Pitch Per­fect mu­si­cal di­rec­tor sings praises of Vo­cal Col­lec­tive

The Press - - News - Jack Fletcher

A group of Christchurch singers are pre­par­ing to take the stage at one of the world’s most pres­ti­gious mu­sic halls.

Vo­cal Col­lec­tive, formerly the Christchurch Pops Choir, have been in­vited to per­form at New York’s Carnegie Hall in March 2019 as part of a global choir.

The in­vi­ta­tion marks a high­point for the group, who be­gan singing to­gether af­ter the 2010 and 2011 Can­ter­bury earthquakes un­der founder and artis­tic di­rec­tor Luke Di Somma.

They per­form reg­u­larly, and have started tak­ing fes­ti­val and cor­po­rate gigs, in­clud­ing Fe­bru­ary’s Nos­tal­gia Fes­ti­val with Aus­tralian act Mama Kin Spender.

Vo­cal Col­lec­tive will join singers from the United States, Croa­tia, Ire­land and Hong Kong on the Carnegie Hall stage, as part of To­talVo­cal, an an­nual show­case of a cap­pella-style singing. The con­cert is led by Deke Sharon, the mu­si­cal di­rec­tor be­hind the Pitch Per­fect movies and var­i­ous singin­gre­lated tele­vi­sion shows.

Cur­rent artis­tic di­rec­tor Matt Ever­ing­ham said the Carnegie Hall in­vi­ta­tion came ‘‘out of the blue’’.

‘‘The or­gan­is­ers scouted us out on­line and of­fered us a place in that con­cert, which was re­ally ex­cit­ing,’’ Ever­ing­ham said. ‘‘We are tak­ing a group of more than 40, and there are about 200 singers in to­tal in the con­cert, so we make up a good chunk.’’

Ever­ing­ham said the name change to Vo­cal Col­lec­tive was to break away from the tra­di­tional con­no­ta­tions of a ‘‘choir’’ and em­pha­sise their con­tem­po­rary flavour.

‘‘The group has al­ways had a fo­cus on pop, so mod­ern con­tem­po­rary gen­res in a cho­rus set­ting rather than a tra­di­tional choir model,’’ he said.

Sharon said he vis­ited Christchurch a few years ago and ‘‘fell in love’’.

‘‘In many ways it re­minded me of my home, San Fran­cisco – di­verse, cos­mopoli­tan life­style, stun­ning nat­u­ral beauty nearby, and warm peo­ple.’’

He said it would be ‘‘an hon­our’’ to share the stage with Vo­cal Col­lec­tive at his ‘‘an­nual cel­e­bra­tion of the hu­man voice’’.

‘‘[They] are a dy­namic group of var­ied voices who make fan­tas­tic mu­sic.’’

Vo­cal Col­lec­tive will per­form a pub­lic gig at Christchurch In­ter­na­tional Air­port be­fore tick­eted gigs at The Pi­ano in the lead-up to their New York trip in March.

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