Rising stars: Voces8, Choir
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Versatile is certainly the word for Voces8. The award-winning a capella octet has a repertoire that stretches from early English choral pieces to jazz standards and recent pop tunes.
But above all, it is the youthful group's on-stage presence, character and connection with the audience that has made it so successful, according to baritone Paul Smith. "We're very friendly and relaxed when we perform," he says. "We try to create a feeling that we're welcoming people into our home."
He believes the members of Voces8 have enjoyed a special chemistry since he formed the group in 2005 with his brother Robert, who sings tenor.
"We began as a group of friends," he says. "Even Emily our newest member, who joined only recently is someone we've known for 10 years. It feels very much like we're a small family, which makes touring easier. I think it could be quite hard if you were doing this as a job and you didn't get on with the people you were singing with."
This year will see Voces8 give more than 70 concerts all over the world. As well as appearing at choral festivals in the UK, they will be touring in Spain, Kenya, Italy and Asia and the group's packed schedule also includes musical workshops for children in 90 schools around the country.
Among several prestigious awards, Voces8 won first prize in both sacred and secular categories at the European Choral Grand Prix.