the end, the established choir members sang a couple of songs from our repertoire, 1) for fun, and 2) as one last chance to convince any newcomers who weren’t quite sure to come and join us.
The sound that we all made singing together was tremendous and it all but raised the roof – then we retired to the bar to get to know each other a little better.
I do hope that you’ll come back. If you do, we could have 12-15 new members. Wow, how amazing is that?
We have to thank the efforts of the ‘recruitment committee’, otherwise known as the ‘lets go have a curry and plan this, club’, for their tireless efforts over the summer in publicising the evening – they badgered local shops to display leaflets, posted leaflets through letter boxes and attended local events in the capacity of Phoenix Choir. I won’t name them because I’m bound to forget someone, but everybody who contributed deserves a huge round of applause – and I think you are all fantastic.
This may well be the start of something wonderful.
Spring (ish) 2015 Update
I’m sorry that it’s been a while since we updated the news – no excuses, just life, I’m afraid.
Anyway, what’s been going on – Lots!
We have performed at both the Sangerstevne in Ealing on May 16 (http://www.sangerstevne.org.uk) and the Beaconsfield Festival of Choirs on March 21 (http://www.beaconsfieldfestivalofchoirs.com) . We thoroughly enjoyed both events. We felt very confident and well rehearsed performing and as a consequence, gave a very relaxed performance which was an enjoyable change.
We are planning another family and friends evening (date tbc) to showcase new songs sometime in the Autumn – which means that we’ve got to get a move on learning the new stuff. The boys suggested ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ which is challenging to say the least, but its lots of fun watching them reach for the high notes (its not easy being Freddie….).
Now we have re-launched ourselves – new logo, performance scarves etc, we are actively seeking new members – want to come and join us?
Autumn 2014 Update
Its been a long time coming…….
...but we’ve finally got our very own logo, what do you think? Hopefully over the next few months this will lead to a redesign of the current website.
Its been a long while since the website was updated (I know, I know, where have we been!), but we were waiting until we had the new logo.
As we continue to grow, both in size and maturity, we decided it would be nice to have a logo to be proud of (and a colour scheme that we are happy to wear – some choir colours make your eyes water ;-) ). So after much discussion, we unanimously agreed on the designs based around the treble and bass clefs, along with a ‘flame’ motif all in muted ‘flame’ colours. We thank Melanie of Imaginista, Farnham (https://www.facebook.com/Imaginista.co.uk ) for her skill, imaginative designs, and her patience for coming up with such a lovely design – something that we can truly call our own.
As for the choir, we haven’t been idle either. We’ve been working on lots of new songs, all of which were showcased at a Family and Friends performance. We were delighted with the positive comments that we received – all saying how much we have improved since our performances in the early days – let’s hope we can continue to improve and grow, we were very happy with the way we sounded. We have had a few new members join us, whom we say a big ‘welcome’ to. New members always add their own personality to the choir mix and its makes for a fun atmosphere.
Next up is Christmas – lots of the usual carols and performance opportunities, including the traditional Carol Concert at St Pauls Church in Tongham (21 December), not forgetting, of course, the nearly legendary Phoenix Choir Christmas Party – can’t wait.
We’ll post another update in the New Year – and as usual, if you’d like to join us, please see details in the How to Join section. Have a Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year.
Spring 2014 Update
Here we are well into spring – almost summer, and this is the first update of the year (apologies). So what have we been up to? More of the same is the short answer.
We have continued to build up a new repertoire under Yulia and we have deliberately taken our time over this – Yulia’s arrangements are brilliant and they deserve time and effort to learn (The Bruno Mars mash-up has to be heard to be believed!). So, we took the decision to concentrate more on re-building this year and less on performing. This means that for the first time in 4 years, we will not be performing at Sangerstvene in May. Instead we are helping to raise funds for Farnborough Winds with a small concert in Tongham on 26 April – this is mainly aimed at family and friends but if you wish to obtain tickets, please email us at Bookings@phoenixchoir.co.uk.
