How We Run MPC
Choosing songs, uploading tracks, training new directors, creating Facebook posts– just a few of the many, many tasks that owner/director Alex Fiddes undertakes regularly to keep My Pop Choir the very successful community choir that it is.
The workload is certainly varied, and, according to Alex, the rewards are many. Running the choir sessions is his favourite part of My Pop Choir.
“You get a choir high. You leave in a different state of mind,” he says. “What a lot of members experience I experience as well. I get a big kick out of it.”
And a lot of thought goes into making each session fulfilling.
“I am very aware of the effect that humour and lightness and joy have on other people. I love it. I have a lot of fun. And the more joyful and humorous I am in the moment, often that’s going to mean it will be a better experience for people.”
As for the administrative work, it can be gratifying as well.
“I love opening up registration,” Alex says. “It’s very exciting. Forming the e-mail lists and spreadsheets with voice groups etc. is very satisfying.”
With the steady growth of the choirs, it became clear that the workload needed to be shared. Each choir has always had a manager, but more assistance was needed and new strategies have evolved over the years.
“I’m delegating. I used to do the arrangements but I don’t do them anymore,” Alex says. “I used to run more of the choirs. I’m hiring a new choir director this term. The role of the Choir Managers has grown over the years. Kelly [Alex’s wife] does more of the administration.”
New initiatives that will be sure to excite My Pop Choir members will be the result of the extra time Alex hopes to find. “I’d love to focus more on Show Choir, perhaps television – I want to invest more time into that aspect.”
One unexpected development that was certainly not in the plans hit in early 2020, when the pandemic put the future of My Pop Choir into question. Then inspiration struck.
“We never thought of a virtual choir before Covid, but it was clear in March 2020 that there was no way in-person choir was going to run,” Alex says. “Kelly had the initial idea. We ran workshops, choir sessions, concerts and singalongs.”
Kelly had experience with video production because of her acting career and Alex was self-taught in sound engineering as he had produced a few albums as a hobby.
Even now that My Pop Choir sessions are back to in-person, the virtual My Pop Choir is still going strong, and will do so for the foreseeable future. “That’s definitely an indicator that it worked,” Alex says.
The virtual choir has its own challenges, the time commitment being the major one. Recording, editing and uploading take about four hours. On session day, there is one hour on Zoom and another on YouTube. Alex particularly likes the social aspect of being virtual. “Everyone is on screen and we all listen and become involved in everyone’s story.”
Multi-tasking doesn’t begin to describe all the work that goes in to making My Pop Choir such a success.
And as the Show Choirs get more gigs, and as the choir’s media exposure grows, there will be even more to do. Stay tuned for what’s up next!