How much does it cost to hire a gospel choir?

It’s the question on everyone’s lips. Can we afford a gospel choir? How much does one cost anyway, and why? We have performed for people from all walks of life in various scenarios, and we receive an enquiry pretty much every day – usually more. Many people have no clue what it costs to hire musicians, some people think we do it all for fun – and it is fun – but it is also what pays the bills for us. From enquiries to work for free, to £150, to £500, to £1000, to £3000 – expectations are different. So here’s some clue as to what kind of budget you need and what you’re paying for!

There are two main things that you pay for when you book us.

  • The ‘on-the-day’ cost.
    This is pretty simple – paying for our time on the day (which is more than just the performance but the travel, set up time and sound check), paying for our expertise and professionalism, plus the work we have already done in our arrangements and rehearsals so that we can deliver a great performance.
  • The ‘before’ cost.
    There are hours of work for each client in emailing, giving advice, sending technical certificates, invoicing and contracts, phone calls, client meetings- the list is quite long. Then, there is communicating with the singers the details of the event, rehearsing and learning new material. We also offer you loads of help when you are organising your event, with blogs, helpful documents and great communication via email, phone, skype and meeting.

What other factors are involved in the price of hiring a gospel choir?

  • Location, location, location!
    Where is your event and how long does it take to get there? The further away you are from London, the more it will cost, to cover our time and our travel expenses.
  • How many singers do you want?
    Our smallest line up is 4 and our largest is 12.
  • How long, or how short is your event? 
    Is it particularly short, e.g. a marriage proposal, or particularly long e.g. extra to our normal packages?
  • Are you having a large wedding, or large event?
    We may need to hire in a bigger PA for events over 200 people.
  • Do you want songs not on our repertoire list?
    We charge £225 for new arrangements.

How much does Get Gospel charge?

As you can see it all depends on the factors above but our minimum charge for most events in 2018 is £1100, with funerals and marriage proposals usually being less.
There are loads of gospel choirs in the UK to choose from, all with different price ranges. We are somewhere in the middle with our pricing.

Is there any way to make it cheaper?

Yes but only occasionally. If your event is very near to where we are and very easy for us to do, or if we are free at the very last minute before your event we may give you a discount.
Generally, when conversing with suppliers for events, the best way to approach them is with kindness and enthusiasm for their art or work, and to try and make it easy job for them. This may also encourage them to give you a discount.

I hope you’ve found this article helpful! Do get in touch if you would like to know more about what we offer!

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Choosing hymns for your wedding

Photo Credit: Richard Galloway

A question that pops up fairly often for us is, “What hymns should we choose for our wedding?” It’s something that I spent a lot of time thinking about in preparation for my own. I knew that my wedding would be full of musicians and people familiar with church and church-type songs, yet I still deliberated over what songs would people know, what people would feel comfortable with, how I would encourage them to sing and how to give them the best experience possible for a wedding.

Many couples already know that their guests aren’t comfortable in or familiar with church, let alone the songs. A lot of them rely on songs they remember from school, which unfortunately can bore the pants of the ordinary person after verse 5! So I thought I’d compile a list of good songs to choose, some do’s and don’ts and some things we offer that might brighten up your congregation.

Do

Choose songs that people can remember or relate to… famous hymns, sports anthems, songs from movies.

Write the lyrics in the order or service and make sure they are correct.

Get advice from vicars and musicians – ask them to cast an eye over your choices and lyrics to spot any mistakes.

Ask your friends and family what they think of your choices – do they know the songs you’ve picked.?

Think contemporary. You may love organs (played well, they are amazing instruments and they are definitely for grand occasions!), but you could also consider a piano, a band, or a contemporary backing track. A pianist may be able to update the feel of a hymn just by the way he plays it.

Listen to the hymns on youtube or iTunes as your deciding. You may think you don’t know them when you actually do.

Get people to help with the singing if you think none of your guests will sing – either us at Get Gospel, a church choir or other musicians.

