The Vocal/Choral Division at Shenandoah Conservatory hosts the British vocal ensemble VOCES8 for a four-week virtual residency from Thursday, April 8, through Thursday, April 29. Members of the ensemble will join approximately 80 students in the choral program for a series of clinics and masterclass each week via Zoom.
The first event is a “meet and greet” where students can meet each of the individual members of VOCES8, hear their stories about becoming professional ensemble singers and have their first chance to take part in vocal- and musicianship-building demonstrations. The second event features breakout sessions with members of VOCES8 leading discussions on topics as diverse as choral (“just”) intonation, music education, music therapy, recording and virtual performance technologies and early music notation, mirroring the diversity of study among the students in the choral area. During the third and fourth events, VOCES8 members are slated to virtually drop in for rehearsals of Shenandoah’s three choral ensembles. They will provide critical feedback on everything from vocal technique for musical interpretation, diction and style.
As a culminating event, VOCES8 and the Shenandoah Conservatory choral ensembles will present a joint virtual performance from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, May 3. The event will include final thoughts and reflections on a month’s worth of work together.
“If you don’t know VOCES8 yet, you should,” said Associate Professor of Voice and Director of Choral Activities Matt Oltman, D.M.A. “They have quickly become one of the most revered and prolific chamber vocal ensembles on the planet. Even before the pandemic, they produced an amazing number of live and virtual performances as well as formidable educational content. And a pandemic couldn’t stop them! They are currently curating the immense ‘Live from London’ music series in which they collaborate (virtually) with such celebrated groups as the Tallis Scholars, Take 6, the Aeolians, Anúna, Stile Antico and the English Chamber Orchestra. Having them as our virtual choir in residence is such an honor and such an opportunity! Our students will have the opportunity to learn from masters in the crafts of vocal performance, music education and therapy, musicology and recording technology. This is definitely one of those moments where the proverbial lemons have turned to lemonade.”
During the pandemic, VOCES8 looked to reach out beyond its numerous educational programs to look for ways to interact with a community of singers on a deeper level. Its first virtual residency took place last fall with choirs from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. Shenandoah Conservatory choirs are honored to be the second program that the internationally acclaimed group will work with in this way. Visit www.voces8.com/voces8-foundation to learn more about the ensemble’s commitment to education and the VOCES8 method.