The Voice Project Choir call for new members
As part of their regular slot at the Norfolk & Norwich Festival, the Norfolk-based Voice Project Choir are looking for new members to sing their hearts out to a specially comissioned song by a popular UK jazz musician.
The Voice Project Choir
The Voice Project Choir, the music education and performance project directed by singers Sian Croose and Jon Baker, provide revellers with a regular finale at the Norfolk & Norwich Festival.
In 2009, they are hoping that their new Saturday night slot at the festival can wow the audience once more and they are looking for new singers to take part, even if they have no musical or singing experience.
The choir will be singing a new composition that has been commissioned by BBC Jazz Award winning composer and pianist Gwilym Simcock, at Norwich Cathedral on Saturday, 9 May, 2009.
The Voice Project Choir
The community-based choir has achieved much success through the visions of singers Sian Croose and Jon Baker. Since 2003, they have created opportunities for self-expression through singing.
"It's an open-access and community choir, so no auditions are required. We have more than 100 voices and perform a couple of times a year in Norwich. We have also performed in Newcastle and Gateshead," said Jon.
One of the choir's main showpieces is performing at the Norfolk & Norwich Festival every year in the spectacular ambience of Norwich Cathedral.
"We have performed the big finale for the past few years. We've been put on the middle Saturday night of the 2009 festival as they wanted to change the order around a bit, but we're still very excited," said Jon.
"The cathedral is beautiful and I think the moment the choir arrive in it, the whole gear changes and the performers love the space," said Sian.
"To actually stand at the altar end and sing down the nave is quite an extraordinary experience, although when I'm conducting I always face the other way" she added.
The choir have the honour of working with one of the most up-and-coming names in UK jazz at their 2009 performance.
"We've just been working with a young pianist called Gwilym Simcock, who's a really exciting artist. He's one of those young musicians that's made a cross-over from classical to jazz," said Sian.
"We saw him in the summer of 2008 at his prom with the BBC concert orchestra. He composed this beautiful piece for his jazz trio and the orchestra. It was obvious he had lots of interesting compositional ideas as well as a real feel for collaboration.
"We're excited to work with someone who's interested in taking a step out of their normal world and working with a choir or an ensemble."
How you can join
There is no criteria or audition required to join the choir - simply having a passion for music and wanting to socialise will do.
The community choir singing in Norwich
"We're looking for all sorts of people. One of the wonderful things about the choir is the social mix and mixed ability - people don't need to have sung before to do this," said Jon.
"What we try and do as part of the process is improve people's confidence. Definitely by the end of the process they will have become singers," he added.
The community spirit means people are always willing to come back for performances each year.
"Some people come back over and over again and socially it has a huge benefit to people's lives. It's one of those rare opportunities that we've got to be a community, where the more experienced help those who are not" said Sian.
"What is great about singing in a group is that you're supported by the sound of your section. Our choir has four sections of 30 people singing the same line as you," she added.
Rehearsals for the May performance are starting in February 2009.
"We have a weekly rehearsal on a Tuesday evening and then we have three Saturday rehearsals which run from 10am until 4pm. We then rehearse on the Thursday night of the production week," said Sian.
"We also try and have whole day rehearsals at four weekly intervals. They're very useful because you can get so much done in a whole day and people are fresh because it's not after work.
"We ask people to be as committed as possible, but it certainly won't feel like work. You can learn at your own speed."
Rehearsals start on Tuesday evenings from 24 February, 2009.
last updated: 12/02/2009 at 12:09