Don’t

Choose songs that have a million verses. It can get tiring and boring for the congregation. I suggest four verse should be the maximum, but that depends on the length of the verse of course. Feel free to eliminate some of the verses and/or choruses.

Choose a song just because you remember it from school, unless you want to remember your school days. There are so many songs out there which could be more impacting, more suited to the occasion, more vibrant. Ask for advice!

Pick too many. Two is a good number, three will work if they are good songs and not too long!

Some popular choices

Hymns

Jerusalem  (football anthem & English anthem)
I Vow To Thee My County (rugby anthem) – there are more spiritual words available as well.
Amazing Grace
Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer
How Great Thou Art
Be Thou My Vision
Great Is Thy Faithfulness
Be Still For The Presence of the Lord
Shine Jesus Shine
Love Divine All Loves Excelling
Praise My Soul The King Of Heaven
Lord Of All Hopefulness

Two more with caution:
Lord Of The Dance – be aware this has a lot of verses! It’s popular but worth cutting a verse or two.
One More Step Along The World I Go – as above! The tune is also quite tedious, though popular as it is reminiscent of childhood.

Contemporary Worship Songs – this usually depends on the year you’re marrying but here are some staples:

In Christ Alone
Cornerstone
10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)
How Great Is Our God
Happy Day
How Deep The Father’s Love For Us
Beautiful One
Here I am to worship
Your Love Never Fails
Your Praise Will Ever Be On My Lips
Lord I Give Your My Heart

Gospel Songs – again it depends on the year but here are some consistent favourites

Oh Happy Day – this is something we often teach to a congregation before singing, and works well.
Joyful Joyful – this is a well known tune in its own right and from Sister Act 2 that can bring some fun to proceedings.
What A Friend We Have in Jesus
Total Praise
Lord You Are Good and Your Mercy Endureth Forever
Friend Of God
Never Would Have Made It
My Life Is In Your Hands

Is there a song you think should be on this list? If so, please let me know! Email info@getgospel.co.uk.

I hope this little list helps! Good luck and have fun!

Jules

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Our Top Tips For Civil Ceremonies!

Civil WeddingsWhile organising my own wedding, I had a whole new understanding of how much easier it was to have both the ceremony and reception in one venue! That may be what you’ve decided to do, and so a civil ceremony is what you’re having. Perhaps you’re not religious at all or just don’t fancy getting married in a church. So many people now choose to have a civil ceremony over a church wedding, and they can be quite different experiences. Here are some of our top tips from performing at hundreds of civil ceremonies over the years.

