This week, we were looking forward to welcoming the wonderful Voces8 to WMC to lead a singing workshop and evening performance featuring members of the WMC Chorus.

Whilst unfortunately we can't hear them 'Sing Joyfully' together live in our auditorium at this time, we are delighted to share this exclusive interview with Voces8 soprano, Andrea Haines, reflecting on the highs and lows of life as a professional singer and how singing can provide an emotional release.

What piece of music were you most looking forward to performing as part of their WMC programme? 

I’d have to pick two from opposite sides of the repertoire - the Magnificat Primi Toni by Palestrina is a favourite of the group and has been in our repertoire since VOCES8 began! The lines are passed back and forth between two choirs in the Italian antiphonal style, and it gives the music a great feeling of joy and energy. Homeward Bound is a more recent addition to our programmes, but it was popular with us immediately. Naomi Crellin is a fabulous arranger from Australia, and we’re big fans of how she adapts and reimagines songs to create something new and exciting. It’s also always a pleasure to collaborate with other choirs so we were certainly looking forward to singing with a local choir in this concert.


What is the most rewarding part of the job of a professional singer?

I think having the ability to change the emotional course of someone’s day is a very rewarding ability that musicians possess, but singers have a particular gift for through the use of text, and the personal nature of the human voice. It’s a privilege to go on that spiritual journey with people during a concert, or a workshop. Talking of journeys, travel is also a hugely rewarding part of being in VOCES8, discovering new places, or revisiting familiar venues and friends. My grandparents lived in Bradford-on-Avon, so I was very much looking forward to returning to a place where I spent many happy childhood days.


What is the hardest part?

I think most members of the group would say being away from home is the hardest part; being separated from partners and family, missing out on friend’s weddings, parties etc. There’s definitely a certain amount of sacrifice in order to benefit from the great rewards.


How can singing help us all to improve our wellbeing?

Singing gives us all a voice with which to express ourselves, even when our own words don’t come easily. It can uplift us, heal us, be a welcome distraction, help us grieve, release emotional tension, and allows us to celebrate the subjectivity and humanness of music. So much of our wellbeing depends on the ability and opportunity to let our emotions be free, and singing gives us that liberty.


Andrea Haines - VOCES8 Soprano

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