We have also changed our rehearsal venue again. The Rock and Pop Foundation are moving premises over the summer which has created a bit of uncertainty about where we can rehearse, so we are moving to the Mytchett Community Centre on 2 May. We are all really looking forward to the parking facilities and the Member’s Bar (member’s rates will apply). Those of you who recall the Family and Friends concert last year will remember what a fine venue this is.
We have been joined by some new members – a big welcome to Paul and Barbara. However, there is still room for more – if you are interested in trying us out, please see How to Join for details. It’s a good time to join because we will all be on one learning curve together.
Oh, almost forgot to say – instead of Sangerstvene, we will be having one of our legendary parties instead. See, I said it was a good time to join…………
Autumn Round Up
Bet you are all wondering how we are doing following our traumatic start to the summer….
Well, we started back in September full of enthusiasm and its been a great start. We have concentrated on starting to develop 2 new songs and by going over some of the old stuff for Yulia. Yulia listened to our back catalogue and suggested some changes to the parts and the arrangements so that we continue to develop. So, we not only have some new songs but even the old songs are sounding fresher.
The new songs we have started are ‘Beneath you’re Beautiful’ (Labyrinth) and ‘Grenade’ by Bruno Mars. ‘Beneath you’re Beautiful’ is largely finished now, and is sounding fantastic – we have even nailed the ‘difficult’ bridge in the middle!
We still really need to increase the number of members – fancy joining us? See How to Join for details. We have been joined by Lovedae, Marsha, Steph, Courtney, and Kimberley. Lovedae et al have amazing joie de vivre and energy and they have added a new dimension to the choir, which we are loving. Lovedae’s daughter is an aspiring drummer and comes along to keep the beat for us – never before have we kept such perfect rhythm!
We have also concentrated on finding a new pub for that all important after-session refreshment. I am pleased to announce that after much searching (and sampling) by Graham and Nick, we have settled on the White Hart (http://www.beerintheevening.com/pubs/s/33/3373/White_Hart/Aldershot) – a traditional pub with good beer and a friendly landlady. This was an important step in making sure that we settle in our new home, so we are pleased to have it sorted.
We have decided to limit our Christmas activities this year and concentrate on rebuilding. However, we have arranged 2 events – Beaumont Retirement Village (5 December) and the St Paul’s Carol Concert in Tongham (15 December). This means that we will have to ‘dust off’ our Christmas favourites (sorry, Graham – he hates Christmas), and this means starting Christmas early – like now!
More importantly, we have arranged the Christmas party. Our parties are legendary and it wouldn’t be Phoenix Choir without a Christmas Party. This year our party will be on 7 December and whilst number may be reduced, we hope that the festive spirit won’t be – I’ll let you know.
Its a new dawn, Its a new day, Its a new life and…….
We’re Feeling Good*
Well, what a busy couple of weeks its been – and quite an emotional rollercoaster too!
So, what is new?
We have a new home. The Rock and Pop Foundation in Aldershot have stepped in to offer us their support and the use of their fabulous venue which is at the Wesley Chambers (the stone-built church, found on the junction of Grosvenor Road, Queens Road and Victoria Road in Aldershot). The sympathetic conversion has created a wonderful three-story space with fantastic acoustics, oh and to be surrounded by their guitars, drum kits and keyboards is quite inspiring (personally, it’s the bass guitars which rekindle my pop star aspirations).
We are very grateful to Steve and the Rock and Pop Foundation for the way in which they have provided support and practical solutions to our problems. We hope that this will be the start of a long and happy relationship. We can’t wait to see how we can get involved and repay some of their kindness.
We also have a new MD. Yulia Hauer has kindly agreed to take us on – more about Yulia will appear soon (after the summer hols). She has made a fantastic start by arranging ‘beneath your beautiful’ by Labrinth. Having listened to the men’s request, she has provided us with a 4-part arrangement which allows for bass and tenor – a great relief for Ian and Pete who sing at the opposite ends of the traditional male range!
