BRISTOL SHOW CHOIR

Bristol's Number 1 Musical Theatre Choir!

Company, France and Getting Festive!

As Bristol’s musical theatre choir, we love the commitment of our members to the theatre and seeing shows. Even better, is when they see a musical that features one of the songs we’ve chosen to sing as a part of our set for the term! 

This was the case last month, when one of our tenors went to see the new production of Company at the Gielgud Theatre in London. Now, for those that don’t know: Company was originally staged in 1970, and follows a bachelor named Robert as he navigates life and love in New York City. Robert, “Bobby” to his friends, is celebrating his 35th birthday with some ”good and crazy people”: all his married friends! Wrestling with his phobia of commitment, a series of encounters with his friends and three love interests forces Bobby to question what he wants out of life. 

The team behind this new production have turned the musical on its head, mainly through gender swapping the roles! Our leading lady is now Bobbie, her romantic interests Andy, PJ, and Theo and bride to be Amy is now Jamie. Director Marianne Elliot worked closely and with the blessing of Stephen Sondheim, the musical’s composer to make the changes, which also included some subtle tweaks to lyrics, and the book. We’re reliably informed that the changes, as well as an immensely talented cast bring the musical crashing into the 21st century, and feels more relevant and important as it ever was! 

We’ve added our own special Show Choir brand of magic to “Being Alive” – the moment where Bobbie comes to terms with her anxieties about relationships and feels hopeful about wanting that for herself. Kerrie, having seen the show said having Bobbie as a woman works so well and she saw much of her own feelings around relationships and the pressure society places on women being played out on stage. It’s changed the way she looks and feels about the song and was so excited to tell us all about it. Desperate to plan an outing to the show as a choir, too! 

Check out Bristol Show Choir’s version HERE.

Elsewhere this term, we’ve been learning songs from A Chorus Line, The Greatest Showman, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Dear Evan Hansen, as well as revisiting Spring Awakening and Les Miserables. 

And of course, we’re getting in the festive spirit with a fantastic performance for the launch of the We The Curious Ice rink, as well as a charity busk at Wapping Wharf on December 8th and our all important Christmas concert on Tuesday 18th. For tickets and all other information, head on over to our gigs page.

Showtime at The Redgrave!

Though we are all involved in Bristol Show Choir for our love of musicals and singing in our groups just for the pure joy it brings, we also love any opportunity to perform in front of a crowd! A couple of weeks ago, we were lucky enough to stage our Summer concert at Clifton’s Redgrave Theatre

Originally built in 1966 as Clifton College Theatre, the Redgrave’s design was based on The Mermaid Theatre in London and was the first purpose-built school theatre in the country. It was renamed the Redgrave in honour of the actor Sir Michael Redgrave, an ex student of the college after his death. The Theatre initially was used exclusively for college events, but in the seventies the decision was made to hire out the space to local am dram groups in the holidays. 

Some of these groups are still hosted by the Redgrave today, along with hosting a variety of professional touring theatre companies, comedians, concerts, dance pieces and film societies, to name a few! We at Bristol Show Choir were and are incredibly proud and happy to be a part of its continuing history supporting local talent, and the Redgrave is a lovely intimate space to sing in. 

One of things we love most about concert day is seeing both our casts come together – we rehearse separately and of course sound brilliant, but the sound we get together is so much more rich and powerful! Friendships also cross over between casts, so it’s lovely seeing people spend time together who don’t necessarily see each other very often. The energy and feel good factor is immense and gives our soundcheck an extra special something! And luckily this atmosphere radiates right through to showtime… 

As always, this term was jam packed for us – with new songs and choreography to learn; our summer set included numbers from Book of Mormon, Spring Awakening, Company and La La Land, and as ever the audience was incredibly warm, generous and enthusiastic! We are always so grateful that our growing audiences get as much joy from our craft as we do, and it gives us such a confidence boost! We were also joined by the wonderful Posset Singers, as our support act who even joined us for a rendition of a Les Misérables classic. 

Speaking of growing, we’re so proud of our choir and amazed by what we’ve achieved in the 18 months since we first opened our doors. We continue to grow in confidence each time we perform and our consistently bowled over by our member’s professionalism, work ethic and passion – it felt across the board to be our best gig yet and it set the excitement for our future and what could be in store to another level… the perfect way to end a term! 

For some photos of the event, head over to our gallery page and videos will soon follow!

 

Bonjour, One Heart!

One of the best things about being in Bristol Show Choir is the sense of community it creates; singing brings people together and it’s wonderful to see friendships flourish through our passion for music. Even more excitingly, this sense of camaraderie can sometimes lead to us meeting people from different parts of the world. We at Bristol Show Choir realised this first hand last month, when we played host to a French choir, the glorious One Heart Gospel!

As part of a weekend culminating in a joint performance for our Spring Concert at St Alban’s Church, we welcomed One Heart on Friday, meeting our guests at the bus station. They couldn’t resist the lure of an impromptu sing it seemed, gathering around the piano left over from Bristol’s "Play Me, I’m Yours" installation by local artist Luke Jerram. We were bowled over by their enthusiasm and infectious energy, and it set the tone for the weekend immediately.

