Voce perform Thomas Hewitt-Jones's new Christmas carol for BBC Music Magazine

It's a busy old Christmas for Voce in 2014, with two gigs behind us (Prostate Cancer UK's Christmas carol concert and our own Voce Christmas Extravaganza) and another four to go!

On Thursday 11 December, Voce join the London Youth Choir, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and maestro Sir John Rutter at the Royal Albert Hall for two Christmas concerts of epic proportions, repeating the same programme at Fairfield Halls on Saturday 13 December. Then it's back to central London on Sunday 14 December for a wonderful English Christmas with the London Mozart Players at St John's Smith Square. Phew! 

Before we launch ourselves into the season anew, we're delighted to announce that we've been featured on the BBC Music Magazine website, performing a beautiful new carol by Thomas Hewitt-Jones: 'Lullay, my liking'.

We hope you enjoy it - and Merry Christmas!


Summer is icumen in - and Voce Chamber Choir is ready

The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and Voce singers across London are joining in with enthusiasm. We have a fantastic summer programme coming up and we just can't wait to share it with the world!

In late May Voce tour to Stockholm with a simply delicious selection of music including pieces by Byrd, Britten, Tavener and Bach alongside some traditional Swedish melodies. När du är i Rom...

We'll also be road-testing some jazzy numbers including a cracking Moses Hogan arrangement of Elijah Rock and Pharrell William's Happy, arranged especially for us by friend of Voce, composer Toby Young

See more details of our Swedish concerts on the concert page. Make sure you pass on the link to all your Scandi friends!

On Saturday 28 June we'll be back on home turf and performing in London's gorgeous Grosvenor Chapel. We've nicknamed our summer gig 'She Moved Through The Fair' after one of the hauntingly beautiful British folksongs we'll be presenting that evening.

The concert begins at 6pm and will end in time to catch the sunset. Please join us and some very special guests for drinks afterwards in the Grosvenor Chapel's beautiful gardens. Save money on tickets by booking online now via our concerts page.

What are you waiting for? Get booking, and we'll see you soon!

Voce sing with Duran Duran for new album

On Monday evening Voce Chamber Choir were joined by some very special guests - Simon le Bon and John Taylor from Duran Duran!

The boys thought Voce might be an excellent fit for some tracks on their forthcoming studio album. They'd brought along some shiny recording equipment, so together with MD Suzi Digby and some pals from the London Youth Choir, we sang through brand new Duran Duran material arranged for SATB choir by Friend of Voce, composer Toby Young.

Singing live with Simon le Bon and John Taylor was simply an amazing experience. We can’t wait to hear the finished product - watch this space!

You can see more photos of our recording session on Duran Duran’s website.

Voce 10 Year Anniversary Gala

On 9 November Voce Chamber Choir celebrated "ten years of choral perfection" with a gala concert and dinner in Cambridge.

 

Even the gloomy weather couldn't dampen the choir's spirits as rehearsals got underway in the stunning chapel of Sidney Sussex College. After all, we were there to celebrate a magical ten years since Suzi Digby and Harry Briggs founded Voce in 2003.

 

Come the evening, extra seating had to be brought into accommodate all the extra audience members who spilled out of the pews. The first half was conducted by MD Suzi Digby and performed by current Voce members, who opened the concert with with Jonathan Dove’s Into Thy Hands and Estonian composer Arvo Pärt’s Bogoroditse Djevo. Things took a more reflective turn with Vaughan Williams’ Lord Thou Hast Been Our Refuge, a commemorative nod to Remembrance Sunday. We also performed pieces from our recent tour to Korea (Hyowon Woo's O Magnum Mysterium) and other favourites by composers including Shebalin, Whitacre, Stanford and Ken Burton. 

 

After a (very) brief intermission, a veritable host of Voce alumnae joined us on stage for the second half. Voce's assistant conductor, Ed Watkins, led the Voce Superchoir in Byrd's Sing Joyfully and other Voce favourites by Britten and Purcell. MD Suzi Digby took the reins again for Pearsall’s Lay a Garland, Tippett’s Steal Away and Lauridsen’s O Magnum Mysterium. The concert ended with a frankly glorious rendition of Ken Burton’s Go Tell it on the Mountain, a firm Voce favourite.

 

Once the rapturous applause had died down, the singers and audience walked the short distance to Suzi's beautiful home in Queen's College, for drinks and canapés in the historic President's Lodge and a sublime dinner in the dramatic surroundings of the Great Hall.