As we are emotionally exhausted and quite ‘wrung out’, we have decided to take a summer break during August and therefore, our next session will be on 5 September. We have also decided to take this opportunity to ‘re-brand’, so watch out for a new logo and uniform – and photos will follow of course.
Finally, and perhaps more importantly, we have emerged with our spirit, camaraderie and sense of fun intact. We are so excited by Yulia, the new venue and the future possibilities that we are positively ‘buzzing’.
If you like what you read and are looking to join a choir, please see ‘How to join’ for details.
*with apologies to Nina Simone
Unfortunately David our Musical Director has decided to leave with immediate effect to pursue other musical avenues. As a result of this there has been a shake up of members, with some choosing to leave also. We wish everyone all the best in whatever they go onto do.
As a result we are looking for new members to join our group of 15 or so members and as before ‘we will rise from the ashes’.
New Year, New Songs…
After a hugely enjoyable Christmas, where we managed to raise lots more money for Marie Curie as well as have a good time, we have started 2013 with a ‘BANG’. David has given us 4 new songs to learn for the Sangerstvene in May. They are a mixture of old and new – ‘Pennies from Heaven’ is the oldest, and we have 2 chart toppers from 2012 competing to be the newest – ‘Call me Maybe’ and ‘Iris’. They are challenging, but look like they will be fun to learn and sing.
We were thrilled to be joined by Johannah, our new talented pianist in November just in time for the Christmas carol season. She is amazing and has added a new level of professionalism to the Choir. We have been extremely fortunate in securing her talents - how she puts up with us, is anybody’s guess, but we’re glad she does.
We have had a number of other people join us recently which has taken our membership to over 30. This is long way from the 16–ish members who originally formed Phoenix back in 2009 – who’d have thought that we’d still be here 4 years later and still going from strength to strength? That we are still here is a credit to the enthusiasm and hard work of some key people, most notably Carol, who manage to carry out the background administration necessary to keep the choir running. This non-stop energy has helped us become what we are today. What is fantastic is that because we are a co-operative, lots of different people are involved (some not even in the choir – Colin, Sean, Maureen among them), and everybody offers to do what they can – be it organising performances, photocopying/printing, forum/web admin, event catering, roadies, etc - the list is endless…. Thank you, we couldn’t exist without you, folks – you know who you are!
We feel that 30 is an ideal number which produces a nicely balanced sound. Therefore, we have taken the tough decision to close membership for the time being and set up a waiting list for all new enquiries – please see ‘joining us’ for details.
A big ‘Welcome’ to all our new starters, we’re glad to have you on board.
Its been a busy summer – a couple of weddings and parties, which have kept us singing, rehearsing and carousing throughout the holiday period. Suddenly, autumn appears to have come out of nowhere – wind, rain and yet more rain. Still, it means that attendances are up to full strength again and we have been frantically getting ready for a performance at Beaumont Retirement Village. We enjoy performing at Beaumont, they are an appreciative audience and it allows us to try out new songs in a non-threatening environment.
Due to the requests for the weddings, we have a lot of new material which needs to be polished in time for Thursday 27 September – new songs include You’re all I need to get by (Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell), All you need is love (Lennon/McCartney) and We will follow him (Sister Act).
Soon it will be Christmas again – the choir year goes by so fast….one moment its summer weddings and the next, its snow and sleigh bells. Still, it means that the legendary Phoenix Christmas Party will soon be upon us again – look out Farnborough!
60th Wedding Anniversary Celebration - 14th June 2012
We were very privileged to be asked by one of choir members (Les) to sing at the 60th Wedding Anniversary Celebration of his parents, Stan and June. It was a wonderful day and considering the summer we have had so far, the weather was perfect. Attached is the order of service (pdf) to give you some idea of what we sang.
