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Educational Outreach

VOCES8 at University United Methodist Church on March 2, 2020

Monday morning, March 2, the members of VOCES8 directed a most memorable masterclass for three local schools.  The participating choirs were from Atonement Academy, Reagan High School, and UTSA.  Each group sang a choral work and was then coached by VOCES8 Co-founder and Artistic Director, Barnaby Smith.  Barnaby also sings countertenor in the group.  All the other members of VOCES8 were standing by, and they sight-read bits of each chorus’s piece to demonstrate various techniques of vocal ensemble singing for the benefit of the students.  Towards the end of each choir’s time with Barnaby, the members of VOCES8 stood side by side with the students and sang with them, once more, their piece.  It was amazing to hear the difference in the “before and after” performances.

Throughout the class, Barnaby discussed various concepts of choral singing for the benefit of both the students and the audience members.  After a round of Q and A from the students to the members of VOCES8, the ensemble sang a few songs to show that they “practice what they preach”.   At the end of the class, all the choruses combined and “learned” a new song via improvisation.  Tenor Blake Morgan lead this exercise throwing out rhythms and vocal bits for each group of singers (soprano, alto, tenor, and bass) to take up and chant repeatedly.  The result was ecstatic and joyful, everyone clearly relishing the time with the infectiously spirited members of VOCES8.

Submitted by Allyson Dawkins