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Timepiece performance will celebrate The Voice Project’s 10th anniversary

PUBLISHED: 16:43 23 May 2018 | UPDATED: 17:26 23 May 2018

The Voice Project. Photo: Phil Sayer

The Voice Project. Photo: Phil Sayer

Phil Sayer

Norwich-based choir The Voice Project has been filling venue’s across the county with imaginative, original song for the last decade. Arts correspondent Emma Knights finds out about the group’s latest show

The Voice Project's performance of Souvenir at Holkham Hall, Photo: JMA Photography.The Voice Project's performance of Souvenir at Holkham Hall, Photo: JMA Photography.

For a decade open access choir The Voice Project has been creating innovative choral spectacles that have filled everywhere from Holkham Hall to Norwich’s City Hall with song.

And for the group’s 10th anniversary performance The Voice Project will on Friday return to Norwich Cathedral to present new work Timepiece as part of the Norfolk & Norwich Festival.

Starting from midday and running through until midnight, every hour on the hour members of The Voice Project will perform original music in the historic city landmark.

A solo singer will begin the 12-hour song cycle that will build up to the full 150-strong choir, plus soloists and instrumentalists, presenting a concert at 9pm, before the music fades back to a single voice at midnight.

NNF14 The Voice Project rehearse for their performance of Souvenir at Holkham Hall. Photo: JMA Photography.NNF14 The Voice Project rehearse for their performance of Souvenir at Holkham Hall. Photo: JMA Photography.

The whole performance - which will feature music written by Orlando Gough, Jonathan Baker and Sian Croose and take place across various parts of the cathedral’s cloisters and garth - explores our relationship with time and also how music can alter our perceptions of it.

“It seems especially appropriate to create a piece about time for our 10th anniversary,” said co-director Sian Croose who first set up The Voice Project with Jonathan Baker in 2008.

“As our lives seem to speed up and time appears to be in short supply, we wanted to make a piece which slows the pace down,” said Jonathan.

“Across 12 hours the piece will reflect on aspects of musical time and will think about the broader sweep of age and history in the timeless surroundings of the cloisters of Norwich Cathedral.”

The Voice Project Choir appear with umbrellas during their  pop up performance around Norwich for the Norfolk and Norwich Festival. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe Voice Project Choir appear with umbrellas during their pop up performance around Norwich for the Norfolk and Norwich Festival. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Sian added: “We’ll look at the illusory, natural and musical nature of time.

“How it affects us, controls us, how we speed it up, slow it down and, crucially, how music helps us to change our perceptions of it.”

Timepiece is the latest in a long line of inventive musical events to be staged by The Voice Project since the group first started in 2008 with the performances In Tsegihi, with Jon Hassell and band, at Norwich Cathedral, and Wintersongs at the Cathedral of St John The Baptist.

For last year’s Norfolk & Norwich Festival, The Voice Project invited people to join in with a 10-hour choral sleepover called The Arms of Sleep which took place overnight at Norwich’s Assembly House.

Sianned Jones plays her violin as she is rowed along the river near Fye Bridge as part of the Voice Project's pop up performance around Norwich for the Norfolk and Norwich Festival. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYSianned Jones plays her violin as she is rowed along the river near Fye Bridge as part of the Voice Project's pop up performance around Norwich for the Norfolk and Norwich Festival. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Instead of taking their seats audience members were instead offered a bed and invited to enjoy a unique dream-like experience and fall asleep surrounded by music and stories.

And the success of The Voice Project’s 2017 Norfolk & Norwich Festival show has also led to The Arms of Sleep being performed at Firle Place as part of the Brighton International Festival earlier this month.

Among the many other musical highlights over the last decade was Singing The City, which saw The Voice Project perform surprise pop-up performances across Norwich during the 2012 Norfolk & Norwich Festival.

In the following year the open access choir performed Ideas of Flight across three different venues - Norwich Cathedral, St Benet’s Abbey and Salthouse Church - and in 2014 the choir created three new performances for three very different venues. They were Souvenir at Holkham Hall, in north Norfolk, Things We Have Forgotten at The Undercroft, in Norwich, and Lost & Found at City Hall.

The Voice Project performed Ideas of Flight at St Benet's Abbey during the 2013 Norfolk & Norwich Festival.
Photo: JMA PhotographyThe Voice Project performed Ideas of Flight at St Benet's Abbey during the 2013 Norfolk & Norwich Festival. Photo: JMA Photography

In the same year The Voice Project also won an EDP People’s Choice Award at the 2014 Norfolk Arts Award as part of the Hostry Festival.

The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts became The Voice Project’s stage for The Observatory in 2015, meanwhile in 2016 the choir performed Red Shift at Norwich Cathedral and also Norwich Over The Water at various places around and on the River Wensum.

As The Voice Project prepares to celebrate its first decade on Friday with the show Timepiece at Norwich Cathedral, one wonders what more imaginative spectacles the singers will create over the next decade.

• The Voice Project will perform Timepiece at Norwich Cathedral on Friday (May 25) from noon until midnight.

The Voice Project performed Ideas of Flight at Norwich Cathedral during the 2013 Norfolk & Norwich Festival.
Photo: JMA PhotographyThe Voice Project performed Ideas of Flight at Norwich Cathedral during the 2013 Norfolk & Norwich Festival. Photo: JMA Photography

There will be free performances on the hour every hour from midday until 8pm and at 11pm and midnight, and there will be a performance from 9pm to 10pm for which tickets are £10.

The show is part of the 2018 Norfolk and Norwich Festival. For more information, visit www.nnfestival.org.uk

For more details about The Voice Project, visit www.voiceproject.co.uk

The Voice Project performed The Observatory at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts at the 2015 Norfolk & Norwich Festival.
Photo: JMA PhotographyThe Voice Project performed The Observatory at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts at the 2015 Norfolk & Norwich Festival. Photo: JMA Photography

The Voice Project performed Souvenir at Holkham Hall during the 2014 Norfolk & Norwich Festival.
Photo: JMA PhotographyThe Voice Project performed Souvenir at Holkham Hall during the 2014 Norfolk & Norwich Festival. Photo: JMA Photography

The Voice Project performed Souvenir at Holkham Hall during the 2014 Norfolk & Norwich Festival.
Photo: JMA PhotographyThe Voice Project performed Souvenir at Holkham Hall during the 2014 Norfolk & Norwich Festival. Photo: JMA Photography

The Voice Project performed Souvenir at Holkham Hall during the 2014 Norfolk & Norwich Festival.
Photo: Phil SayerThe Voice Project performed Souvenir at Holkham Hall during the 2014 Norfolk & Norwich Festival. Photo: Phil Sayer

The Voice Project performed Singing the City in Elm Hill and other places around Norwich as part of the 2012 Norfolk and Norwich Festival.
Photo: Phil SayerThe Voice Project performed Singing the City in Elm Hill and other places around Norwich as part of the 2012 Norfolk and Norwich Festival. Photo: Phil Sayer

The Voice Project performed The Arms of Sleep at the Assembly House during the 2017 Norfolk & Norwich festival.
Photo: JMA PhotographyThe Voice Project performed The Arms of Sleep at the Assembly House during the 2017 Norfolk & Norwich festival. Photo: JMA Photography

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