Les’s parents apparently thoroughly enjoyed themselves, not getting to bed until 2am the next morning !
Les would like to pass on his thanks below;
“I would just like to say a huge THANK YOU to you all for being part off their celebration. The feedback from everybody who was there yesterday and heard you all sing has been fantastic. The Reverend was so impressed she said we should sing professionally and one of the best choirs she had heard. When I walked down the aisle with my Mum it was a very proud moment for me and to hear ‘sailing’ being sung like that was an amazing sound and will stay in my mind for along time. We were so glad that most of you were able to come last night and get the party going in true phoenix style. Carol a huge thank you to you. David, and to you for being as usually professional in everything you do with us. To all of you who gave up your spare time yesterday to make this day so special for my Mum and Dad a huge huge THANK YOU. As a family we realise we are very lucky to have them both still around to be able to celebrate such an occasion and hopefully they will be still be here for many more years yet.”
Sangerstevene 12 May 2012
We had a fabulous time at this year’s Sangerstevene held in St Matthew’s Church in Ealing. We were in the third concert (3pm – 5pm) along with 6 other choirs (2 from France). Julie was heard to tell one of the other choirs that “we not really a choir, just a bunch of people to come together to sing” – we think that she was just lulling the competition into a false sense of security……not that its competitive of course!
A late scheduling change saw us perform 3rd following Harrow Harmony and The Singing Room Choir E17, both from Greater London. We gave a very enthusiastic performance which elicited spontaneous cheering from the audience (mainly comprising of fellow choirs) – the first of the afternoon. Comments received included: "your energy flowed off the stage!", "I'd love to be in your choir!", "I loved your songs”, “Joy to the World was a real surprise!", "thank you- so much fun!", "your choir are fantastic!", and a bunch of "that was brilliant" some "wonderful”s and even one case of “uniform envy” from Village Voices (Buckinghamshire).
David said afterwards: “One of my mantras is a Charlie Chaplin quote I use it a lot to try to get people to understand how far above the norm they are, when I hear and see that they are. He said that to make people smile and laugh is a talent, to make them cry is a gift. You are all, as a choir, extremely talented. I feel privileged and honoured to work with you………Integrity costs a lot (and) we've got it in bags”.
We were surprised at how far we have come since last year – and that can only be down to the brilliance of David. His enthusiasm, patience and ability to come up with fantastic arrangements have taken us to heights previously only dreamed of. We are such a lively group that for David it must be like “herding cats” every week, but David - we do appreciate your efforts and we’re glad that you put up with us. Now it only remains to see how much further we can go with both David and Karl, our fab and extremely talented pianist – the sky’s the limit?
Family and Friends, 21 April 2012
Our 2 performances to family and friends were both great fun. A programme of the event can be accessed here. A local paper carried a review (http://www.aldershot.towntalk.co.uk/news/d/26883/phoenix-choir-21st-april-2012-singing-songs-their-way/) which is re-produced here in case the link disappears:
“Tongham based contemporary choir Phoenix gave a rousing performance to two packed audiences last Saturday, as Seale hosted their concert in aid of Marie Curie.
For those of you who don’t know, Seale is a sleepy village on the outskirts of Farnham with a small population and a quaint 12th century church. And it’s very, very peaceful.
Except of course on Saturday 21st April, when Tongham’s Phoenix Choir took over the village hall to entertain their family and friends with their distinctive and eclectic repertoire of pop songs, classics and the odd show tune. They performed two concerts, one in the afternoon and one in the evening, both in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care, who the choir have been supporting for a number of months.
The afternoon concert was a bright, family orientated event. Tea and cakes (made by the choir members) were served by the choir’s marvellous team of helpers and audience members varied in age from 0 to 100! By contrast, the evening performance was a rather more grown up affair – mostly in that the cake was served with wine rather than tea!