 

Speeches were made (epic speeches), awards given, gifts presented and merriment thoroughly made as Voce members and alumnae reminisced about ten fabulous years. It was truly an unforgettable evening - if only we could do it every year!

 

We have so many people to thank - Suzi Digby and Ed Watkins for their musical leadership, Suzi and her husband John Eatwell for so generously hosting us, and Jane Macarthur and Becks Hawley for their flawless organisation of a sensational party. The biggest thanks of all go to our families, friends and supporters - see you all at our next concert! 

 

Voce sing Carols by Candlelight at 7pm on Sunday 15 December at Mayfair's Grosvenor Chapel. Tickets are available online here.

Voce tour to South Korea, October 2013

Guest blogger Aidan Briggs gives the inside view on Voce's tour to Busan Province

On 16 October a selection of Voce chamber choir’s finest singers embarked on a five-day tour of South Korea, with Suzi Digby at the helm.

We arrived for our first concert at the Busan Choral Festival in the vast and impressive Busan Cultural Centre to find that the concert had, thanks to travel delays between London and Seoul, just finished without us. We did, however, get to hear the phenomenal Philippine Madrigal Singers do their thing and immediately afterwards found out what 1500 singers shrieking applause sounds like. The diaspora was astounding; singers from China, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Russia and, er, Hackney, bustling about in technicolour traditional dress, dizzy with the excitement / music / sleep deprivation of it all.

Our journey through this carnage was led by Su-Gin, our eternally patient guide aboard the dedicated Voce Love Bus (pink frilly trim and built-in karaoke as standard). We were driven to our three concerts, given dressing rooms, had meals laid on and were generally treated like royalty.  When not performing, we took in the sights of the superb Yen-Ong temple complex, indulged in some retail therapy at the world’s biggest department store (dinosaur garden on the roof. Really), and paid a visit to the hot springs for some heavenly relaxation.

The festival played host not only to Pimlico's favourite chamber choir, but to a prestigious competition with a five-figure cash prize. There were traditional and modern categories, schools, semi-professionals and professionals, many of them armed with dance moves. Judging them all was a panel of the world's finest choral minds, including our very own Suzi Digby.

The two concert halls where we performed were grand and impressive, and Rob Hatch stole the show with Ken Burton's special Voce commission Oh Can You Hear It. Our trip to a hospital in the outskirts to perform for the patients was probably our most memorable, both for the cheerful flag-waving of the patients and for the experience of singing Byrd in a sauna shortly beforehand. There was a parade across the beach, followed by a distinctly one-sided sing-off with a 45-person Taiwanese choir on the waterfront. The sun shone, flags waved, and that night we went moonlight bowling before teaching Su-Gin a few drinking games and hitting the Busan clubs.

As we set off for our return journey the next morning, wrecked but content, the consensus was that the tour had been a great success. Not bad for five days' work.

Thanks to Suzi Digby and our wonderful hosts at the Busan Choral Festival for a wonderful tour.

The Next Big Thing for Voce is our 10-year anniversary gala in November 2013 - watch this space!

Voce Maestra Suzi Digby featured on Sinfini

As part of their "Choral Manifestos"  series, shiny new classical music website Sinfini has published an interview with Voce Music Director Suzi Digby discussing how singing in choirs can be exciting, inspiring and life-changing: 

I have boxes of letters from singers, mothers and fathers of singers, people who have had the singing-epiphany - many using the analogy of  ‘doors opening’. One famous student of mine said ‘it’s like walking into a dark room inside your mind and having all the lights switch on’. 

Suzi is featured alongside such other choral luminaries as Gareth Malone, Eric Whitacre and Simon Halsey. Check out the full interview at Sinfini. 

 

Voce's Final Rolling Stones Choir Dates Rock Hyde Park

Well, *that* was an experience and a half. After the road trip of a lifetime down to Worthy Farm to accompany The Rolling Stones during their headlining gig at Glastonbury at the end of June, Voce capped off their extraordinary summer with two more Saturday night gigs in London's Hyde Park, on 6 and 13 July 2013.

Mother Nature is clearly fond of Mick and Keef, as the sun shone relentlessly on the happy crowds during both evenings, bringing on a consumption of Pimm's that could perhaps be seen as slightly excessive; certainly the young reveler who we saw bellyflopping gleefully into a pile of open rubbish bags might have later regretted his intake. As the Official Stones Choir, however, Voce were of course on nothing but water at all times, downing litres of the stuff to keep our vocal chords in tip-top condition for our seven minutes of glory.

