What next for the Voice Festival?

Thanks for stopping by thevoicefestival.co.uk.

In 2017 the Voice Festival (VF-UK) will celebrate 10 years.  We’re preparing for this by taking stock  – looking back to where we’ve come from, and what we have achieved, and considering what we should do next.

We’ve created a short survey to understand more about how people experience the Voice Festival. We want to know your thoughts on what our focus should be for the future. So, we ask that you please spare 5 minutes to give us a little about your opinions and experiences of the Voice Festival. Please click here to take part in our survey.

We thank you in advance for your insight.

Goodbye Mabel – we wish you well!

We’ve recently said farewell to one of our star volunteers, Mabel, who has been Regional Event Manager for the last year for the Voice Festival. 

Some people don’t need very long to make an impact. Mabel is one of them. Only with us for a short time, Mabel’s supportive and friendly nature certainly made its mark on the team, and we wish her well as she returns to Singapore. 

Mabel joined the team in October 2014 in the midst of moving from her undergraduate life in Newcastle to the world of a Masters student in London.  

She said that, ‘the Voice Festival had provided her with the idea and inspiration to start an a cappella society at Newcastle University (team blush) and so I wanted to get involved with the team and support other groups’.

Thoughtful and thorough from the beginning, Mabel quickly became a treasured member of the team. Regional events involve a lot of logistics and a lot of problem solving, as well as much fun along the way. Mabel got stuck in from the start. With her supreme organisational skills she made it possible to bring the Voice Festival to Glasgow for the first time. She was always on hand at the Festival weekend, and willing to do whatever it would take so our singers could have a great time. 

Mabel – we thank you so much for giving us your time, organisation skills, and for being an all round star. For any groups planning a tour to Asia, Mabel has already offered up her help (so drop us an email if you’d like us to put you in touch!).  

The Voice Festival team is excited to see what happens to a cappella in Singapore now that Mabel has arrived and hope she will come back to see us again soon! 

If you would like to volunteer for our team and support the growing UK a cappella scene, contact us now at voice@thevoicefestival.co.uk. We would love to chat with you, hear your ideas, and welcome you to the team.

A message from Gareth Malone for the Voice Festival UK community

We are thrilled to share this message from Gareth Malone for supporters of the Voice Festival.

Many familiar faces from the Voice Festival UK, past and present, will be flying the flag for British a cappella on the BBC’s new TV show, The Naked Choir, hosted by Gareth Malone. The show starts tonight, 9pm, on BBC2.

Watch out for Choral Stimulation, who were awarded the Voice Festival’s Ward Swingle Award for Originality at this year’s University Championships, and the Sons of Pitches, who first took to the stage with the Voice Festival back in 2011. A number of our talented workshop leaders and competition judges have some very special roles in the show too. We’ll leave you to tune in and find out who.

Watch closely and you will also see some clips from our recent Festival Weekend, and a cappella showcase at the Edinburgh Fringe.

We hope you enjoy the singing!

Meet Jes

Jes Sadler is an educator, singer and vocal percussionist from London, UK. He’s also one of our wonderful Patrons.

Jes spent nine years touring with a cappella group The Swingle Singers as Baritone and Vocal Percussionist, giving concerts in many of the world’s top venues, recording seven albums and serving as the group’s Technical Director.

Jes left Swingles in 2006 and became a founder member of ‘Beatbox Choir’ The Vocal Orchestra – a collective comprising some of the UK’s outstanding human beatboxers and vocalists. Founded by the beatboxer Shlomo, the ensemble’s debut performance was headlining the International Human Beatbox Convention at London’s South Bank Centre in 2007. Over the following years they played to thousands at The Big Chill and Glastonbury festivals, the South Bank Centre’s Chorus vocal festival and The Udderbelly and collaborated with artists as diverse as Jarvis Cocker, Ashley Walters, Mutya Buena, Cleveland Watkiss and Imogen Heap. 2010 saw Shlomo & The Vocal Orchestra take things to another level with the premiere performances of human beatbox musical ‘BOXED’ and the groundbreaking Concerto for Beatboxer and Orchestra by composer Anna Meredith.

An accomplished educator, Jes was Lead Tutor with Battersea Arts Centre’s pioneering project the BAC Beatbox Academy. This project continues to find and work with young people in South London by introducing them to beatboxing, enhancing their skills and developing their musicianship and collaborative abilities. Jes was also involved with the SPARK and Sing Up! UK education programmes, encouraging primary-aged children to find and experiment with their voices with his courses “My Voice – My Instrument” and “If You Can Speak, You Can Beatbox!”.
Since 2008, Jes has regularly led workshops for and judged the Voice Festival UK collegiate a cappella championships. He became a patron of Voice Festival UK in 2011.

Jes moved with his wife to Verona, Italy in 2012 and now works full-time teaching English to a wide range of learners using the Speak Your Mind method at the school’s headquarters in the centre of the city, as well as continuing to pursue various musical and spoken-word projects.

He is much in demand as a session vocalist for film, commercials and recordings and – being an ensemble specialist – Jes has performed with a number of other groups, the most recent and notable being a four-year stint in elite a cappella band The Magnets.


You can follow Jes on Twitter @thejesmeister


Why do you support the Voice Festival UK?

There is no better-organised, more enthusiastic, more professional, or more collegiate vocal competition in the world today as the annual Voice Festival Championships.  The love for vocal music is perfectly expressed through the dedication of the organisers and participants, the joy of the crowd, and the expansion of VF-UK into a beautiful support network for all those in the UK who love this thing called singing.


Meet Dominic

“Dominic’s sessions were brilliant. For my group, as non-trained singers, we’ve never had access to the kind of professional advice that Dominic brings.”  2013 Birmingham University programme participant

 “…Dominic Peckham is a man on a mission to get more people singing…” Jonathan Wikely, Music Teacher Magasine


Dominic Peckham is regarded as one of the UK’s finest young, dynamic orchestral and choral conductors. Hailed as ‘one of the most exciting conductors of his generation’, Peckham has been commended at home and abroad for his ‘freshness and vitality’ directing both orchestras and choirs whilst delivering ‘gutsy, raw and exciting performances’.

A conductor of immense energy and focus, Peckham is renowned for his dedication to the Renaissance and Baroque era, whilst also passionate about the delivery of new works and inspirational collaborations.

In addition to his new appointment of The London Oriana Choir, Peckham holds an impressive array of posts including Artistic Director of The Royal Opera House’s ‘RM19’ Youth Chorus, Assistant Music Director of The National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, Artistic Director and Founder of iSingUK, Artistic Director of The Fourth Choir, Director of The Ulster Youth Training Choir and Guest Conductor for Aldeburgh Music. 

An ambassador for choral music of international renown through both performance and his extensive pioneering educational work, Peckham has served as Vocal Director for the BBC Choir of the Year, as a consultant of Trinity Trinity Guildhall’s teaching programme and as a guest speaker for ‘Sing Up’

Recent engagements include a live broadcast with The National Youth Choirs of Great Britain Chamber Choir for BBC Radio 3’s ‘The Choir’ from Sage Gateshead, The 2013 Brighton Early Music Festival and a special broadcast for BBC World Service focusing vocal harmonies across the world.

He has worked with orchestras including BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, British Federation of Youth Orchestras, Scottish Opera and has marked his debut at many prestigious venues across the UK including the Royal Albert Hall, the Barbican, Birmingham Symphony Hall, and Usher Hall. 





VF-UK Festival Weekend – Updates!

We know you’re all dying to find out the results of today’s VF-UK shenanigans, so here’s a quick update! 



Outstanding soloist: Kit Davey of the Tiffinians

Outstanding Beatboxing: Harvey Roach of Vocal Grange

OVERALL WINNER: The Tiffinians



Outstanding Arrangement: Edward Scott of Semi-Toned for ‘Dear Darlin” and Harry Style of the Songsmiths for ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’

Outstanding Musicality: Out of the Blue for ‘The Sound of Silence’

Outstanding Choreography: Choral Stimulation

Outstanding Soloist: Peter Noden of Techtonics for ‘Let Her Go’ 

Overall Performance: Semi-Toned


The five finalists to go forward to Sunday’s University Final are: the Songsmiths, the Techtonics, Semi-Toned, Out of the Blue and All the King’s Men!


We’ve had a brilliant time here today at the Festival Weekend and would love to see some of you at our events tomorrow. Tickets are still available for the Sunday workshops, and of course for the University final, which features a very rare UK performance from the internationally renowned The Swingle Singers. Grab your tickets for a discount now online, or there will be limited availability on the door – come and support your favourite group, or just come and enjoy an evening of absolutely phenomenal a cappella talent! We’ve seen a taster today, and we know you won’t be disappointed!

Did you see us on the One Show?

There are many ways that you can get involved with a cappella through The Voice Festival. See below for the options that best suit you.

Whatever you do, make sure you have fun, and share it with the Voice Festival Community online!



Check out our YouTube channel to see performances from amazing a cappella groups from around the UK.

Buy The Voice Collection 2013 – a compilation album featuring some of the UK’s best professional and amateur vocal groups. A great introduction to a cappella singing! This is available for download on iTunes by searching the store for “The Voice Collection 2013”



Come and see some of the UK’s finest up-and-coming vocal talent at the Voice Festival UK Youth Competition at Wellington College, near Reading which is taking place on Saturday 27th April at 2.30pm. Tickets and more info here.

The Voice Festival UK website and facebook pages list upcoming performances by UK a cappella groups – see “Your Events” on our homepage for details.



Come and sing with us! On 27th April the Voice Festival will be running an introduction to a cappella singing in an hour, 1-2pm at Wellington College, near Reading. This session will be led by Dominic Peckham, as seen on ‘The One Show’! Whether you’re an experienced choral singer who wants to try something a bit different, or have only ever sung in the shower, come and join this fun, interactive session. Tickets and more details here.