The choir themselves were on top form. They sang through their set of 20 choral arrangements and solos with enthusiasm and obvious passion. Members of the audience afterwards commented on the punchy brilliance of “Rhythm of Life”, the touching sensitivity of “Sailing” and the pure euphoria of “Joy To The World”. A favourite with the crowd was a rousing acapella version of “California Dreaming” which had all but the smallest of viewers joining in enthusiastically. The time and effort put in by all was very apparent and the sheer joy and pride on the face of Musical Director David Ricketts as he conducted his choir was clear for all to see. Pianist Karl Truscott was a triumph and reduced several audience members to tears with his rousing interpretation of Debussy’s La Cathédrale Engloutie. Which as any pianist will tell you is no mean feat on an electric keyboard!
The whole day was a complete success. The choir did their best performance to date, the audience were thrilled and the event raised a lot of money for a very worthy cause. There was something for everyone and a song for all occasions.
The Phoenix Choir are always looking to recruit new members. There is no audition process; you just let them know when you’d like to pop along to try it out. They are available for functions and have a wide variety of songs for any occasion however they can discuss commissions if there is a particular song that you would require. The choir supports Marie Curie Cancer Care and have to date raised over £1700 for this exceptional charity and aim to raise much more in the future – keep an eye on our “Performances” page for any upcoming events in your area. “
There were 2 main aims of the day 1) to show our family and friends what we get up to every Thursday evening and 2) to raise as much money for Marie Curie as we could. We achieved both objectives with miles to spare.
I can’t believe that it is spring already…. the last 3 months have really flown by. We have had such a good time this quarter – new members have really added to the depth and quality of our sound, and David has been on fire (metaphorically speaking of course). The new arrangements he has thought up for us are really beautiful and challenging for us as a choir.
Another delightful bit of news is that we have found a pianist. We had been discussing the possibility of finding someone to accompany us for sometime, as this would free up David to conduct us. Karl is a friend of Mark and Julie and he was looking for a new musical challenge – and you can’t get anymore challenging than us! Karl has fitted right in and already we couldn’t imagine life without him.
We have arranged a Family and Friends performance for 21 April which will hopefully raise funds for ourselves and Marie Curie, our adopted charity. There are going to be two performances – afternoon and evening at Seale Village Hall. Most of the tickets have been sold, but there are still a few remaining. So if you are interested in hearing us sing – drop us a line to email@example.com tickets cost £5.00.
We are also coming up to the Sangerstevne on 12 May. We took part last year and enjoyed it so much that we are attending again this year. The Sangerstevne is a non-competitive choral festival which takes place in Ealing. Choirs from all over the world attend – last year we were joined in our concert by a French and 2 Belgian choirs. We have yet to finalise our choice of 4 songs – David is still making his mind up which are our best…. it seems to be a difficult choice, for all the right reasons we hope!
Latest Update January 2012
Christmas and 2011 are now behind us and a new year beckons. Our Christmas concerts largely went well, although, the carol concert in St Paul’s was a bit of a disappointment due to in part to St Paul’s being between Vickers. The highlight was singing on behalf of Marie Curie Cancer Care (http://www.mariecurie.org.uk) outside the Meadows in Camberley and at a private Christmas Party in Ascot. The 2 events raised a whopping £1500. Marie Curie were thrilled and have asked us to perform at further events for them in 2012.
We must just make a small mention about the Christmas Party. As usual, it was a riotous event with many a sore head the following morning – one in particular! (you know who you are…). The James Bond theme was enthusiastically followed with glamorous frocks for the girls and DJ’s for the boys. We are already planning next year’s party and all suggestions for venues are welcomed. At the party we took the opportunity and thanked everybody who helped during the year to make Phoenix the success it has become, most notably (and with apologies to anyone I’ve forgotten):
Helen – For playing the piano for us when we need it
Caalie - For setting up and updating Soundcloud
Vicky - For all those summary notes of meetings
Carol P/Pete - For organising and managing the funds
Carolyn - For buttonholes and organising events
It is customary at the start of a new year to think about the year just finished and to sum up the notable events. For Phoenix Choir, 2011 was:
Performing out of our skins at the Sangerstevne and the journey home in May
The birth of Sophie Kathleen (choir member-in-waiting) in June
Being a triumph at the ‘Party in the Park’ in July
Holding a summer rehearsal at Katy’s stunning house
A riotous night out in October
Singing to famous people in December
Having an uncertain Autumn but sticking together regardless,
and Having such a fabulously good time for all 12 months.