Despite not being able to luxuriate in the fruits of the hospitality bar, we made up for it in artists' catering, many choir members deliberately arriving unnecessarily early to allow enough time for the full range of delights, making room for the unexpected and delicious cheese platter, and a particularly fine Bakewell tart.

Fully sated, we changed into our best outfits and then warmed up outside our air-conditioned trailer, with members of the Stones' entourage joining us for our traditional 'massage chain', and other backstage guests mystifyingly choosing to record our arpeggios on their mobile phones.

With three songs to go before our performance, we got the call and calmly processed (read: hyperactively scampered) between the many trucks, trailers, golf buggies and tractors to the backstage zone, where clusters of swanky blacked-out cars clearly labelled MJ, KR, CW and RW were already awaiting their precious cargo. Up the ramp to stage level, where we were given our headset packs by (Saint) Thomas, the Stones' unbelievably patient and friendly sound man. Then into our two groups, stage left and stage right, and round to the back corners where we'd soon be filing on. Increasingly brave having performances under our belt, we peeked through the gaps in the backdrop, watching the ecstatic crowd clapping along and still unable to comprehend the massiveness of what we'd be doing moments later.

And suddenly, it was time, and our legs somehow carried us to the microphones, and we stood and looked out at the faces stretching as far back as we could see and further. And we listened to the roar of the 75,000, and then, in our ears, to the click of the metronome giving us our cue. As one, we started to sing, wanting to get it exactly right, to do this momentous gig justice, but also to allow ourselves the chance to soak up this unique moment. You Can't Always Get What You Want always went by all too quickly, Mick effortlessly working his magic as only he can, us trying not to let our huge grins engulf our faces altogether. As he thanked us, we took a bow, reluctantly but obediently walked off, whooped, hollered, hugged and jumped up and down a lot as the raw opening notes of Satisfaction cut through the night - and then it was done.

Our undying thanks go to The Rolling Stones, comfortably the best rock 'n' roll band in the world, and all their incredible musicians and crew. We'll never forget it - and neither will anyone who encounters us - for as long as we all shall live.

Voce sang with The Rolling Stones at Hyde Park, London, on Saturday 6 July and Saturday 13 July 2013. You can next see them perform on Friday 4 October, when they will be singing Mozart's Requiem by candlelight, with the London Youth Choir and the Brandenburg Sinfonia.

 

Voce's Summer Concert: Choral Americana

Guest blogger and alto Rebecca gives the lowdown on Voce's summer concert...

The sun was blazing and it was set to be the hottest day of the year; it was the Wimbledon final and Andy Murray was playing for the title; and our ears were still ringing from our performance with the Rolling Stones in Hyde Park the night before.  But we had work to do.  So, armed with pencils, water (and, most importantly, Haribo) we set to work!

Come concert time, we were very impressed by the size of our audience, given that it was the hottest day of the year so far and the Wimbledon final! Voce's MD Suzi Digby and one of her colleagues from USC, Nick Strimple, had curated a programme of music to take us and our audience on a journey through American choral music.  Guest conductor Tim Sutton conducted us in Bernstein’s Alleluia and then we were off.  

The first half consisted of pieces by the great American composers; Bernstein, Copland, Carter and Ives. The most enjoyable piece for me was the Ives, Psalm 90:  the accompanying tubular bells and other percussion (played by Andy Martin) and organ (Duncan Aspden) resulted in a very haunting and moving performance.  We also included a trio of contemporary American composers: Laurisden, Whitacre and Strimple. After the interval, we split into small groups to perform some familiar American songs as well as some little-known examples of eighteenth and nineteenth century American choral music.

All in all, the concert was a great celebration of American composers. We all learnt a bit more about the breadth of the American choral tradition and in true Voce style celebrated with a drink afterwards in the local pub.  

After another concert with the Rolling Stones in Hyde Park and Evensong at St Gabriel’s Pimlico, we will be taking our summer holidays. We return in the Autumn with an exciting new concert schedule: keep an eye on the website for dates to be announced!

Voce gave a concert of Choral Americana at the Grosvenor Chapel in Mayfair on Sunday 7 July. The choir will perform with the Rolling Stones in Hyde Park on Saturday 13 July and sing Choral Evensong at St Gabriel's Church, Pimlico, on Sunday 14 July (entrance free, all welcome).

