Wellington Place is more than just bricks and mortar, it’s a thriving community powered by people. This series of interviews aims to highlight some of the people of Wellington Place, share their inspirational stories and find out why Wellington Place is much more than just a place to work.
Interview with Nic Slack, Founder and Creative Director fo So Choir! and the Wellington Place Workplace Choir
Nic is the Founder and Creative Director of So Choir! and the Wellington Place Workplace Choir. Nic is on a mission to enhance people’s confidence through the power of singing and the feeling of togetherness.
Tell us a little bit about what you do…
“People have given me many job titles over the years, usually – ‘Choir Master’ – which just isn’t me at all. “Choir” is such an evocative word and I guess for a lot of people, it still conjures up images of someone in robes at the front waving a stick, like in a Harry Potter movie. I have also been called a ‘Choir Referee’ which I like a LOT more! I suppose my official title would be: Founder and Creative Director of So Choir! and the Wellington Place Workplace Choir.
“My days are extremely varied, which is something I love. Most of the time you can find me arranging and recording music, planning video projects, managing the So Choir! website and social media feeds, creating events, talking to clients, SC! regulars and plenty of other random admin tasks. In a pre-Covid world, I spent a lot of time travelling between sessions, but these are now being held virtually. So VIRTUAL Choir! has worked out great, but we can’t wait to get everyone back together in person.
“Most importantly, my aim is to break the stereotypes and stigmas of a traditional choir setup. When most people hear the word ‘choir’, they instantly think of school choirs, church choirs, gospel choirs or stuffy choral societies, but we want to change this! Taking part in our sessions is a fun, social experience – So Choir! is short for Social Choir! I get a huge buzz when I see people who have never met chatting and almost instantly becoming friends. You don’t need to be able to sing to be part of what we do – that’s the beauty of it. It ALWAYS sounds amazing – as you can see and hear in our videos on YouTube.”
What’s your greatest achievement to date?
“I’ve been lucky enough to play music all over the world, but honestly – and I know this is going to sound really clichéd – my proudest achievement is setting up and working with So Choir!, Wellington Place Workplace Choir and our other workplace choir setups. We thrive on the diversity, personality, and different voices of every person in everything we do. We are ridiculously proud of everyone who takes part! People power is amazing.
“It is also thrilling when we get accolades from the original artists whose songs we’ve covered – K T Tunstall tweeted us with “So Choir! – this is SO GREAT!” after we recorded our version of her song “Suddenly I See”. We were also contacted by Brit-Pop legends, Dodgy, after they watched our video of Staying Out For The Summer – not only did they love our version but they asked the choir to join them on tour! We performed a surprise flash-mob-style performance of ‘Staying Out for Summer’ before Dodgy took to the stage at several dates on their UK tour – it was such an amazing experience for everyone involved! We performed at the O2 Academy in Manchester, The Leadmill in Sheffield, O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London and even the Picturedrone in Holmfirth – as this was a Yorkshire concert we managed to arrange for 100 So Choir! regulars to take part in this show. It’s on our YouTube channel – go watch it!
“We also got invited to The Feeling’s gig in Leeds after they saw our “Love it When You Call” video and we even got a special shoutout during the show itself.
“As well as artists, it is incredible to hear how our So Choir! videos are connecting with people who are watching at home all over the planet. We received a lovely random email from a guy in Tennessee, USA, who got in touch to let us know that our ‘Times Like These’ video from 2017 had helped him feel joy after the passing of someone close to him. It was such a sweet message. We wrote back to thank him for his words and let him know that we were planning to record a new version of the song and would love him to be involved. He was so pleased to be asked, recorded his video and now he is featured in our latest So VIRTUAL Choir! cover! It is a fantastic feeling to be able to bring people happiness through the power of music!”
Tell us something interesting about yourself that others at Wellington Place may not know?
“I started playing keyboards at a young age and played in a couple of bands at school – I knew music was what I loved to do and felt a deep connection with it. Since then, I’ve performed and toured in the UK, Europe and America, played on cruise ships and contributed to a variety of recordings over the years. I’ve had tracks featured in TV and Film, including the epic travel/adventure documentary ‘The Long Way Round’ for Sky One and the 2004 action thriller ‘The Defender’, starring Dolph Lundgren and Jerry Springer.
“Music also led me to the Middle East, where I lived for several months playing in the House Band at an international live music themed bar. At one time, I had a record deal with a band in London, we hung out with The Killers and there was a crazy episode where we were flown over to Dallas on an all-expenses-paid week’s holiday to perform for one gig at a 21st birthday party for the daughter of a super-rich Texan businessman!
“25 years later and I’m still working in the music industry and still loving every second!”
What is your favourite thing about working at Wellington Place and why?
“The vibe of Wellington Place is amazing; you don’t feel like you are walking onto a business park. The complex actually feels like its very own buzzing Leeds district.
“It is a lovely place to be and hang out socially, especially as you always see someone you know or recognise.”
Which community events do you take part in at Wellington Place and why?
“We’ve taken part in all the Lunch Fests with Wellington Place Workplace Choir, Christmas events and singalongs, new building opening parties and a number of Wellington Place Choir members were part of the photo of the Pride flag outside Wellington Place in 2018.
“The Wellington Workplace Choir has participated in many of the community events at Wellington Place. We also love an impromptu singalong session in the square to get out in the fresh air and put a smile on people’s faces.”
What three words sum up Wellington Place to you?
Exciting – It really is an exciting place to be, there is always something going on and you never know who you will bump into during the day.
Dynamic – The complex is always changing for the better, helping to better all employees with new ideas, amenities and activities.
Fun – The business park is such a fun place to work – it’s extremely hard to get bored as there is always something enjoyable to be doing and awesome stuff to get involved in!
To join the Wellington Place Workplace choir every Friday from 12:30 – 13:30, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take a look at the So Choir! and Wellington Place Workplace Choir doing what they do best on YouTube.
Thanks to Nic Slack for taking part in the interview. If you would like to tell your story or wish to nominate someone to take part in the People of Wellington Place series please email email@example.com.