Let’s hope 2012 brings more of the same – the future looks bright and very exciting.
David is re-enthused and has come up with 2 great new songs for us to learn. The intention is have them perfected in time for the Sangerstevne in May. We have a few new performance dates and also a few new members. Welcome to all of you who have joined us recently and we hope that you feel welcome and that you’ll be with us for a long time.
CALLING ALL MEN
Ever wanted to be Robbie Williams/Tom Jones/David Hasselhof/Tony Christie?
Fancy being outnumbered by lively women every week?
If yes, why don’t you join us?
We have had a number of very-welcome lady members who have joined us recently which has increased our overall numbers to about 27. What we would really like are a few more men to balance out the ladies a bit. Don’t get us wrong, our men are wonderful, but they are a bit outnumbered.
Its difficult to get men interested in joining a choir, and we don’t know why. Here’s what some of our men have said about the Phoenix experience:
It’s a real laugh (Pete)
The women really jump out at you (Ian)*
* He was only talking about the photos on the front page, honestly!
If that’s not enough to tempt you, here are a few more reasons to join us:
we go down the pub after most rehearsals
We have a mixture of football, rugby and ukulele fans, so there is always a good discussion going on
It’s a team sport – without the sweat
You won’t be alone – you’ll be joining Nick, Ian, Mark, Pete, Les, Robin and Graham
Ladies lurrrve men who serenade them……..apparently
Drop us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) – we’d love to hear from you
Here we are currently basking in the late Indian summer and picture this if you will– temperatures up to 28°C, blue cloudless skies, summer dresses billowing, shorts and t-shirts– and the gentle strains of ‘The Holly and The Ivy’ drifting through the open windows………
Yes, Christmas is back on the agenda already.
We have a number of performances scheduled for late November and December, so its time to dust off the Christmas Carols and songs from last year and start adding to the repertoire. Christmas has to start early for choirs – there is so much to learn and so many to chose from – we are very much looking forward to perfecting ‘Mary’s Boy Child’ (the upbeat version) for this year.
Our first performance is on 19 November – a mix of Christmas and other songs, at The Meadows, Camberley. We will be singing at lunchtime (TBA) outside M&S to raise money for Marie Curie.
News July 2011
Firstly, CONGRATULATIONS to Lindsay and Baby Sophie, who arrived within 24 hours of a Phoenix Choir rehearsal, which Lindsay reckons makes her the most dedicated member - hard to argue with really! Sophie Kathleen Judge arrived on Friday 24th June at 20:53 weighing a teensy 6lbs 8oz, but safe and well.
Congratulations also go to Pete, who finally became a fully fledged Police Constable with Surrey Police. This has been a long and arduous process and this makes his achievement all the more remarkable -well done, Pete. While we are on the subject, there have been a lot of promotions and new jobs among our ranks - Joyce, Mark, Julie and Linda - good luck with your new roles. What a successful bunch we are!
4 June: Wedding St Paul's, Tongham.
We were thrilled to be asked to sing at the wedding of Heather and Grant. We sang as the church choir for the hymns and performed two songs (Seasons of Love and God only Knows) whilst the Bride and Groom signed the register. This was our first wedding and it was lovely to be part of such a happy occasion.