Guest blogger Rebecca Mair is Voce's Auditions Manager, and the choir's best and most careful driver.

Voce Chamber Choir play Hyde Park with the Rolling Stones - 6 and 13 July 2013

On Saturday 6 July 2013 Voce and the LYC take to the stage with rock 'n' roll giants The Rolling Stones.

After our amazing experience at Glastonbury Festival, we can't wait to sing with the band again on our home turf, London. The historic gigs on 6 and 13 July mark the Stones's return to Hyde Park exactly 44 years since their last performance here in July 1969.  

It's a big weekend for Voce, what with the Stones gig on Saturday and our brilliant Choral Americana concert on Sunday! Make sure you buy your tickets for the latter at reduced rates through the website - and don't forget, if you have a Glastonbury or #StonesHydePark wristband or ticket you can save up to £10 OTD with our incredible summer offer.

Follow us on Twitter (@vocechoir) for news, pictures and backstage gossip throughout the day, starting with our onstage soundcheck at 10 am.

Voce Chamber Choir and choral scholars of the London Youth Choir will perform with the Rolling Stones in Hyde Park on 6 and 13 July 2013. Will you be there? Say hi @vocechoir using #StonesHydePark. 

Voce present a fabulous summer programme of Choral Americana - a late celebration of Independence Day - at 7 pm on Sunday 7 July at the Grosvenor Chapel (London W1K 2PA).

Unmissable ticket offer for Voce's Choral Americana concert on 7 July

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 This summer we celebrate our collaboration with the Rolling Stones with an unbeatable offer on tickets for our summer concert.

Tickets for Choral Americana will be a mere £5 on the door for anyone presenting with a Glastonbury 2013 wristband, wristband for the Rolling Stones gig in Hyde Park on 6 July, or paper ticket for their gig on 13 July. This offer represents an unbelievable saving of £10 on the cost of a full price OTD ticket - so hang on to those wristbands! 

NB: If presenting with a wristband, please note that this should still be attached. To you.

Couldn't get tickets to see us with the Stones? Don't worry, you can still buy tickets for our summer concert at reduced rates via the website or at full price on the door.

See you there!

Voce perform a programme of Choral Americana - including repertoire by Ives, Copland, Bernstein, Barber, Lauridsen and Whitacre - at 7 p.m. on 7 July in London's Grosvenor Chapel. Join us in the pub afterwards for a drink, a chat, and rock 'n' roll.

Voce headline Glastonbury with the Rolling Stones

This weekend we were thrilled to reprise our role as backing choir to the Rolling Stones in their headlining performance at Glastonbury Festival.

Voce Chamber Choir and choral scholars from the London Youth Choir joined forces under the direction of MDs Suzi Digby and Rachel Staunton to perform the band's 1969 hit You Can't Always Get What You Want to a live audience of over 130,000 festival-goers. Contrary to press speculation, the song was also broadcast live on BBC2 for an estimated 2.5 million viewers.

Quite a few of our singers had been to festivals before - and even more of us had sung with the Rolling Stones before: in November 2012 we made rock 'n' roll history by being the first choir ever to sing YCAGWYW live with the band. However, the experience of singing at Glastonbury with the Rolling Stones was something else. From our dressing room backstage, we could actually feel the hum of the crowd as hundreds of thousands of people converged on the Pyramid Stage for the Stones' Glastonbury debut.

And what a debut! Despite our nerves, we couldn't help dancing and singing along as the band ripped through an incredible two-hour set, hit after hit after hit. As the end of the set approached, we were called to the vast wings of the Pyramid Stage to be briefed and earpieced for our encore performance. Suddenly, we were standing on stage, the click was sounding, the lights were coming up, the crowd roared as one, and...

You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes, you'll find
You get what you need

Our thanks go to the Rolling Stones and their teams, the unforgettable audience at Glastonbury, and to the friends and family who will have to listen to us raving about this once-in-a-lifetime gig until the end of time.

Voce Chamber Choir sang live with the Rolling Stones at Glastonbury Festival on 29 June 2013. Catch up with our performance on BBC iPlayer (1:03:15) or on YouTube (from 48 minutes), and read our honourable mentions in 5* reviews from the Guardian and Independent, as well as the Sunday Times, Daily Mail, Telegraph, Rolling Stone magazine and the NME.

