Reviewed by Regi Su
Short and Sweet Voices
This year was the first time Short and Sweet ran Short and Sweet Voices, an a Capella competition for vocal groups ranging from quartets to full choirs. As this year was a great success, the competition will look further afield next year to running the a cappella section in the Dubai, Kuala Lumpur and Auckland competitions of Short and Sweet.
I attended the grand final of Short and Sweet Voices at the Concourse, Chatswood. What an excellent venue! The acoustics in the concert hall made for a very majestic performance from all involved.
Each entrant (except one,) performed three songs in an effort to impress the judges and the audience, who select the People's Choice Award.
I. ISINGONTHECAKE- this choir opened the night and set the standard high performing original arrangements of Coldplay's 'Viva La Vida' and Wuthering Heights. With torches, they put on a dynamic light show, which was visually effective. They had great energy and clever harmonies to lift their playful song choices.
II. SISTA!- this barber shop quartet graced the stage in bathrobes and hair curlers, entertaining the crowd with a couple of novelty tunes. They brought a lightness and sense of humour to the stage, then changed tact by taking on a sombre Doris Day song, which displayed beautiful four-part harmonies.
III. JOUBERT SINGERS- this choir were well deserving of their two awards; Most Original Performance and Best Original Vocal Arrangement. This group created a rainforest soundscape on stage, and they really captured the atmosphere of a rainforest, water, frogs, birds and all. Through the dim blue glow, I was transported on threads of poetry and I was delighted by their creativity and imagination.
IV. TREBLE MAKERS QUARTET- these four women in glittering evening gowns performed sweet harmonies in seamless medleys, singing in perfect unison and working together to show restraint and control. Their sounds flowed in effortless beauty and they held the audience in the palm of their hands.
V. SOULFOOD A CAPPELLA- this band took out two awards for the evening, Most Innovative Staging and People's Choice. Short and Sweet runs a People's Choice Award in each competition, helping promote involvement and audience engagement. This choir was definitely a crowd pleaser as they were fun to watch, visually dynamic and brought great energy to the stage. With Gospel roots, this group pitched perfect layered harmonies, which really textured their sound.
VI. UNACCOMPANIED BAGGAGE- with renditions of 'On My Way', this choir was very entertaining. Their creativity and innovation were a great start to the second part of the show after interval. As a group, they gave a solid performance, working as one.
VII. THE JUBILETTES- took the first ever Short and Sweet Second Prize, and deservedly so. This gospel choir not only split into layered harmonies, but also showcased everyone's talent, giving all the choristers a chance to sing solo. When in unison, however, their sound was powerful and they engaged the audience with call and response.
VIII. ALCHEMY A CAPPELLA- this gospel choir showed excellent restraint and control as a unified group, with elements of novelty and times of passion. One chorister in particular stood out the front as raw power in her solo work and vocal runs.
IX. COASTAL A CAPPELLA- finishing the night on a high note, Coastal A Cappella took competition by storm. This all-woman choir has both a variety of harmony and a depth of sound that they flawlessly carried their arrangements. The brought energy and passion to the stage, working as a tight team both visually and soundwise. Through synchronization, they showed control and restraint, then let loose flaunting their strength in numbers. They sparkled on stage and won Best Interpretation, as well as being crowned Short and Sweet Voices' first Winner.