Over 5 days of research & prep gone, venues found, 500 flyers designed (I use the word loosely as I did it myself), printed and distributed. All gp’s surgeries and schools in the area covered with many thanks to all of those lovely positive receptionists out there.
The most positive conversations were those I struck with random strangers in the street. Not for the faint hearted and not every day you ask someone you’ve never met if the like to sing, but good responses. Very tiring, but without a central multi purpose community space and noticeboards, the best way. It is a deeply instinctual thing as you see someone coming towards you and decide whether to ask them if they like singing or not – wonder what the positive signs are? Maybe a rhythm in the way someone walks, or a smile on their face -who knows! We all of course respond to music from when we were in the womb and heard and felt the sound and vibrations of our mother’s heartbeat and words, and we all have a response to musical elements in our everyday noticing how fast we walk, how high (or low) we talk etc. I didn’t quite have enough time to go into the midst of fantastically loud and lairy guys in “The Angel” pub when I dropped some flyers in there, but actually a bit of that energy wouldn’t go amiss in Alton Sings, at least in terms of feeling ok about making vocal sound …………
Walking the walk & not just talking the talk!
The Roehampton forum focus group on community matters were even brave enough to sing (not that they had much choice and some enjoyed it more than others, as would be expected). I was incredibly grateful at being able to tell them about what Alton Sings is all about. I really need people to understand this is not a parachute drop from an outsider but a catalyst for someone within the community to run with this, to take ownership and slowly build this into something magnificent.
Slowly build is of course the operative phrase – nothing good was ever rushed and the lead in time is feeling painfully small but am powering ahead and just hoping enough people nearby read this and are sufficiently inspired to contact me about the free tasters being offered on May 21st at 166 Roehampton Lane, Heathmere School and Cafe Joy.
I have decided to charge £1.50 for each choir session (although the first one is free, and I will make sure that everyone knows that no-one will be turned away for lack of funds) – I met a girl yesterday who said “£1.50!!! It should be free!!!” Maybe she has a point, but maybe also my experience suggests that you give something for nothing then the engagement and ownership and commitment smaller?
Have also decided to run 6 sessions during the day and 6 in the evening, therefore hopefully meeting a larger demographic – school summer holidays never the best time to offer things to parents during the day but sometimes you simply have to use the cards you have been dealt and make the best hand you can – plus, it may be that the school sessions end up being fantastically intergenerational with older residents happier to be out and about in the afternoons, joining in with parents and their children – I have no issues with children coming, as long as the under 14’s are accompanied by an adult.
‘P’ is a wonderful word – it stand for ‘pilot’ and it means lots of ideas can be tried, monitored and evaluated and then with objective detachment a report written to see what worked, what didn’t and why
I am printing yet more flyers today (850 in total) and delivering some to the big supermarket on the A3 (Asda), in the hope their community support contact will let staff and customers know. As an aside, music therapy services at the childrens’ hospital in Melbourne, Australia is paid for by the big grocery store……
Before then I have paperwork to complete, namely evaluation forms, safeguarding documentation and lots of promotional emails to send, not to mention repertoire to learn.
Moving forward though – who knows if anyone will come! Exciting to see – more anon…….