The ensemble VOCES8 will be making their first appearance at Grace Cathedral this Monday night, with a concert that includes a wide variety of their repertoire, from early Renaissance to contemporary choral works, to folk, pop, and jazz. But the day before, they’ll be holding a choral workshop in partnership with Amateur Music Network and Music for Minors, when they’ll give tips, as well as rehearse a tune that attendees will perform with them in concert.
“We’re going to spend an afternoon making music,” Smith says. “And then, everyone who comes to the workshop will also be getting a ticket to that concert, and we’ll be inviting them to join us on stage for a few minutes during the concert.” He says their educational outreach has been an important part of VOCES8. “We reach something like 40-thousand singers and students every year all over the world. So wherever we go, we’re always trying to find ways to connect with the local students and the local community… When we run a workshop, we design it really to be as fun as possible, to be as engaging as possible. And from the moment the participants arrive, we’re going to have them making music, working together as a team, and really finding ways to create new ensemble sounds, and make music even if, frankly, they don’t read music. That’s not a barrier.” The ensemble had its roots in a shared love of music. “It kind of started as just a group of friends who used to love singing together. And then a couple years into making music, we won a couple of competitions and decided that maybe this could be our life, our path. And I’m delighted that 15 years on, we’re in this beautiful place where we get to share our lives sharing music in the way that we love, and trying to inspire as many people as possible through music.”