  1. Be on time! Civil ceremonies are a lot quicker than church ones, and unfortunately sometimes registrars can be very busy with a number of weddings in one day. If you’re unlucky enough to be on a day like that, the later you are, the shorter your service will be. Think of all that preparation and thought you’ve poured into the order of service, and suddenly it’s rushed, chopped and cut short. We recently sang at a wedding where the bride was only ten minutes late – fairly normal for a church wedding – but the registrar had a whopping six weddings to officiate that day! Their service was a stingy 17 minutes long, with one song cut, one reading cut and a very rushed officiation. How sad! You only have one wedding ceremony – make it count and be on time.
  2. No religion allowed! That’s right, you’re not allowed anything remotely religious in a civil ceremony. Sometimes couples forget what actually is religious, as so much religious music in entwined with our culture. For example, the hymn ‘Jerusalem’, or ‘I Vow To Thee My Country’ are both popular sports anthems but both hymns. Registrars sometimes ask to see the lyrics of the songs we sing to check it’s all religion free. And sometimes, because our name is Get Gospel, you can’t even put our name in the orders of service! Thankfully, not all registrars are this strict but it’s always good to check with them, or check with us what songs you can have.
  3. Make the service your own. As civil ceremonies are short, it can all be over far too soon. Take time to figure out how to make it memorable and special. Readings can be funny, instructional or deep – and if you can get all three in one go, you’re winning. I recommend choosing things that make your guests chuckle to help them – and you – relax.
  4. Choose songs that represent your tastes. Go for what you enjoy rather than what you think you should have, or what your mother wants! If you’re not into classical music, Pachabel’s Canon will bore you to tears. Get your guests clapping along to Happy instead. If you prefer the Star Wars theme tune to Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud go for it 100%! It’s these things that make your wedding stick in people’s minds for years to come.
  5. Be yourselves. Relax. Enjoy the ride. Laugh. Giggle. Cry. Don’t be afraid to talk to the registrar or your guests – this is YOUR day, and these are your friends and family. No one will tell you off! Be mindful; take it all in as it’s happening. Let your personalities shine through.
  6. Take time to walk down the aisle. It may be the most nerve wracking thing you’ll do that decade, or even your life, with everyone looking at you, acute self awareness, anxiety you’ll trip over and being about to make the most important declaration of your life… (oh dear, I’m probably making it worse!) but atmosphere is everything in a moment like this. Civil ceremonies are often held in smaller rooms than church ceremonies, so you’ve less walking time to play with. You may want to send your bridesmaids down the aisle first. Make sure they walk slowly too and smile! I’ve been a bridesmaid six times so far and it doesn’t come instinctively even to a smiley person like me, so your bridesmaids may need encouragement. Depending on the length of the song you pick, it’s quite likely that you should wait for quite a while before you begin walking. It’s always better to build up anticipation than rush.
  7. Practise the processional walk. You can always ask for a copy of the music you’re having for a entrance rehearsal. Visualise it in the days leading up and on the morning itself. Preparation is everything.
  8. Consider carefully what atmosphere you’d like to create. Is it serene? Is it joyful? Is it excited? Is it emotional? Do you have a message that you want to convey through the music? Find a song to convey those feelings – we can help you find one, even if it isn’t one that we’re going to sing. I’ve sung at hundreds of weddings with all types of music, so I have lots of ideas.
  9. Make walking out as husband and wife a joyful moment! Take your time, enjoy the applause, do a dance if you feel inclined! We recommend upbeat, happy songs for the recessional, and ones that have an impact straight away. Songs can sometimes be rearranged to start with a bang in case it takes 45 seconds to get to the well known chorus. We are all set to help you choose and give advice as to what will work well on the day.
  10. There’s a before and after too! Have you ever been to a wedding where there’s deathly silence after the exit song has finished? It’s feels quite weird! It’s good to figure out what music would be good to follow on – oftentimes we sing after the ceremony too, sometimes outside as guests are mingling for a spot of entertainment. Before the ceremony, it’s important to create an atmosphere, whether it’s joyful and exciting or calm and focused. Music is the only thing that can really do that.

Well, I hope I’ve given you some good pointers and I hope I haven’t piled a bunch more of organisation on your plate! If there’s one thing I want to communicate, it’s how important music is to the overall atmosphere of the ceremony – it can make it so memorable! And that’s what we aspire to do for every single wedding we perform at.

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Our Top Tips For Church Weddings

Wasing Park Wedding

You’re engaged. You’ve booked the church, the venue, the music, the honeymoon… but you haven’t really thought about the actual ceremony. Maybe you don’t go to church much, maybe you haven’t been to that many weddings before. Well, here are some tips from our years of experience that may help you along the way.

