Professional octet to perform alongside chamber students

The octet VOCES8 will perform with the students of the Baylor Chamber Singers and give them the opportunity to experience what its like to work with a professional ensemble. The concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the Jones Concert Hall. Photo courtesy of Kaupo Kikkas

By Emily Cousins | Contributor

Acclaimed professional British octet VOCES8, part of the School of Music’s Distinguished Artist Series, will perform “Caledonia” arranged by Blake Morgan and “Regina Caeli” by Tomás Luis de Victoria with Baylor Chamber Singers.

The concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Jones Concert Hall. Tickets are $15 for the general public and $10 for Baylor students, professors and staff.

VOCES8 performs around the world nearly all-year-round.

According to its website, they have performed in notable venues such as the Sydney Opera House, Tokyo Opera City, Vienna Konzerthaus and more.

Dr. Brian A. Schmidt, associate professor of choral music and director of graduate choral studies, said VOCES8 coming is a big deal.

“They’re one of the world’s leading vocal ensembles right now, and they perform all over the world, and they do educational workshops all over the world,” Schmidt said. “So to have them come to Baylor and do a workshop with our students and sing with our students is really a big honor.”

Schmidt said collaborations with professional groups are powerful because they inspire energy in the students that can help them reach the next level.

“I think the really cool thing about performing with elite professionals that as future professionals, you all kind of have a moment to focus in a way that professionals do and reach your potential or reach above your potential for a moment and then hopefully that’s inspiring to you as you go and do your own work,” Schmidt said.

VOCES8 is a choral group, but it performs different styles of music such as vocal jazz, traditional choral and pop.

“I like listening to a lot of their more contemporary stuff because that’s not something we see as much, and I think it’s just really fun to listen to and see the choral side transferred into a different setting than what is traditional choral music,” said Cypress senior and Chamber Singers member Shannon Skillman.

Some of the students in the Baylor Chamber Singers are fans of VOCES8, and said they are excited to work with musicians they have looked up to for quite some time.

“I first saw them perform at Southwestern ACDA convention and they were phenomenal. They did solo pieces, they did group pieces and it was just the highlight of the trip for sure,” said Dallas first-year graduate student and also a member of the Chamber Singers, David Estrada. “So I’m really excited to actually work with some of them here.”

New Orleans sophomore Austin Henry, a member of Chamber Singers, said he looks forward to this valuable experience and performance.

“It’s just an honor to be able to sing with them and to be able to really work on types of things that they do and what it feels like and what it would be like to be in a professional ensemble,” Henry said.