Voce perform again with the Rolling Stones in Hyde Park on 6 and 13 July 2013. Are you coming? Say hi @vocechoir using #StonesHydePark.

Voce Chamber Choir and LYC sing with the Rolling Stones at Glastonbury 2013

 (C) Rolling Stones 2013

 (C) Rolling Stones 2013

Wellies - check. Wet wipes - check. Flag - check. Full-length black eveningwear - check, check, check!

On Saturday 29 June Voce perform live on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury Festival with headliners the Rolling Stones. Once again we'll be joined by choral scholars from the London Youth Choir as we provide choral backing to one of the Stones' greatest hits.

To find out which one, follow us on Twitter, keep an eye on the BBC's live streams, or maybe even catch us on TV. We'll update the Voce blog with the full story and all the backstage gossip when - if - we get back to London.

Are you at Glastonbury Festival? Come and say hi - we're @vocechoir on Twitter if you can't see our flag. Couldn't get Glasto tickets this year? Catch us at the Stones' Hyde Park gigs on 6 or 13 July.

Voce tour to Berlin, May 2013

Monday marked Voce's triumphant return from Berlin, where we had toured a beautiful selection of English and German music over the Bank Holiday weekend. Our varied programme included compositions old and new - from Purcell and Neusidler to Bach, Brahms and Elgar, as well as specially-commissioned poem settings by new composers Toby Young and Tobias Frank.

Friday evening saw us team up with the Berlin-based Embassy Singers for a joint concert at the stunning Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche. On Saturday we were up bright and early to rehearse and perform a 30-minute set at the Berliner Dom. From there, it was a race against the clock to catch a train to Lübbenau where we sang for the guests of the exclusive Schloss Hotel in the evening.

But it wasn't all hard work! In between gigs we managed to fit in a boat trip of the Spreevald (singing all the way - natch), a fascinating walking tour of former East Berlin, cycling in the Tiergarten, extensive sampling of traditional German cuisine (three Wiener Schnitzels in three days, anyone?) and of course rubbing shoulders with the locals in the bars and clubs of Berlin.

This fantastic tour couldn't have gone ahead without the hard work and impeccable organisation of tour manager Becks, who masterminded everything from concert venues, transport and accommodation to the sourcing of each singer's next schnitzel. The whole choir can't thank her, MD Suzi Digby and our first-night hosts the Embassy Singers enough!

And next year? The ideas are flying  already. Will it be France? Sweden? LA? Shanghai? Or Berlin again? (As with Wiener Schnitzel, it can be hard to get too much of a good thing.) Watch this space.

Check out more photos of our 2013 tour to Berlin on Voce's Facebook page.

Voce work with Gareth Malone on top-secret hush-hush project

This week we had the absolute pleasure of teaming up again with long-term Friend Of Voce Gareth Malone and some of his pals from Decca.

And that, sadly, is all we can say for now! Needless to say, Gareth has some super-exciting projects in the pipeline and we were EXTREMELY pleased to help out. Make sure you keep an eye on his - and our - Twitter feed for all the latest gossip.

Voce was hanging out with Gareth & Chums plus MD Suzi Digby and guest MD Ken Burton at our regular rehearsal venue, St Gabriel's Pimlico, in April 2013.

Voce sing live with Il Divo and Katherine Jenkins

On 19 April the Voce ladies sang with Il Divo and Katherine Jenkins in the last UK concert of the pop-opera supergroup's European tour. Together with a few friends from other leading London choirs, we performed choral backing for the final encore of the concert in London's O2 Arena.

Even though, for some of us, it wasn't the first time we'd sung in the O2, we couldn't help but be taken aback by the sheer scale of the venue. As one singer observed, 'there's nothing like an audience of 12,000 to make you learn your notes quickly!' After a quick rehearsal with the show MD and orchestra manager, we were whisked into soundchecks before being smuggled into a special VIP concert and Q&A with the principals - a rare treat.  

And what a show! The altos were particularly impressed by Katherine Jenkins' sparkling diamante mic, which we spotted backstage. Luckily we were spared the temptation of stealing it by Ms Jenkins herself, who rescued it en route to the stage for our final number, It's Time To Say Goodbye. It's a big, stirring sing, and the audience were on their feet as the song grew to a triumphant crescendo.

Our thanks go to MD Andrew Small, conductor Simon Chalk, and everyone on the Il Divo tour staff for their warm welcome. And of course, we'd like to thank the boys from Il Divo and Katherine Jenkins for asking us along!

