Our Style of Chorus
It's difficult to place modern harmony choruses in the spectrum of choirs - we take some inspiration from many different influences - but here's what we aim for in our performances.
Our tagline says we sing “rock, pop and show songs”, which we take to mean popular music since around the 1960s, with the occasional foray into good songs from before that time. Good examples would include the Beatles, Bon Jovi, Muse, and musicals like Les Miserables.
We try to pick songs that are led by the melody, rather than a beat, because that means we can get the great chords working for our main style, harmony a cappella. We won't often tackle modern club music unless it's got singable harmony to work from, for instance, and we often prefer songs with sung bridges rather than long instrumental sections.
It's been said that a good singer can turn their voice to any style, and that's why we work on producing a sound that essentially traces its roots back to bel canto: forward placement and tall vowels, using plenty of resonance to back up the buzziness on the front of the mouth.
One of the main reasons for us singing harmonies in homophony, where all parts often sing the same words at the same time, is to produce overtones (AKA harmonics) in our voices that can reinforce each other when they're well-tuned, which means you sometimes hear extra voices above and below the pitches the chorus is singing: what's known as an “expanded sound”. You might hear chorus members talking about lock - when the different voices are tuned exactly right in just intonation - and ring - when the chords produce the extra notes.
We also value the ensemble sound, and we're always trying to blend together into one voice, so we often
Some audiences would be happy to close their eyes for an entire musical performance, and simply experience the sound, but our particular chorus is all about telling a story and involving both the audience and singers in the emotion of a piece. We add a visual element to our singing to bring this to the audience, and that sometimes becomes fully-fledged choreography in an up-tempo song to heighten the experience.
A good example of the more extreme heights of choreography comes from the Ambassadors of Harmony: