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 catherine@thevoicefestival.co.uk to hear how we can help out! If you’re an existing group, get in touch with us via voice@thevoicefestival.co.uk to see how you can get involved with the a cappella community in your local area.

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.



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!


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

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!

Community Showcase 2014: John Pointer

Our third and final professional a cappella workshop leader is John Pointer. Find out a bit more, and watch John doing what he does best here and here.

John Pointer is a multi-instrumentalist musician, producer, and actor with a degree in cello performance and composition.  He is an 11-time Austin Music Award Winner including “Best Acoustic Guitar 2012-2013”, founded Schrödinger’s Cat in which he pioneered the use of body percussion in a cappella music, has done numerous national television commercials in the US as a human beatbox, and played Roger in RENT and Judas in the first bilingual production of Jesus Christ Superstar, both at the prestigious ZACH Theatre in Austin, TX.