Were you in the audience at the London O2 for the Il Divo and Katherine Jenkins concert on 19 April? What were your favourite moments? Tweet us @vocechoir, talk to us on Facebook or send us a message.

Passion & Resurrection: Voce at Passiontide

On Sunday 17 March Voce raised the roof - and a few back-of-the-neck hairs - in London's Grosvenor Chapel with a stunning Passiontide programme encompassing repertoire both ancient and modern. Choir and director Suzi Digby were joined by the Voce Chamber Orchestra in a concert of Tallis, Macmillan and Ešenvalds in the last weeks of Lent.

Each half of the programme opened with a set of Thomas Tallis' hauntingly beautiful and intricate Lamentations of Jeremiah the Prophet - followed in the first half by James Macmillan's Seven Last Words From The Cross, in which the choir was joined by string players from the Voce Chamber Orchestra.

The concert concluded with a moving performance of Ēriks Ešenvalds' Passion And Resurrection. As one of our guests of honour, journalist Jon Snow, remarked: "Ešenvalds' Passion and Resurrection stole the night at the Grosvenor Chapel: the texture, colour and depth of Voce's singing gave extraordinary vitality and a moving insight into one of the most spectacular pieces of 21st century choral music." You can read Jon's full review of the concert on Voce's Facebook page - or catch his piece on us and conductor Suzi Digby in his New Statesman diary.

Voce would like to thank early music expert Dr David Skinner and composer Ēriks Ešenvalds, both of whom workshopped elements of our programme with us this term. We'd also like to thank the incredible players of the Voce Chamber Orchestra and our musical director Suzi Digby for selecting and leading us in such a wonderful programme.

There will now be a short intermission before rehearsals begin in April for Voce's May tour to Berlin. Can't make it to Germany to hear us? Don't despair - our next London concert is on Sunday 7 July, when we perform a beautiful programme of Music From The New World.

Were you at our latest concert? What did you think? Tweet us, talk to us on Facebook, or send us a message.

Voce features in Stylist Magazine

Voce appeared in the national press again this week - this time in a Stylist feature on The Rise Of The Choir.

The article by Lucy Foster (which featured in both the hard copy and electronic versions of the magazine) focused on the social, emotional and physical benefits of ensemble singing: stuff we knew about already, of course, but were happy to see brought to a wider audience!

True, the 'stress-busting' properties of singing came as news to some of us one week before our whopper of an Passiontide concert (as did the revelation that we'd sung with Hayley Westenra), but on the whole the article did our singers justice. Readers will have come away with some very favourable coverage of our 2012 gigs with the Rolling Stones, as well as a fascinating insight into the Voce rehearsal schedule:

"I know I would be far more stressed if I didn’t sing. I honestly can’t imagine life without it,” explains [Voce alto] Christina... I love the challenge; the sense of achievement of transforming a piece of music no-one knows and working together in unison to create a fantastic sound. It’s enormously gratifying."

Inspired? What are you waiting for - get out there and get singing!

Did you read this feature in Stylist? What did you think? Let us know by tweeting us @vocechoir.

Tallis workshop with David Skinner

Voce was joined again this week by renowned early music scholar and performer Dr David Skinner for a masterclass on Tallis' Lamentations, which we perform on Sunday 17 March in Mayfair's Grosvenor Chapel.

An early music specialist based at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, David began our workshop session with an overview of the historical and religious context of the Lamentations. He wanted us to bear in mind the performance conventions that would have been the norm in Tallis's time - so that's no women, and very probably a significantly lower pitch. Well, the bass section was happy. But what about the rest of us?

Luckily for our sops and altos, we learned that modern choirs can achieve comparable effects by altering timbre and vowel sounds to achieve a uniformity of tone across all sections of the choir. After hearing David's demonstrations of passages from the works and exploring the various compositional features that characterise them, we set to work on our pronunciation, getting our consonants in tip-top shape to emphasise the text and add excitement to the texture of the music. 

Our sound, needless to say, was transformed. It was a brilliant workshop and a fantastic end to our set of Passiontide rehearsals. As one of our singers said in the pub afterwards: "It was great! I feel inspired and ready for Sunday."

Voce and the Voce Chamber Orchestra perform Esenvalds, Macmillan and Tallis at 19.30 on Sunday 17 March at London's Grosvenor Chapel. Tickets are available online (with advance purchase discount) or at full price OTD (£15/12).