Of course, there are already lots of fantastic vocal groups out there who need new members. Could it be you? Have a look at the directories created by our friends at Sing A Cappella (for over 18s) and the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain (for under 18s) and see if you can find the group that’s right for you.



Start a group! You don’t necessarily need to be able to read or write music to start a group. Start from scratch with a few friends, a bit of vocal talent and a lot of enthusiasm! We can even send a Voice Festival UK vocal practitioner to help get you started. E-mail us at voice@thevoicefestival.co.uk for support in getting a group off the ground. 



We want to hear from you! E-mail us so that we can send you the latest opportunities to compete, perform, learn and socalise with other singers. voice@thevoicefestival.co.uk

Get creative with your musical arrangements! Enjoy an online video mini-masterclass from a Voice Festival workshop given by our Patron, Joanna Forbes L’Estrange

Meet Nadia

1. How did you get involved with the Voice Festival UK?headshot photo of Nadia

I got involved with The Voice Festival when I entered the University Competition with Voice Versa in 2012. 

2. What is your role within the team?

I am undertaking the newly created position of Festival Administrator which means I get to dip into all aspects of the Voice Festival. 

3. What has been you favourite Voice Festival moment so far?

Favourite moment is probably the first time I got involved into the a cappella scene in my second year at university. I was amazed at how great music can sound by using voices only!

4. Who is your favourite professional group?

Pentatonix and Boyz II Men

5. Have you got any secret talent/fact to share with everyone?

It’s not really a secret talent but I can speak Chinese and have lived in Shanghai for a year

6. Sum up the Voice Festival in 3 words

Inspiring diverse music

7. What do you do outside of the a cappella world?

I am currently a final year student at the University of Birmingham studying International Business with Chinese. I also tutor Maths and work at a letting agency..busy busy busy

The Voice Festival team welcomes new volunteers

The Voice Festival team welcomes new volunteers

The Voice Festival UK is very excited to update you with news of our growing team.  Now entering our 6th year, we’re working hard to put in place a model that will enable us to  support and grow the UK’s exciting a cappella scene for years to come.
As well as some changes amongst the roles and responsibilities of our current volunteers,  we are welcoming 5 new volunteers to the team – each brimming with great ideas, energy and enthusiasm.  We hope this will go a long way to developing our programmes and enabling us to support emerging and experienced a cappella singers from across the UK.

We welcome:  

Catherine Hayes as our Youth Programme Manager

Nadia Dillon as Festival Administrator

Michael Humphrey and Anna McGlinchey as our Education Co-ordinators

and Beth Whalley as our Communications Assistant  

Please see our ‘Who’s who‘ page to find out a little more about each team member and why they’ve got involved.  

We’re currently taking stock of our programmes and exploring where we will focus our energies this year and beyond.  We will be sharing more information with you in the coming weeks, so please keep your eyes peeled to our website.

Alexandra, Simon and Cherith

Meet Beth

1. How did you get involved with the Voice Festival?Headshot photo of Beth

Back in 2010, during my second year at university, I became the President of the Oxford Belles. I left the group 18 months later, but never lost my love for everything a cappella, and kept popping up at Voice Festival University Programme regional rounds and finals to hand out programmes, help out front of house, or sell CDs… anything to stay involved! Of course, when a friend on the team told me about the exciting new roles advertised in 2013, I couldn’t wait to apply.

2. What is your role within the team?

I’m the Communications Manager – I work with our Communications Director, Cherith, to suss out the best channels to communicate to all of you what’s new in the exciting, ever changing and rapidly growing community that is the UK a cappella scene!

3. What has been your favourite Voice Festival moment so far?

Back when I was in the Belles, I attended a superb Voice Festival workshop led by VF-UK patron Joanna Forbes L’Estrange. It was a long time ago now, but stuck with me ever since. Participants were mixed up into new groups, and each group had a short time to come up with a fresh arrangement of the traditional ballad Scarborough Fair. For me, that’s what the Voice Festival is all about: it’s a forum for collaborating with new people and learning to adopt fearlessness when experimenting with new ideas.

4. Who is your favourite professional group?

I know we’ve heard it all before, but I can’t get enough of Pentatonix. They’re quirky and never fail to bring a smile to my face.

5. Have you got any secret talent/fact to share with everyone?

Usually I demonstrate my mediocre beatboxing skills – I think this is the only forum where that particular talent wouldn’t be considered very unique! I am something of a medievalist – I can reel off plenty of trivia from the Battle of Hastings to Game of Thrones, and could probably tell you a word or two in Old English…

6. Sum up the Voice Festival in 3 words

Animated, visionary, generous.

7. What do you do outside of the a cappella world?

I’m lucky enough to be doing a PhD in Anglo-Saxon Literature – finally putting those medieval skills to good use!