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 occasional grant 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.
We have launched a new funding model where individual singers make a small monthly contribution to support the movement. We want you and your singers involved right from the start to ensure that Voices Now meets your needs.
If you believe in choral singing in the UK and the ongoing development of more support and opportunities for choir please consider giving a small monthly donation to our work here: https://mydonate.bt.com/charities/voicesnow