The Voice Squad is a fabulous Youth Stage Choir which has been going in Bury St Edmunds for 30 years, giving concerts and staging full-scale musicals.
The Voice Squad came into being in 1992, when 10 little girls crammed themselves into the lounge of Birgitta’s terraced house, and sang for half an hour on Saturdays. The sweet shop on the corner was a major incentive, and the gigs and Festival successes began immediately. As the troupes spilled out of the back door, new premises were found, and small boys initiated into the growing forces.
Today there are 3 Squads in Bury St Edmunds, each with around 40 members and 2 Squads in Diss, collectively encouraging young singers aged 4-20+. The cross-section of repertoire is huge, catering for all tastes and stretching the singers to pull off entertainment in a style unique to Voice Squad which has had audiences expanding to fill sell-out gigs.
Over the years, the Squads have been privileged to perform at wonderful venues, and wonderful occasions; The Royal Opera House, Birmingham Symphony Hall, The London Palladium, prizewinning performances at the Royal Albert Hall, and appearing as Finalists on National TV at the Choir of the Year Competition have all been major highlights.
In addition to concerts of all shapes and sizes across the UK, the choir has toured Prague and the Rhineland, performed at Disneyland Paris and staged numerous full-scale musicals from the inevitable Bugsy Malone to West Side Story, Les Mis, Miss Saigon and Sweeney Todd.
The Voice Squad is a family entity. Members stay for years, and friends and family join in the fun of socials and fund-raising. Officially approved chaperones are allocated to safeguard performers at events, and the older singers attend rehearsals of the younger members to encourage, direct and bring the troupes together. And the Support Squad, formed of current and former parents, takes on much of the admin and organisation to ensure smooth running of operations, and to allow the Musical Directors to focus on the musical aspects.
The emphasis is on fun and instructive rehearsals, leading to high-energy and polished performances. Members are expected to uphold a high level of commitment to rehearsals and gigs, and to do their bit in publicising events to make for successful public appearances.
Entry is by audition for seniors and by trial session for the younger groups.
The Seniors rehearse from 9:45am to 11:45am on Saturdays in Term time.
The Barmy Army and Bethany’s Brigade rehearse from 12noon to 1pm on Saturdays in Term time.
Rehearsals take place at The Hyndman Centre, Hospital Road, Bury St Edmunds, IP33 3JT.