The Group Hero Award is back for another year to recognise individuals or groups who have gone above and beyond for their music group.
Not all heroes wear capes! The Group Hero award, only introduced last year, celebrates those individuals, groups or committees who have gone the extra mile for their music groups and supported them throughout 2021 to make sure they thrive especially during the difficult transition to a post-pandemic life.
Now the time has come to vote for your favourite music Group Hero.
Making Music has had the tough call to shortlist from an incredible range of people who have battled through the challenges of 2021 all whilst keeping their music groups happy and flourishing. Below is a shortlist of four nominations. Find out who is in the running, read their amazing stories and vote for the person or group of people that stands out to you. Winners will be announced at the Making Music awards ceremony on 22 September.
Voting has now closed.
2022 Group Hero Award shortlist:
Ben Baughan (nominated by The Sunday Boys)
"Ben became Chair of The Sunday Boys in July 2020 and the second chair of the organisation since the formation of the choir in 2016. Not only did Ben have to deal with a significant role that was previously held by my ex-partner and the complications involved, but he also had to deal with the challenges of COVID. Ben was instrumental in supporting the development of a music video in collaboration with The Lowry and singer-songwriter Finn Anderson in 2021 ensuring that all our members were safe and supported during the process of creating something so ambitious and complicated during lockdown. He also was instrumental in bringing us back to live rehearsals in September 2021 with an increased membership ensuring that everyone's needs were met in terms of COVID safety: having to juggle many different opinions alongside challenging government guidance was no mean feat and Ben worked tirelessly to get the balance right.
On a personal note, I was struck by Bells Palsy earlier this year and significantly struggled in my role as musical director. Ben was not just exceptionally kind and generous in his role as chair but was someone I could turn to constantly as a friend when I was in need." - The Sunday Boys
Bradford Festival Choral Society team – Alice Phelps, Fran Wyburn, Thomas Leech, Christopher Pulleyn, Pariss Joseph, James Hamilton (nominated by Bradford Festival Choral Society)
"This nomination is for a group of six talented artists and musicians in Bradford who worked together in 2021 to pioneer an exciting digital collaboration between two very different choirs. The songs were chosen by The Friendship Choir. Jikelele is a South African celebration song and means ‘everywhere’ or ‘universal’. Here is My Home is an American folksong traditionally sung at Thanksgiving. The music was adapted to blend both natural voice method with four-part harmony. Details were discussed, songs were launched and then recording began!
With guide tracks, all singers were supported to submit audio and video recordings. The group’s ‘can do’ attitude meant that challenges were mitigated to ensure equal access e.g. some recordings took place in homes or parks if the equipment was not available. By dedicating time and expertise, the team was able to engage singers and audiences across our city and beyond. It culminated in a joyous premiere performance at our Autumn 2021 concert where two very different choirs were united under one roof.
We believe that this group’s work deserves to be recognised for engaging diverse audiences and singers at a time when many still felt isolated." - Bradford Festival Choral Society
Musicians in Exile – Aref Ghorbani, Calum Ingram, Jose Rojas, Eyve Madidze, Jose Rivera, Milad Garibi, Angaddeep Singh Vig (nominated by The Glasgow Barons)
"Musicians in Exile were doubly vulnerable for their asylum-seeking status and pandemic isolation. They saved each others' lives meeting weekly on Zoom, helping each other produce videos, streaming performances for Glasgow University and filming for Refugee Festival Scotland. The group returned to performing live outdoors at the West End and Paisley Road West Festivals. For November's global climate conference COP26, they performed a concert in the public-facing Green Zone about the climate emergency's impact on refugees, then again with Amal, the Syrian refugee puppet, and closed 2021 celebrating Christmas in Govan Parish Church. Their tenacious and innovative support kept this fragile project alive." - The Glasgow Barons
Nigel Britten and Sally Moran (nominated by Beckenham Chorale)
"Nigel's role was crucial in guiding us safely back to everyday life as we emerged from lockdown restrictions. We continued with Zoom rehearsals as returning to in-person singing proved challenging because our previous rehearsal space was too small. To solve this issue, Nigel led a small group to assess how we might best resume live singing and source a bigger space. Using his excellent interpersonal skills, Nigel significantly improved the relationship with our performance venue. Over several weeks he negotiated an agreement to allow the entire choir to rehearse in a considerably larger space. He consulted all members and instructed safety guidelines to ensure all members returned soundly. At the same time, his research and preliminary work on our new website continued unabated.
Many choirs have an 'older' demographic, and ours is no exception. Sally's role has been equally important in facilitating the return of our members to resume singing. However, this did not happen overnight. Her patience, diligence and total commitment to the role meant she kept in touch with every one of our choir members throughout the pandemic. She has been gently encouraging and understanding our choir members' many and varied concerns, anxieties and viewpoints. It is a tribute to Sally’s personal qualities of determination, perseverance, patience, gentleness and good judgment that we find ourselves not only back in business but back with a rising membership, a real sense of unity and purpose, and an ambition for an even greater future! " - Beckenham Chorale
Find out the winner of our Group Hero Award, along with all the other Making Music Awards, at our online ceremony on 22 September. You don't have to be a member to attend – book your free place now and get the champagne ready!