  1. Make it memorable. Make it your own. Weddings are rare occasions for the participants, hopefully once in a lifetime events. So spend time thinking how to make it unique to you. Most vicars and priests these days are fairly flexible with what you include… think outside the box. How can this service reflect you as people? What music do you like? What books or stories have impacted you? I personally love the Anglo-Catholic order of service and vows, but why not add to it by writing and reading your own vows. Add a performance song. Get a creative friend to write you a poem. The options are endless.
  2. Hymns aren’t all that bad! If your vicar insists on hymns, choose ones your congregation may know; sports anthems are often good e.g. ‘Jerusalem’ or ‘I Vow To Thee My Country’ – there are spiritual words to this too. Get Gospel often sing hymns in a funky way to make them more contemporary, like ‘Amazing Grace’ or ‘Joyful Joyful’ from Sister Act. Sometimes we teach ‘Oh Happy Day’ to the congregation, which breaks the ice and gets guests clapping. Some couples choose uplifting secular songs that their guests may know instead of hymns they don’t. ‘Lean On Me’ may be more suitable to your crowd than ‘One More Step Along The World I Go’.
  3. Get to know your vicar and get him on side. Having a good relationship with your vicar will help you to feel comfortable on the day. Buying him or her a gift to say thank you before the big day may help! Communicate well. Make sure the vicar/church wardens know when your team (florists, musicians, photographers) will be arriving so that the church is open on time.
  4. Take time to walk down the aisle. The lovely thing about church weddings is that the aisles are usually a lot longer than in civil ceremonies. It doesn’t stop some brides running down them though! It may be the most nerve wracking thing you’ll do that decade with a hundred people looking at you, but atmosphere is everything in a moment like this. Depending on the length of the song you pick, it’s quite likely that you should wait a while before you begin walking. Let the anticipation build. Send your bridesmaids ahead of you. One of the most memorable processions I’ve seen was a friend waiting almost two minutes to enter the room to a piece by Saint-Saens called ‘The Swan’. The beautiful tension in the music made her entrance powerfully emotional. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house! Which leads me on to…
  5. Practise the processional walk. Visualise it in the days leading up and on the morning itself. Preparation breeds confidence. If you’re having live music for the processional, you can always ask for a copy of the music you’re having for a entrance rehearsal. Make sure the vicar or priest knows if your entrance music is longer than usual. And if you’ve music still left to run when you’ve arrived at the altar, let it play. Say hello to your fiance, let your bridesmaids fix your train, hand over the bouquet and relax for a minute. Enjoy the moment.
  6. Consider carefully what atmosphere you’d like to create. Is it serene? Is it joyful? Is it excited? Is it emotional? Do you have a message that you want to convey through the music? Find a song to convey those feelings – we can help you find one, even if it isn’t one that we’re going to sing. I’ve sung at hundreds of weddings with all types of music, so I have lots of ideas.
  7. Choose your readers carefully. Encourage them to read slowly, clearly and loudly. Then get them to read even more slowly, clearly and loudly! It’s amazing how many people rush through beautiful and profound readings. Asking a guest who you know will read well may be better than getting your nervous and emotional mother to do it!
  8. Savour each moment. You’ve been planning this for a long time! Enjoy the ride. Laugh. Giggle. Cry. Don’t be afraid to talk to each other, the vicar or your guests – this is YOUR day, and these are your friends and family. No one will tell you off! Be mindful; take it all in as it’s happening. Let your personalities shine through.
  9. Make walking out as husband and wife a joyful moment! Take your time, enjoy the applause, do a dance if you feel inclined! We recommend upbeat, happy songs for the recessional, and ones that have an impact straight away. Songs can sometimes be rearranged to start with a bang in case it takes 45 seconds to get to the well known chorus. We are all set to help you choose and give advice as to what will work well on the day.
  10. There’s a before and after too! Have you ever been to a wedding where there’s deathly silence after the exit song has finished? It’s feels quite weird! It’s good to figure out what music would be good to follow on – oftentimes we sing after the ceremony too, sometimes outside as guests are mingling for a spot of entertainment. Before the ceremony, it’s important to create an atmosphere, whether it’s joyful and exciting or calm and focused. Music is the only thing that can really do that.

Well, I hope that helps you make the most of a short but probably the most important hour or so of your life! I’d love to hear your advice too if you something comes to mind.

Have a super day and make the most of it – good luck!

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Thinking About Hiring Us For A Funeral?

We find it such a privilege to sing at funerals. It is a very sensitive time for all, but we believe that music allows a space for family and friends to express their emotions, to remember happy times, for prayer or mindfulness – music can bring relief. We are honoured every time a family chooses to have us sing at a funeral and always endeavour to do a fantastic job fulfilling their requests.

