Meet Andy

Andy

Andy

1. How did you get involved with VFUK?

Last year I was kind of a ‘Birmingham Consultant’- I showed a member of the team around Birmingham Conservatoire before the venue had been decided for the finals in 2015. When it was announced I just helped out in whatever way I could. I also got to MC the semi-finals this year (which was an experience!) along with helping out at the Edinburgh Showcase this Summer gone. When I heard there were openings in the team I thought it would be great to get involved in VFUK in a more official way – so here I am!

2. What is your role within the team?

Fringe Festival Officer. I’m going to be working with other members of the team to organise events (such as showcases, workshops and other events) and try to support and promote UK a cappella up in Edinburgh.

3. What has been you favourite VFUK moment so far?

Probably the atmosphere at the showcase up in Edinburgh. As shown by their self arranged football tournament- every group is just up there to have a good time. It was great to be up there, and I can’t wait to start the planning for next year!

4. Who is your favourite professional group?

I was lucky enough to shadow the Swingle Singers at the LACF 2015 for an academic project I was doing, and I still find their ability to sing in such a dynamic range of styles to be pretty captivating. There are some amazing groups out there (Pentatonix, The Real Group… and I’m a big fan of Voiceplay) but the Swingles just tip it for me.

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

I unintentionally found myself doing stand-up at the fringe festival this year… and sadly that isn’t a joke.

6. Sum up VFUK in 3 words

Inclusive, Growing and Bonkers

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

I’m a final year vocal and operatic student at Birmingham Conservatoire. I also run vocal and outreach workshops at local schools, societies and events.


Meet Houmaa

1.    How did you get involved with VFUK?

Having fallen in love with a cappella in the summer of 2014 (those should be song lyrics), I discovered The Voice Festival on YouTube not long after. In a twist of fate, I then discovered the 2015 Festival Weekend would be held in Birmingham (where I live) for the first time. After a mind-blowing volunteering stint at the Weekend, my heart and sights were set on becoming an official teammember. And here I am!

2. What is your role within the team?

I am University Programme Officer which means I help Zoe with anything to do with the Voice Festival’s University programme. I am also focusing to targeting Youth and University programme alumni to encourage them to continue with a cappella in the next stages of their lives.

3. What has been your favourite VFUK moment so far?

Everything about volunteering at the 2015 and 2016 festival weekenda! Meeting the VFUK team for the first time, talking to various competing groups, attending workshops, meeting my idols, taking away inspiration for my own a cappella group, watching some breath-taking performances from the front row etc.

4. Who is your favourite professional group?

It’s cruelty to make me pick just one group! But The Sons of Pitches have inspired me in so many ways, so I have to say them.

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

I can only stay with the a cappella theme (because I have approximately 0 other talents and because who doesn’t love a bit of shameless self-promotion?) and say that I founded an a cappella group called AbraCappella within weeks of arriving at university.

6. Sum up VFUK in 3 words.
 
Dreams. Come. True.

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

I’m going into my third year of studying Psychology at the University of Birmingham. I also work as Head of Physical Sales and Merchandise at the university’s record label, New Street Records, which is pretty cool.


WE’RE RECRUITING! Help us take UK a cappella to the next level…

Tobias beatboxing workshop 2We love welcoming new volunteers to the Voice Festival team. Having a dynamic, enthusiastic and dedicated team is critical to keeping our annual programme relevant and exciting year on year for the rapidly growing a cappella community in the UK.

That’s why we’re thrilled to announce that this Autumn we are recruiting for two new team members who can bring some new ideas to the table, help to lead a range of inclusive, educational and fun singing education programmes, and get on board with some of the exciting new projects we have in the pipeline for 2015-16.

There are two specific roles that we would like to fill. Read more about these roles – and learn a little more about the Voice Festival and the programmes we run – by downloading PDF files at the links below:

Community Programme Manager

University Programme Officer

If either of these take your fancy, then drop us an email at voice@thevoicefestival.co.uk telling us why you think you’re the perfect person for the role. These are voluntary, part-time, work-from-home positions and there’s no application form, but a CV would be useful in helping us to figure out who you are and what you do. You can also send any informal enquiries to the same address.

If you think you have something to offer that doesn’t quite fit into either of the roles listed above, do get in touch with us anyway. We’d love to welcome anyone into our fold who has the desire to inject passion, energy and innovative ideas into VF-UK’s programme.

Interested? Make sure you get in touch with us before midnight on Monday 31st August if you’d like to be considered for this opportunity. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!


Meet James

james1. How did you get involved with VF-UK?

I’ve been a member of In the Smoke since 2007, back when the lovely Alex was still singing with us, so I’ve competed twice, showcased once and ushered countless times. This seemed a great time to get involved.

2. What is your role within the team?

I’m the Community Programme Manager, working to deliver and improve services to our community groups and contribute to overall planning across all of our programmes.

3. What has been you favourite VF-UK moment so far?

Running round and round Simon’s garden with Beth, trying to relax and make our presenting debut for the season launch video come across less nervy and more enthusiastic.

