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A Resoundingly Unusual Approach to Choral Singing

Working with Resound: a chat with Stefan Holmström, MD

Resound is a Brighton-based voice group that, since it began in 2011, has made a name for itself with eclectic and unusual music presented in new ways, experimenting with choral performance.

“Resound has always had a playful approach to music making,” said Stefan Holmström, Resound’s Musical Director. “From our first days, we’ve sung rude baroque rounds - think Purcell’s pub tunes - and improvised. We’ve also done jazz and classical pieces like the fabulous Poulenc Quatre Petits Prières and Stars by Eric Esenvalds where our singers play water tuned glasses at the same time as they sing!”

Two years ago, Resound began collaborating with the theatre director Julia Roberts, who has worked with the group to develop a very natural style of performance. Resound’s first Brighton Fringe show, Soundtrek, was a journey around the world set in a pub and its current project ‘Members Only!’ is about Resound, its members, and what it is like to be in a singing group.

Stefan Holmström said: “there’s friendship, fun, disasters, drama, and of course singing ranging from unison (which is where we started 8 years ago) to 8-part harmony in the Swedish folksong Limu, Limu Lima arranged by Sofia Söderberg."

Resound uses Estill Voice Training as part of rehearsals and for vocal development. Stefan Holmström believes that it is possible to alter the sound quite dramatically according to genre.

“It seems obvious,” said Holmström. “But why should a choir sing a classical piece in the same way as folk or jazz?”

It’s an ongoing project, but it’s this focus on vocal development that makes Resound unique and is a major part of what the group is all about.

Singing with Resound: a chat with Andre Pienaar, Baritone

Andre grew up in a musical family and came to the UK during a gap year from a performance course in opera at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.

How did you come to start singing with Resound?

“I started looking for a group to sing with and discovered that it was difficult to find one that had a broad and interesting variety of repertoire. Then one day, Resound just came along!”

What do you enjoy about singing with Resound?

“I like singing in a small group where every person counts, where you are forced to actually put the effort in and perform. You can’t coast along and I think that is really inspiring. I also like the personal connections you make in a small group; we all have our little quirks. It’s dynamic and beautiful to see how the group changes when new members join. Everyone brings something.”

Do you think singing off copy helps in performance?

“A lot of the time having the sheet music is like a security blanket - something to hide behind. I’ve always sung in choirs that sing off copy and I think it helps focus the group on the conductor and on the music. It’s also more engaging for the audience.”

How do you find using Estill Voice Training in rehearsals?

“I find it interesting and like the naturalness of it. It can make a huge difference to the sound, although in a group some people will only touch on this once a week and then forget about it and others will go home and really practice to improve their voices. Having said that, if you take something like twang, two years ago we didn't have a clue what it was or how to do it, but now we are all able to use it as a tool when we sing.”

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