Your Musical Directors -
Paula & Chris
As well as running the wonderful Vocal High, what else have your MD's been up to?
Paula has been teaching singers of all ages for over 15 years as well as working with the voice in a holistic context - she is a qualified British Lung Foundation and Musical Breath 'singing for lung health' leader. As a performer she works primarily with her ensemble Excelsa Voces - female voices performing medieval and contemporary music - and as a soloist with Aphelion, an ever-evolving project with Chris and guest musicians, that takes in traditional song and ambient and electronic elements alongside early music.
Paula's outreach singing experiences include working with Michael McGlynn's Anuna (Ireland) and Michael Deason Barrow's Choros (UK), as well as singing with early music specialists Music Secreta (US, UK, Italy). Paula has studied with a range of vocal experts from different traditions, currently working with circlesinging / vocal improvisation specialist Guillermo Rozenthuler (Argentina) as well as studying the Intelligent Choir techniques of VOPA (Vocal Painting) devised by Jim Daos Hjernoe.
Chris's music qualifications include a 1st class honours from Kingston University and a Masters in Music Composition from De Montfort University (under the tutelage of leading English experimental composers Gavin Bryars and Dave Smith). He holds a CertEd for teaching adults and young people, having led the Music Team at Stratford-upon-Avon College where he taught on BTEC, A-level & HND Music courses from 1997-2015 - subjects included theory, history, aural perception, composition, performance, devising, social contexts of music, arranging etc. Since 2015 he has resumed his work as a performing / accompanying pianist, composer and private teacher. Chris's performing background is very diverse, taking in classical music, traditional music, jazz, rock, jazz-rock, rock-jazz, and experimental music; he has 'trod the boards' in venues ranging from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (as part of Damon Albarn's 'Gorillaz' band) to The Cube Cinema in Bristol (as part of improvising trio 'Netherworld AirTours'); to Zaal100 Club in Amsterdam and the Sirkus Bar, Torshavn (Faroe Islands) ... to the Palace Theatre in Redditch and the rustic charms of village halls across the Midlands.
As he likes to put it, 'The odyssey continues"...
Paula & Chris have worked together on music projects for 15 years: some of these are listed below:
Performing for the first time in 2013, 'Aphelion' is the ever-evolving performance project featuring Paula & Chris, often with a different guest musician for each gig.
"Formed in 2016, Excelsa Voces have built a well-deserved reputation for performances of great beauty." As musical director, Paula has steered the ensemble in the creation of full-length ‘immersive’ concert experiences featuring ancient & modern music combined with site-specific lighting design. Joining forces with Chris, and with cellist Tom McMahon, Excelsa Voces have presented wide-ranging contemporary music (Gavin Bryars, Meredith Monk, Joby Talbot, Arvo Part, Olivier Messaien, Chris & others) alongside Early and Medieval music (Palestrina, Cristobal de Morales, Hildegard of Bingen etc). Information about upcoming performances etc can be found at www.excelsavoces.com
Between 2009 and 2012, Paula and Chris developed, managed and sang with their vocal sextet Voice 7, specialising in polyphonic music from across the centuries. The group performed in a wide range of venues and a variety of occasions; from tiny gigs in tiny churches (eg Kempley Church, Gloucestershire - "the most complete set of Romanesque frescos in northern Europe") to the Dart Music Festival and the Worcester Early Music Festival. It was an interesting journey and a steep learning curve for all of us!
Paula Evans & Chris Long