Last Saturday, on an icy Guild Elections night, many of us were elsewhere on campus. The Bramall Music Hall was filled for the semi-final Voice Festival UK event, and with standards exceptionally high this proved to be a thrilling watch. The good sportsmanship, humour and talent shown by our University’s a capella groups allowed for a light-hearted but mind-blowing evening. Four of the six groups were from the University of Birmingham so this was a real opportunity to see the hard work of our own ensembles and those from further afield.
The evening opened stylishly with the talented Uptone Girls taking the stage. Clad in disco pants, the girls delivered a beautiful cover of Wicked Games and showcased Lizzie Jones’s excellent beat boxing. Both The Uptone Girls and Voice Versa (also UoB) gave particularly fantastic solo performances, with Uptone’s Charlye Simpson receiving an award for hers. Elsewhere the Treblemakers shone with their innovative Video Game arrangement, one of the most original pieces of the night.
It wasn’t an easy road for UoB, however. Songsmiths from Leeds and the Augmentals from Birmingham Conservatoire offered excellent arrangements, with a particularly amusing performance from the Augmentals. Don’t Worry Be Happy won them the crowd, towards the end of an intense programme. There was no interval during the performances, which further emphasised how tight the competition was for awards, between many of the groups.
In my eyes, however, the night was stolen by one group. We can’t discuss the event without mentioning the absolute highlight, The Sons of Pitches. Their phenomenal mix of Cry Me A River with Lose Yourself demonstrated tight vocals, choreography and an exceptional arrangement. As a result, they sailed through to the final. The Sons are known for their strong following, who were certainly in attendance; the group got a huge reaction from the audience. All aspects of their performance were virtually seamless, leaving the audience stunned by their ability.
Saturday night’s contest had it all: outstanding vocal performances, the atmosphere of a top-draw contest and a version of Starry Eyed which beat the original. This was an extremely fun event to attend and we wish The Sons of Pitches the best of luck for the final!
Tickets for the Voice Festival final, taking place at City of London School for Girls on 15th March, are available here: http://thevoicefestival.co.uk/events/the-big-weekend-15-17-march/
By Eleanor Smallwood