What Music Do People Choose For Funerals?

Some people need extra support singing hymns, others choose the favourite song of the deceased, or songs that reflects their character. Some choose songs to reflect their sadness and help them release their emotions. Others prefer to celebrate the life of their friend or family member and still others to have a time of worship and prayer, giving glory to God.

It depends on who you are and your desires – we are happy to help you achieve the best possible funeral service for you and your family.

Our Funeral Package

We know that funerals are more expensive than you would first think, and that keeping the cost down is important. We therefore charge 25% less to sing at funerals than our other events. We are also flexible with our line ups – you don’t have to book four singers, but can go with one or three singers if your budget won’t allow for four.

Every funeral is different so have a think about what kind of songs you would like before you get in touch. Do you want

  • Hymns? Worship songs? Gospel songs?
  • Something from our repertoire list?
  • A particular contemporary song?

We recommend booking our pianist as this gives you a lot of flexibility when choosing songs.

  • It’s an all inclusive price – you can have as many or as few songs as you like in the service. We can play songs from an iPod through our PA system and if you book our pianist/organist, he can also play solos.
  • Every funeral is different so we can be flexible on the information and prices below but this is a good guide.
  • If you are booking one singer or singer and pianist,
  • you can choose any song you would like as long as it is performable! This is at our discretion.
  • If you are booking three singers,
  • you can choose anything from our three singer song list and any hymns or worship songs;
  • you can choose one contemporary song that isn’t on our list for no extra charge.
  • Any extra songs will cost £150 to arrange for the day.
  • If you are booking four singers,
  • you can choose anything from our full repertoire list and any hymns/worship songs;
  • you can choose one contemporary song that isn’t on our list for £100 extra.
  • Any extra songs will cost £200 to arrange for the day. This is because it can take a whole day to arrange new music plus the learning time for our singers.

How much do we charge?

These are our prices for London and surrounding areas. If you are further afield it will cost a bit more to cover our travel time and expenses. The cost includes the hire of our small PA system and any equipment we need.

The funeral service only:

  • One singer – pianist £225 (choose from Jules, James Francis or James Philip)
  • One singer and pianist £400
  • Three singers and pianist £800
  • Four singers a cappella / backing tracks £850
  • Four singers and pianist £1050

The funeral service plus the burial:

Singing at the graveside will be a cappella (just voices). It may be slightly cheaper if both are on the same site.

  • One singer – pianist £350
  • One singer and pianist £525
  • Three singers and pianist £1025
  • Four singers a cappella / backing tracks £1100
  • Four singers and pianist £1300

No doubt you have lots of other questions so please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We hope this article has been helpful in planning your loved one’s funeral.

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What’s In Our Wedding Package?

Each choir has their own way of organising their wedding package and pricing so we wanted to outline ours nice and clearly for you. Please get in touch if you would like a quote; we have a base price for London which increases the further away you are! Read on…

AN ALL INCLUSIVE CEREMONY
You can have as many songs as you like within the actual ceremony. It can be songs sung by us, organ/piano solos e.g. for entrance and exit, songs played from an iPod through our system, or solos by one of our team. We can also sing in the hymns to bolster the congregation (either with microphones or loudly within the congregation), or even lead worship.

BEFORE AND AFTER ‘EXTRAS’
You can choose up to 5 songs for before or after the service. You can have all five before, all five after, or two before and three after – it’s up to you. If you are choosing to have songs after the ceremony, make sure you pick a cappella songs. This is so we can move to wherever you guests move to and still entertain them. This is usually at the back of the church, outside the church, in a garden or another room.

SO YOUR CHURCH CEREMONY MAY LOOK LIKE THIS…

Before the service: three songs
Entrance: one song – we recommend 1.5 minutes for this. We can shorten some songs for this purpose. You might choose to have our organist play for this bit.
Hymn or worship song
Performance: some people choose to have one or two performances during their ceremony.
Signing of the register: two or three songs. Ask your vicar what he recommends.
Hymn or worship song
Exit: one song. Again, you can choose to have the organist/pianist at this point.
After the service: two songs a cappella outside the church.

