School Start-Up 2015 – What’s it all about?

P1040736Are you a teacher or do you work in schools? Want to get your boys and girls singing music that they want to sing while still working on harmonies, rhythm and allowing them to be creative? Then we would love for you to take part in School Start-Up. As ever, the Voice Festival is offering something bigger and better than ever before.

We know that getting young people singing can sometimes be tricky. Or what they want to sing doesn’t allow for collaboration and creativity. An a cappella group is THE perfect way to stimulate singing within schools. Over the last year within the Voice Festival Youth Programme we’ve seen groups of 40 boys from schools singing a cappella arrangements alongside their headteacher; we’ve seen some beatboxing by school students that you would not believe wasn’t coming from a beatboxer in a professional group; and we’ve seen lots of young groups performing arrangements that students of only 15/16 have written. It really is inspirational to see young people loving the music that they are singing.

Man BandSo how can you bring this to your school? We’re teaming up with our lovely friends at the London A Cappella Festival to offer you a launch event which will be the group’s first taste of a cappella. We’ll then send you away with a handbook and a mentor who has heaps of a cappella experience and will be on hand to answer questions and give you support on your a cappella journey. Then we’ll bring you back together with your new a cappella pals, introduce you to some University and Community groups and give you a performance event in which you can try out some of your new skills. If you like the sound of this then drop Amy an email on and we’ll get back to you with some more information.

A day out at Devon MIX Festival

When we were invited along to Devon Music Education Hub’s MIX festival in Exeter on 2nd July, we didn’t really know what to expect. What Catherine saw on the day exceeded all expectations!

Devon Music Education Hub run a day long festival in July every year that thousands of school children from the area attend to watch, listen and try all sorts of different types of music. To say it’s a mini-Glastonbury is an understatement – what is on offer goes so much further than this, it will inspire generations of young musicians in Devon for many years to come. This year, the a cappella offering was a couple of performances and workshops from the University of Birmingham group, SOP.

Sons of Pitches at Devon MIXSOP performed 2 superb sets to the rapturous crowd who whooped with delight, begged for autographs and sung their hearts out to scintillating medleys – the crowd favourites included “Let it Go” from Frozen and hit of 2014 “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. With some of the moves I saw, I reckon there are definitely some future Sons in that crowd.

IMG_1371The 2 workshops each had about 500 students from aged 7-18 joining in – a tough crowd to say the least! The group rose to the challenge though and gave all the young people an insight into what its really like being in an a cappella group. As well as a quick attempt at beatboxing, we all sang a rendition of Jessie J’s “Price Tag” and even managed to write a completely original song all wrapped up in an hour! Lots of students went away with the sound of a cappella ringing in their ears along with a CD of “The Voice Collection 2013” to listen to other spectacular a cappella offerings.

After a fantastic day, the only question that comes to mind is – can we come back next year?!

If you were a teacher at Devon MIX and are looking for support starting your own a cappella group get in touch with to hear how we can help out! If you’re an existing group, get in touch with us via to see how you can get involved with the a cappella community in your local area.