Voces8 and their newest recruit, NYCGB Alumna Katie Jeffries-Harris

4 July 2018

NYCGB Alumna Katie Jeffries-Harris will join the world-renowned a cappella group VOCES8 in September.

Katie's appointment is the latest in a long line of a cappella successes for NYCGB Alumni, whose ranks include one former member of The King's Singers (Stephen Connolly) and at least four former and current members of The Swingles (Wendy Nieper, Joanna Goldsmith-Eteson, Chris Neale, Lucy Potterton - have we missed anyone out?! Please contact [email protected] ). It also marks the conclusion of a long and intensive audition process, as she explains:

"VOCES8 is an ensemble I have admired for years and I am thrilled to be joining them from September.   I am succeeding Chris Wardle who has been the ensemble’s Alto 1 for the past 12 years. As a founding member of the group he’ll leave quite a legacy behind him and I look forward to the challenge of stepping into his shoes. The appointment is exciting for many reasons, not least because this will be the first time the group has had a female alto, so we will be integrating a third female voice into the VOCES8 sound.

I was appointed at the beginning of April after an application process that began back in December. I had already had a chance to get to know the ensemble through their Scholars programme. Within the programme I had watched VOCES8 perform, seen how they rehearsed and shadowed some of their education work, so I knew it was a role I wanted to apply for. The application process differs slightly for each vacancy. I had an initial audition in London followed by three days in France workshopping a variety of a cappella music learnt by heart. It was an intense process, but it provided so many learning opportunities and the group were incredibly welcoming.

During the application process and since being appointed I am constantly aware of how valuable the education I received from NYCGB has been. I have been fortunate to learn from a number of exceptional music education organisations including Chetham’s School of Music, Genesis Sixteen and Peterborough Sings and each opportunity has taught me something unique. NYCGB is the organisation I have been with for the longest: I started singing in the National Youth Girls’ Choir aged 12 and worked my way through to section leading the Alto 1s in the National Youth Choir. My first professional gig was with the National Youth Chamber Choir and I staffed my first National Youth Training Choir course this April. On each course you are thoroughly surrounded by inspirational musicians, from the peers you’re singing next to, to your section leaders and course directors. You are always encouraged to perform to the best of your abilities and the choral discipline NYCGB teaches is invaluable in professional rehearsals and recordings.

As VOCES8 perform around 80% of their repertoire from memory, I am now getting stuck in with the music learning. Alongside their core repertoire, the group are also preparing a number of large scale works from Bach’s ‘B Minor Mass’ to James MacMillan’s ‘Seven Last Words’ for performance in the new season. VOCES8 will be touring extensively around Europe, return to Japan, make several tours to the USA and perform their debut concert in Australia. It is also the first year of their partnership with the Faculty of Music at Cambridge University for the M.Mus in Choral Studies. All in all, next year is working out to be a great year to start working with the ensemble, and I can’t wait to get started!"

Find out more about VOCES8