9 July: Party in the Park (photos)
We performed a set of 7 songs at Party in the Park, an event organised by Crawley Ridge Primary School, Camberley. This amazing event is the brainchild of our Musical Director, David Ricketts. There was a full programme of musical performances comprising of a mixture of school performances and performances from local groups. The event showcases the pupil's musical opportunities - school choir, piano and recorder performances, mixed with performances from ourselves, Andy Quinn (piano player extraordinaire), Swing Band and Black Velvet - who had us dancing in the sunshine.
We were lucky with the weather, with the sun coming out, and only one heavy shower, and we turned it into a perfect social occasion. We set up a Phoenix gazebo to advertise the choir and it proved to be the prefect spot for our picnics. We had a lot of family and friends to support us and we hope that our performance demonstrated the reason why we disappear on Thursday evenings. We ‘borrowed’ a pianist for the occasion – Thank you very much Sarah, which enabled David to conduct. The stage was a huge inflatable one, with all sorts of mikes, wires and things we aren't used to and it was strange singing on a stage where the sound didn't gather around us - it was difficult to hear the choir as a whole, hard even to hear the person next-door to you - very strange.... However, we were happy with our performance and pleased with the reaction from the audience. We’ve come along way since our first performance at Party in the Park. It was a fabulous afternoon and we all enjoyed ourselves.
David, Phoenix Choir, and Crawley Ridge, are lucky to have you. Thank you.
News May 2011
Sorry its been awhile since the news was updated – we’ve all been so busy practicing!
We had our first ‘proper’ performance at the West London Sangerstevne (www.sangerstevne.org.uk) on May 14. We performed in the Saturday evening concert along with 6 other choirs. Apart from charity school events, this was the first time that we have sung at an event with other choirs. Needless to say, the nerves were jangling. However, we were determined to make the effort and put on a good show.
We performed a 20 minute set consisting of 4 songs:
Seasons of Love (from the musical ‘Rent’)
In my Life (Lennon/McCartney)
Happy Ending (Mika)
California Dreaming (Mamas and Papas)
We pulled it off!
We were pleased with our performance and felt that we more than held our own with the other choirs. We didn’t quite manage a standing ovation, however, we were the only choir who had the audience clapping along. David said ‘Wow guys! You were fantastic and I was amazed at the volume and solidity of the performance. I was really proud to see how far you have come since this time last year.’
This lays the foundations for a busy summer, with a wedding performance in June and the Party in the Park in July (9 July, http://crawleyridge.net ).
News December 2010
Along with the rest of the country – we have been disrupted by the snow. Two of our performances were affected – Hawley Place School fete was cancelled and Beaumont Retirement Village had to be postponed – the new date is 16 December. Hopefully, the St Paul’s Church carol concert will go ahead as planned.
The next full rehearsal will be on 6 January 2011.
Congratulations to Lindsay, who has announced her pregnancy and also to Jan, whose 3rd grandchild arrived unexpectedly early, but is happy and well. The pregnancy explains why Lindsay was the only sober one at last Saturday’s Christmas Party. There were many sore heads at breakfast the next morning and the odd empty chair! However, it was great fun and the Secret Santa presents kept everyone much amused. There are a few pictures in the Gallery, thanks to Caalie and Joyce.
Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year to all our past, present and future members.
Kirrie and Sean – the Web team.
News October 2010
Well the summer is over and the autumn is well and truly upon us. Choir practices are back and thriving – despite the unhappy departure of two of our friends, we have been joined by Lindsay, and there are more possible new members in the pipeline. A big ‘Welcome’ to Lindsay, who has fitted right in, reassuring us that we are as great as we think we are!
On Thursday 30 September, we performed at the Beaumont Retirement Village and received a fantastic reception. We performed an hour long set which also included individual/duet performances from Carol, Pete, Lindsay/Caalie, and Graham/Nick. We sang a number of new songs, previously ‘work-in-progress’, and overall, we were pleased with the way they sounded. David said ‘I was thrilled with the performance and to be part of such a wonderful group of singers and friends’. Better than anything, we have been invited back to give a Christmas performance.
