A couple of days before Christmas, we here at the UK University A Cappella Blog received possibly the best Christmas present of them all – confirmed dates and competitors for this year’s Voice Festival UK. While it is the largest competition so far, with more groups than ever competing, one Regional Round has unfortunately been cancelled due to lack of competitors – that in Cambridge.
In this series of blogs, we will be previewing each individual Regional Round, commenting on each group and their chances of qualifying for the final, as well as introducing several groups that you might not yet have heard of.
In the final blog, we take a look at another round formed in 2011, the Birmingham Regional, taking place on 25th February 2012.
The inaugural Birmingham Regional took place last year, with four groups competing – The Birmingham Songbirds, The Lorelites, Augmented Seven and Sons of Pitches. Augmented Seven made it to the final after winning the ‘Outstanding Performance’ Award.
Augmented Seven: A surprise absence here. Augmented Seven, like All The King’s Men, made it to the final last year in their debut outing, but have decided to withdraw from this year’s competition. We here at the blog are unsure why, but their absence will surely throw this particular Regional Round wide open, and will also mean that the winner of this round will not have been to the final before – a great chance for all the groups competing. We wish Augmented Seven the best of luck in whatever their endeavours are in the coming year.
The Lorelites: Also withdrawing after their debut year are the Lorelites, also from Birmingham University. We wish the girls all the best for the coming year!
Voice Versa: The fifth a cappella group from Birmingham, we haven’t been able to find out much about these lot. With Augmented Seven out of the picture, it’s wide open and any group could qualify for the final, so we wish Voice Versa the best of luck.
95 Keys: As predicted, the group from Leeds University are competing this year, and are very much an unknown quantity. They will have to travel a fair distance, but will hopefully inject a new perspective into the competition.
Birmingham Songbirds: For the second year running, the all-girl Songbirds are taking part in the Voice Festival, and will look to build on last year’s experience. Despite not winning an award, they hold an advantage over several of the other in that they have competed before and know what it takes to win. They stand a good chance.
Sons of Pitches: The all-male equivalent of the Songbirds, Sons of Pitches will also feel confident about progressing to the final in the absence of Augmented Seven. Some of their arrangements last year were very tight, and if they continue in that vein they could stand a good chance of qualification.
In my opinion, this is one of the toughest rounds to call. No group has ever made the final, and with half the Regional made up of debutants, it really is difficult to decide. Sons of Pitches and the Birmingham Songbirds have the advantage of last year’s experience, but it’s up to them whether or not they make it count. The other Birmingham group, Voice Versa, are an unknown quantity, as are the group from Leeds. Whatever happens, we will have a brand new finalist, and this will undoubtedly be a goal that all four groups will be striving to aim for. Whoever gets there may find it tough against more seasoned competitors, but the chance to perform alongside such groups must also be seen as a great opportunity. But who will take it?
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