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|2021 Phoenix AGM like no other!This was no ordinary AGM – it was a Phoenix Virtual Zoom AGM. Where else would we see a guitar wielding Maria Von Trapp channelled to present the financial report for the year to the tune of the Hokey Cokey?|
As we always do, we started with some movement and music – one of our fave warm ups “Jai Ho” choreographed by Sue. The President’s welcome officially opened proceedings noting all trophies would have to wait until we meet again in person.
“Guess the baby” came next with two cuties on display from their early years – it wasn’t so hard to spot Mave but Mags proved a little trickier. Turns out they are both past recipients of the coveted Lifetime Membership Award – who would take the award this year? The current day face of the recipient pasted onto a baby gave it away – it was none other but our Assistant Music Director Glenis Todd who has been with chorus since 1988. Her weekly warm ups have been replaced with tags via Zoom but tonight she unwrapped a gift from chorus live on air, a beautiful pin in Phoenix colours.
It was time for our President of the past four years Fiona to hang up her reins with which she has steered us all so skilfully through this most difficult of times. We will miss her weekly “I’ve got nothing to say” slot but the good news is she passes the baton to our Vice President, Wendy (or rather Captain Wendy who organises our Zoom rehearsals each week with great authority wearing pilot’s headphones).
New President: Wendy New Vice President: Kate
Our Music Director Lynda spoke of the most different of years in chorus history, one we’ll never forget for sure, but how we have risen to the challenges with around 80% of members turning up on Zoom each week and even some past members joining us as guests. We’ve managed to master six songs in lockdown all chosen for their uplifting melodies and inspiring lyrics. Our rendition of Lean on Me has reached 4000 people on YouTube and with Brave we added choreography to our Zoom video!
Time to elect new and retuning officers using Zoom poll:
President – Wendy Cross
Vice President – Kate Kinnear
Treasurer – Anne Oberon (aka Maria von Trapp – Oh what a lovely pie-chart!)
Membership Secretary – Jo Williams
Chorus Representative – Jane Martin
Secretary – Susan Tucker
PR Officer – Carolyn Londer-Ward
Following the election of officers, it was time to move again with a fab rendition of Running Bear (with actions!) led by Sue to get the circulation going before heading into our annual Awards.
The Irene Croot Award presented by the President on behalf of the Committee was awarded to Chris Morton for her unfailing support in our virtual rehearsals. Chris has always been on hand to share music, videos and offer tech support to members.
The Music Director’s Award was jointly awarded to Glenis Todd and Vicky Hutter for their music leadership during our Tuesday Zoom rehearsals
The President’s Award was given to Cathy Carlin for her leadership of MOST (member of the social team)
Barbershopper of the Year Award 2019 and 2020, as voted for by chorus members, went both years to our tech wizard Liz Smith for her sterling work on our videos and sound production which have come into their own at this time.
Finally Spirit of Phoenix Award – a special award for Lynda Wood to thank her for all her hard work and dedication to the chorus and all her Phoenix friends.
Although present circumstances mean that Phoenix are unable to meet as a group in the same place, we are continuing to get together each Tuesday evening for a virtual rehearsal. It’s great to see everyone’s smiling face and to take part in physical and vocal warm-ups from the comfort and safety of our own homes. All our members look forward to the chance to learn new songs and re-visit old ones both in sections and in full chorus. The fact that we can’t hear each other singing doesn’t dampen our enthusiasm at all and our emotive faces are getting a real work out! We also have the opportunity to check in on everyone to make sure that we’re all OK - really the most important reason for meeting up - it’s our togetherness that keeps us all going through the isolation!
|Sunday saw Phoenix Chorus enjoy a wonderful sing for a second year at the Bedford Christmas Tree festival. A stunning venue full of beautifully decorated trees raising funds for Bedford Hospitals Charity and Friends. What could be better? The audience enjoyed our Christmas repetoire ranging from Funky Rudolph to Once in Royal David's City. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas... (with thanks to Bedford Camera Club for the Photo)|
|One of our longest serving Baritones, Janet, was presented with the Phoenix Life Membership award by President, Fi, and Musical Director, Lynda. Janet joined Phoenix chorus in 1988!|
How long have you been in Chorus ,what section do you sing and what role/s do you play?
I’m currently lead section leader which basically means that I manage the section (there are 26 leads at present) and I have 4 team leaders working with me so the section has structure. I’m also on the choreo team, developing presentation and showmanship for Chorus. I’m past President and Chairwoman and I have served on the committee for many years and I have always played a role in the fundraising efforts we do. I’m also a member of the music team.
|How long have you been in Phoenix Chorus ,what section do you sing and how long have you been President?|
FIONA: I’ve been in chorus since January 2008 when I joined as a ‘hitch-hiker’ going to International in Hawaii.
I sing tenor and I’ve been President so far for 3 years
Do you have other singing activities?
FIONA: Throughout my life if I have played sport and sung so, in 2005, when the harmony singing group that I was part of folded, I was glad to see a local newspaper advert asking for new members for a ladies a cappella harmony group. So I joined Cambridge Harmony which was then named County Connection We performed many sing-outs for local events and competed annually at Region 31 Convention. I attended a ‘Fame’ Singing Day run by Phoenix and then completed a successful audition to hitch-hike with Phoenix to Hawaii. I was a dual member of both Cambridge and Phoenix for many years and Team Leader of Cambridge for 6 years. I then decided to leave Cambridge to concentrate on singing quartet and with Phoenix. I was honoured to be elected President of Phoenix in 2016.
Highlight/s of being in Phoenix Chorus?
FIONA: Outstanding moments include singing in Westminster Cathedral and in the MGM Arena in Las Vegas as well as having the opportunity to bring amazing music to everyone that we entertain.
Favourite song ever performed?
FIONA: I’ve always loved ‘ If I give my Heart to you’ and the emotional energy that chorus conveys when they sing it and our current uptune 'I Got Rhythm' is extremely challenging but the greatest fun!
What would you say to anyone thinking of joining Phoenix Chorus?
FIONA: Apart from the acknowledged health benefits to be gained from singing, being part of an amazing group of women like Phoenix gives you more than 60 good friends who will support you through thick and thin. A cappella singing is challenging but when you nail it and see the smiles on the faces of your audience or an emotional ballad brings tears - there is nothing more satisfying. Phoenix requires a huge amount of commitment but it really is worth every second!
|Phoenix Chorus were proud to earn a bronze medal at IABS2019 in Killarney, Ireland. We all had a fabulous time, and made lots of new friends! |
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