4. Who is your favourite professional group?

I’ve had a super-soft spot for the Swingles since I was introduced to an album of theirs in my first year at uni, and I’m really enjoying their direction these days… I missed the SLIXS gig at LACF last year, but on instruction from friends have caught up on YouTube and they’re fantastic. Australian female foursome Ginger & Tonic do a hilarious parody of Halo, US Girl’s Quartet do a brilliant Something Tells Me I’m Into Something Good, and I can listen to Pentatonix‘s Little Drummer Boy every day of the week.

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

My ‘secret talent’ when anybody else asks is a cappella, which I expect isn’t much of a surprise to this readership. Er, I make a mean risotto.

6. Sum up VF-UK in 3 words.

Get stuck in.

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

I work for the cultural partnerships department at King’s College London, where we connect the College’s academics and students with the cultural sector with the intention that everybody wins.


Meet Amy

Amy1. How did you get involved with VFUK?

I had been heavily involved with my a cappella group Absolute Harmony at university as treasurer and musical director over my four years at Royal Holloway, University of London. I was about to leave the a cappella world as I moved away from university and was searching for ways to continue my love of a cappella when I saw that The Voice Festival was recruiting. After competing in the university competition 2010 and coming to the Festival Weekend, this was the perfect opportunity for me to continue my involvement with this fabulous genre.

2. What is your role within the team?

I am the Youth Programme Manager. I organise our events and opportunities aimed at participants under the age of 18.

3. What has been you favourite VFUK moment so far?

I think it would have to be Festival Weekend. It was a wonderful opportunity that brought so many a cappella groups together in one place. I was privileged to be part of such a wonderful event and proves that you don’t have to be part of group to come and join in. I came on my own on the first day and managed to bring a friend the second.

4. Who is your favourite professional group?

Ooo, that’s tough. ViveSwingleSingersTheKingsSingersVoces8 …does that count as one?

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

I play the sitar-an Indian string instrument.

6. Sum up VF-UK in 3 words

Inspiring, inclusive, FUN!

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

At the moment I’m finishing my masters degree in ethnomusicology but I’m soon to start teacher training as a secondary school music teacher.


Meet Jess

Jess

1. How did you become part of the Voice Festival?

I attended the Festival Weekend in 2014 after finding out about VF-UK through one of my daily scavenger hunts on YouTube for acapella. I absolutely loved it! I’m sadly not a part of an acapella group myself, but wanted to get involved in the acapella scene in any way I could. When I saw the call for new team members, I jumped at the chance!

2. What is your role within the team?

As communications and media assistant, I am working with Beth and Cherith to help spread who we are and what it is we do and support in the best, most effective and exciting ways possible.

3. What has been you favourite VF-UK moment so far?

Attending the final of the Festival Weekend on my own. It was a big deal for me as I had only recently moved from my hometown of Bradford to the big city of London, and don’t normally attend things solo. I’m glad I did because I had such a great time seeing so many incredible groups. And of course, being asked to join the VFUK team is most definitely a highlight!

4. Who is your favourite professional group?

I saw them live eight times in two countries over the course of seven months and even ended up on stage being serenaded by them, so I’m gonna have to say Pentatonix!

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

I can sport stack (also known as cup stacking). The aim is to stack ten or twelve plastic cups in varying formations as quick as possible. I performed it at my school talent competition once, and I was completely petrified; thankfully I didn’t knock any over! I promise it’s more exciting than it looks when written down…

6. Sum up VF-UK in three words

Passion, togetherness, creativity

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

I am about to enter into my second year of university studying Creative Writing and Media & Cultural Studies at Kingston University in London.

 


Be the future of UK a cappella!

P10407532013-14 has been quite some year for the Voice Festival. September 2013 saw a shiny new 10-strong team set out to deliver the biggest and best year yet… and deliver it we did, with the biggest Festival Weekend to date featuring a performance from the Swingle Singers, a brand new video round in the University competition (and the most entries we’ve ever received), a fantastic Community Showcase, and a Youth Competition Final which blew us all away. And that’s not to mention Take the Stage at Kings Place, our recently-introduced webinars, and the forthcoming Edinburgh Festival Showcase (featuring groups across all our programmes). We certainly like to keep ourselves busy!

But it doesn’t end there. We’ve seen what we are capable of, and we’re thinking big for the future. As a result, we’re looking to build our team. We need even more talent, ideas and enthusiasm to help us carry VF-UK through the next year and beyond so that we can continue to deliver an inclusive, educational and exciting programme of events that caters in the best possible way to all our communities and participants.

 

P1040755

The Team

The VF-UK team is a dynamic group of dedicated volunteers with a diverse range of day jobs. Some are singers and some are not, but all ten have been brought together by their love of, and belief in, the a cappella art form and its educational and community-building potential. Now, it’s time to spread that love and welcome new volunteers into our fold! (You can meet the team here)

We asked some of our volunteers why it is that they enjoy giving their time and talents to the Voice Festival’s year-round activities. One team member said:I get to work alongside a team of brilliant, dedicated and inspiring volunteers to give as many people as possible the opportunity to get involved with this unique art form. And everybody knows that a cappella singing makes the world a happier place!’ Check out what other team members said here!

