Choir Madness: something you do with your choir that others might find bizarre or strange!
We sometimes turn all the lights off to sing in the darkness. It helps people get into the moment and also helps people feel the vibe. I also get some of my members to stand in the middle to listen to the song, in the dark. They LOVE to hear things from the “other side”. As a choir leader, I don’t actually conduct the choir – we’re a bit more of a ‘show choir’ than a typical choral group.
How would you describe your choir’s bond?
There’s a very special family feel. I’m really keen that all members feel safe to make mistakes and also feel supported by and with one another. It helps with our performance too – because everybody feels confident with everybody else.
Choir Name: Love Soul Choir
Location: Southampton & Bournemouth (UK)
Style: Contemporary Pop & Soul
Number of singers: 120
Visit our website!
What is your audition process?
Each applicant is asked to sing a verse and chorus of any song they choose totally a capella. They are also shown a dance move video and are then asked to copy to see if they can keep rhythm. We have lots of movement when we perform so it’s really important. Then, we have an informal chat which helps me assess whether their personality fits the group. For me, personality is actually the biggest element of our audition process and helps to ensure we keep a supportive and humble group.
What is something you do in rehearsals that surprises new members?
We’re really informal but also gain really great results. I think new members are blown away by the sound that we create. I always change up our sessions to keep everybody on their toes and they’re always surprised by how quickly we can create such a great and confident sound!
What was a very special performance and what made it special?
We were involved in a flashmob at a local shopping centre performing the song ‘Fix You’ by Coldplay. The whole project was based upon the sense of unity. It was a special moment to see everybody come together to create such an amazing sound! We put the video online and it has had over 700,000 views so far. Here it is:
An emotional moment you had in a performance?
We performed at our local hospital at Christmas. We are all about uplifting, high energy, fun performances. To see people who were expecting to stay in hospital over Christmas smiling, clapping and even one older man dancing with his walking stick was a special moment. One lady had told us that her husband had just had a heart bypass and he was in recovery. She said it made such a huge difference to her day coming downstairs to see such a fun and uplifting performance.
An emotional moment in rehearsal?
We occasionally have lead vocals on some of our songs. We audition at our choir sessions in front of the rest of the group and to see everybody so supportive of one another is really special and emotional to see.
A turning point in the life of your choir?
We are in our 10th year and feel like this is a big moment to celebrate. 10 years is quite a long time and we’re continually going from strength to strength.
A challenging performance and how you faced it
We do a variety of different performances so each is very different to one another. Years ago, we had a challenging performance once at a celebration event in our home town – Southampton, UK. It was meant to be an outdoor festival with 400 guests in the audience. The rain came down! Very hard! There was water everywhere. Backstage was SO muddy, shoes were getting ruined and singers needed carrying to various places. We continued with the performance with hardly any audience but then, when we were on stage, some of the lights started to spark due to the water. I decided very quickly to cut the set short and sent everybody home. Despite the challenges, it was a surreal and funny moment and we still talk about it to this day.
A juicy fact you love to tell your choir members…
We once learnt ‘How Will I Know’ by Whitney Houston. There’s a key change at the end, and often when singers hear ‘key change’ they assume that the key goes up. Truthfully, the saxophone solo makes it feel like the song is going up a few steps too, but the key actually goes down! This makes the end of the song much easier to sing. Most songs tend to get harder! Ha!
A favourite piece of repertoire & why
I arrange all of our songs myself so this can be a big task but a very satisfying one. It means that I can make sure all of our songs have the same vibe. It keeps our choir brand consistent too. One of my favorite songs that we currently perform is ‘Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing’ originally by Stevie Wonder. The harmonies are very complex but it sounds really great!
A funny moment in rehearsal…
At a session recently, I went to give somebody 3 cheers. Is this a British thing? Maybe! Ha. But either way, I totally forgot how to do that and ended up just counting to 3. The choir didn’t know what to do so ended up with this half hearted, unsure ‘whoop’. It was a very funny and awkward moment.
A favorite inspirational quote
“Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” – Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter)
Dan has been a professional vocal coach and choir leader for a number of years. He knows first hand how powerful group singing can be. He wants to change the perception of the word ‘choir’ and bring high quality, fun and accessible workplace choir sessions to businesses across the UK.