Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 09.36.38The competition winner has been announced of a North East England-based choir who will share the stage at The Phoenix Theatre, Blyth with million selling chart toppers, Blake, on Sunday June 7th.

Voices of Hope from Newcastle impressed the judges with their talent, skill, technique and panache that will see them perform a series of songs, live in South East Northumberland in front of hundreds of classical-pop music fans.

This comes at an important time for The Phoenix Theatre, Blyth as the venue celebrates its 50th anniversary year.

The choir is made up of between 16 and 20 singers whose ages range from 19 and 50 years old. They initially formed four-years ago for a one off concert to raise money for the British Heart Foundation. The singers enjoyed the experience so much that they all felt they wanted to go on singing together.

Voices of Hope are no strangers to the entertainment spotlight as they have recently sang with the touring West End production of “Godspell” at Sage Gateshead; and also premiered works by well known local musicians Kathryn Tickell, Agustin Fernandez and Ian Stephenson.  Last year they also performed an opera by North East musician, John Kefala Kerr about steam engines at Shildon Railway museum.

Simon Fidler, Music Director of Voices of Hope said: “We enjoy taking part in all sorts of singing in our region.  Our first love is classical music but we really enjoy the challenge of other styles too. If it’s new and wonderful, we want to be involved!”

Simon goes on to say why he feels singing as part of a choir is becoming increasing more popular at the moment. He said there are many things about singing in a choir that are so appealing, not least the physical benefits to the heart and respiratory system.

He continued: “I think most importantly though, singing allows a person to express all the frustrations, sadness, joy and excitement that life provokes.  We have a stiff upper lip culture in this country which means people bottle up their emotions and it can lead to unhealthy expression of feeling.

“There is something about the trust involved in that expression of self and team work needed for good choral performances that forges very close bonds in a choir.”

They regularly rehearse at the University of Newcastle, Gateshead Old Town Hall and Sage Gateshead.

Programmes like Gareth Malone’s BBC2 television programme, The Choir, have brought choirs into the mainstream and also to the top of the album charts by reminding people just what singing in a choir can actually be like.

Simon concludes by talking about the chance Voices of Hope have been given to perform at The Phoenix Theatre, Blyth with the wonderful Blake.  He said:  “We really enjoy collaborating with other musicians and it will be great to sing alongside artists as skilled as Blake.  We’ve had a look through the pieces that we’ll be singing and they look like great fun.”

The Classical BRIT Award winning trio have sold over one million records worldwide and have performed in front of thousands of people in some of the most exclusive venues including Buckingham Palace, Wembley Stadium and more recently in front of The White House.

Blake, who formed after reuniting on Face Book, like to mix eclectic classical and pop songs with rich harmony vocals. The band’s debut album, Blake, was launched to critical acclaim going straight to number one in the UK classical album chart and also into the Top 20 pop chart with over 100,000 copies being sold in just three weeks.

In 2008 their highly anticipated second album, And So It Goes, was released and went straight in at number 12 in the UK pop charts and Number 1 in several classical charts around the world.

Humphrey Berney of Blake said: “We hope this will be an experience the choir really enjoys, singing material they may not have known before and taking away memories which will inspire them to carry on singing!”

“All three members of Blake have sung in choirs from an early age, and that experience has been a central part of our musical life. We want to encourage more people to join their local choirs, no matter what age they might be, and benefit from all of the positives joining a choir can bring.”

People interested in learning more about Voices of Hope can visit their website

David Garrett, Executive Director of The Phoenix Theatre, Blyth, said: “We are really excited to be welcoming both Blake and Voices of Hope to Blyth for what promises to be a delightful showcase of vocal finesse. It also signifies what The Phoenix Theatre is all about as we look to offer local performers unique opportunities to develop and showcase their talent.”

Blake will be performing at The Phoenix Theatre, Blyth on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th June 2015 commencing at 8pm with tickets priced at £23 that can be purchased from the box office by calling 01670 367 228, online or in person Mon-Fri 10am-12.30pm / Sat 10am-2pm.

Also…on the opening night (Sat 6th June) The Phoenix Theatre Blyth’s very own Young Phoenix Theatre Company will be providing the guest choir vocals with Voices of Hope appearing the following evening.

For further information about Blake please visit their official website

The Phoenix Theatre, Blyth is supported by Northumberland County Council.