The Beaumont performance was followed, as is becoming traditional, by a group night out – a curry this time. This allowed us to review our performance, eat royally, and a fantastic time was had by all.
David is keen to start on a couple of new songs to increase our repertoire and we will also begin rehearsing for Christmas. David has lots of ideas for Christmas which will build on the Christmas songs developed last year. There are a number of Christmas performances planned, including Beaumont Retirement Village, and St Pauls Church (see ‘performances’ for details).
Finally, we are hoping to arrange a Thursday night showcase for family and friends. It is hoped that this will provide an opportunity to show our families what happens when we disappear every Thursday and to demonstrate what incredible progress we have made.
Rehearsals have returned to normal (stress-free and fun!) following our H4H performance and a huge amount of progress has been made on 4 new songs.
We have decided to take a summer break for August as holidays made rehearsals difficult during the summer of 2009. Therefore, the last rehearsal of the summer will be on July 29th – with a picnic start planned for 7pm. Choir rehearsals will resume on September 2nd.
We fixed a performance date for a return visit to the Beaumont Retirement Village – September 30th, 7pm start and we received an invitation to sing at the London Sangerstevne (www.sangerstevne.org.uk) in May 2011. Pete ‘took the bull by the horns’ and secured Phoenix a place at the festival, which will be held in Ealing on May 14th.
In addition, the Tongham village hall has recently been renovated and now includes a small stage, which raises the possibility of a Phoenix solo performance – details have yet to be determined, but watch this space....
We had another successful evening out in Guildford – there was lots of drink and the gossip flowed freely…… or should that be the other way around? Anyway, it was lots of fun and was a welcome break from all the World Cup Football on TV.
Finally, we say farewell to another member, Rosemary, who leaves us due to increasing work commitments – We’ll miss you, and you know where we are if you change your mind!
Help For Heroes Variety Concert, 22nd May 2010, Keogh Barracks, Mytchett, Surrey
On Saturday 22 May 2010, Phoenix performed at the ‘Help for Heroes’ Variety Concert held at Keogh Barracks, organised by the Briar Dance School, Lightwater, in aid of the Help for Heroes (H4H) charity. Phoenix sang 4 songs (see below) and joined the Dance School in an all-singing and dancing performance of ‘Glee - Don’t Stop Believing’.
The day comprised of two performances – afternoon and evening, with the additional bonus of an impromptu rendition of ‘California Dreaming’ outside on the Drill square during a fire evacuation prior to the evening performance.
David Ricketts, Musical Director, said:
‘‘Well, what a day! …I felt elated by the responses to your singing, and your singing was fantastic. Anna, Mark and Jules (Holmes) did an amazing job and I feel very proud to have been part of such a wonderful concert. It was such a worthy cause and a great platform for us and the other performers to pay tribute to a brave and selfless group of people. I hope there will be many more.”
One of the main organisers, Julie Holmes said:
“A massive thank you from Anna, Mark and myself for taking part in the H4H concert. I must say that the singing in the drill square was the highlight… everyone stopped to listen, it was very impressive. We raised just over £4000 with some more money to come in from the sponsored mountain climb, Thanks to all those that donated raffle prizes and bought raffle tickets. Once again thanks for all your time and effort in the past few months.”
We also bade an emotional farewell (temporarily, we hope) to Nicole, who has left the choir to concentrate on other commitments. We wish her all the best and lots of success in her ventures - Nicole, we hope to see you again in the autumn, and that you’ll join us for our evenings out.
God only Knows (Backing Track)
California Dreaming (A capella)
Seasons of Love (Piano Accompaniment)
In my Life (Piano and Guitar Accompaniment)
Don’t Stop Believing with Briar Dance School (Backing Track)
If you’ve been inspired and wish to join us, details are on our ‘How to Join’ page