Choreographing for a Choir

Choreographing for a Choir

At Starling Arts choirs, we bring music to life using many performance techniques, including dance and movement. There are many things to consider when adding movement or dance to a choir song, yet it is possible to create effective routines to enhance modern choral music.

While every choir - and every song - is different, we share some of the things we’ve learnt while choreographing for choirs and singing groups over the past decade.

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31 things only people who’ve been in a choir will know

31 things only people who’ve been in a choir will know

For many people, singing is saved for the shower and drunken karaoke nights only. But for members of the estimated 25,000 choirs in the UK alone (and anyone out there who sang in their school choir), there are a lot of things we have all come to know and love about being in a choir. 

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How to Start a Choir!

How to Start a Choir!

Whether in your school, office or local community, starting a choir is a brilliant way to bring people together. It can also be a daunting task! Drawing on over seven years experience of setting up choirs and singing projects in lots of different settings, here are Starling Arts’ top tips for getting your own group on its feet!

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Kids Week Choir!

Friday 2nd August 2013

We report back on getting 100 young theatre lovers singing in the Kids Week Choir at Shakespeare's Globe. 

One of our biggest goals at Starling Arts is to see as many people as possible engaging with music and the arts. We love sharing our passion for music theatre with young people, in particular, which is why we were so excited to be part of the launch event of this year’s Kids Week, which took place at Shakespeare’s Globe on the 1st August.  

The Starling team with the Kids Week Choir (photo by Pamela Raith)

Our team led a lively show choir made up of one hundred young theatre lovers aged between the ages of eight and 12, who performed a specially prepared medley of West End favourites, each from shows featured in the Kids Week scheme. 

Official London Theatre said ‘the annual initiative, which offers a free child’s ticket for every full price ticket purchased, as well as an additional two children’s tickets at half price, offers families a chance to see an array of hit West End shows and take part in a wide range of special activities throughout the month of August.’

Starling Arts co-director Anna Shields arranged a medley featuring songs from hit musicals including We Will Rock You, The Sound Of Music, Matilda The Musical,Mamma Mia! and Les Misérables, which was performed to audience of friends and family at the end of the morning, complete with choreography. Joining the Starling team were facilitators Rebecca Bailey, Hannah Conway and Jamie Noar. 

Anna and Emily teach the medley (photo by Pamela Raith)

We were thrilled to be joined by lead cast members from some of our favourite West End shows including Les Misérables’ Carrie Hope Fletcher, Matilda The Musical’s Marc Antolin, Mamma Mia!’s Emma Crossley, Jersey Boys’ Jon Lee, Let It Be’s Iain Hornal and The Mousetrap’s Annabelle Brown. 

The stars joined in with the choir workshop and final performance, setting an incredible example for the young performers, staying behind afterwards, answering questions and signing autographs. For the participants to meet such inspiring performers up-close must have been both thrilling and inspiring, and this interaction will surely be a key part of instilling a life-long love of the arts in those children who took part. We hope that our attendees will go on to love future theatre trips (made much more affordable through schemes like Kids Week!) and to participate in the arts themselves throughout thier lives. 

Talking to the Kids Week team about the launch event, Fletcher, who earlier this year made her adult West End debut as Eponine following her performance as the character’s younger self more than a decade before, said: “It was brilliant! I did Kids Week when I was 11 or 12 and I remember being so inspired by the actors and actresses from the West End shows then. So to be a West End performer now and to come back and actually be the person to encourage these kids is an absolute honour.”

The Kids Week Choir (photo by Pamela Raith)

One of the event’s young participants, Evie Hind, said: “Today was very fun and our favourite song was [Matilda The Musical’s] Revolting Children… because we are revolting children.” When asked whether performing in today’s choir made the children want to take to the West End stage, the response was a resounding “yes”.

Kids Week said ‘There are still thousands of tickets on sale for the month-long promotion, which has now been bringing the magic of live theatre to children and their families for 16 years. To book tickets, visit www.kidsweek.co.uk

You can watch the ITV coverage of the event here.

 

Singing for Sanity

This July, Starling Arts are collaborating with Make Yourself Home, a wonderful initiaive offering to young professionals a sense of belonging in London.

Make Yourself Home founder and Forte member Laura Ahnemann talks about her love of singing, and our upcoming singing workshop, which takes place on Wednesday 10th July. Find out more here.


‘I believe I can fly! I believe I can touch the sky!’ 

 The sound track of a typical Tuesday evening.

Not only once would I cycle home, blasting out joyful songs after attending choir.

The background: I am singing in Forte, a superb performance choir in London, run by music theatre company Starling Arts.

I joined last year after watching their AMAZING summer performance and am so grateful I did. Because of three things:

First, I love singing – feeling the vibrations of my own voice tingle my nose. Breathing deeply and forming harmonies with other voices. There is just nothing quite like the orchestration of that and it regular gives me goose bumps of joy or a big sad frog in my throat. Because I FEEL the music running through me and the story of the song unfold. Music and singing is part of me feeling home in my body, mind and soul.  Some of you might go: ‘She is a bit crazy…’ – those of you who have experienced it, might describe it differently, but can relate.

Second, I love good company – When I went from being employed to being a student and had a bit more time on my hands, the first thing I did, was to look where I could sing.  Because as you now know, I love singing. I was lucky enough to somehow pass the audition for a quite prestigious and big classical chorus in London. I liked the challenge of singing with such pros and taking the stages of the Royal Albert Hall or the Royal Festival Hall. And yet, I missed connection. Connection to the people in the choir. Never was there a real opportunity to get to know someone in a silly name game or by someone introducing you to another, an odd culture in that place.

When I joined the Starlings, I found something different. No sweating in an audition. I was just welcomed and in silly name and all sorts of other games, I could quickly loosen up and meet the people of this choir, who, to my like, are all sort of in my age group, have good humour and are simply fab company, next to being great singers. You might have your own experience with finding it hard to find and stay friends in London and here was now a real opportunity.

Third, I love a bit of excitement  and challenge – To keep me sane, and feeling alive, I always need a bit of nerve tingling. Some people do life threatening stuff for that like jumping out of a plane (wouldn’t mind trying that one day, too) and being up on stage performing to an audience of curious music lovers is a really welcome and safe way of doing that for me. Another big show is coming up for Starling Arts (check it out and buy your tickets here: /whats-on/) and I’ll be listening to my heart racing before getting up on stage, where hopefully the calm of my performance presence kicks in and time stands still in awe of art.

Anyway, I am telling you about my love for singing, because I love to share good stuff with many people – the more the merrier!

And Starling Arts’ Anna and Emily are bringing their brilliant skills, fun leadership and swinging songs to the Fun and Depth programme this summer. And it is really something one shouldn’t miss out on!

Have your voice join in harmony (or  not ;) ) with others, enjoy the great company of other whole-hearted, fun people and stretch yourself a little by taking on a solo part or by simply showing up to a singing evening event. No previous experience or incredibly good singing voice  is required, just bring yourself the way you are.

When: Wednesday, 10 July 2013, 20:30

Where: St Gabriel’s Hall Boys Club, Pimlico, London

RSVP here: Let’s sing as neighbours in song

Laura, Founder - Make Yourself Home