YOUR CIVIL CEREMONY MIGHT LOOK LIKE THIS…

Before the service: nothing. We are happy to play an iPod playlist for you for atmosphere.
Entrance: one song. Remember you can have no religious music whatsoever in a civil ceremony.
Performance: one or two songs. Some couples have secular songs for their guests to join in with, to take the traditional place of a hymn.
Signing of the register: usually two songs but it’s good to have one spare in case you need it.
Exit: one song.
After the service: five songs a cappella wherever your guests may move to.

These are just examples. You may choose to have entrance, exit, signing of the register and that’s it. It’s entirely up to you!

THE DRINKS RECEPTION

If you have booked us to do both the ceremony and reception, we set down the PA system straight after the ceremony and move it in to another room, or perhaps outside if the weather is nice. This transition takes about 15 minutes. We usually create our own set list for the hour but do let us know if you definitely want or definitely don’t want any particular songs.

We hope this article is helpful, but please do get in touch if you have any further questions!

Check out our testimonials and our online videos for more inspiration.

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Watch us on BBC Gospel Choir competition – on YouTube

Hi all!

You can now watch our performances from the BBC Gospel Choir Of The Year competition on Songs Of Praise on YouTube! Enjoy 🙂

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Our first single release!

We’re so proud to announce that you can now download our first single, ‘Oceans’! Finely produced by James Hawkins, we performed our unique arrangement of this popular contemporary Christian worship song by Hillsong United in the BBC Gospel Choir Of The Year Finals to great plaudits. It’s an emotional and rousing arrangement and production and we think you’ll love it. You can still catch us on BBC iPlayer until September 29th! The backing track on the live show was produced by gospel producer Nicki Brown.

Download it FOR FREE from our SoundCloud space – there’s only 100 free downloads so be quick before they all go!

Get Gospel on SoundCloud

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Songs Of Praise Final and BBC London!

You can watch the BBC Gospel Choir of the Year Final on iPlayer for the next month or so! Check out our Gospel Medley on week one and ‘Oceans’ by Hillsong on week two. We had a great time on the show, and along with being on BBC Radio 2 last week, this week Jules, James and Kirsten performed live on Jumoke Fashola’s Sunday morning show on BBC London. Have a listen on soundcloud!

We always love to hear what you think, so message us, tweet or post on Facebook @GetGospel. Hope you enjoy it!

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BBC One Songs of Praise and Radio 2!

BBC Gospel Choir Of The Year Finalists 2015, Get Gospel

Get Gospel performingGet Gospel 3Get Gospel 2
Thanks for all your kind messages, posts and tweets about our performance on BBC Gospel Choir Of The Year 2015! Part one was shown on Sunday 30th August and part two – the culmination of the competition – will be shown this coming Sunday 6th September at 16:25 on BBC One. We’re singing a worship song by Hillsong called ‘Oceans’ which took the church by storm (boom boom!) in 2014. It was pretty likely to be playing in thousands of churches across the world on any given Sunday. Having heard no other gospel choir sing an arrangement of the song so far, we thought it’d be a good idea to put our mark on it first and we think you’ll love it!

If you haven’t yet seen us on Songs Of Praise, you can watch it on iPlayer here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0698rc0/songs-of-praise-gospel-choir-of-the-year-2015-1-gospel-choir-of-the-year-part-1

Diane Louise Jordan from the Sunday Hour on Radio 2 loved our Gospel Medley from the first show so much she played it on her show this week. We’ve uploaded it to soundcloud – check it out here! https://soundcloud.com/getgospel/gospel-medley-from-bbc-gospel-choir-of-year-2015-on-radio-2-sunday-hour

We always love to hear your feedback so do get in touch with your thoughts and share with your friends!

Jules and Loretta Get Gospel on stage at BBC Songs of Praise

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