VOCES8 - Wood & Stone

The award winning vocal group will perform a concert exploring the ambience of wooden and stone spaces. VOCES8 will lead the audience on a journey from the uplifting contemporary and jazz arrangements in the setting of the Bristol Old Vic Theatre, to the solace of sacred music performed in the soaring spaces of one of the country's most beautiful churches, St Mary Redcliffe.

Tue 30 Jul
Bristol Old Vic Theatre (part 1) and St Mary Redcliffe Church (part 2), Colston Parade, Redcliffe, BS1 6RA
7.30pm (performance will finish at about 10pm)

How is your Bristol Proms concert different to any normal concert?
In VOCES8 we sing a whole variety of different concerts across the world every year, but this one will be really unique. How often are we lucky enough to work with someone as gifted as Tom Morris in putting a show together? Throw in 2 concert venues and the launch of some music from our new album and I think we can guarantee that this will be a unique VOCES8 concert!
Tickets for these concerts are available for as little as £5 to make them as accessible as possible - is elitism a problem for classical music?
I think this question is a good one to keep asking. The way classical music has been opened up in so many innovative ways in the past few years has been great to see. In VOCES8, we spend a good chunk of our year on education and outreach - we work with about 20,000 young people every year - and I always think it's refreshing to see how children respond just as well to Bach or Holst as they do to James Bond or Jessie J. I think if we can share music of all genres, and treat both the music and audience with respect, we can achieve a great deal. Great music does not need to be dumbed down to become approachable. It sometimes just needs the right frame of context.

Will you be sticking around for any other concerts during the week? Who are you looking forward to seeing?
We are actually going to be just a little way down the road at Milton Abbey running a week long summer course while the Bristol Proms are on, so we will encourage all of the participants to pop into Bristol for some of the events during the week. The line up of artists is wonderful. We are very happy to be a part of it.

Is this the way forward for 'classical' concerts? Does the classical music world need to change the way it presents itself?
I think there is something out there for classical music lovers, whatever taste you have. Take London for example. We live in London, and the variety of classical music experiences you can find is extraordinary. Look at events like Yellow Lounge or Limelight, and then look at an evening with the LSO at the Barbican. Brilliantly contrasting settings, but always high quality music making. With the charity that we set up at the same time as VOCES8 (VCM) we are opening our own centre of vocal outreach and performance in London in September, and here also, there will be a wide variety of concert experiences happening year round.
I think those who present classical music need to always be looking forward, and thinking innovatively, but only because that is what we as humans should be doing in all walks of life... And not because we need to do it for fear of losing our audience. Positive and inspirational people coming up with creative ideas for shaping the classical music experiences of the future. That's what we need and, I think, in much of the arts world in the UK, that's what we have.  I'm proud to be a part of the UK classical music scene.
What's been the strangest concert you've ever performed?
We're lucky to travel all of the world, and every year we find ourselves in funny situations. I could talk about life changing experiences in Africa or Asia, but one event last year springs to mind. We performed in France in a venue with vast posters of Iggy Pop and Edith Piaf backstage. It was a major rock/pop venue and we were there to sing a cappella music. It was quite surreal performing with lights, smoke, lasers and a monstrous sound system to a crowd of about 3000, but great fun! Not your normal classical music performance... But then, isn't that exactly what we've been talking about?

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