Music technology student’s expertise helps Wrexham choir festival hit the right note
A music technology student who helped ensure a choir festival with hundreds of performers ran smoothly is to repeat his performance later this month.
Andrew Stokes, from Acrefair, begins his third year of a BSc (Hons) Music Technology degree at Wrexham Glyndwr University the same week that the Singing Streets choir festival returns to Wrexham for the fourth time – and Andrew will once again be part of the team of volunteers who help ensure the popular event runs smoothly.
“John Jones, who was running the sound on the day, dropped me an email – I’m always up for getting work experience, and the Choir Festival sounded interesting, so I was keen to get on board,” explained Andrew.
“I arrived in the morning and we had a quick briefing about what was needed – we were based near the miners statue on Lord Street and were setting up and testing the sound system, checking everything worked, then meeting and greeting the choirs as they arrived.
“We’d work with each choir, going through the backing tracks or musical accompaniment they provided, keeping their directors and conductors happy and generally helping out with the set up.
“It was a really good event to get involved in – you’re working with lots of people with choirs coming from all over. I really enjoyed the day – it was great to see people who might have just been out to do their shopping or passing by finding themselves getting drawn in, joining in and singing!”
Throughout the festival, Andrew was able to put to use skills he had learnt on his university course – skills which have since come in useful at a variety of festivals across the UK.
He said: “The facilities at the university are amazing – the tech you get to play with is really good. It’s all top end and it works brilliantly. We had a live sound module in our first year, where you’re shown how to use a mixing desk, set up a sound system and more – and they’re the skills I drew on during the choir festival.
“You have to be aware of a lot of things which people may not consider as part of the set up – like health and safety, where you have to make sure your cable runs are tidy and your speakers are properly secured – your first responsibility is to make sure the site is safe.”
He has since had the chance to have work experience at thee Llangollen International Eisteddfod, Focus Wales, and at Roc 2 studios in Borras where they were recording a BBC radio drama.
As well as helping other performers behind the mixing desk, Andrew also performs in a number of bands himself – and is a bass player for Baby Brave and Alpha Chino.
As a performer, he played at the Green Man festival earlier this year – and is currently preparing for a trip across the Atlantic when the band play in Yukon in Canada.
Lecturer Steff Owens added: “The Singing Streets festival is a great opportunity for students like Andrew. He’s not only learned how to apply the skills they learn here at Glyndwr to real-life situations, but also had the chance to give something back to the community by supporting an event which boosts Wrexham’s profile and welcomes visitors to our town.”
This year’s Singing Streets Choir festival will be held on Saturday, September 28 between 11am and 4pm.
More than 30 choirs will be performing at six venues across Wrexham during the day – at Wrexham Museum, Lord Street, Ty Pawb, Eagles’ Meadow, Hope Street and Queen’s Square.
There will be a Big Sing – where all the choirs, plus the public, join together for a mass singalong – at 1.30pm in Queen’s Square.
Sponsors this year are Ty Cerdd, the Arts Council of Wales, the Welsh Government, National Pubwatch, the Gateway Church, Hays Travel, Ian Lucas MP, Wrexham Glyndwr University, Rawson Digital, the Rotary Club of Wrexham Erddig, Wrexham Council and Wrexham Business Group.
Organisers also wish to thank John Jones Quality Acoustics and Wrexham Community Choir.
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