THE VOYAGE CHOIR
The Voyage Choir
The ‘Older Choir’ part of The Voyage will be sung by people from: Singing For Fun run by Age UK in Witney, Singin’ Women Community Choir in Cowley, Let’s Sing! in West Oxford and The Pumphouse Community Choir in Faringdon who come together for the performance.
On the eve of the Sheldonian performance on 18 Mar 2016 Voyage Choir conductor, Emily Marshall, wrote:
In Bob Chilcott’s score for The Voyage the third choir part represents mature people, in what is often called the Third Age. He specifies in the score an ‘older choir’, and it will be really lovely to hear this particular voice, and notice this particular quality in the performance. Not surprisingly no one was particularly keen on being called the older choir so the Voyage Community Choir was chosen as a name for this project.
Singers come from four weekly day time groups. These groups are not part of the traditional performing choirs scene in Oxfordshire, but provide an informal and friendly meeting place where singing is just for fun and there are no barriers to learning. Songs are taught aurally so they are often chosen from traditions where learning by ear is the norm. Creating an environment where everybody is encouraged to dispel the often held view, “I can’t sing” is important. Participants change their perception that you have to be an expert to enjoy the voice you have. I have lost count of how many times participants tell me that they were told to mime in school or someone hushed them enough to prevent them from singing, sometimes for years.
I used to think that there was strict division between the classical choral tradition and the natural voice community group, but in fact for this project I would describe both tutored and untrained, experienced and novice, young and old voices as belonging on a spectrum of singing.
The Voyage Choir has a gentle vibrancy and a strong commitment. For some it is a new found joy. I hope that although in age our health and our circumstances can change and challenge us, singing with others can provide a constant, affirmative activity which unites us.