Singing the Passion

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A man in a checked shirt is strumming a guitar and stands next to a woman with a green headband who is singing into a microphone.

Does your Passion Play include music and singing?

The Passion Plays in Birmingham, Norwich, and Stafford included live music and singing to round up audiences in the city centres as Jesus and his disciples processed through the streets. You can see some photographs below and also some helpful information and tips for including songs and music in your re-telling of the Easter story.

 

Tips for singing the Passion and performing the Easter Story.

Passion Plays are unique performances of the Easter story because they are free, live events that take place outdoors. Easter often comes early and in the UK this means that temperatures outside can be very cold and it has been known to snow at Easter. Singing outdoors presents its own challenges, and bad weather can add to these challenges. You can find helpful tips and advice for including singing in outdoor performances in our brief guide below.

We have more inspiration and guidance on our website on how to include singing in your Passion Play.

 

Preparation

Wear suitable clothes and remember to wrap up warm. Not only will you be standing still for long periods of time, the cold can creep up from the ground. You can wear an extra pair of winter socks or make sure your shoes have thick, insulating souls. You can also wear warm gloves to keep your hands warm!

STAMINA

A rehearsal can often last over two hours. A concert of a major choral work may have over an hour of demanding choral singing. Another reason why attendance at rehearsals is so important – to build up vocal stamina. Again, long-distance marathon running requires a huge amount of stamina, and no marathon runner would contemplate a race without an enormous amount of preparation.

 

POSTURE

Whether seated or standing, posture, as mentioned above, is of vital importance. If the singer is seated, as so often happens for parts of rehearsals, this is fine, so long as the singer has both feet firmly on the ground, and is sitting upright on the front half of the seat. The music should be held with both hands, at a position where a small movement up and down of the eyes can switch the vision from the music to the conductor with ease.

 

BREATHING

Breath is to singing as oil and petrol are to a car. Without good deep breathing, there is no proper support for the voice, and the sound will quickly become tired, thin and sore. Additionally, good breathing supports the tone and provides support for musical phrasing and direction.

It is important to breathe through your nose rather than your mouth. This is especially important when it is cold outside. The air you breathe needs to be warm, so breathing through your nose helps warm the air. You can also try wearing a scarf. Recent research has shown that the reason we catch more colds in the winter is that when your nose is cold, its innate immune response is lowered.

Hydration

It is important to keep hydrated and it is easy to get dehydrated when singing outdoors. It is especially important to keep hydrated when it’s cold as you might not feel like drinking cold water. Try to take small sips throughout the event or take a small flask of something hot like tea or lemon and honey…but not alcohol!

 

DICTION

Words can never be clear enough. Crisp consonants with plenty of ‘bite’ help bring the music and sense of the words alive. Pay attention to your diction and your listeners will pay attention too!

 

SINGING OUTSIDE

This is always more of a challenge, because it is harder to hear yourself and those around you, and there’s a tendency to try and sing too loud, and so distort your voice. Try not to do this.

 

JOIN IN

If everyone sings, it makes it a wonderful collective experience. If everyone mumbles into their coats, it makes it a bit flat and depressing. All eyes are on Preston for this performance – sing out and be proud of your part in this great event.

 

Interested in learning more about the history of music and singing in Passion Plays? You can also read a history of singing and music in Passion Plays on our website here.

 

a group of musicians with guitars and microphones process down the high street in Birmingham city centre to draw crowds through music and singing.A woman in a brown jacket holds a microphone and singing in the middle of a crowd in the city centre of Birmingham.A woman sings into a microphone in the Passion Play in the city centre of Birmingham.A man on a bike holds his hand up and around him is a procession of people singing and beating drums as they move down the high street in the centre of Birmingham.

Is fundraising like online dating?

Online dating is trying to find the right match among many differnet people. Fundraising for Passion Plays is similar to online dating in one respect: trying to find the right match for your Play among different trusts and funding charities. Finding this perfect match is the key to raising funds to tell the Easter story!

Once you find trusts and funders who are of a similar mindset and value the things you value, you are well on the way to a perfect match.

 

How do we find potential funders?

The Charity Commission’s Register of Charities allows you to search for free by using filters to narrow your search. (Remember, Scotland and Northern Ireland have separate registers.)
Funding Central is another register that is free to access.
For a more expensive option, you can try the Directory of Social Change’s Funds Online website which is regularly updated.
Since Passion Plays bring many churches of all denominations together, your diocese can be a good source of information and signposting. For example, see the Diocese of Bristol and their list of funders here.  www.bristol.anglican.org/documents/diocesan-funding-guide/
The Christian Funders’ Forum is also a useful source.

 

How do we let funders know our project is a good match for them?

Now is the time to do some research and really think about compatibility with the funders you are researching.

You can research their online content, websites, and also Further information will be inread through their annual reports published on the Charity Commissions website (click ‘Documents’ tab). These annual reports will give useful imformation about projects they have previously funded.

A quick phone call can also be helpful in establishing contact and goodwill as you will be able to find out more about them and let them know what you do.

Remember here that one of the key elements is timing! Some funders have a set application process that requires you to apply before a deadline. Other funders have trustees’ meetings at set times during the year and those times are good to work with.

The timing of your project also matters. Some funders like to fund projects in the early stage of development, while others like to give funding when they see other funders have already contributed.

There is a lot to think about with fundraising! But Passion Plays are such unique projects that it can also be an enjoyable process. Many funders like to hear about large community arts events that tell the Easter story in fresh and inspiring ways. Not only do Passion Plays have large outdoor audiences across the UK each Easter, they are also unique spaces of community, skill-sharing, mentoring and investing in the lives of volunteers across all sections of society. They are more than a one-off performance and the impact spreads across the whole community for many months.

 

Where can I find more help with fundraising?

If you want more help with fundraising, we have plenty more tips and advice on our website here.

We have recorded sessions from previous Passion Trust Conferences including sessions looking at Finance & Fundraising, Administration and Practical Considerations, and Q&A sessions. You can see more information and watch short helpful videos on our website here.

You can also find lots of helpful tips and advice at The Benefact Trust here or click on the image below.

three bullet points with rows of text and images in blue bubbles with white icons for help with fundraising

 

A young woman with blonde hair and a red top stands in the middle of a room with a script in her hands ready to speak.

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