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Liverpool hosts The Voices 'a cappella' Festival

by Mike Common. Published Wed 14 Mar 2012 16:25
Sense of Sound choir
Sense of Sound choir

The Voices festival, which will take place at the Black-E and Bluecoat, Friday 16 March to Sunday 18 March, has been billed by organisers as 'Liverpool's biggest a cappella celebration.'

The festival will see various masters of the singing style descend on Liverpool to celebrate the art form at a series of events, including performances by accomplished a cappella artists as well as presentations concerning the links between singing and health.

Saphena Aziz, who is a co-director at Sense of Sound who are presenting the festival along with the Black-E, commented: “We are absolutely delighted to present Voices Festival to the city of Liverpool this year.

"The festival incorporates everything from interactive events, incredible performances and access to learning more about the benefits of singing.

"We hope to showcase the diversity of a cappella singing over the course of the festival, and look forward to the many spectacular performances we have lined up.”

The festival kicks off during the day on Friday 16 March with a National Conference for Singing and Health, which will feature presentations, from some top UK vocal experts, discussing the links between singing and health and wellbeing.

The conference will include presentations from Nordoff Robbins speech therapsist, Phoene Cave; Assistant Director of Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Music, Arts & Health, Trish Vella-Burrows; Arts Manager at Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS trust, Victoria Hume; and Dane Chalfin, a director of the British Voice Association.

The conference, which is open to members of the public, will provide an opportunity for experts to share their insight and experience on health related topics as well as best practice for budding singers.

Friday evening will see the festivaties continue with a concert to be held in the Black-E with artists paying tribute to the works of Joni Mitchell, including performances by special guest star Connie Lush and the Sense of Sound Singers.

During the day on Saturday, the Bluecoat will host an 'interactive events for singing entusiasts,' where visitors will be treated to performances by choirs from around Merseyside including The Raucus Caucus Recovery Chorus; Vix Voices; Singing Our Socks Off; Liverpool Community Choir; Liverpool Harmonic Gospel Choir and Indigo Vibe.

Evening Saturday will see world-renowned beat-boxer Shlomo take to the stage at the Black-E.

Shlomo, who will be playing an exclusive gig in Liverpool as well as giving youth workshops in the festival, boasts a host of topshelf fans including Jools Holland, Jarvis Cocke and has worked with the likes of Björk, Damon Albarn and Martha Wainwright.

On Sunday the festival will round up with a FREE day of family fun at the Bluecoat, with interactive activites for all ages and workshops for budding singers covering all musical genres but with an a cappella twist.

A 'Big Sing' at the Bluecoat will mark the end of the festival.

Sense of Sound, who have been instrumental in organising the event, is led by four female directors; Jennifer John, Saphena Aziz, Juliet Russell – a voice coach for BBC One’s upcoming show ‘The Voice’ - and Perri Alleyne-Hughes.

Sense of Sound Co-Director, Juliet Russell, said: “March is an exciting month for Sense of Sound with the Voices a cappella festival and the launch of the new BBC series The Voice.

"I was one of the coaches on the show and it gave me the opportunity to do what Sense of Sound is passionate about; developing and showcasing fantastic singers.

“We have an inspiring line up for this year's festival. Joni Mitchell is one of my all time favourite singers and songwriters and this celebration of her work and life feels very special to be involved with.

"This show is for anyone who loves Joni and her music or who loves to listen to contemporary choral music. Shlomo is someone who has turned beat-boxing into an art-form. What he can do with his voice is incredible, so musical and entertaining. Don't miss it!’’



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