UNLOCK YOUR FULL CAREER POTENTIAL WITH ROCK CHOIR!
CASE STUDY – BBC PRESENTER, ANGELA MORAN:
Read our interview with Angela Moran – a Cambridge Music PhD graduate and former Rock Choir Leader, who was headhunted for her current role as a BBC presenter, demonstrating just how far a musical career with Rock Choir can take you!
INTRODUCING ANGELA MORAN
It’s fair to say Angela made a huge impression right from the start whilst working as a Rock Choir leader, taking to the role like a duck to water!
She is the second Cambridge graduate to work for Rock Choir, having joined us shortly after finishing her PhD at Cambridge. The position as a Rock Choir Leader allowed her to return to her home county and work immediately in a relatively well-paid and flexible music role.
Angela ran evening and morning choirs in the West Midlands for many years and was held in great esteem by her choir members. Throughout her tenure with Rock Choir, she appeared as a leader on television and radio countless times, including at the BBC and ITV. In addition, she performed live with Rock Choir at the NEC, BBC Proms in the Park, and the O2. Angela finished her career with us on a high by taking her choirs to record at Abbey Road alongside multi-Emmy and Grammy award-winning Sting producer Mark ‘Kipper’ Eldridge.
Check out her Rock Choir experience with choir leading, training, performing, and recording and how this led to her unexpected career development, as she reveals why Rock Choir: ‘was the making of her career’.
ANGELA’S BBC CAREER
Angela recently presented on the BBC’s ‘A Very British History’ series, airing on BBC Four.
The episode she fronted, entitled ‘Birmingham Irish I Am’, documents, among other things, the experiences of Irish immigrants and their children in Birmingham in the 20th Century.
The entire programme is underpinned by Angela’s broad breadth of knowledge stemming all the way back to her Cambridge PhD subject matter, music history studies and her multi-instrumental skills.
It’s a great watch, and this all stemmed from being headhunted by the BBC.
WE SPOKE WITH ANGELA MORAN ABOUT WHAT IT’S LIKE TO WORK AS A ROCK CHOIR LEADER.
HERE’S WHAT SHE SAID…
Tap to expand answers
What was your favourite event that you took part in when working with Rock Choir?
There are so many events to choose from that it’s hard to pick a favourite!
The national events rank highly in my mind, though, and I was fortunate to join Rock Choir just in time to perform at the O2, which is something I will never forget.
But I think my all-time favourite was Rock Choir 10 at the Genting Arena because it featured so much – new arrangements of songs, live accompaniment, an acapella performance by all the leaders, and of course, appearances from Kiki Dee and Chesney Hawkes!
What was your relationship like with other Choir Leaders in your area?
Working as a regional team was fantastic as it meant members could have performance experiences that might not otherwise have been possible.
We came together to sing at Symphony Hall, for instance, ran regional workshops in Rugby and at Stoneleigh Park, and events could be shared out to other nearby choirs if the local Rock Choir was double-booked.
My Midlands team met every few weeks during term time, which was always a great chance to catch up and share good practice and ideas.
How did you find the Rock Choir training?
The training was very comprehensive and exceptionally well planned.
Every minute was accounted for, but social time, team meals and regional catch-ups were always built into the schedule.
It was great to sing together as a team, to hear advice and experience from other leaders and, often, outside specialists too.
The thing I remember and respected most about the training was the constant call for leaders to have input. The door was always open for any Rock Choir leader to share their knowledge, to lead a session, or to request training in a specific area.
Training was thus moulded to what leaders felt would be most relevant.
How did you find the support from Caroline and HQ?
Not only was Caroline always just a text away, but she also made the effort to come and meet my members in person.
During our first-ever term in Stratford-upon-Avon, Caroline came to run a rehearsal in preparation for the national Liverpool Echo Arena show. She also performed on stage with us at Symphony Hall (alongside Toyah Wilcox) and appeared as a surprise while we were recording at Abbey Road.
The atmosphere was electric when Caroline walked out into Studio One!
The support from HQ was equally unparalleled. The leaders have a dedicated phone number to contact the office at any stage, and people from HQ would often come up to assist with local events.
The Rock Choir set-up is such that there is the freedom to manage your own gigs, setlists, line-ups, events and so on, but within the security of a wider network that is aware, cares and has your back.
What would you say to fellow Cambridge Alumni and those due to graduate about the Rock Choir role that you can’t know until you are in the job?
Studying at Cambridge is ideal preparation for being a Rock Choir leader.
The community in Cambridge is so diverse that running inclusive choirs, and dealing with a breadth of people, makes for an easy transition.
For me, it was really refreshing to delve fully into practical music-making after a period of intense study, and Rock Choir provides the perfect opportunity to reach further into the local, wider population.
Cambridge is such a hub for music lovers, and through Rock Choir, you can make your own musical links, become involved in various events, and experience the ‘nowadays impact’ beyond the formal study of music.
How do you feel Rock Choir developed your skills as a musician?
Leading choirs every night is an incredibly helpful practice for keyboard, singing and conducting as you are using all these vital skills regularly.
Being a professional performing musician requires finely-tuned communication skills, so standing in front of large Rock Choir choirs really develops these too.
What was the most rewarding part of the role?
There is nothing as rewarding as seeing the blossoming of people who discover their voice in your choir.
It wasn’t only their musical development that spurred me on, though, as my choirs became a strong support system for each other and me.
It’s incredibly humbling to journey with the Rockies from their very first free taster session – when invariably people would arrive declaring that they couldn’t sing – to seeing them take their place on stage in full Rock Choir performances.
How did Rock Choir fit around your other commitments?
The Rock Choir schedule completely complemented my other work.
Whilst I always prioritised Rock Choir rehearsals and gigs, the regular evening requirements meant my daytimes could be free for other private teaching and performing.
There was the freedom to take on weekend Rock Choir events at your discretion around prior commitments. By following the school teaching term, choir leaders largely had control of Christmas, Easter and Summer holidays to take on other work and gigs or just to have a rest!
Did any part of your Rock Choir role help your outside work or contribute to your later career success?
Playing, singing, conducting, and performing each weeknight was really beneficial to all aspects of my future playing, presenting and teaching career, as these skills became second nature.
I also really benefitted from gaining knowledge in music technology.
For the first time in my musical life, I managed sound levels, mixing desks, PA systems and such, and that has stood me in good stead for future bookings and successes.
What song did you do for your initial interview, and how did you find the audition?
I sang Closest Thing to Crazy by Katie Melua for my audition.
It probably summed up how I felt then, but thank goodness I did feel crazy enough to audition to be a Rock Choir leader!
It was the making of a career from which I’ve never looked back.
The audition was a pleasant, informative and gentle experience. I got to play through a Rock Choir arrangement, Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, learn more about the company, meet current leaders and discuss my personal goals.
I immediately felt welcomed as part of the team!