Friday night saw us gather at The Station Kitchen, which we hired out for the evening. Over a meal, we quickly forgot about the language barrier (in fact we soon realised their English was often better than some of our French, amusingly!) and the talk flowed easily as stories were exchanged, and much laughter heard. Of course, it’s impossible to bring two choirs together and not exchange a song or three, and that’s exactly what happened! Some of our cast members are relatively new to Gospel music, and were stunned by how it could both move us deeply and have us grinning from ear to ear; they even treated us to a song in French which reminded us that, whilst languages can be different, music and the way it makes us feel is universal. We joined forces for renditions of “I Will Follow Him” from Sister Act and “Somebody to Love”, as sung in We Will Rock You. Both sounded fantastic and we were all confident that they would go just as well on Saturday evening...

Gig day dawned, and at 11am, we could be found outside the Arnolfini for an hour of busking! Like the previous night, both us and One Heart took it turns to sing, to each other and the passing public, before we all sang together. The atmosphere was lovely and we even managed to serenade the folks aboard The Matthew as it sailed by! 

Voices suitably warmed up, we then split into smaller groups and showed our guests around Bristol, before regrouping at St Alban’s for a final sound check.

The hour or so before doors open to an audience when you’re performing is filled with a really intense kind of energy and nervous buzz. It’s nerve wracking, but a real adrenaline rush, and sharing that anticipation with another choir helped us to relax. Our set included some new songs we’d introduced for the term, including "Hello!" from Book of Mormon, and "Music of the Night" from Phantom of the Opera, along with familiar favourites from our repertoire, like "Anthem" from Chess. The audience were really warm and appreciative, and after an interval it was One Heart’s turn to take to the stage...

Hearing a Gospel choir is always uplifting. Hearing a Gospel choir, in a church, feeding off the energy from an audience, however is something else.. the joy in the space was profound! We ended the concert as we had that informal Friday evening: singing together. The atmosphere was electric and ended with happy people all around.

It was with heavy hearts that we said au reviour to One Heart on Sunday. In a weekend full of music and laughter, we sensed some new friendships being formed too, and we cannot wait till we visit them in return later this year! Now.. where’s that French phrase book?

10 reasons to join Bristol Show Choir 

Research from Oxford University estimates that a staggering 2.8 million people in Britain are now members of a choir! 

Bristol is proud to be a part of the choir revolution, with numerous community choirs of all shapes and sizes making singing a staple of their weekly routine. The latest to join the ranks, Bristol Show Choir aims to combine the joy of singing with our passion for musical theatre, singing a whole variety of famous show tunes as well as those lesser known Broadway gems, all in acappella! We started in February 2017, spreading theatrical magic to Southville and Clifton.

Arguably, singing is the most accessible form of music making, so it gives an opportunity to bring people together regardless of ability! It also has some awesome benefits for the body and mind, so let’s explore a few of these: 

* Every rehearsal starts with a warm up, in order to get our bodies prepped for singing. These will consist of a stretch and a couple of vocal warm ups, usually in the form of a scale. If we're feeling particularly mischievous, we may well throw in a tongue twister or physical challenge, which can lead to all kinds of hilarity! 

All that in mind, singing is great exercise – it improves breathing, posture and helps ease muscle tension. The better your breathing and posture gets, the more your quality of sound will improve.

* Singing is absolutely fantastic for building a sense of community – we’ve no doubt that many of our members like nothing more than belting out a show tune from the comfort of their own home, but when we transfer that passion and energy into a room full of like minded people, the effect can be truly marvellous. The camaraderie we feel is second to none – it’s a great opportunity to socialise and strengthen bonds and in the age of social media and hectic lifestyles, face to face human interaction is something we could all do with a little bit more of! 

* Regardless of whatever may be going on outside of the rehearsal space, coming to choir can give one’s mood a real lift. Studies show that community singing releases neurochemicals such as beta endorphins. These are responsible for the “high” we get after exercise; so don’t fancy a workout at the gym? Join a choir instead… 

* When you join a choir, you are essentially learning a whole host of new skills. You hone your ability to sing, but you also stimulate your brain and work on your memory, because you learn lyrics and melodies. Learning how whatever part you sing impacts the song as a whole and fits together with the rest of your choir really teaches you to listen! 

All pretty cool stuff, right? Now we want to focus on our particular brand of choir magic, and give you… 

10 reasons to join Bristol Show Choir

1. You won’t find a singing group more passionate about musical theatre anywhere else in Bristol! Our “casts” welcome men and women from all walks of life, and you’re sure of a warm welcome. 

2. Just like a musical, some of our numbers feature choreography.. an extra challenge, but extra element of fun! 

3. Familiar songs, arranged in new ways make the songs feel extra special. 

4. As we’ve grown, so will our opportunities. We’ve been lucky enough to perform at various venues and events around Bristol, as well as further afield. This year, we had our first taste of competitive singing as we performed at the Manchester Amateur Choral Competition and had an absolute ball! 

5. Rehearsals are relaxed, and full of fun. There are no auditions and all parts are taught by ear. 

6. There’s no greater buzz than performing, particularly in front of an audience. 

7. Many of our members say singing has boosted their self confidence and improved their mental health. Show tunes make you happy! 

8. It’s a real lifeline for us theatre fans who struggled before to find our place socially.

9. That being said, many of our members are new to musical theatre, and its fun watching both elements of our cast bond.

10. There is pizza and beer after rehearsals.

Sold?! Get in contact with us now to join Bristol Show Choir