Voices Now believes that singing in choirs is hugely beneficial in terms of physical and mental health and bringing together communities. We want to be the movement that encourages and enables all people regardless of background and previous experience to sing and enjoy listening to choirs. We want to enable choirs from any and every background to come together and share ideas and music in a non-competitive environment.
Voices Now is a small organisation which manages to do big things.
We’re currently planning for our 4th biennial Music Festival in London’s iconic Roundhouse in 2017 and have lots of ideas for making it even more memorable than ever. We’re talking to some fantastic Artist Curators and want to get the choirs more closely involved and encourage even more collaborations for next year.
But we have bigger ideas than that.
Choir singing has never been more popular in the UK and, we believe there are more people singing in the UK than ever before. We want not only to celebrate the diverse nature and sheer numbers of choirs, but also give them a voice and a place where all singers and potential singers belong.
Voices Now is starting to feel a lot more than just a Festival however. There’s a feeling that it is already a bit like a movement and the collaborative nature of the festival needs to be nurtured and built upon combining all our individual strengths to create more opportunities, for singers, choirs and choir leaders.
Our first project outside of the Festival is an ambitious pieces of research to find out who is singing what and where. A singing map of the UK showing where choirs are, what kind of music they sing and how to get in touch with them. We hope to use this information not only to enable all choirs to attract new singers, but also to use as a communications piece to the wider world, giving access for everyone in the country to have a go at singing in a choir.
We all know how great that is already – and about the health and social benefits that go with it, but we think it demands a much higher position on the cultural agenda and to be taken far more seriously by health professionals and administrators. Finding out how many people are involved seems a powerful starting point.
We’d also like to increase opportunities for choirs to work with each other and professional artists, create resources for meaningful professional development for choir leaders as well as providing a forum for choir-leaders to communicate – it can be a pretty lonely job sometimes. And choir-singers don’t really have a place where they can feel connected to the wider singing world either, something we’d like to address.
But there are only a small number of us, and we put all of this together on Arts Council funding and ticket sales. We know that both of those are difficult to grow and we also genuinely want to involve you, your singers and the wider singing world in creating this new movement.
We can make future festivals bigger, better and more widespread, not just in London but in other key singing-centres. A website hosting the singing map and as a repository for best practice, choirs looking for exchanges, voice-coaching tips, repertoire advice and all manner of other exciting material is probably the next goal. But we’d also like to hear from you what information you’d like access to.
Together, we are committed to helping singing find its full voice.
‘I never imagined in a million years that I would have the privilege of being involved in something as amazing as this. How beautiful was that music…….. sitting in the middle of those 2 fabulous choirs with a wall of sound coming at me from both directions – made all the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. AND WE WERE PART OF IT!’ Member of the Green Street Blues 2013