This Wednesday 5th December join Durham’s only non-auditioned choir for ‘Voices of Christmas’; this will be a concert to put a huge smile on your face and definitely get you catching the Christmas Spirit! Starting at 7:30pm in St Oswald’s Church, join Voices for a huge mix of Christmas music spanning many genres- but with plenty of carols of course!

It was a pleasure, on a particularly rainy Durham evening, to come into a Voices rehearsal and hear a few of the songs the choir have been working on. The Lecture Room in the Music Department was completely full and I was treated to jazzy renditions of two Classic Christmas hits- Santa Baby and Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. The warm sound the choir produced, under the guidance of Melody Bishop as their new Musical Director, was immediately noticeable as well as a particularly impressive soprano section.

During a break I spoke to the Voices president and soloist, Hannah Dickinson, as well as Musical Director, Melody Bishop. Describing what makes Voices unique as an ensemble, Hannah commented:

‘Voices is a really chill non-auditioned choir. We welcome all singing abilities and pride ourselves on our inclusivity and friendliness as an ensemble. If you like singing in a shower, or you’re trained but too busy to commit to more time-consuming ensembles, Voices is perfect’

Melody commented on the choice of repertoire for this term and the conducting experience in her first term as director:

‘We’ve chosen a huge range of music, from some really jazzy arrangements to Berlioz’ ‘Thou Must Leave Thy Lowly Dwelling’. This way there is a good mix of repertoire that audiences will both know and can be introduced to. And a good Christmassy mood throughout! This is the first term that voices are singing music that haven’t been self- arranged; this has allowed us to be a lot more flexible and varied in our choice of repertoire. We are also a completely new creative team- Fergus Carver, our assistant musical director and accompanist is also new this year- so we’ve spent this term getting used to a new rehearsal atmosphere and bonding as a new group of singers!’  

The choir have had more freedom to choose what they sing this term and a group of soloists have also been selected to feature in the upcoming concert. You can also catch Voices busking around Durham and York this term; there is certainly a mutual love for Christmas around the room!

I asked Hannah what her plans for Voices were next term:

‘Next term we’re planning a concert around the theme of ‘Those Perfect Days’. The inspiration is from Lou Reed’s ‘Perfect Day’ which Melody is going to arrange and we’re also planning to include Bob Chilcott’s ‘Five Days That Changed the World’. I can’t wait!’

Tickets are available at https://www.musicdurham.org/event/voices-christmas-concert-2/

Adult £6, Concession £5, Music Durham £4. Doors open at 7pm.