 

Have we tickled your a cappella tastebuds? 

If so, we have two options for you…

1) There are three specific roles that we’d like filled – you can browse these below. If any of these take your fancy, then drop us an email telling us why you’re the perfect person for the role. There is no application form, but a CV would help us to establish a good idea of who you are and what you do. 

VF-UK Community Programme Manager

VF-UK Youth Programme Manager

VF-UK Regional Event Manager

 

2) If none of these roles are quite what you’re looking for, but you’d love to join the Voice Festival team – get in touch anyway. We’re open to new ideas and would welcome anyone who has something new to offer, whether you’re a tech-whizz, a musical maestro, a creative genius, a seasoned event manager, or something else besides! See more information below, and email us at voice@thevoicefestival.co.uk letting us know a little bit about yourself, why you want to become part of the team, and how you might like to help.

VF-UK Volunteer

 

Please note, while most of our team discussions happen across email and mobile, we like to get together occasionally for face-to-face meetings. Our next planning meeting is on the Sunday 13th July, and if you are selected to join the team it would be an advantage if you were able to attend (all reasonable travel expenses will be covered).

Make sure you get in touch with us before midnight on Sunday 15th June if you’d like to be considered for one of our roles. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!


I love volunteering for the Voice Festival because…

Ever wondered what it’s like to be a member of the VF-UK family? Considered volunteering, and want to hear some first-hand experiences? Well now’s your chance! We asked four members of the team why it is that they love giving their talent and free time to the Voice Festival’s year-round activities. Here’s what they have to say…

 

I get to work alongside a team of brilliant, dedicated and inspiring volunteers to give as many people as possible the opportunity to get involved with this unique art form. And everybody knows that a cappella singing makes the world a happier place!

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It’s given me the opportunity to develop so many new skills, which have helped me in all other jobs. I love being involved in such a vibrant and growing community, and seeing the impact that the work we do has on the UK a cappella scene. And I love being around people who love singing as much as I do!

*********

There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing a cappella communities – both new and established – enjoy and benefit from the work that VF-UK does. And the icing on the cake is that I get to do all this planning alongside a group of new friends who share my passions and interests.

*********

I love volunteering with the Voice Festival because it’s completely different to what I do for my day job. It’s so refreshing to see young people working together, trying something new and achieving phenomenally high standards of a cappella singing. It’s great to be at the heart of a growing community of a cappella singers across the country!

 

 

Sound good? Because now, we’re giving you the chance to become a part of this vibrant and ever-growing team! Click here to find out howP1040753


Meet Joanna

“a stunningly flexible voice and flawless musicianship” Will Todd, composer of Mass in Blue

“utterly musical at every turn. Joanna’s voice is stunning” Howard Goodall CBE about her album New things to say

“an inspirational coach who radiates warmth and enthusiasm” a workshop participant

 

Joanna Forbes L’Estrange is one of London’s most sought after singers for studio and stage, regularly recording soundtracks for film, TV and video games and making concert appearances all over the world. A Music graduate of Oxford University and former Soprano/Musical Director of The Swingle Singers, she has a reputation for outstanding musicianship and versatility, working with the world’s leading vocal ensembles and orchestras, the UK’s top jazz musicians and with high-profile pop and crossover artists including Take That, Sir Paul McCartney, Jarvis Cocker, Bryn Terfel and Katherine Jenkins. Her concert repertoire includes avant-garde masterpieces of the 20th Century by composers Steve Reich, Berio, John Adams and Stockhausen. She has sung in contemporary operas at La Scala, Milan, and at Le Chatelet in Paris, and for the Royal Ballet’s production of Joby Talbot’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland at Covent Garden. Joanna performs in the Symphonic Rock concerts with the RPO and is a popular choice of soloist for Mass in Blue, the virtuoso jazz mass by Will Todd. Her discography includes around eighty film soundtracks, over forty classical choral CDs (many with world-class chamber choir Tenebrae), eight contemporary a cappella albums, and two solo jazz albums with her band L’Estranges in the Night. New things to say was launched to a sold-out audience at Soho’s famous Pizza Express Jazz Club.

Joanna is passionate about a cappella and she coaches groups and presents workshops throughout the UK, in particular with her ever-popular You can sing…but can you swing?! She conducts for the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain and two CDs of large-scale choral works by husband Alexander L’Estrange (Zimbe! Come sing the songs of Africa! and Ahoy! Sing for the Mary Rose). Joanna is an adjudicator and presenter for Eton Choral Courses, Choir of the Year and Voice Festival UK, of which she is proud to be a patron.

 

You can follow Joanna on Twitter @JoannaLEstrange

 

Why do you support the Voice Festival UK?:

I support VF-UK because there is such a wealth of young a cappella talent in Britain and yet, until VF-UK, no proper forum in which singers could come together and share the love! I feel so privileged to be able to pass on what I learnt during my years as MD for The Swingle Singers to these talented groups.


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